Banks are slow to develop a social media presence

As social media usage has achieved critical mass, many businesses have begun to incorporate social media into their marketing, sales, customer service and other activities.  However, many of the leading U.S. banks have yet to establish a comprehensive social media presence.  This is due to a number of factors, including privacy and security concerns, as well as established organizational structures and processes that can be hostile to new ways of doing business.

A topline scan of the websites of the top 20 U.S. consumer banks (based on their consumer loan portfolios) shows that:

  • Some leading banks have no discernible social media presence
  • Many banks have developed Facebook and Twitter pages, but operate these in a reactive mode (i.e., do not run initiatives to drive traffic to these sites).
  • Some of the banks are much more proactive, driving large volumes of traffic to the social media pages with advertising, contests, forums, etc.  These typically include banks that lack any retail branch presence (e.g., American Express and Discover), or banks like Capital One whose retail presence is dwarfed by its national lending operations.
  • Some of the other banks do appear to have a social media vision.  For example, SunTrust has extended its “Live Solid. Bank Solid” tagline into the socialsphere.  Wells Fargo has developed multiple Facebook, Twitter and Blog pages to cover different audiences or areas of interest.

For banks to fully leverage the potential of social media, they need to:

  • Get top management buy-in and support
  • Assign an executive to own the social media function at the bank
  • Incorporate social media into marketing, sales, customer service, and HR structures, strategies and initiatives
  • Gather and incorporate feedback from customers and employees into social media initiatives; track the performance of these social media initiatives