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Banks CUs use Twitter ineffectively says report
BOSTON (12/21/12)--One in five credit unions and banks are "Twitter quitters," just going through the motions on tweeting and not really creating a relationship with their member/customers, says a recent report that analyzes consumers and how they follow their bank or credit union on Twitter.

Boston-based Aite Group said its research indicates that many financial institutions are just going through the motions on their Twitter accounts. They tweet about things that are irrelevant to their followers, or they simply repeat what they send through their other channels of communication.

The report is based on a second quarter 2012 survey of 1,115 U.S. consumers.  It analyzes the tweeting approaches of banks with large follower bases and evaluates the demographics, behaviors and attitudes of consumers who follow their primary financial institution on Twitter.

It found that 50% of consumers surveyed use Twitter but don't follow their primary financial institution. Only 9% communicate with their credit union or bank using Twitter. Forty-one percent still don't use Twitter.

Aite said it believes that the ineffectiveness of Twitter as a bank marketing channel is caused by banks' lack of understanding regarding who follows their tweets.

"With so few customers following their primary financial institution on Twitter, banks and credit unions are deceiving themselves if they think their tweeting activity is meaningfully impacting the quality of their member/customer relationships," said Ron Shevlin, Aite senior analyst and author of the report.

"Institutions that want to reach a larger percentage of customers and have a measurable impact on their consumer relationships must focus their Twitter strategies on the management of their customers' financial lives in areas like shopping deals and personal financial information," Shevlin said, in Aite's press release.

The 9% who follow their credit union or bank on Twitter are "financial management junkies" and not the typical customers, he told American Banker. Of this group, 65% seek recommendations about which financial products are best. That compares with 15% of non-Twitter followers.  Roughly 27% want their institution's assistance with money management, while another 35% said they should consider using their bank or credit union to help them manage finances.

The report noted that banks and credit unions averaged 2,000 followers and tweeted roughly four times a day. Twenty-one percent abandoned their Twitter accounts.

It recommended tailoring content of tweets to the audience, focusing on personal financial management tips, developing a schedule for tweets, boosting the number of tweets a day, and integrating tweets with other personal finance management channels such as mobile banking.

The report, "What Bank Marketers Should DoWith Twitter," presents statistics and strategies of several large banks on their use of Twitter as a marketing tool.


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