Financial services firms are turning to social media in ever-increasing numbers as a means of keeping in touch with clients, but even as the Web creates more interrelationships, the social medium of choice has become Twitter rather than Facebook, according to research from Corporate Insight released Wednesday.
The reason? Twitter is more data driven than Facebook, which focuses on relationships. That makes it easier for finanical services firms to connect.
Corporate Insight began tracking social media in the summer of 2008, and found that most of the industry was sitting back and waiting for a few groundbreakers to lead the way. The company's first study on the subject, “Social Media: Trends and Tactics in the Financial Services Industry,” released in the fall of the same year, found that 32% of the firms it tracked had a Facebook presence while only 15% were on Twitter.
Now, however, that picture has changed drastically. Originally, only a few banks, credit card issuers and self-directed brokerages used Facebook pages to reach clients. Now full-service brokerages, mutual fund companies and annuity providers, among other financial services firms, are using social media for client outreach—and their medium of choice is Twitter rather than Facebook.
Corporate Insight found in its latest study that as of Aug. 1, 67% of the firms it tracks have a Twitter presence, up 10% in the last 10 months. During the same period, financial services firms with Facebook pages increased only 3%, reaching 59%.
To explain the trend, Alan Maginn, senior analyst at Corporate Insight, said in a statement, “In our opinion, Facebook is more of a relationship-driven community whereas Twitter is more content-driven. Facebook is a more challenging environment for businesses because, in order to be successful, they must foster a relationship with their fans. With Twitter, they can concentrate more on the value of the content they produce.”