According to the Financial Times, a number of banks are turning to social media websites to capitalise on the growing popularity of platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
A difficulty in this process is communicating without appearing to be using the sites as blatant publicity tools. Analysts have commented that high street banks have been slow to recognise the potential in social media, compared to the telecoms and technology industries.
The banks are conscious that in writing on the sites, they are leaving themselves open to criticism on a public forum. Many have realised that some consumers will not want to engage with them on such a personal level, so banks are treading carefully to compensate this.
The French bank, BNP Paribas, launched Facebook and Twitter sites over 12 months ago and now have gathered a large following, with over 120,000 Facebook ‘fans’.
The direct banking arm of HSBC, First Direct, have been increasing their exposure on Twitter and Facebook, and found that some customers were wary when approached on these social networking sites.
A spokesperson for First Direct said: “We realise it’s not about jumping in on every conversation but we do think there are opportunities to have a deeper dialogue with people that we wouldn’t normally be able to have.”
Barclays have been looking at different ways to get feedback on campaigns and products on social media sites. LLoyds Banking Group recently setup a tool on Facebook which allows users to create their own ‘avatar’ character, based on the animation used in their TV advertising campaign.
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