Since I started using and talking about social media, I’ve always thought that Nigerian companies would start adopting these online communication tools in the 22nd Century.
Don’t get me wrong! Nigeria is gradually becoming technology-driven, but have always approached new technologies very sluggishly. But today, I’m glad that social media is actually making sense in Nigeria. I’ll bet we can now have social media workshops and conferences.
United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc recently launched what appears to be official pages in three of the largest social media sites in the world, namely, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. But wait, isn’t UBA described as an old generation bank? How come they’ve become the leading bank adopting the trends of social media marketing?
UBA Group is one of Africa’s leading financial institutions offering universal banking to more than 7 million customers across 750 branches in 19 African countries with a presence in New York, London and Paris.
So I guess UBA has proved me wrong. But how is UBA using social media?
Basically as an attempt to engage with their over 7 million customers around the world with updates and information about their products, services, activities and events.
The UBA’s YouTube channel launched on May 12, 2009, communicates its TV commercials, events and other related videos to the global web community. There are currently over 100 videos watched on the channel and over 600 channel views, but with one subscriber to date.
In their own words:
United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc is one of Africa’s leading financial services institutions. UBA is constantly exploring innovative ways to connect with you… YouTube is just one dimension of how far we are ready to go.
The UBA’s Facebook page launched on May 21, 2009 with over 200 fans (to date) provides latest breaking news, fraud alerts, promotional information, investor updates, corporate events and social responsibility efforts and should act as a channel for receiving and resolving customer enquiries and feedback. A quick peek at their Facebook Wall page today shows several updates and notes on Fraud Alerts.
Again, there is the UBA Gunners Galore page on Facebook which is fast becoming one of the most Nigerian focused interactive forums on Facebook with about 800 fans to date. One of UBA’s strategies to engage with their football-loving customers?
But what really has football got to do with banking? Oh, I forgot they’ve got the UBA Gunners Prepaid and Debit Cards, so that’s where dedicated bloggers and fans of Arsenal Football club share their passion for the club, right? So how are they engaging with their non-Arsenal fans/customers or better still their non-football-loving fans/customers?
This beck the question: What really is UBA’s social media strategy?
The UBA’s Twitter page, launched on 9 April, 2009 (with over 100 followers and 200+ tweets to date) provides breaking news and real time customer service helpdesk and also directs people to important relevant links on its website and related websites.
A quick look shows that UBA seems to be doing well with Twitter unlike Zenith Bank (with only 10 tweets to date although with more followers compared to UBA). They’ve already hijacked the fastest growing URL shortening service, bit.ly (oh sorry tr.im). However, I’ve not seen any customer queries (being answered) via Twitter.
While it’s still early to say whether or not their social media efforts are successful, I must say that UBA has proved that they are web-savvy, digitally-conscious and social media crazy.
It would be interesting to see an analysis of the impact of social media in banking (or “social banking”) in the next few months. While we wait for other Nigerian banks to adopt social media, I’ll be watching UBA’s progress with social media.
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