NEW YORK: Major financial services brands could benefit from using social media as a channel to help explain their business and demonstrate the value they bring to the economy, a leading executive has argued.

Lisa Shalett, head of brand marketing and digital strategy at Goldman Sachs, suggested to a recent conference that financial companies could make greater use of this medium to enhance popular understanding of what is a "very complex" sector.

"I think Wall Street in general has to do a better job of showing why it matters, how relevant it is and how it is effective in a positive way to the economy and society," she said. (For more, including how Goldman Sachs has developed its approach to social, read Warc's exclusive report: How the financial crisis prompted Goldman Sachs to embrace social media.)

As a category which is heavily regulated, tapping social media has, quite reasonably, been an activity that many players have approached with considerable caution.

"In a world where communications have become so democratised with social media, you don't want social media conversations to be happening about you or your brand without you knowing or participating in it," said Shalett.

With public trust still fragile after the financial crisis, however, platforms like Twitter offer a forum for organisations to go beyond the headlines and distribute their own positive stories.

"That doesn't mean you can change that conversation," said Shalett, but you could build trust "which is important in any industry, and especially ours".

Although Goldman Sachs primarily serves institutional clients rather than consumers, this does not imply the views of the wider audience are unimportant.

"We certainly realise the importance of communicating, and being more transparent and contributing, hopefully, in a way that adds value," Shalett asserted.

Data sourced from Warc