by Michael O'Neill
March 12th, 2013

Financial institutions have been relatively slow to embrace social media. They are, however, recognising that as more and more customers and investors are socially wired to communicate, share and engage, they can no longer shy away from social media.

A survey on the social media presence of 50 leading banks, conducted last year by Assetinum.com, an independent financial information portal for investors, found that most banks had made little to no effort on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Banks were accused of “hibernating” on Facebook with strategies labeled as “amateurish.”

By staying silent, companies are not excluded from ongoing conversations. The chatter continues regardless whether the brand has an official presence on social media. With a branded presence, negative comments shared on the brand’s channels can be addressed in urgency by the brand – and we’ve seen how such negative situations can exacerbate to crises.

In 2012, Twitter introduced a hashtag symbol which simplified search for information related to listed companies, dubbed the “cashtag”. It allows for clicking on a ticker symbol like $IPG within a tweet to search for mentions about stocks and companies.

As the global investment community continues to look to information as their primary source prior to making investment decisions, there is a large opportunity for managing conversations in social media within the realm of investment PR.

‘Hibernating’ seems to be the best word to use for their current status on social media adoption, but it should be stressed: in the digital world you can’t hibernate forever.

Vanessa Ho Nikolovski is managing director, Singapore, at Weber Shandwick

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