“I work for a company with positive social capital,” said Kavita Joshi, Associate Vice President, Social Media at TD Bank Group. She was the third of four panellists at a CFA Toronto Society gathering titled “The Impact of Social Media on the Investment Process” held in the gallery of the TMX Broadcast Centre on the evening of May 21, 2014.
“Social media means we are trying to keep pace, not with our competitors, but with our customers,” Joshi said. “We’ve realized there’s a real shift in terms of responsiveness.”
The entry point to social media is around customer service, advised Joshi. “FaceBook and Twitter have different cadences.” Twitter is a means to monitor what’s being said about a company. “LinkedIn is a powerful database” of clients, prospects, and talent. Joshi also pointed out the payment capability through peer-to-peer networking apps.
“People no longer wait for traditional media to get the news out,” said Joshi. TD responded very quickly to client needs and concerns during the floods in Alberta. She said it was important for a company to issue not just PR messages (“our hearts go out to the people affected”) but very concrete helpful messages (“join us for one hour live Q and A relating to your finance matters”).
Live twitter chats, on topics such as “buying your first home” or “women in business,” can be used to drive business.
“Our journey into social media started with three people setting up a twitter page—then we realized we needed governance and guidelines to articulate things like who can represent the bank,” said Joshi. They now have standard operating procedures on who and when and the tonality of the tweets.
Joshi said that positive, negative, and neutral references to TD Bank are noted on social media. Specific messages about bank experiences are often replied to directly and retweeted. Social media, if handled well, is an opportunity for “huge brand equity.” Joshi cited the West Jet Christmas video that went viral [at the time of writing, it has garnered 35 million views].
Moderator Eric Lam asked what policies were in place surrounding employee balance on social media. Joshi said that the expression of personality is what creates engagement. The TD rule of thumb is: “one-third personal; one-third industry; one-third TD.” Those who tweet on behalf of the bank are given comprehensive compliance training. Although it’s a highly regulated industry, the TD methods appear to be working well. It was important “to get risk partners involved early.”
“People feel a bit overwhelmed at first,” she said. Much depends on the cultures within the different lines of business in the bank—“for some hunter-gatherers, it really takes off; others are more reserved.”
She said Twitter reps for a company must “just get out there and figure out what’s interesting. Listen and engage slowly.” ª