With Bangkok having 8.68 million Facebook users _ more than any other city in the world _ there is no doubt that social media are a powerful influence among Thais.
Krungsri Simple occasionally holds contests for its Facebook friends.
When Facebook users post comments, update status, click "Like" and tag photos to their friends, the information is seen and shared by others.
You may save routine expenses and increase wealth from financial tips posted on Facebook fanpages belonging to several financial institutions.
KBank Live, Kasikornbank's Facebook page, is No.1 with 340,000 fans.
Building a long-term relationship with customers or potential customers is the key objective of fanpages, but they also help banks to provide advice and customer relationship management.
"With a clear purpose, Facebook should be a channel to induce integration between the bank and customers. It should not be a sales point," said Art Wichiencharoen, a first senior vice-president of KBank.
The bank launched KBank Live in September 2009 and had 200,000 fans one year later. Today, the page has 340,000 fans or 70% more. Content is the key to success.
"We have to balance between life and finance and talk about customers rather than the bank," said Mr Art.
KBank Live covers both financial and non-financial subjects including trends, poetry or epigrams, new ideas, health, corporate social responsibility and advertising and promotional campaigns.
For financial content, KBank focuses on tips for customers. If clients want more information, they can link to www.askkbank.com or www.kasikornbank.com.
"Such advisory steps will help the bank create new customers, but we don't need a hard sales strategy on Facebook," said Mr Art.
He said the bank will avoid content that creates social conflict, especially politics and religion.
KBank plans to maintain its top position in digital banking and strengthen customer relationships via social networks. It plans to develop KBank Live's content and pay more attention to market trends next year.
"Dynamic character is needed in the cyber world, as we can connect people across the globe with only one click," said Mr Art.
The fourth-ranked banking fanpage, Krungsri Simple, also uses lifestyle content to provide customers with a different experience.
Under the concept of "Make Life Simple", Bank of Ayudhya created the page in 2010. It supported this concept by setting up an e-business unit in recent months to develop its digital banking service.
"Krungsri Simple is a part of the move, and we plan to upgrade Thailand's e-bank," said Philip Tan, who was promoted from head of e-business to president last month.
Focusing on lifestyle rather than financial content with an 80:20 ratio, the page has 127,000 fans.
The Krungsri Group including Bank of Ayudhya (BAY) and its affiliates can create the same standard and control all content under its business model. Communication, advice and education are the three core areas for its content, which covers finance, technology, health, beauty, home and cooking.
With the objective of building a long-term relationship with customers, the page should not be a space for propaganda or hard sales but rather for sharing experiences and giving value to BAY's friends, said Mr Tan.
"It's a very thin line between commerce and friends on Facebook. If our friends feel they're being pushed into promotions, then they can click 'unfriend' easily," he said. "We want to have the same relationship with customers, in both the real and the virtual worlds."
The Krungsri Group's e-business unit has three teams taking care of content of all digital channels _ monitoring, sourcing and distributing content.
Mr Tan said then group plans to develop Facebook friends and fans to become its customers by strengthening their trust in the bank gradually.
Real-time responses from customers via social media will also help BAY to improve services and products, and it will consider each comment, complaint and problem.
The group plans to improve all its digital banking channels including its Facebook page. Innovative and intelligent features will aim to create a different experience.
For example, the font size on Krungsri Simple will be in line with the age of friends. Older users should get a bigger size. "Changing behaviours mean customers want a shopping experience first, so we should develop this area differentially," said Mr Tan.
About the author
- Writer: Somruedi Banchongduang
Position: Business Reporter