Chicago Social and Mobile Financial Services Leadership Forum

“Social is a new way of working. Companies are doubling the budget for change management and communications.” Kelli Carlson-Jagersma, Wells Fargo

Thanks to BDI Online and Social Media Club Chicago for the complimentary ticket to  the Chicago Social and Mobile Financial Services Leadership Forum on October 9, 2012. Going behind the scenes to see how leading financial services companies manage social media and mobile marketing was intriguing. I think you’ll like the turkey fryer story from State Farm, which is a good example of how a social media campaign can operate on many levels. Here are my notes.

Do you manage social media for a financial services firm? You’re invited to share your experiences, and questions, in the comments section.

Northern Trust Social Media

Sheryl Larson, senior vice president of digital marketing at Northern Trust, talked about using social media and mobile to connect with clients on multiple channels.

With a goal to support marketing objectives through digital tactics to targeted audiences, Northern Trust formed a social media team in 2010 with cross functional representation. One of the first things they did was draft an employee social media policy.

Northern Trust uses social media in several areas. First, they focus on marketing objectives and then, where the audience is.

Social Media HR Talent Acquisition

Because the younger audience is on Facebook and twitter, Northern Trust pushes out job openings there. Being on social networks gives them more personality and takes some of they mystery out of the applications process.

The PR group established the @NorthernTrust handle, which is published by the PR team and connects the company with journalists.

For many companies, the challenge with twitter is to understand the difference between blasting news bits versus engaging with a community.

At Northern Trust, publications responsibilities sit with content owners on a variety of channels. For example the corporate channel is on YouTube at Northerntrustvideos.

The company uses the Northern Trust Open Golf Tournament as a lab to experiment, to see what works and then apply those learnings within the business internally.

The NorthernTrust Open on Facebook is the number one PGA page.

The company finds Facebook and twitter ads to be cost-effective and uses a community manager approach to interact and acquire fans and followers.

Is Twitter Right for You?

Before advising a division within the company to set up a twitter account they ask these questions.

  • Is twitter right for you?
  • Can you condense messages into small bits?
  • Do you have staff members who can regularly devote time to twitter updates?
  • Can you speak in a more casual, conversational tone?
  • Can you mine for content?
  • Do you have a steady cadence of news?

Financial Services Internal Social Media Collaboration

Kelli Carlson-Jagersma, vice president of collaboration strategies, wholesale social strategy at Wells Fargo, talked about internal social media collaboration.

An early adopter, Wells Fargo started blogging in 2004. Because nine out of ten team members are the company’s customers, the company knows that if the team doesn’t get it, customers won’t get it either. That’s why Wells Fargo tests internally before going live.

Kelli presented several case studies that told the story of the company’s social media history.  Merger Talk, the name of the company’s social Intranet and HR portal, helped bridge the transition for one of the largest bank mergers in the world: Wells Fargo with Wachovia.

Integrate social into the business, not social for social’s sake. Social takes time and will change the way you do business. Social will amplify your strategy, as well as the stupid, so be careful. Focus on main business drivers like sales, service, knowledge, productivity and engagement. Then, develop social uses cases with business groups and partners.

Wells Fargo uses two platforms, Jive and Chatter, to manage 140+ communities, 5000+ users and 90 + business teams.

Wells Fargo’s team members are already collaborative; how do  you drive change company-wide?

Internal team events work; Kelli’s team built an internal event app as a site for a mobile device. Before you develop an iPhone app, survey your employees to find out which devices they are using: iPhone, Android or BlackBerry.

Considering developing an app? Think of an app as a compact software platform that focuses on specific tasks. App development, while expensive, can position valuable content to your audiences in a different and interesting platform. Double Dutch specializes in enterprise engagement apps.

Principles for Social Media Success in Financial Services

Johanna Belbey, social media and compliance specialist with Actiance, talked about “Six Principles for Success in Financial Services.” At Actiance, 12 people focus on digital marketing.

Here’s Johanna’s presentation. Follow Johanna @belbey on twitter for financial services information and updates about shoes. She believes in mixing in a bit of personal style into professional updates. I agree – how about you? What percentage works?

The world is social: 97% of people questioned in a survey said their buying decisions are influenced by social groups, not necessarily 100% social media.

