Consumers lack the passion for banks they feel toward companies like Apple (APPL) and their fancy new gadgets. But social media can still help banks and other financial services companies promote their brands and connect to loyal customers, according to a recent study by Auriemma Consulting Group, of New York.
"Banks can focus on supporting consumers in a life endeavor and through a long-term commitment to engagement," Patricia Sahm, managing director of Auriemma, says.
Only 9% of consumers are connected to their banks or credit unions, according to Auriemma in an online survey of 500 consumers with credit card accounts conducted in April. That compares to 44% who are connected to a non-bank brand.
Of consumers connected to their financial services company through social media, 60% said they were looking for news and tips, while nearly 50% said they were looking for offers and instant communication from their financial services organization. Forty-three percent mentioned the ability to have direct communication with their bank or credit union.
Those metrics are particularly important as banks try to figure out how to monetize social media, and guide customers to cheaper channels for service, Sahm says.
JPMorgan Chase (JPM) had the most followers, with 34% of those surveyed reporting a connection. JPMorgan was followed by Bank of America (BAC) and American Express (AXP), both of which had 17%.
While it's true that younger people use social media most often, older consumers are catching up, according to the report.
About 97% of those under 25 use social media. But 89% of those between 25 and 44 use some form of it; nearly two thirds of those 45 and older report using social media.
"The point is that there is a large segment of the universe who may turn to social media for purposes other than financial services, but there is an opportunity [for banks] to engage consumers there," says Scott Strumello, a consultant with Auriemma.