Facebook is far from a fad. It is changing how people connect with friends and family. It is changing how people learn about what’s happening around them. It is changing how people form their opinions. And it is changing how people interact with the companies they like.
There are thousands of banks and credit unions with Facebook pages. Some “get it” and remain social — providing value for their account holders and prospects without directly selling. They are dedicated to social media, to establishing online relationships.
Some don’t. They automate posts without relevance. They shamelessly promote their products. They is no two-way communication with their “friends”. Their Facebook presence will likely not grow substantially – in fact I’ve seen many financial institutions with more vendor friends than actual account holders.
There are all sorts of opinions about how banks and credit unions can leverage Facebook and Twitter. The online conversations are great. But, what’s next?
I believe the answer lies with what I see happening in the retail space on Facebook. Companies like Avon and Brooks Brothers have online stores DIRECTLY ON FACEBOOK. Their customers are BUYING their products and services without leaving Facebook! Yes — it’s secure. And, most importantly, it’s super convenient for the customer. Avon can post about the sun’s effects on skin — and customers can buy the products to protect themselves.
How does this apply to financial institutions? Can account holders log in to online banking and check balances or verify account history inside of Facebook? Can they communicate directly with a loan officer, apply for a loan and receive instant approval inside of Facebook? Can they pay their bills inside of Facebook? Can they open new accounts and services inside of Facebook? Can they research and price a new vehicle, a new home, a new appliance — and finance it within Facebook? Can they let their friends know how they can do this without leaving Facebook?
Maybe it’s not possible. But maybe it is.
Did you think that it was possible for a site to have 400 MILLION active users with 25 BILLION pieces of content created each month? Neither did I.
BTW – interested in more Facebook stats? Visit http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics.
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