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60% of Financial Institutions Consider Themselves Social Media Novices

But 90% of banks plan to have dedicated social media budgets by 2012, Aite Group survey finds.

Most banks are beginners at social media, according to research the Aite Group released today (based on a survey of 166 financial services executives in the U.S. and Europe), in which 21% describe themselves as novices and 39% as beginners. Only 8% say they have social media competency and regularly use social media tools.

But this state of affairs should change quickly: 90% of firms say they expect to have dedicated budgets for their social media efforts by 2012 and 40% of financial firms expect to invest 2% to 10% of their overall marketing budget on social media in that year, the study found.

Facebook is the dominant social media venue for financial services firms, according to this research. Just over half the firms surveyed have a Facebook presence, and two-thirds of the rest plan to set up Facebook pages. Twitter is used by 44% of surveyed firms and YouTube by 38%.

One interesting outcome of the study is that 30% of bankers say their IT organizations are involved in managing the firm's social media efforts. While this pales in comparison to the 89% that say their marketing departments are involved, it shows that technologists do have a hand in social media decisions and strategy at almost a third of firms.

Aite analyst Ron Shevlin offers several recommendations for banks in this report, among them: address specific market segments (rather than set up all-purpose pages); integrate social media with other online capabilities, for instance, by incorporating a customer review section in the bank's website; and establish an integrated marketing measurement framework that measures the results of social media efforts alongside other marketing initiatives.

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