From Wall Street to Tweet Street

Customers can follow their bank on Twitter.

In the past year, several financial services firms—such as Bank of America, Chase, Discover Card, Scottrade, Wachovia, and Wells Fargo—have been using Twitter, according to research from Corporate Insight.

The firms have used the social networking site to comment on breaking news; direct attention to a press release or Webpage; promote products and services; and respond to other people that comment about their firm.

The latter represents a new way for institutions to reach out to customers, Corporate Insight said.

“Firms like Bank of America (1,782 followers) and Wells Fargo (1,042 followers) are actively using Twitter as a platform to answer consumer questions and address their complaints—even setting up calls with customer service to ensure the user’s issue is handled well,” explained James McGovern, vice president of Consulting Services at Corporate Insight, in a release from the firm. “It’s been impressive to see these companies find a valuable use for this medium and we expect other firms will follow suit.”

In addition to directly responding to follower questions, Wachovia (3,227 followers), an early and active tweeter, has been able to use its Twitter profile to highlight information regarding its acquisition, the report found (see “Wachovia Leaves Citigroup at the Altar). Other tweets have addressed everything from general topics like phishing scams to direct responses to follower questions.

Bank of America launched BofAHelp in January to address customer service inquiries. In just a few months, the profile has received 1,782 followers, according to the report. Scottrade uses an approach by handing the Twitter reins to one individual, thereby letting followers communicate with a real person rather than an unnamed group of individuals who post on behalf of the firm.

Wells Fargo registered its Twitter profile back in 2007, but took its time before joining the conversation. It recently launched a profile called Ask_WellsFargo to deliver customer service via the platform. The profile already has some impressive numbers, with 1,042 followers in just one month.

Advisers might not have jumped on the Twitter bandwagon because of compliance concerns, but it represents another medium through which financial firms are reaching out to consumers. (see “IMHO: Tweet Spot?“).

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