We’ve been writing and blogging about Web 2.0 and financial social networks (FSNs) a lot over the past 12-18 months (What Banks Can Learn from the White House, Social Lending Will Challenge Bank Customer Relationships, P2P Social Lending Networks Morph Into Investment Networks). Gartner clients I’ve spoken with this week have asked that we take a step back and define social media in the banking industry.
Social media in the banking industry spans a range of online communications using Web 2.0 technologies, including:
- Financial social networks (FSNs) – for example, Prosper, Virgin Money, Lending Club, Mint, Wesabe, Stockhouse
- General social networking – for example, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn
- Blogging and microblogging tools – for example, Twitter, Blogger, WordPress
- Wikis such as SocialText
- Widgets – for example SmartyPig and iGoogle widgets
These methods enable banks to communicate in a personalized manner to an audience, and also enable “unofficial” communications (peer-to-peer rather than brand-to-consumer) that many users accept as more relevant, more authentic and more credible than the official sources (see Social Media Lessons From the U.S. Presidential Campaign).
Social media does not replace already-existing channels, for example, the Internet, branch, VRU. Rather, a social media should complete both online and offline strategies.
Tomorrow’s blog: why social media?