by Helen Sanders, Editor
Social media is the communications revolution of the twenty-first century. And no, this is not a phrase purloined from a Facebook or Twitter advert. The growth speed of social media outstrips any communications phenomenon ever, including the use of the telephone, email or the internet. In early 2009, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was quoted as saying that if Facebook was a country, it would be the eighth largest country in the world. A year later, it would have been the third largest, topped only by China and India. Marketeers in the business community, particularly amongst small businesses, who rely on personal recommendation more than big-bucks advertising, are already taking advantage of the opportunities that social media presents. According to a recent study by Network Solutions, LLC and the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, use of social media by small business owners has doubled over the past year, with 75% of firms having a company page on a social media site, and 57% building networks through business social media sites such as LinkedIn. So with the growth of social media set to continue, what opportunities already exist for the treasury and finance community, and how could this develop in the future?
‘Bah humbug’ to social media?
Social media has received a bad press, with high profile cases of hacking and unsavoury characters using sites such as Facebook to approach vulnerable young people. At a less serious level, while employers are increasingly using LinkedIn to source potential talent, they are also checking potential employees’ social media presence to assess their suitability. Furthermore, many companies are blocking access to Facebook, Twitter etc. to maintain productivity and guard against security breaches. So bearing in mind some of the challenges, does social media have a place in the business community?
The answer from two proponents of social media amongst the financial community, SEB and Deutsche Bank, is undoubtedly ‘Yes’. In 2008, SEB launched the Benche (www.thebenche.com) as Hakan Aldrin, Sheriff, The Benche describes,