Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Banks try social networking -- Twittering...

It is quite safe to say that twitter has really caught on BIG!


I guess many companies see the need now to get on to social media platform as it combines a lot of functions, from marketing, information gathering, customer service and relationship building.

It is very important to understand and use these social marketing tools wisely and start early, as many of these social networking platforms are getting bigger and bigger, and simply ignoring them is not going to work.

As you know, in social networking, the word of mouth spreads like wildfire in the hands of a social networking leader. We have seen social networking used in getting a President in United States, and its reaches are great. 

Twitter is a great tool, and people can use it to find jobs, for entainment, for news, and to stay in contact with friends. Furthermore, they can complain about a product, and when this message gets propagated, the effects can be far reaching and if the company ignores these complains, there will certainly be a group of angry people talking about their products all the time.

It is hence essential to listen and control conversation of their brand. It is very important to listen to customers when they have a choice of different companies. Banks now believe that they cannot afford not to be part of it.

In social media, relationships and trust, two most important factors take time to build up. It is thus prudent to start now, as people are still getting on than later...

-- Reviews Guru


Social networking is becoming an increasingly popular way for banks to reach consumers amid the economic downturn.

Wells Fargo (WFC) and Bank of America (BAC) have begun to "tweet" — post messages of 140 characters or less on Twitter.com — with customers about everything from bank fees to product features. Discover Financial (DFS), American Express (AXP) and Citigroup (C) have launched Facebook or MySpace pages. Some banks even put marketing videos on YouTube.

"Social media is a whole new world, and you cannot afford to not be a part of it," says Pamela Blase, a spokeswoman for UMB Financial of Kansas City, Mo., which tweets about everything from the bank's financial stability to the industry's prospects.

Banks say they're establishing presences on social-networking sites to tap into a growing demographic and to control the conversation about their brands. Yet the economic turmoil, some say, makes it even more important to reach out to customers any way they can.

"There's a lot of worry out there," says Ed Terpening, vice president of social media at Wells Fargo, one of the first banks with a group of employees dedicated to social networking. "That means that we have to stay close to our customers."

The appeal of social networking, according to Steve Furman, Discover's director of e-commerce, is that it provides "pure, instant" communication with customers.

In general, banks and card issuers have been slower to embrace social networking than other industries have. But social networking has become popular enough that, for many institutions, it's not a question of if but when to establish a presence on these sites, says James McGovern of Corporate Insight, a financial-services research firm.

Yet as a growing number of banks become proficient in the social-networking world, the norms of customer service are being upended. Increasingly, today's online interactions between banks and consumers are peppered with shorthand, typos and even slang.

"It sounds like you need 2 talk 2 someone abt your specific situation," read a recent Twitter post from a Wells Fargo rep.

Adding to banks' challenges, social-networking sites are becoming another venue for consumers to complain — and complain is exactly what they're doing as credit card rates and fees rise even as the economy struggles and unemployment rises.

Jesse Hattabaugh, a software engineer from San Francisco, recently posted this message to banks on Twitter: "Stop making your living off my late fees! You fine me more than you loan me!"

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