For companies concerned about the risks of having a blog, take a look at what Wells Fargo has been doing with them for the past three years. As a company operating in a regulated industry, Wells Fargo takes steps to make sure they are in compliance -- but that hasn't stopped them from connecting with their customers.
In this episode of "Socialize This, "Wells Fargo's VP of Social Media, Ed Terpening, discusses how the bank is using a blog (The Wells Fargo-Wachovia Blog at http://blog.wellsfargo.com/Wachovia/) to share details of the upcoming merger between Wells Fargo and Wachovia.
Ed shares that the goal of the blog is to reach primarily account holders of the two banks and is a way to help humanize the bank and the process. The blog is just one of the many channels that Wells Fargo is using to connect with customers.
Interestingly, the blog and allows comments from visitors -- and they comment on everything from customer service to asking questions about the future of their local brandes. Executives at Wells Fargo had an inkling of what kind of comments they would receive because the bank has been hosting blogs for three years, starting with their "Guided By History" blog (http://blog.wellsfargo.com/GuidedByHistory/) and expanding to include blogs about student loans to B2B products like commercial electronic office.
But they were a bit nervous about this blog because the merger itself impacts so many account holders. Ed shared, ""This [blog]would probably be among the most emotional because Wachovia customers love their bank and this is a change for them." But the executives also knew that the blog would be a good channel to not only hear back from customers but also to share breaking developments and news with them.
The bank does take precautions to abide by regulations. For example, they launched the blog on January 2, 2009 after the holding companies had legally come together. They also are careful not to discuss products and changes before they are officially annoucned. And like their other blogs, all posts are reviewed internally before they are made public.
The biggest benefit to the company thus far has been the ability to get information out quickly, especially in a crisis situation. (The companion episode to this one details how Wells Fargo addressed a crisis through this blog).
Lastly, Ed shares that he's particularly interested in the impact of iPhone, especially in the context of an internal social network that could connect the combined 250,000 employees of Wells Fargo and Wachovia. Everything from local expert identification to figuring out who to go to in the new organization could be facilitated and enhanced with mobile social networks.