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Banks must embrace social media, research reveals

Karl Flinders

Research from Datamonitor has quashed any remaining doubts about the use of social media to manage finances.

Already 50% of UK citizens use online tools to make financial decisions, the research found. This is compared with a significant, although lower, 41% globally.

Datamonitor said that financial services companies have been slow to harness social media.

Anna Large, who put together the report, said banks are burying their heads in the sand. "At the heart of this is the idea that social media is just a fad, that consumers are essentially non-committal. However, the fact that 50% of UK consumers are using online tools to make financial decisions indicates that banks need to start appreciating the power of sites such as Twitter and Facebook."

Datamonitor said social media can be used to build awareness of brands, but its real value comes through building consumer trust and brand loyalty.

"Creating a sense of community, promoting transparency and providing real-time and high-quality customer service will lead to customer recommendations, and the potential of viral marketing in generating sales from others is limitless," said Datamonitor.

In June last year, during a behind closed doors meeting of senior financial services executives at the Financial Services Club, Computer Weekly revealed an interesting picture of banks' attitudes to social media.

The general view was that social media platforms have an important role to play in financial services, but banks must create their own. The success of websites such as Facebook are mere blips, but what comes after them will define how businesses are run in the future, said the financial services experts.

Also see Computer Weekly's top 10 banks on Twitter picture gallery >>


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