Whether you are an advocate or not, it’s increasingly hard to ignore the Internet phenomenon that is Facebook; spending $1 billion to buy a company with only 13 employees that makes virtually no money – Instagram –
and now an IPO which valued the company over $100bn - well that is now dropping away with much concern by early investors.
With a reach across most of the world and over 840 million users, while there are good examples of innovative use by advisers and
financial institutions to engage and inform consumers, one would think it would also attract financial apps.
Developers and banks have been slow to take advantage of the access and social interaction that a Facebook app could bring, especially to the mass market demographics financial institutions often target, the so called Gen Y marketplace – possibly due to
concerns regarding Facebook privacy.
Of the few Facebook financial apps available, perhaps the most sophisticated is MyMoney, developed by Fiserv for Credit Unions in the US. The end user, once enrolled can view account balances, review history, transfer money between accounts and more. When
selecting the app the user can choose their credit union if it is in the list or open a new account completely on-line.
Other Facebook financial apps tend to provide simpler functions such as money payments through PayPal and the Smart Saver, an app from Lloyds TSB which shares your saving goals with your friends, and even lets them chip in via PayPal.
As I researched further nothing exciting appeared until quite accidentally, on holiday at Easter in Turkey, when visiting my local branch of Denizbank I was asked
why I had not yet signed up for the Facebook app?
With “Customers First”, launched in January; Denizbank are recognising that with over 31 million Facebook users in Turkey, each spending a minimum of 20 minutes on Facebook daily, this was a platform to reach out to their existing and new customers.
Denizbank have developed a sophisticated Facebook landing page to complement the app. The app provides calculation tools, management of daily banking tasks through an “Agenda” application and for fun – why not, we are on Facebook – a “Create a Fan” application
which enables users to dress up the pictures of their family and loved ones with the colours of the football teams they support and share them on Facebook. Banking transactions provided include bill payment, credit card payment, FX and fund buy/sell options.
With the “Customers First” application, Facebook provides Denizbank with the opportunity to engage with their followers, share their ideas, suggestions and even deal with complaints – all key to relationships and as the old adage goes, ‘people do business
with people they like’ – this applies equally to banks.
A recent study by IBM – “Virtual Relationships, Why banks should be friends with social media”, suggests that Denizbank are on the money with their Facebook strategy. The
report proposes that banks should consider social media banking seriously, the two key reasons being customer behaviour and the need to rebuild trust . Just like consumer driven
growth in mobile apps, the same will be true of social media apps. The study suggests benefits to banks will include: brand consideration and customer recruitment,
education of customers, data on customers, improvements in customer retention, and product innovation generated by the consumer.
As the momentum builds who will be successful in social media finance apps?
Where do you see the opportunities?