MAKING SENSE OF IT ALL: Don’t underestimate social media impact

It may be getting tedious hearing about how Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets are the big new thing for business, including retail banking, but the facts are the facts: business social media is a big thing, and it’s no longer new.

Study after study, startup after startup, blog after blog, all point to the firm establishment of social media for use by financial institutions. Taken together, they all point to an accelerating maturity of this channel, a maturity occurring exponentially faster than was the case, for example, with internet banking.

First, some recent studies:

KPMG found that more than 70% of businesses and organizations around the world are active on social media, with those in emerging markets such as China, India, and Brazil surging ahead of counterparts in more mature markets. The study found that organizations tend to underestimate the benefits of social media—13% with no social media program thought one would drive productivity gains, while 80% that do have programs affirm such gains.

Newtek Business Services, with a portfolio of 100,000 business accounts, polled 2,200 respondents and found that 57% of business owners use social media to attract new customers; 58% use it to communicate with existing customers; and 55% say Facebook and Twitter are significant engines of growth for their business.

“It is not surprising that a large percentage of our small, independent business owner clients utilize Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media to communicate with their clients and suppliers. It is clearly the most cost effective, efficient utilization of the internet particularly for a small, independent business owner that does not have huge resources in staff or dollars,” says Barry Sloan, chairman, president, and CEO of Newtek.

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