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Becca Lipman
Becca Lipman
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7 Financial Services Social Media Insights from Sprout Social

See how financial services is taking a leading role in the new social business.

A social media study by Sprout Social called the Sprout Social Index delves into how brands are (or sometimes aren't) keeping pace in responding to the upswing of people engaging with them on social.

Their team of data scientists combed through 20,000 public social profiles of brands across Facebook and Twitter. Results were organized by verticals and 15 industry categories.

Here are some of the more eye-opening findings:

Response Rate by Industry

At 28 percent, Banking/Finance had the top response rate of all industries and ranked third, tied with Entertainment, in the average response time of 10 hours.

According to Andrew Caravella, VP of marketing at Sprout Social, there is room for improvement in response time across the board, but the overall responsiveness yields a good picture for the banking and finance industry.

Click here for the full report by Sprout Social.

This index measures the industries with the most inbound engagement from Twitter and Facebook relative to audience size. These are the kinds of industries actual individuals people are reaching out to, and perhaps feel more comfortable addressing in social channels

For example:

The consumer engagement standpoint, banking and finance ranks fourth on the index.

Click here for the full report by Sprout Social.

This index measures what industries are most responsive to inbound messages from their audience on Facebook and Twitter. At 2.77, Banking and Finance tied with Utilities as the most responsive industry.

As a whole, Caravella says it's a toss up how responsive individual companies are, but it shows the banking and finance industry understands the importance of social engagement.

Click here for the full report by Sprout Social.

When do people prefer to communicate with Facebook versus Twitter? Sprout Social found in the Banking/Finance vertical around 40% of users prefer Facebook.

More prefer Twitter, which Caravella explains may be because consumers contact those brands on the go, and because it has more immediacy than Facebook offers. It also lends the the more customer-service related questions like, where is the nearest ATM?

"For Banking and Finance to be in the middle is a good thing. It's no cause for concern," says Caravella. "I think dedication to both channels is a smart thing to take on."

Click here for the full report by Sprout Social.

Banking and Finance receives an average 100 messages per every 1,000 followers fans per month. Most of those messages come through twitter.

JPMorgan recently cancelled a one hour Twitter Q&A upon receiving a flood of early questions that suggested the tone of the conversation would not go according to plan.

Click here for the full report by Sprout Social.

"We're seeing that for brands with anywhere from 1,000 - 1,500 followers, response rate is high but it takes longer to respond to them." explains Caravella. "These are typically smaller businesses with less resources."

"At 10,000 followers and above and you see a lower response rate, but a much quicker response time. This is probably indicates that brands with some degree of scale are triaging for important messages that need immediate response."

Click here for the full report by Sprout Social.

According to the report Q3 2013 saw the largest increase in new inbound messages, resulting in a significant increase in the time it took brands to respond.

Trying to improve, many customers have turned to autobot responses, which have not always proven effective (see here and here for some amusing examples).

Social Sprout suggests building a social team to respond to customers in a timely fashion. Caravella says the most critical step is for firms to structure a social team equipped to provide responses that make sense.

"Your team doesn’t need to be large, but they should be nimble and armed with the skills, information, and authority to craft timely and relevant responses without having to go through levels of approvals," according to the report.

Firms should also utilize metrics to better understand what success looks like. "One of the things that matter is picking metrics that matter to your business," concludes Caravella. "Is it more important that you respond to a high volume of messages or more important that messages are returned in a timely manner? Is it being able to shuffle messages to the appropriate person? Whatever the business metrics are, tie social metrics to it and adapt accordingly."


Becca Lipman is Senior Editor for Wall Street & Technology. She writes in-depth news articles with a focus on big data and compliance in the capital markets. She regularly meets with information technology leaders and innovators and writes about cloud computing, datacenters, ... View Full Bio

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User Rank: Author
12/16/2013 | 9:20:43 PM
re: 7 Financial Services Social Media Insights from Sprout Social
It's surprising that banking/finance has a higher rate of customer engagement (1.39) than the technology industry (1.26), among others such as travel/hospitality and entertainment. I would think that tech companies would be using social media to interact with their customers more than FS.
User Rank: Author
12/16/2013 | 5:56:49 PM
re: 7 Financial Services Social Media Insights from Sprout Social
Same here, I wouldn't have expected FS to be as highly ranked as it is. It seems like the industry is embracing social media as a means of interacting with customers, which is great. As FS companies gain reputations for being responsive, I'm sure even more customers will reach out with questions/comments via Facebook and Twitter.

Overall, the results of this study are pretty interesting. I also wouldn't have expected Utilities to be so highly ranked, or for Marketing to be as low as it is.
Becca L
Becca L,
User Rank: Author
12/16/2013 | 6:04:58 AM
re: 7 Financial Services Social Media Insights from Sprout Social
I'm impressed by how comfortably users interact with FS. Once these were just big powerful institutions that were difficult to reach, but social media has really brought the wall down. Glad to see the industry is a top responder and dedicating the resources to keep communication flowing.

On another note, the predominance of Utilities in these results is pretty interesting, I suppose it's a way of alerting the provider to outages and other issues (versus, "hey, thanks for keeping the lights on another day!").
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