Facebook's 200 million user community is a tantalizing customer pool, and many banks have been quick to jump into the social networking community by setting up their own Facebook pages. But despite its vast size and exponential growth, banks are finding that Facebook does not translate easily into a marketing platform. Many argue that it may never. "I'm not aware of any bank that's been successful with Facebook," says Jacob Jegher, a senior analyst at Celent. "People don't log onto Facebook for banking, but for friends. I just don't think that Facebook will drive business profitability." At best, Jegher says, it's "experimental marketing," but not a viable business strategy. "There are better ways to build and solidify customer relationships."
Ron Shevlin, a senior analyst at Aite, says that the focus on Facebook is a case of the tail wagging the dog. "Banks need to start with their strategic direction, not the channel. Banks do not need a social media strategy, they need a business strategy."