Was ‘a Day’ on Facebook and Twitter Worth Vanguard’s CEO Time?

Last Friday, I posted an article about an interesting social media experiment involving the CEO from Vanguard’s Head of Social Media John Buhl.  In a nutshell, the investment firm’s CEO Bill McNabb “took over” Vanguard’s main facebook page and twitter account.  So, how much activity did this initiative generate?  And more importantly, was it worth Bill’s time?

First, let’s have a quick look at the figures on twitter and facebook.

Facebook Stats from the Vanguard Page
*  13 wall posts which generated:
* 401 likes (30 likes on average)
*  55 comments (4 likes on average) -as expected, Bill didn’t respond to any comments on the day-
*  16 shares (1 share on average)

Twitter Stats
* 30 tweets signed ^Bill
* 47 tweets signed #AskBill -including a political conversation sharing the same hashtag- (cf screenshot below)


My Take
First of all, congratulations to Bill for taking part and engaging with his clients on facebook and twitter!  And this is even more impressive considering that (if I am correct) Bill doesn’t even own a twitter account.

By the way, Bill or John, if you read this post, please keep me posted if you decide in 2012 to join the list of Senior Executives in financial services on twitter.

I wonder how much training was involved?  Or more likely, if someone shadowed Bill and translated his real responses, live, on facebook and twitter?  But I guess it doesn’t really matter.

If I look at the figures, I can’t help to think that they are quite low and overall rather disappointing.  Indeed, Vanguard is one of the most active investment firms on social media channels (blogging, youtube, twitter and facebook) and the format of this experiment was pretty unique and exciting.

But let me make stress out that 1. there are so many reasons which could explain the low level of participation (limited buzz pre event, working hours…), 2. undoubtely Vanguard will be able to fully leverage this initiative and maximize its impact in the days and weeks to come (responding to all the collected questions on their blog, distributing a press release…).

Last but not least, I encourage you to read the comments on Bill’s video at the end of the day.  I suspect they summarize pretty accurately the overall perception of this initiative.

John, good initiative.  Bill, again, congratulations for putting yourself on the line and making yourself approachable.

I personally enjoy this comment from a client who enjoyed reading John Bogle’s book:“Thank-you for taking the time out. It reminds me of a story that John told in his book when he himself had to man the phones one day when Vanguard first started.”

I invite you to watch Bill’s intro video and his wrap up video at the end of the day, both hosted on facebook, not youtube.  Please note that I would have displayed both videos on my blog, but I couldn’t find any share / embed option…

Join the Discussion (Here or on Facebook)
I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic and get your answers to the following questions: how active is your CEO on social media channels?  Any members of your Senior Management or the Board of your financial institution blog or tweet?

The top comments and their contributors will be highlighted on the Visible Banking platform (blog, facebook page, twitter account).

What do you think?

Written by Christophe Langlois

Based in London for almost a decade, Christophe is an entertaining fintech marketing keynote speaker and a trusted advisor to the global financial services industry on the topics of digital marketing, innovation and B2B social media.

Christophe has contributed to over 140 events in 18 countries.

Currently, Christophe is advising a number of fintech startups on marketing and growth hacking and he is the Chief Marketing Officer of The Fintech Power 50, an exclusive annual programme helping fintech scale-ups to accelerate their growth globally.

Christophe's views on are his own.

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