Let’s not beat around the bush: Although markets have decidedly become more transparent and consumer rights organisations have been able to push through a plethora of sensible legislative changes, choosing the best banking offer still frequently poses a challenge. And while you can find various comparisons of the available services, discovering potential pitfalls requires more effort. Fortunately, an online community can help with the screening process. Seen from this perspective, social media have already improved the banking market in many important ways.
Social media verify the reliability of the banking experts
A plethora of the comprehensive comparisons of banking services wait just a few clicks away for any potential readers. However, a lot of the information typically found on the Internet is either misleading or incomplete – or both.
What can be said with absolute certainty, meanwhile, is that social media can help the prospective investor find out, whether the author of a particular article is an expert, or a marketer promoting a particular service. Such writer’s Facebook profile or a Twitter stream often betrays his intentions and knowledge. This need not be a major issue per se. But while an adviser would rarely lie, he may refrain from mentioning the best competitors of his preferred service supplier. Which means that you may miss out on the best available alternative or find yourself locked into a less than ideal contract for a long time? Therefore, diligent research can make a significant difference in your future income.
Social media discourage dishonest banking practices
Sometimes, a seemingly great offer is ruined by a hidden clause, dishonest practice, or a silly mistake. An otherwise great bank can be found annoying its customers with constant stream of promotional emails or phone calls, for example. An insensitive comment or a silly reward program can offend the public. Decades ago, banks could get away with a lot of these controversial behaviours. Modern social media have however changed the market for good and have forced even some of the biggest financial institutions of the world to take their customers’ interests into consideration at all times.
Nowadays, an article or video describing the failure can go viral within hours. Disappointed users will complain on the online forums, social platforms, and newsletters. Even regular Facebook accounts are no longer safe from cyber attacks and used by many customers to vent their dissatisfaction and criticism. Banking institutions need to protect their image, so they put an effort to please the public. Public relation teams aim to nip any controversy in the bud, before an annoyed customers react unfavourably. Ignoring the social media often leads to boycotts, which can impact long term gains of any institution.
Social media help to inform consumers
Any successful company knows that retaining loyal customers is a key to financial success. While old-fashioned mail promotions were relatively expensive and inconvenient to run, social media platforms allow for efficient relations with their users: Banks can simply mention their new offer, or a clever reward program, and stream their information to existing or potential customers through the digital data highway. The gains for both sides are impressive: Account holders benefit from improved customer service and new, innovative products, while Internet contests encourage satisfied clients to promote the institution, producing written testimonies or short videos. Such inexpensive marketing techniques tend to succeed, where fully fledged advertising campaigns would fail.
A chance for innovation
Social media have also allowed new financial service providers to enter the market and compete with established banks at eye level. This has brought about a revolution in the sector for individual, non-business banking products, with a new generation of companies taking customer interests into consideration far more directly. One of the improvements owing directly to these changes is the advent of the guaranteed bank account, a fresh type of account offering the same facilities as a regular current account without the danger of going into overdrafts. Social media have been highly instrumental in getting these accounts off the ground, with customers using them to inform others about the benefits and answering any open questions.
Summing up, social media channels have improved the banking market, thanks to their controlling influence. Nowadays, dishonest practices and arrogant attitudes are quickly condemned by the public. However, interesting offers and valuable services reach the potential buyers more easily. And that, let’s not beat around the bush, is a great thing.
Originally from Liverpool, William Masters is a finance- and economics journalist, who frequently contributes to a variety of print- and online-magazines. He has written this article in conjunction with guaranteed acceptance bank account provider eccount money. When taking out a current account with eccount, customers also get a fully functional prepaid VISA card that is accepted at millions of locations worldwide. You can follow Eccount on Twitter or click here to visit the website.