Twitter Caters to Biz, But Will Financial Services Bite?

Last week, Mashable reported that Twitter has begun beta testing its new offering for businesses – a suite of features designed to support companies using the microblogging platform. Twitter’s clearly looking to further encourage participation by brands in addition to individuals. If you’re a B2B marketer, you’re probably wondering what this means for your clients – for example, will organizations in financial services, which have been more reluctant to adopt Twitter as a marketing tool, see this as motivation and permission to get in the game? And if they don’t, is now the time to make the case?

The Twitter Business Center offers businesses three capabilities that aren’t built into standard Twitter accounts:

1. A “Verified Account” seal – you see this most frequently on celebrity Twitter accounts like @aplusk and @barackobama – the seal indicates that someone from Twitter has confirmed that the account holder isn’t an impostor.

2. “Contributors” – lets more than one user access a business account, and displays a “byline” for each individual user tweeting on a company handle (more here).

3. Non-follower DMs – allows business accounts to respond to DMs from users they’re not following. This feature is particularly relevant to businesses who use Twitter as a customer service tool, like @comcastcares; it eliminates the step of following a user back before responding to his or her inquiry or complaint.

The toolkit for business is currently only available to a select group of companies that Twitter has invited to test it out. Presumably, these are firms who are already using Twitter for business (one is @Starbucks) and will find value in the shortcuts and capabilities provided by the service. But even when it’s universally available, it doesn’t change the strategic thinking that should inform the decision to “tweet or not to tweet” – and that’s true whether you deal in derivatives or donuts.

Especially in financial services, where violating the compliance standards outlined by FINRA or the SEC has major consequences, social media is still an area in which to “proceed with caution.” Just as before, if your client’s target audience is on Twitter, and the client is prepared to devote the energy and resources to engaging there in a way that doesn’t jeopardize compliance, then by all means go for it! But just because Twitter is making a play for businesses doesn’t mean that every business should immediately jump on board.

That’s our Financial Services Practice Group’s “Two Cents” – do you think the Twitter Business Center is a game changer?

To reach Kelly:

Phone: 212.840.1661
Twitter: @kellydavis226
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