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The Wells Fargo – Wachovia Blog: social media can also support a banking merger

TheWellsFargoWachoviaBlog-FirstPost

Earlier this week, Tim Collins informed me of the launch of the latest Wells Fargo blog, The Wells Fargo – Wachovia Blog. The goal of this new blog is to support the recent merger with Wachovia.

You are aware of any other social media initiatives used to support a merger? Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment!

Again, the Experiential team at WF came up with an innovative way to leverage social media. It shows that Wells Fargo is still “the most web 2.0” bank in the world. Congrats to Tim, Ed, and the rest of the team.

I am not the first blogger to cover this launch (check those results on Google blog search), and I invite you to read the related post by Chris Skinner. Not only will I share my initial comments with you, but I will also review their most commented article so far.
As mentioned in my recent posted item on the Visible Banking Page on Facebook, I believe it is a real gem. It should give you some great insights on the opportunities & the challenges offered by social media.

Wells Fargo, a pioneer in social media
Since 2005, the Experiential team have been busy launching many social media initiatives in blogging (5 blogs to date), video sharing (centerstageand someday stories) and virtual worlds.

It shows on this blog, Tim’s team definitely know what they are doing.
* Blogging policy & guidelines: there is (of course) a moderation process, and if you don’t respect the rules don’t expect your comment to be published. Fair enough. It also helps WF to deal with spam and abusive comments.
The box to leave a comment, with a picture: genius. It makes it easy to leave your comment even if you don’t know anything about blogging. It is also great to put a face on a name, it urges you to get in touch with the contributors.
Employee advocacy: giving so much visibility to your employees is an efficient way to drive employee retention and employee advocacy. Your employees become “rockstars”! In this case, they have the opportunity to participate to a unique initiative in banking.
External links disclaimer: icon displayed next to every external link to avoid any liability

I invite you to watch my recent video interview with Tim Collins, SVP Experiential Marketing (Athens, November 2008)

With Social Media, Executive Sponsorship is critical
John Stumpf himself, John is Wells Fago’s CEO, wrote the first blog. Great way to demonstrate the blog is serious and credible. But John didn’t respond to any of the comments.
If you are looking for best practices for Executive Blogging, I invite you to check RaboPlus Australia’s Executive Blog (promoted on their homepage)
* In addition to the official contributors, the following executives responded:Andrea Bierce, Customer Experience and Loyalty Director at Wachovia andIlieva Ageenko, SVP, Emerging Trends Marketing Director at Wachovia. (I met Llieva at the online_banking_summit_2007 in Charlotte, North Carolina. We were both speakers at the Royal Media Group event)
Please note that Ed Terpening, VP Social Media at Wells Fargo responded to a few comments himself.

a few stats (08 January 2009)
* 5 official contributors so far: 4 WF, 1 Wachovia (3 women / 2 men)
* 2 category so far: “News” and a second category “History” added today
* 6 posts so far: 1 from the Group CEO, 3 from WF, 2 from Wachovia
* 92 comments so far: an excellent average of just over 15 comments per post (with the latest post added moments ago)

Marketing
* 1st blog listed on blog.wellsfargo.com
* Just a discrete text link (which didn’t even make the fold) on the Wells Fargo – Wachovia Information Center

Focus on the most commented post so far – Matt Wadley: “This Blog Is About You”
Congrats to Matt for such a popular post which counts over 55 comments.
TheWellsFargoWachoviaBlog-MattWadley
Matt responded to only 4 comment so far. Shame considering that initially they weren’t capturing the email addresses…

Please find below a few screenshots illustrating the following points.
1. customer & employee advocacy
TheWellsFargoWachoviaBlog-Comments-CustomerandEmployeeAdvocacyGiving exposure to your employees and your clients is an excellent way to drive advocacy and retention.

2. negative feedback
TheWellsFargoWachoviaBlog-Comments-NegativeAs long as the comments fit the guidelines, you can’t afford not to publish them on your blog. Transparency is critical, and having negative comments makes your effort genuine. 3 negative comments out of almost 100 comments confirms Tim’s 3% theory (please watch my video interview)

3. positive feedback
TheWellsFargoWachoviaBlog-Comments-PositiveEmployees, customers, and subject matter experts will be enthuastic, and will respond to any negative or abusive comments themselves.

4. Suggestions
TheWellsFargoWachoviaBlog-Comments-HelpandSuggestionsShow you listen, and action the best suggestions listed in your comments.

Suggested next steps
* WF & Wachovia should market the blog on their websites & intranets
* The contributors should aim to respond to most of the comments
* WF should demonstrate they listen to people’s feedback and:
1. welcome more internal contributors who will adopt a less corporate style (employees who don’t work in the marketing, communications or brand teams)
2. create a few podcasts or webcasts (which would fit well to their youtube channel)
3. leverage/promote Wachovia’s Twitter feed (today’s stats: over 160 updates and over 985 followers)
* Capture more info from the commentators, like BoA’s Customer Reviews(employee? client? for how long?)
* WF should collect the email addresses of the commentators (please note an optional field has just been added)

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