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Why HSBC wants everyone to look at its secret tunnel on social media

This might sound a bit weird, but HSBC Hong Kong is catching some eyeballs on Facebook currently for – hmm, asking netizens to look at its tunnel.

More accurately, it is a myth-busting post which explained the use of a tunnel from the HSBC Main Building that leads out to the sea. For decades, rumour has had it that the HSBC Main Building had a secret tunnel underground that led directly to the Government House, so the governor and other government executives would be able to take their cash and gold back to Britain if they were forced to leave Hong Kong during the colonial era.

“You may have heard the myth about a secret tunnel from the HSBC Main Building that leads out to the sea. It’s true, but not completely: the tunnel is used to bring seawater in from the harbour to help cool the building,” read the post.

In two days, it garnered more than 8.5 k likes, 660 shares, and more than 270 comments.

It is by far one of HSBC’s most successful posts, in terms of exposure and engagement, since it joined Facebook in late November 2016, about two and a half months ago.

It came a day after the bank reported a 82% plunge in its net profits for 2016, down from US$13.52 billion in 2015 to US$2.48 billion on Tuesday.

“The idea is not bad,” commented Rudi Leung, director at Hungry Digital Limited . “The bank goes beyond just about hard-selling its brand, products, and services. It’s definitely a good start, and such a “fun fact” topic is intriguing too.”

Compared to other banks, Leung said HSBC has produced some of the least advertising-like content so far.

He also added that the post might help to lessen HSBC’s ‘boring’ corporate image and engage customers on a more personal level. “It’s a fun fact that Hong Kong people can relate to. People visit social media mostly for information or for entertainment, and this post serves as both.”

Leung advised brands like HSBC to be aware of the consistency between different posts. “Some banks only invest in Facebook ads on certain promotional posts but not the others, and immediately we can see a big difference between paid posts and those that are not paid in terms of engagement.”

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