Over the last few years, financial services firms have been grappling to understand the value of social media as a client relationship tool. Many have now committed but, according to recent US research, the majority have fallen for Twitter over rival Facebook.
Corporate Insight, a US based strategic marketing and consulting firm for the financial services industry has been monitoring the use of social media by 70 financial services firms since 2008.
Their initial results showed a relatively small number of US firms utilising social media as an engagement strategy with their clients. But as the study continued, it was clear that some firms had begun to understand how to position it within their marketing strategy.
The first US wealth management companies to begin using social media were banks, credit card issuers and self-directed brokerages. This mirrors the take up of social media seen in Australia among financial services, with retail banks leading the way.
Most of the US firms initially concentrated on Facebook, which was already established as the dominant player in the social media space. The first report, 'Social Media: Trends and Tactics in the Financial Services Industry' - revealed that 32% of the financial firms they tracked had a Facebook page.
The number of firms creating a social media presence increased at a steady rate over the next two years, according to Corporate Insights data. By October 2010, when they released 'To 'Friend' Is the Trend: Social Media and Financial Services Today', their next report, the percentage of firms with Facebook pages had increased to 56%.
The same report revealed a massive swing towards Twitter, which had become the site of choice for financial services companies.
Only 15% of the firms Corporate Insights followed had a Twitter profile in 2008 but October 2010, that number had grown to 57%.
Since then, Corporate Insights has been compiling statistics related to social media on a monthly basis and have so far shown that Twitter continues to grow in popularity among financial services.
As of August 1st 2011, 67% of the firms they tracked now have a presence on Twitter, which represents a 10% increase since their last report. During the same time, the percentage of financial services firms with Facebook pages only increased by 3% to 59%.