Nothing Funny About Lack Of Bank Presence Online
It annoys me I cannot communicate with bank through my favorite social media network. In fact, I can’t communicate with my bank through ANY social media network.
Why have banks been so slow to adopt social media marketing? I have a theory, but banking people probably won’t like it.
I think banks are avoiding using social media for the exact reason most business people love it: They don’t WANT to hear from their customers.
In the past few years, the same time during which social media exploded as a marketing solution, financial institutions have faced criticism unlike anything ever seen before. Between increased fees, mortgage foreclosures and Wall Street debacles, banks (and their mega-owners) have not been gaining friends in the brick and mortar world. It seems unlikely this situation would be any different online.
Does that mean I think they are making the right decision by staying away from social media?
In my opinion there is no more important time for banks to be looking at social media marketing to help repair their public image. Will they likely be bombarded with negativity? Yes. Does social media give them a way to face these jeers and make amends? You bet your sweet bupkis it does!
By avoiding social media banks look as if they are old-fashioned, out of touch, and unwilling to embrace new technology.
They also LOOK as if they are avoiding their customers. By not participating they are making a bad situation even worse.
Now it’s your turn. What is keeping you away from social media?
To say that social media has become part of our daily lives would be an understatement. Internet users tend to spend most of their time online on sites like Facebook and Twitter talking to friends, looking at photos and making status updates for everyone in their network to see, studies have shown.
But less than a decade after Mark Zuckerberg’s creation took over the world, at least one segment of society refuses to hop on to the social networking bandwagon—banks.
Most companies now tap social networks to reach larger markets. Local telcos are now more effective in addressing customer concerns when reached through Twitter, while cosmetics companies have put up “Like” pages on Facebook to show everyone just how effective their products are.
“Based on feedback, [banks] are still trying to get a feel on how to go into social media sites,” said Allan Tumbaga, president of the Bank Marketers Association of the Philippines (BMAP).
Tumbaga said local banks may be slow in adopting their own social media strategies, but industry players are aware of the potential of social media as a way of reaching clients.
“Banks are really interested in setting up (social media accounts),” he said. “The trend is for everyone to go into social networking … it’s becoming a relevant communication channel for our customers, and we want to be a part of that.”
And the numbers back this up. As of the end of last month, there were an estimated 750 million users on Facebook. About 30 million of those users are from the Philippines, which means a third of the population is on Facebook.
Social networking sites allow companies to reach and interact with their customers like never before. These can also be a vital tool in reaching more than one in three Filipinos that do not have access to banking services today.
BMAP already sat down with several Internet marketing gurus to learn how to capitalize on the social media phenomenon, focusing mostly on how the channel has been used by foreign banks.
“We want to learn from the experience of other countries and adopt the best practices here,” Tumbaga said.
Overseas, giants such as Citi and Bank of America have used social media as more than just a marketing tool. They tap sites like Twitter and Facebook for customer service, market research and for building communities with clients.
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