Social network presence heightens brand awareness while promoting responsible money management
Banks are branching out, virtually, through social networks and online games, American Banker reports.
They are establishing presences on Facebook and Twitter beyond branding and customer service by designing interactive Internet-based financial products. This trend began, American Banker observes, with banks setting up stakes in the online game Second Life, in which users build virtual homes and businesses. Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are more mainstream and have a wider reach.
Social media still lags far behind traditional media channels as a news source, but as users become more acclimated, they are looking to social media as a resource for financial information and activity. According to a 2011 Millionaire Corner social media and mobile technology study, 20 percent of millionaire investors read or would read corporate blogs from trusted financial advisors, while 12 percent would like a website that provides information on social media outlets, apps and blogs for investment and economic information. Characteristically, younger millionaires age 54 or under show the keenest interest in maximizing use of mobile and online technology.
Eight percent currently say that use of social media to communicate with customers and market products is a factor in choosing a new financial service advisor or provider.
And banks are looking to cash in on this burgeoning interest. Players of the virtual game Cityville, for example, can build Capital One branches, while its mascots are characters within this and other games, notes the American Banker story.
Banks have established online gaming identities to promote money management (as well as their brand). Wells Fargo’s Stagecoach Island is a virtual interactive world in which players can build their own dream house, earn “shells” (the island currency), shop and even play bingo. Wisconsin-based Altra Federal Credit Union created Mo’doh Island, a banking game to teach teens and young adults about responsible money management decisions regarding such life events as buying a car and home.
Other banks use online games to get ‘em while their young. ING Direct’s Planet Orange, recommended for grades 1-6, unfolds across four virtual continents to teach players about earning, spending, saving and investing. Community Bank, operated by Bank of America, encourages children to save through its Kids Save website, also known as Sir Save-A-lot’s Kingdom, in which players complete chores to earn money and build their own village.