Absa is venturing into the world of social networking, and has lauched its profile on Facebook.
“Social networking sites offer opportunities for us to establish new channels of communication with our customers, and better understand their needs,” explains Christo Vrey, Managing Executive of Absa Digital Channels.
South Africa has a surprisingly large Facebook following, says Vrey. Various sources confirm there are about 700 000 members, putting it inside the world’s top 10 countries in terms of Facebook members.
Absa already has a significant online presence, with 1,25-million individuals visiting its site each month, and almost 1-million Internet banking customers.
Absa’s Facebook profile has launched with a competition to win an Apple MacBook, around the theme of the bank’s ‘Put your best foot forward’ campaign. People will be able to view images and TV videos of the campaign; and have their say.
“We are encouraging people to tell us how they ‘put their best foot forward’, and tell us about their philosophies towards life, all summed up within a sentence or two,” says Vrey.
Absa's entry into Facebook highlights the growing importance of social networking sites to traditional corporations.
“More and more companies around the world are embracing social media as a way to develop deeper connections with their customers. We’re excited about the possibilities our Facebook profile will bring,” adds Vrey.
At a recent event, futurist Neil Jacobsohn, from the business and technology think-tank FutureWorld, noted that people tend to attach high levels of credibility to many social networking and blogging sites.
He says individuals in these new Web-based communities tend to trust the opinions their peers, and often make decisions on that basis.