Wendy Arnott, vice president of social media at TD Bank Group, admits that it sounds strange to call a bank a social business. After all, she says some people have pretty unflattering perceptions of banks, from the stereotypical movie villain to just plain bureaucratic. But at TD Bank Group, the company found a way social media could help it show what its business is really all about: helping people.

In her presentation at SocialMedia.org‘s BlogWell conference in New York, Arnott explains how even in a regulated industry the company has enabled 85,000 employees to share their expertise with one another and improve customer service through social media.

Here are some key points from her presentation.

  • Get your social program off the ground with the right leadership: Arnott warns that leaders and their priorities may change, but it’s important to keep educating and sharing your successes. She says leaders always care about what their customers are saying about the company — and relay those testimonials and anecdotes so they can brag about them in meetings.
  • Social customer service works because people love asking questions about “me”: The information on TD Bank Group’s website could answer most of the questions customers ask on the bank’s online forum, TD Helps. But Arnott says people prefer to ask questions about their own personal issues (the “What about me?” questions) and liking knowing that a real person is there to help them solve it.
  • Creating a social business is about empowerment, not ownership: TD Bank Group’s social strategy started centralized and run solely by its social media team. But over time, they handed the reins over to each department to handle social with their own expertise. Slowly, TD Bank Group is integrating social into a part of every employee’s primary job responsibilities.

If you like this presentation, see more great social media case studies like it live at SocialMedia.org’s BlogWell conference June 19 in Chicago.

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