Adopting Social Media in Financial Services Firms Four Phases

Johanna sees these four phases of adaptation. Where is your company right now?


No social presence; restrictive social policy; no social tools; need to: identify options, best practices

Early Consideration

Some corporate presence; banned restrictive policy in place; pilot program for content distribution might be in place; need to: justify distributed teams usage

Early adopters

Corporate presence; acceptable use policy; social media being used by teams/advisors; need to: use social to develop, strengthen relationships, for some also as a sales channel

Early majority

Corporate social media; social media usage by distributed team advisors; acceptable use policy; next step: use social to develop, strengthen relationships, for some also as a sales channel; previous concerns about IIROC and /or impact of social media overcome by market acceptance and demonstrable results

Social Media ROI For Financial Services Firms

In answer to the challenge: show me the ROI, Johanna shared these results.

At a wealth management firm in New Jersey, an investor watched for LinkedIn updates from connections that mattered to them. Spotting a change in connection’s update to reflect retirement status, the advisor contacted the connection who needed help with financial planning for their $2.75 million account.

On twitter, a real state agent uncovered a $1 million prospect after only 96 tweets.

Because terminology can be tricky. Actiance has a compliance program that screens for questionable words [like sell, stock, buy, guarantee] and catches the updates before they get posted.

Why are financial firms slow to adopt social media?

Concerns include demanding oversight on online communications [SOX, FRCP, GLBA]; regulations governing electronic communications FINRA, SEC, IIROC, FSA, SEBI; fear of data leakage, malware and viruses.

Why is social important to financial services firms?

Social media reaches rich demographics. In the USA, Gen Y accounts for $2.4 trillion worth of personal income.  By 2025, Gen Y will account for 50% of income.

Johanna covered six principles, number six was analytics. Here are a few takeaways:

Comments are more valuable than likes and shares are more valuable than comments. The number of followers is an important metric.  Active listening leads to effective engagement.

When you do a deployment 1/3 will jump on board, 1/3 will try and 1/3 will not.  When the first group begins to see successes, record the training and make it available to everyone.

Social Media and Turkey Fryer Safety

Matt Edwards, senior public affairs at State Farm, talked about State Farm’s turkey fryer safety campaign, featuring William Shatner.

According to the National Fire Prevention Association, 1,000 turkey fryer fires result in $15 million of property damage every year.

State Farm wanted to create a viral video that would reduce the number of fires, create conversation and generate consumer discussion.

Multimedia Social Media Assets

The campaign included these multimedia social media assets:

  • two videos as docudramas with William Shatner starring in “Eat, Fry, Love”
  • two press releases: William Shanter’s role and top 10 states for grease fire claim
  • photo slide show modeled after the Huffington Post’s format
  • twitter id @ShatnersFryersClub

Social Media Results

  1. YouTube over 470,000 views
  2. Photo slide show 116,000 views
  3. Mega media coverage with pick up in 8/10 top DMAs
  4. 62 online websites [bloggers and traditional media] 23M readers, estimated publicity value of $1.8M
  5. Cooking fire claims on Thanksgiving Day dropped nearly 300% from 2010 to 2011
  6. Savings of more than $1 million in claims
  7. Industry recognition: Silver Anvil award

State Farm tries very hard to be authentic. The Shatner project was sort of a risk and a chance. Matt says his team was fortunate to have a leadership team to empower them to take a chance. It pays off when you are successful.

Part of Shatner’s contract was to tweet and use his celebrity. After having burned himself three times in turkey fryer fires, he was interested in participating in the campaign.

Before launching a campaign, you have to look through all the possible backlash scenarios and see where customer service questions may come in.

State Farm has social teams in public affairs, marketing and systems. It’s taken a lot of work over the past three years to get to where they are today.  The company has a “Bat Cave” room where all the social media nerds hang out. But, there is no us versus them mentality.

“Instead, it’s help me help us. Not help me help me. Be happy. Hold hands. Kumbaya” Matt says.

“There’s no try: do or do not.” Yoda.

You Tell Us

Choose one – or all.

What’s your biggest question about social media? Have you ever fried a turkey?  When do you know that your social media efforts are successful?


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