December 14th, 2010

Social Media and Financial Institutions: Facts, Findings & Recommendations

Smoke-Signals6

As compiled by a colleague at IBM Research. Offer to refer you if you are interested in source documentation. I especially agree that these communication techniques are widely ignored by established businesses; maybe because they seem to lessen traditional organizational controls. May the best methods win.

Facts
■About 30% are following their bank on a social networking site
■of those who are following 2/3rds are male, however female activity
is growing significantly faster so this will level out
■of those who are following 2/3rds earn $100K+
■significant age differential
♦18-30 years most active
♦31-49 less active
♦50+ least active
■Websites, social media and financial social networks are bringing
much greater transparency to consumers as they learn about and buy
financial products from providers. This increasing transparency
places consumers in the driver’s seat in their financial services
relationships.
■The financial services marketplace is evolving from a one-to-one
relationship between customer and bank, toward an environment where
multiple financial partners will influence customer choices.
■Understanding the workings of a community will be more about
ethnography and human behavior than about technology issues.
■For Gen Y – order of web visit volume: Facebook, Search, E-mail,
Porn (traditional distribution search then porn)

Key Findings
■Use of social networking still in its infancy and few financial
institutions use it strategically
■Social will become a key customer channel that no business can
ignore
■Early adopters focus on marketing (at the cost of reducing print
and TV add budgets)
■Slightly more than half of the firms surveyed have a Facebook
presence today, with two‐thirds of the rest planning to use the
site. Twitter was the next most popular tool, used at 44% of firms,
followed by YouTube, in use at 38% of FIs.
♦Financial Institutions use this today
♦63% Facebook
♦49% Twitter
♦44% LinkedIn
♦33% YouTube
♦32% Blog
♦21% User‐generated content
♦17% Flickr or other photo sharing site
♦15% Customer review sites
♦7% Financial services social networking sites
■Chief compliance officers (CCOs) in institutionally oriented firms
are more inclined to ban social media than permit it, as the
monitoring of employee activity alone can take a staggering amount
of time. The world of social networking is booming with various
types of general and niche‐ category platforms, and a litany of
associated applications that help individuals repost videos, share
information, and vote on content. It’s quite a lot to track,
particularly given the business, client, and operational processes
that compliance teams must already stay on top of.

Recommendations
■Use customer data more efficiently and effectively. Look externally
to retailers to learn lessons and internally to sources such as
payment data to make this work.
■Break through the hype and understand how customers really want to
use technology — for example, mobile phones — and deliver products
and services that customers will actually want to use.
■The best approach in the short term will be to focus on social
networking’s core strengths: communication, relevance, and
community.


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