Social media continues to grow as a great marketing tool within the corporate realm all over the world. In Sri Lanka, according to analysis we have conducted in the past, telecommunication networks, leading hotels as well as Government and charity organizations have embraced the use of social media for their marketing purposes. Sri Lankan banks in social media too, follow a common approach of providing news updates, promotions and service details to their fans on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Among the twenty odd recognized banks in the country, more than half of them have set up social pages while few banks are not involved in social media yet.
Central Bank of Sri Lanka, the apex financial sector organization in the country, has active participation on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The Facebook page is the most active out of them, with daily updates of news items, exchange and transfer rates and public notifications. The page has 2,000 fans but the posts attract low number of Likes. The Twitter page is updated straight from the Facebook page, so all tweets contain a link to the respective Facebook post. The account has over 700 followers but no user interaction is to be seen.
The YouTube channel is updated with videos of interviews and presentations, with the channel having gathered over 10,000 total video views so far. Being the main bank of the country, the institution should be applauded for its active participation on social media and the effort taken to keep the general public informed about latest happenings.
Amana Bank has active participation on Facebook and Twitter, with both accounts operated on their own. The content, however, is the same on both networks with identical posts and news updates. The accounts provide news about offers, news updates and other helpful details. The Twitter account has just 300 followers but the Facebook page has a staggering 21,000 Likes.
Commercial Bank of Ceylon has a Facebook page that it occasionally updated with offer details, news items and service information. The page has almost 5,000 Likes with a fair level of user interaction. DFCC bank has a highly active Facebook page which posts attractive photographs and illustrations of various items. The page showcases special offers and achievements of the bank and attracts a decent level of fan interaction. The Twitter and YouTube pages are at an inactive state with just 2 tweets on the Twitter page and no activity whatsoever on the latter.
One of the leading banks in the island, Hatton National Bank, maintains an active Facebook page that is constantly updated with event news, announcements, financial updates as well as Credit and Debit card offers. The page has just around 1,000 fans but attracts a high level of user interaction.
Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka, one the few merchant banks in the country, has an active Facebook page but its Twitter account is currently inactive. The Facebook page has a considerable amount of participation with over 600 Likes but the Twitter account has been left dormant since September 2012.
Nations Trust Bank maintains an active Facebook and Twitter profile with the main focus being given to the former page. All the tweets are direct posts from the Facebook profile and no fan interaction could be seen on it, in spite of having 80 followers. It is apparent that more effort is put into maintaining the Facebook page, with frequent updates of promotions, event news and facility details being posted.
Among other active Facebook pages are the accounts of National Savings Bank and NDB Bank. A specialty about the NDB Bank’s Facebook page is that they are using social media to spread thoughts of goodwill, humanity and charity through their posts. Most of the posts share messages of the importance of saving resources, significance of social stability and tips on how to be thrifty. This movement is unique among all the social pages in this analysis, since it is trying to spread interpersonal goodwill among the community. The page has almost 10,000 Likes and deservedly attracts a high level of user interaction as well.
Seylan Bank, another leading bank in the island, maintains active social pages across Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The Facebook page is nearing 50,000 Likes, the most among Sri Lankan banks in social media, and draws high levels of fan interaction for its posts. The posts provide details about offers, news items and updates about corporate social endeavors. The Twitter account posts the same items as its Facebook page and has over 100 followers. The YouTube channel is updated with colorful videos of the bank’s TV commercials. The channel has over 3,500 total views at present.
Bank of Ceylon, one of the premier banks in the country, has both a Twitter page and a YouTube page but both accounts are inactive at present. The former has been abandoned since August 2011 with just nine tweets and the latter has posted videos of interviews and promos but has been left dormant since 2012. For a major bank in the country, this is a poor effort in keeping up with social media. The many people and organizations who have ties with the bank would prefer to know about the updates and news items through social media, but they are being denied the valuable opportunity.
The Facebook accounts of Pan Asia Bank, National Development Bank, Sanasa Development Bank and HDFC Bank are updated occasionally but are generally inactive for most parts of the year. Other inactive Facebook pages of Sri Lankan banks in social media include Union Bank, MCB Bank, State Mortgage and Investment Bank as well as Standard Chartered Bank. A slight effort to engage in social media would have resulted in a good reputation for these banks, and the inactivity in this aspect could prove to be crucial in the months to come.
Among the leading banks, Sampath is the only bank at present that does not have any dedicated social media page. For a brand that is growing in popularity in both personal and corporate banking aspects, it is unacceptable that the bank is ignoring social media channels altogether. The bank could get engaged in social media in order to promote offers, provide news updates and offer customer service, but the bank has ignored such possibilities altogether up to now.
The overall participation of Sri Lankan banks in social media is showing encouraging signs. Fans have sought various information through their banks’ social media pages and most banks have offered such details freely. It is encouraging to see these financial institutions engage in social media and the feedback from the fans has been at a generally high level. With deeper penetration of internet services and easy access to information, we could expect to see the social media participation of banks increase in the upcoming months.