Social media sites are not only useful for raising awareness of a brand, they have also become a crucial customer relations tool.
NewsReach reported last month how a disgruntled British Airways customer had used Twitter to criticise the airline, paying for a promoted tweet that was less than complimentary. It shows that companies need to constantly monitor Twitter and Facebook for feedback, as it is all too easy for a firm's reputation to plummet.
What are banks doing?
Banks have been using social media to connect with their customers, although some are doing a better job than others.
According to a recent study commissioned by IMGroup, HSBC is currently the most engaged bank in the UK. Indeed, the lender has a strong presence on Facebook and Twitter in particular, with the customer relations team responding to tweets within 30 minutes.
This is very impressive and is significantly better than the financial industry average of six-and-a-half hours. Meanwhile, RBS, Halifax, Lloyds, Barclays, Santander, Bank of Scotland and Nationwide all have a response rate that is better than the average.
HSBC also uses Facebook and usually gets back to its customers within one hour and 26 minutes. Although it has not amassed as many 'likes' as some of its rivals, it has a 100 per cent response rate.
Why banks cannot afford to ignore social media
The rapid digitisation of society has forced banks to adopt new customer relations techniques and IMGroup head of capital markets John Brookmyre explained why social media is so important.
"With two-thirds of the UK population now on Facebook and almost one-third on Twitter, social media is an obvious platform for companies to engage with their customers and gain valuable insights from a customer's social data," he remarked.
While most lenders have a Facebook and Twitter presence, very few have explored other avenues. Again, HSBC seems to lead the way, as it actively uses Google+ and also has a LinkedIn page.