Wells Fargo effectiveness on Twitter

For most of my career after college, I have worked in the Financial Services industry;  primarily for banks and mortgage companies. I’ve had the experience of working for Wells Fargo during that time so I am familiar with their culture.

With social media being so popular, there are a glut of companies that are participating in it and Wells Fargo is no exception.  Since Twitter is the current “next great thing”, what company wouldn’t want to increase brand awareness and put their message out to millions of new potential customers?

I think, however, they’re going about it the wrong way.  Their Ask_WellsFargo Twitter account (the only one they appear to have other than a placeholder account under WellsFargo) acts as a customer service web portal for their customers to ask questions and get responses from whichever Wells Fargo employee is “manning” the account at the time.

Here’s a sample of what Wells is doing on Twitter now-

Wells Fargo on Twitter

Wells Fargo on Twitter

While I think this is an effective customer service strategy, I think using this venue makes for a poor brand/marketing strategy.  People interested in finding out more information about the different business units of Wells Fargo will come away with nothing from their tweets.  Where can someone find details about the merger with Wachovia?  I’m sure if I sent an @reply at them I’d get some sort of response, but the space could be used so much better.

Wells Fargo does a good job sharing this type of information on their blog, but I think Twitter could be a useful tool to get quick bits of information about their products out to the “Twitterverse” and Wells is passing up the opportunity.

Just think of the opportunities that banks could take advantage of with Twitter.  Followers could get early notification of a bonus rate if they open a savings account.  Or Card Services could offer a low introductory rate on credit cards through a tweet.  Home Mortgage could communicate changes in interest rates.  There are many, many possibilities.

What are other banks doing in this arena?  Not much really.  Citibank has one post just saying hello.  Bank of America has the same strategy as Wells.  This is obviously a topic that can be further researched and the financial services industry as a whole has a ways to go before they are a significant presence on Twitter.

One would think with all of the regulations in the banking industry, banks would be more careful about dealing with customer service issues online.  Ask_WellsFargo always tells people not to share confidential information when posting, but sooner or later someone will include their account number or other sensitive information and might blame the bank.  The other drawback to this strategy is Wells Fargo is making a lot of problems their customers are having with their bank public.  Yes, they also communicate when the problems are fixed, but it seems risky to have a public forum where all can see what goes wrong with your brand.

In essence, I think this is a weak marketing strategy and Wells Fargo should consider other ways to effectively use the great marketing tool that is Twitter.

Previous Post