Social Data and Finance

To kick off this panel, David Schweidel, Associate Professor of Marketing at Emory University, asked a few general questions such as: “What are the best practices for brands as far as social media is concerned?” in addition to what the importance of “how some of these brands are leveraging social data”. How can an organization take stock of where they are at that moment in time, where their potential lies, and what factors are still holding them back?

Ms. Sunayna Tuteja, the Director of Social Media & Online Communities at TD Ameritrade, was the first to respond. She spoke of how Ameritrade is utilizing social data to serve their customers better because, for many years, those in financial services had to remain content with sitting back and peering enviously as companies in other industries were surging ahead by using the services that social data provided. But now, Ameritrade seems to have the “art of the impossible” figured out and now their clients can see financial services in a new light, or, how Ms. Tuteja puts it … “sexy and fun.”

Finance 1

So how does one pull social and digital capabilities into the business? It was suggested that you look at the situation holistically and approach social with the underlying purpose of helping the organization truly connect with their clients as well as employees. Turns out, social is the “new 1-800 number,” listen to the good, bad, and ugly which can turn candidates into employees and prospects into clients.

Robert Passarella, President at Protege Partners, responded with a fun Caddyshack reference about the Dalai Lama and jumped into the conversation as well. Passarella spoke of the few turning points in the short social history that led to the financial institutions participation in the digital age. One of which was the “cash tag” in Twitter, which allows for investors to search for company tickers straight through the search feature. Another crucial turning point was in 2008, when social finance really took off with the market crash. After all, what can you say, people wanted information about their finances and they wanted it quickly.

Brian Wright, the Social Media Analysis and Command Center Leader at Wells Fargo, also had a few words of wisdom to contribute to the conversation. When asked the question “At Wells Fargo, do you run into one department wanting to own all of the social data?,” Wright responded that there is a strong focus on centralizing the data flow. That includes bringing in the core of excellence model but while also allowing for flexibility in the process. He stated that, by all being on the same platform, there is a single source of truth for clients and employees alike. This continuation of centralizing and integration can only serve to assist large organizations when dealing with economies of scale and bringing processes to the next level.

What this all comes down to is that traders and investors have been gravitating towards and around Twitter for quite some time now – nearly 10 years, which, in the digital world, can seem like a century. Now when news breaks on Twitter, investors can look for a quick snippet of information for their next buy, one that comes in 140 characters or less. But for financiers looking to gain more value from their business practices, the key lies in genuine connection. The deeper an organization can delve with the relationships that they hold with their users have the potential to create more win-win situations for everyone, creating increased value.

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