November 10, 2011

Many banks are unsure of how best to take advantage of social media channels, according to a report by U.K.-based communications consultants MHP Communications.

More than half of the banks surveyed in the report, titled "Social Media -- Catching up with the Banks" cited regulatory issues as the top reason for uncertainty in how to use social media.

The survey also found that many banks place social media channels behind traditional media in the hierarchy of communications importance. MHP reported that the majority of those surveyed said print coverage in national newspapers has the highest impact on their reputation and brand. Broadcast exposure came next, followed by print coverage in a trade publication with a blog mention fourth. Twitter mentions placed fifth and, finally, wall posts, viral videos and other social media coming in last.

However, banks are slowly realizing the importance of embracing social media, the survey found. 73 percent acknowledged that the banking industry lags behind other sectors on social media activity and has to do more. Sixteen percent of banks surveyed said they have a social media strategy in place, while 28 percent are in the early stages of implementation and 41 percent of respondents are in the process of creating a social media strategy. In contrast, only 3 percent said they have have decided against a social media strategy and 13 percent said they haven't started thinking about it.

In terms what which social network is the most important to banks' communications strategy, 58 percent indicated Twitter is the most important.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as ...