Social customer care banking. Congratulations to Jaime Punishill Which Helped @Citi and @AskCiti to Become the First Verified Accounts on Twitter.
Three years ago, I created the Visible Banking blog to share my passion for social media and demonstrate the value of participating to conversations and provide more transparency in the heavily regulated banking, finance and insurance industries. I have put together a directory of social media initiatives and started my Visible Banking Social Media Watch Series (twitter, facebook, youtube and blogs) to collect and share some unique insights with my peers and my clients. I am now tracking over 2,000 initiatives on those popular channels.
Social Media is vvery much a live and learn approach. Nobody has all the answers, and it is your experience and dealing with sensitive situation which will hand out a competitive advantage to the most innovative financial institutions out there such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America, American Express, Societe Generale or now Citi.
There is a lot to write about Citi’s social media strategy, or shall I say the lack of unified strategy and framework. In all fairness, the size of the company makes it extremely challenging to enforce a common social media approach. More importantly, it would surely slow down everything, inertia would one more time take over, and we would still have to wait for any interesting initiatives whether on twitter, facebook, or blogs.
The new.citi.com blog
As a matter of fact, the new,citi.com blog launched by Citi on February 1st is one of the latest examples of the large banks lack of understanding of social media and their far too influential PR & Comms agencies.
In this case, the agency convinced the CEO office that launching a blog was the best way to communicate about the group strategy and create conversation on the bank own online assets… What can I say? I would highly advise against started blogging on your corporate strategy or any sensitive topics for that matter. It requires the right tone and a lot of hands-on experience dealing with UGC.
Wells Fargo, a blogging master and a founding member of the Social Media Business Council, launched a blog dedicated to the highly sensitive Wells Fargo – Wachovia merger back in January 2009, after close to three years of experience blogging.
Citibank’s Credit Cards: blog, myspace, and twitter
In the last 2-3 years, the credit card line of business has been the most active line of business in the social media space with Citibank Indonesia and their late clearafterhours “blog” to support their Citi Clear Card, or Citibank in the US and their co-branded credit card with myspace, Citi Forward (myspace?) and their Citi_Forward twitter account.
Two Main Different Approaches to Twitter
As part of my Visible Banking Twitter Watch, I am currently tracking a total of 14 twitter accounts from Citi in 8 countries.
Last year, the bank in the US has started to actively engage on twitter with two very distinct approaches: the HR team vs the Strategic Planning & New Channel Development team led by Jaime Punishill.
During my recent trip to the vibrant NYC, I had the great pleasure to enjoy a couple of drinks with Jaime and his social media lieutenant, the passionate and extremely knowledgeable Anna O’Brien.
We met at one of my favourite spots in Manhattan (the roof terrace at 230 Third which offers the most spectacular view of the city).
We covered a lot during our meeting, from internal politics, ROI / KPIs, to future initiatives, and unfortunately I can’t share everything with you just yet.
Nevertheless, I can assure you that Jaime and Anna have been very busy in the last six months. They put together the internal processes and guidelines, and Anna delivered numerous training sessions throughout the US, in order to establish Citi as the leading financial institution in social media with a clear focus on twitter.
Over the last 6 months, Jaime has also built a close relationship with the twitter team and made sure to share with them his insights and concerns from a such a huge company as Citi in the heavily regulated banking industry. One of Jaime’s key priorities has always been to bring more security to twitter and make the american people more confident engaging with Citi on the unarguably unsecure microblogging site.
There are two key ways to achieve this goal: identify and start using the right authentification gateway, and have the twitter team certify your account with their verified account badge.
I was delighted to receive Jaime’s tweet a couple of days ago confirming the new status for two of the accounts under his responsibility: Citi andAskCiti. It is a major milestone in the banking industry, under Jaime’s leadership, Citi became the first major financial institution to be given the status by the twitter team.
Shortly, you will undoubtly find more and more twitter early adopters in the industry, with the likes of Wells Fargo, Wachovia, Bank of America or American Express, with the verified account badge.
And there is more to come from Jaime’s team at Citi. Expect more proactivity and engagement on non-Citi owned social media assets as early as later this year! 😉
On the other hand Citi’s HR team, independently, decided to outsource most of their engagement on twitter to one of their digital agencies which shows with the content. Please note that so far, neither @CitigroupJobsnor @EmpleosCiti gained the status of verified accounts…
Visible Banking Slides – Banks Must Support Their Customers on Twitter