Are Consumers Ready to �Friend’ Financial Firms?

Socializing for antisocial industries

DECEMBER 15, 2010 – Connecting with companies and brands has become an integral part of participating in social media for many web users, but some industries can be left out in the cold. According to a white paper from financial services technology solutions provider Fiserv, financial institutions must do more to make those connections seem valuable and take advantage of social media as a loyalty marketing channel.

The August 2010 survey found a majority of consumers connected with at least one company or brand on a social site (57%), but only 11% were connected to a financial institution on such a site.

Another 12% of respondents said they were interested in connecting with a financial services company, and the main barrier to doing so was lack of awareness.

Lack of an obvious value proposition was also a problem. The top issue for respondents not sure whether they would want to friend a financial institution was a preference to use a bank’s website rather than social media to connect.

To deal with this concern, financial institutions should be clear about the differences between offerings on their own site vs. social media. Nicole Fields, social media marketing manager at Fiserv, suggested that companies emphasize ways they can bring value to their customer relationships but also to their customers’ broader lives. For example, a Facebook page could include information on how to create a secure password, providing a benefit that applies to all of a consumer’s online activities�but especially to online banking.

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