The leasing sector appears to be lagging behind other industries in its use of social media technology. However, greater adoption is expected over the next few years. Nick Huber reports.
The leasing market has been “slow” to harness the marketing potential of blogs and social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn, research suggests.
A survey of US equipment finance industry professionals published in November last year by the Equipment Leasing and Finance Foundation found that market has been generally slow to adopt social media technology and lagged behind the “best practices” of other industries.
The research, which questioned 1,000 finance professionals, also found that although social media use was in its early stages in the sector, 41% of respondents expected that their organisations would be more active in the coming months.
In Europe, it appears there has been little research or information into how leasing companies are using social media.
A spokeswoman for the Finance & Leasing Association, which represents UK consumer and motor finance companies, said it had not conducted any research into social media, and did not provide guidance to members on strategies for using social media.
One UK-based company to realise the benefits of social media is Bluestone Leasing.
In mid-April 2011, it announced the launch of a new website that incorporates social media features, including a blog and a YouTube channel – thereby providing Bluestone Leasing with another platform to communicate with its customers.
The company, which finances assets ranging from software and refrigeration, to furniture and buses, will use its blog – www.bluestoneleasing.com/go/blog – to inform customers, partners, colleagues and others in the leasing sector about developments at the company and the leasing industry.
Its website also includes an instant messenger feature allowing users to communicate online with a member of the Bluestone Leasing team.
Steve Russell, sales director at Bluestone Leasing, said: “We have redesigned the website to be as accessible as possible. Several team members have been involved in the making of the website, which includes videos of staff explaining what we offer to customers and the benefits of leasing finance.
“We wanted the new website to give Bluestone a human face, whether that is through the instant messenger, staff videos, our blog or our Twitter feed. We want people looking at us online to feel like they have already met the team before they set foot in our office.”
A spokeswoman for Bluestone Leasing told Leasing Life that social media was not yet widely used in the leasing industry, but predicted that it would take off over the next few years.
She commented: “[Social media] is more commonly used in some of the industries which our customers operate, such as the IT industry, so it is a great way to connect with them.
“We also feel it is only a matter of time before it becomes more widely adopted in the leasing sector, a few years down the line [from now] we expect the use of social media will become the norm – it will seem as strange for a company not to have a blog or Twitter feed as it would do today if a company didn’t have a website.”