On my first post Top 10 most liked Facebook brand pages – there it was among all chocolate and soft drinks brands, Banco Itau in 10th place. Yes, a bank!

To me, the very concept of being a Facebook fan of a bank is rather strange. Here and in Brazil too, they are seen as evil money making machines – so, how Itau achieved such a high number of fans?

Their social media journey started around 5/6 years ago – and Itau seemed to have planned their strategy step by step. First they started with Twitter creating two accounts, each of them with very different purposes: the first one would be more like a customer service line, where customers could get in make complaints and/or suggestions, more or less like a customer services line; and the second to tweet about activities around the brand such as cultural spaces and events (Itau Cultural Intitute), cinema festivals (Itau Cinema) and urban mobility (Bike Rio).

Then they created their Facebook page – also with the same objective to talk about initiatives around the brand rather than using the page to showcase their products. Also, their Instagram account follows the same lines, featuring incredible photos using their trademark orange, many from customers and employees. And all the images that are picked are related to what the brand wants to convey.

But, could they shake off the natural villain image that all banks have?

To a certain extent all banks worldwide use social media to promote their brand/products and have other projects – see Barclays bikes in London, for instance – but, what I think it made Itau get it right, it was their use of social media not simply as an advertising tool, on the contrary, they wanted to step away from that. Their main objective on social sites has always been to create a dialogue with customers (and potential customers), reinforcing what the brand wants to represent and also, to make all their investment in cultural events throughout Brazil more noticeable.

And I think that is paying off – at least from the social media point of view. According to Social Bakers, Itau’s Twitter presence carries on growing – with 10.000 new followers only last week and their Facebook page has already reached over 7 million fans (the next bank on the list is Bradesco with 5 million fans and a modest 33rd place on the most like Facebook brand pages).

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