How BofA Tackled Social

Bank of America has 225,000 employees and faces a raft of regulations about what it can and cannot say publicly. Needless to say, that makes the freewheeling world of social media a major challenge. is part of a regulated industry and doesn’t have anything too sexy to talk about, build a social media strategy?

Todd Robinson, svp of digital marketing and social at Bank of America, spoke at the Business Insider Social Media ROI event in New York last week on how it addressed this issue. Below are highlights of his interview.

How did Bank of America start in the social media space?
We looked at the landscape and realized our customers are living in a more connected world. We needed to transform from institutional to more human and personal interactions. We understood that the conversations were happening with or without us. So, obviously being in a regulated industry, make it difficult. We knew we wanted to be prescriptive in our approach and wanted to make sure our legal, risk and compliance partners were comfortable as well. We also needed to ensure that what we did in social media aligned with our other marketing efforts.

What are your recommendations for brands just starting out?
It’s about making sure that your executive group has a good sense of what you want to do. Understand what your competitors are doing and what is working and what is not. It’s not ready, aim, fire. Initially, most organizations have the tendency to develop strategy and tactics in silos. Without the benefit and insight from others in the organization, like risk, compliance, legal and marketing partners, we would not be where we are. We made sure to inform them regularly of what other brands are doing in the space.

Can you talk about specific content that is really successful?
We had a campaign planned to come out to acknowledge the 10 millionth banking customer. We knew it was coming and when we saw it getting closer, we came out with this program. It was a social tactic and we also applied it to other channels. Once all was done, two days later, we reached the 10 million milestone. Had we not formed our strong relationships [with our marketing, legal, compliance and risk teams,] we would not have been able to do this, since we had a turnaround time of two days.

Another tactic that’s been working for us is telling stories about the businesses we partner with. We realized that not only are our customers into community and social responsibility, but they are also interested in how they can be helped. So we started posting more on personal finance. We also post more to help people demystify their finances. Things like what is an APR and how your credit score works. We recently started using infographics to demystify these types of things. Customers are telling us they want more of this. We are seeing 3x higher engagement on these types of post than on other content we post.

What platforms are you eyeing now?
The shiny object syndrome is tough. We understood, coming in later than most, scale is important. Therefore, Facebook and Twitter are the most important and YouTube for video. Right now we are looking at LinkedIn. We are also focused on forums, which many loose sight of. We’re looking to listen and engage on forums and being able to provide useful info that is not pitchy or promotional.

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