After an extremely slow start into the world of Social Media, the Financial Services industry seems to have really embraced it over the last couple of years. Mind you, it's had to.
If you look at this image from Edelman, you'll see that Financial Services is still the least trusted industry in the World - for all the reasons we can imagine. Thankfully, Social Media is giving it a golden opportunity to finally re-engage with consumers, the media and corporate investors.
However, far too many Financial Services brands see Social Media as an opportunity to, once again, fly into 'sales mode'. The public and the media simply won't accept that.
If Financial Services as an industry is to rebuild its reputation, it needs to think extremely carefully about how it uses Social Media, and the first thing it should consider, is that it uses the amazing wealth of Social tools available to listen to its customers before it does anything more sexy.
And not just listen, but also take notice, act and engage with what it hears - and then see if the industry doesn't start to move back up Edelman's Trust Barometer.
As an industry, Financial Services has a massive customer base, but most financial brands fail to see their customers in terms of Community. Often in Social Media, we encourage organisations to build Community around their brand in order to gain real insights into their needs, but here I believe is an opportunity for an entire industry to build Community.
In Financial Services we have a habit of telling people what's good for them, but an industry which seeks to listen, understand, enagage and genuinely care about the needs of people and organisations will inevitably see huge benefit itself.
At today's event, I will be listening hard for mention of the word "Community" from my fellow speakers, where as what I suspect I might hear are words like "ROI", "Customer base", "Multi channel strategy", "Target platforms", "Compliance framework", "Quality of data", "Social Network data mining" and many others.
By Philip Calvert