While some might still think social media is a passing fad, Barclays have recognised the importance of social media for business marketing, entertainment and ... banking?
Yep, you read that right! Barclays has long since been the pioneer of mobile banking with its Pingit app. Pingit allows users to transfer money to anyone with just the recipient’s phone number. Last week, the bank announced that, from 10th March 2015, you will be able to integrate Pingit with Twitter, and send money via Twitter handles.
Pingit: Fast Facts
- Barclays money transfer app, Pingit, is used by 3.7 people and small businesses
- Of Pingit's users, more than 57,000 are business users.
- Since its launch in 2012, over £1bn has been sent using the service
- Twitter has 13.5 million UK users -- that's over 20% of the population.
The Pingit app is free to download; and the recipient doesn't even need the app! Those without the app will get a text message to let them know there's money being sent to them, and have 5 days to register with Pingit and receive payment. There’s no news yet on how this will work with Twitter.
Is Sending Money via Twitter Safe?
To use Pingit, both the sender and recipient must have a UK Bank Account and phone number; both must also have a Twitter account if you are sending cash through the social media platform.
We see two security issues here: data, and accidental payment.
In the initial rendition of the Pingit app, it is up to the sender to verify that they have the consent of the recipient to share their phone number with Barclays. This information is buried deep in the Ts & Cs, and, let’s face it, unlikely to be heeded. This means that users are unwittingly signing their friends up for marketing messages from Barclays without their consent; and these marketing messages are notoriously tricky to opt out of. In the case of Barclays, you have to physically write to them, or go in branch to opt out.
The second security issue is that of human error. Hopefully, if you send money to the wrong contact in your phonebook, you can call them and ask them not to accept payment. Twitter is a much wider network, and it isn’t yet clear whether you even have to be connected to someone on Twitter to transfer them money. The nature of Twitter means that even those who you are connected to aren’t necessarily people who you know, or could trust to not accept a payment in error.
One concern is simple mis-spelling. For instance, my Twitter handle is @Stacy_Nel; but by simply forgetting the underscore, you could be sending my cash to @StacyNel, the Executive Recruiter from San Francisco. Similarly, instead of paying @GavWard back for pints last week (thanks, Gav), you could end up giving the BMW UK Relations Manager @GavinWard an unexpected gift.
If you notice you’ve sent money to the wrong person, you can let Barclays know and they will attempt to recover the payment. Their Ts & Cs clarify, though, that they “are not responsible if you send it to the wrong person."
Barclays have yet to note whether they intend to address this issue. Of course, once money is in another’s account, they can’t take it back without the recipient’s consent. So, if you choose to use Pingit, our advice is the same as with all social media: check it once, check it twice, and check it again before hitting send!
Social Media Marketing for Law Firms
While the usefulness and safety of this new development is yet to be explored, it only goes to show that Twitter, and social media in general, is becoming increasingly prevalent in modern life. While people commute, watch TV or even work, they are using social media. With the popularity of smart phones, social media is often the first thing people do in the morning, and last thing at night. Questions remain on how this might affect our health and wellbeing, but there is no question that social media is here to stay.
UK Social Media Usage: Stats at a Glance
- 89% of UK population are active online
- There are 38 million active social media accounts in the UK
- This represents one account each for 59% of the UK population
It’s reasonable to assume that the amount of the UK population on social media might be less than 59% -- some people have more than one profile, and some of those profiles may be for business use. However, in 2014, around 17% of the population we under 15 years old. It’s safe to assume that, if you’re a law firm looking for clients, those clients are online, and they’re very likely on social media.
Why should my Law Firm be on Social Media?
- Social media marketing is cost effective. If you can do it in-house, the cost is only time and training. To outsource, you’re looking at a small investment to have social media experts (such as us at Moore Legal Technology) manage this for you. We can get your law firm in front of hundreds of eyes, every day.
- Humanise your law firm. People like people. The professional, faceless corporation is out. Local, human, trustworthy companies are in.
- Take control of the conversation. People are talking about brands online, whether they’ve had a good experience or a band one. Joining your audience on social media allows you to influence these conversations, build relationships and raise your brand awareness.
- SEO! Presumably your law firm has a website (if not, allow us to help). You need that website to be presented well by search engines such as Google.
- In case you’ve missed the point, I’ll reiterate: nearly every adult in the UK is on social media! That includes people getting divorced, people needing wills, people committing traffic offences, and people needing any number of other legal services. If your law firm is not on social media, you are overlooking arguably one of the most significant marketing tools of the 21st century.
Our Operations Director, Gavin Ward, notes: “Law firms and lawyers in the UK are only really just getting to grips with effective use of social media marketing (such as generating business online, developing word of mouth and growing relationships). It’s certainly useful to take stock of what other businesses, such as Barclays, are doing in terms of innovation with using social media. This may even be the future (to some extent) of online payments of client bills in legal firms. What’s most important for law firms is getting the basics right – well optimised website, great content marketing, a solid social media marketing strategy and more. We are actually seeing more firms consider online payments as an option via their website, and we’d be happy to chat this through with you. Please give us a call and ask for me or Chris”
Kickstart Your Law Firm’s Social Media Marketing Today
We provide everything, from set up and training to get you started, to a full social media management service for your law firm and fee earners. To find out a little more, get in touch with us today by clicking here, calling, or sending an email to Chris Davidson on