Banking on the benefits of social media

By sharpening its focus on social media, ActivoBank has been able to gain widespread coverage, feedback, and a new direction, bringing a stronger client base to the heart of its ethos


ActivoBank recently celebrated three years since its rebranding. Back in 2010 its endorsement “by Millennium” was created, and assumes a new positioning with a strong vision on client interaction.

As a pioneer with a different way of doing banking and a strong focus on customers that embrace the use of new technologies, ActivoBank assumes a distinct market position. Its commitment can be translated in five brand values: simplicity, transparency, accessibility, trustworthiness; and innovation.

A core social presence
By looking to simplify the customers’ relationship with the bank, ActivoBank offers exactly what many are looking for. Here, customers will find value for money, and will only pay for what they get, with no odd and complex commissions.

As part of the online banking strategy, ActivoBank has made its presence felt on social networking websites including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Facebook is presently the core of the bank’s presence in social media, but its presence on Twitter has been steadily growing.

YouTube serves mostly as a content repository and link to Facebook. As ActivoBank targets self-directed customers, social media platforms are used to interact with new and existing customers, as an additional channel that can be used to communicate with the bank along with the website, mobile app, call centre and branches.

ActivoBank’s main goal in social media is servicing. Nevertheless, during the last year it also became an acquisition channel. Servicing, to ActivoBank, means customer management, support and product information. Through social media, the bank has shown that it’s a reliable, transparent and innovative bank, different from others – a bank that values simplicity, honesty and efficiency. It is the bank that you understand and that understands you.

Another one of ActivoBank’s goals is relationship building. ActivoBank wants to strengthen its relationships with existing clients, establishing not only contractual relationships but also an emotional relationship. By gradually building a relationship with prospects, ActivoBank is not like other banks clients are used to dealing with.

ActivoBank’s social media platform is managed by ActivoBank’s marketing department, with the help of comOn, an agency specialised in social media. The bank values a direct conversation with most of those on the sites, encouraging them to talk through a direct channel (phone or email) so that the bank can have a private, one-to-one communication, due to legal and privacy issues and also for more assertive customer insights.

All of those conversations are recorded, and on many occasions ActivoBank receives insights and suggestions that are passed on to the marketing team for further analysis. Furthermore, the bank regularly asks questions to the communities in order to have valuable insights on who to work with, and to continually improving bank services.

Taking the lead
ActivoBank has already implemented improvements suggested by clients on social media platforms, and last month launched the Idea Bank app on Facebook, where fans can share their ideas and suggestions for the bank, and where everyone can see, share and discuss these ideas.

Social media monthly reports include metrics like a country benchmark, identification of key influencers, alongside overall qualitative feedback and communication suggestions for the next month providing data for ActivoBank’s CRM. ActivoBank is constantly measuring what content, applications and brand actions worked better and which ones did not, so that they can adapt and re-evaluate the social media strategy.

Managing customer expectations
ActivoBank’s communities are not used only to promote the bank’s products and services. Its daily social media presence features useful tips, non-financial content related to the target – innovation, entrepreneurship, culture, internet and the financial content in a practical and simple way – cultivating on an everyday basis a community spirit around the bank, and its values. The more light-hearted the content is, it is still related to the brand values and corporate message.

Social media is also used for exclusive and first-hand communications, including new products and services, new campaigns, and other related news. The bank encourages conversation and dialogue by having personalised answers instead of standard ones. The bank tries to always give feedback, whatever the comment is, and is committed to do so within 30 minutes. Even when there is less positive feedback, it is always trying to understand the origin and reason of that comment, speaking directly with that person.

Listening to what customers and those interacting on its social media sites have to say, it thoroughly considers the suggestions of improvement, having implemented several services to embracing a social media presence. ActivoBank values high participating feedback, as it provides a voice on the community, not only those that have positive feedback, but mostly the ones that are more active and participate with more constructive comments. These brand ambassadors are regularly invited to events and focus groups so that it is able to gather important customer insights.

Strong brand etiquette
ActivoBank’s social media presence is clearly exceeding expectations. In July 2012 ActivoBank was honoured with an award for “Best in social media in Europe”. By excelling on servicing, the bank now has very satisfied customers that do not hesitate on recommending it to their friends.

The overall feedback from social media has been very positive. ActivoBank can claim that it now has several brand lovers. For a bank to become a brand, it is necessary that great levels of dedication and excellence occurs on a daily basis.ActivoBank is associated with creativity and innovation, and is perceived as a pioneering bank, leading the way in customer service by its strong presence on the communications channels most used by its customers. As a result, since March 2010, ActivoBank has more than 52,000 Facebook fans (0.51 percent of the total Portuguese Facebook users) and over 400 followers on Twitter.

The bank’s main target (25-44 year old of urban areas) represents 63 percent of total fans. The percentage of new customers that first contact ActivoBank through social media is rapidly increasing, surpassing all expectations and the engagement rate is above the financial industry average.

Regarding the direct impact on business, the percentage of new customers coming from social media is rising every day. ActivoBank’s goal is to achieve 80,000 likes by the end of 2013. The bank’s Facebook strategy has granted something quite unusual in the banking market. ActivoBank has more likes on its Facebook page than clients.

The real challenge ActivoBank faces in 2013 is how to convert these likes into new clients. ActivoBank hopes very soon to provide customers with financial services through social media, as it is currently the bank with more fans (62,709), lying first in the ranking, according to FBRank Pt.