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Not every Citi staff needs social media to perform their job

A while ago, soon after the news that Citi 'verified' its Twitter account, I sent a Tweet to Jamie Punishill, or @jpunishill for you Twitterers. 'How about a video interview or a 'Twitterview'?'

Jamie was the face and name behind @AskCiti, which supports customer relations in the US. He was up for it. Schedules and questions went back and forth. "How about including other social media team members from Citi in on the Twitterview?" Great. The Twitterview with Citi yesterday was with Paul Butcher, the social media head behind the @Citi id.

Unfortunately, Jamie did not, officially, take part in yesterday's Twitterview. (although he did join in the discussion at a gentle ribbing from the lovely @aden_76).

In fact Jamie has resigned his post from Citi (you've heard it here first!) and will be joining Thomson Reuters on Monday, June 7 as global head of online wealth management solutions. We wish him well. 

So, yesterday, faced with a Jamie-less Twitterview, we decided to push ahead to see how Citi would answer our questions on how they were using social media, both internally and externally.

Before the Twitterview, I did know that Citi block most social media from staff, including corporate communications (In my opinion PR should probably be on Twitter, but then again I'm not being paid the big corporate comms bucks)

I think it is fair to say that some of @Citi's Twitterview answers had more than a whiff of 'corp. comms' about it. But maybe that just shows how precarious dealing with the crazy, real time world of social media is for a large, established, complex global firm?

During our first Twitterview, with Brett King, @brettking, he said that banks faced more pressure from internal policies than from outside regulators when moderating social media use by staff. @Citi's answers to our questions seem to reflect that notion.

However, my choice quote from the Twitterview has to be the title of this blog. "Not every Citi staff needs social media to perform their job." 

True, social media use is not technically required by everyone to do their job.

But interestingly, @Citi answered a follow up question, where I likened social media to telephones, by answering this: "Just as some jobs don't require phones or email, some employees don't need social media access to do their jobs" 

Anyway, my witterings aside, I shall leave you with the transcript of the Twitterview with @Citi. I have included both Finextra's questions as well as those from our audience. (some Tweets have been edited slightly or combined for easier reading)

@Finextra Citi seems to have an organised and comprehensive social media strategy-what does Citi hope to achieve?

@Citi Our focus has been building a global framework for our businesses to use social to offer a better experience for our customers

@Finextra Citi has ‘verified' Twitter accounts, with Jamie Punishill's picture front and centre in one in the US-Reasons for these?

@Citi It's important for people to know @AskCiti is really Citi and that a real person is responding to them

@Finextra Does Citi have a regional or global social media policy? How does Corp. integrate with retail?

@Citi Yes we have global guidelines for both employees and for our business, with country and business specific additions as needed. Retail, in fact all our businesses, work closely with corporate both day to day and at the strategic level through our pane.

@Finextra To push this at Citi- did you have to produce a Twitter ROI? If so, how do you measure?

@Citi @AskCiti was launched to provide another channel for customers to ask questions and get answers and we measure it against tha.

@Finextra I've read that you have a 70-page Twitter manual-Doesn't this type of ‘control' obstruct real social media engagement?

@Citi 70-pages? I think it's 72 ;). We do place a lot of emphasis on training of our social support staff as we do for all employees.

@Finextra Twitter has been called ‘the real-time web' if some requests are ‘escalated to corp. comms' doesn't that defeat real-time?

@Citi It's more about getting the question answered by the person who knows the answer and it usually happens pretty fast.

@Finextra Do regulations restrict banks using social media- or does more pressure come from internal corp comms and legal?

@Citi These are all important considerations, in the same way they are for the traditional communications channel. This is an emerging area, our internal teams work closely with regulators to implement best practice.

@Finextra So are you saying that there is more internal pressure than reg pressure for financial firms?

@paulpenrose Do you allow staff access to SM tools - facebook, twitter etc - for personal use during working hours?

@AskCiti Social Media & collaboration tools are made available when needed for business use.

@Finextra @Citi Following on @paulpenrose Blocking social media for staff, Citi does it-reasonable, outdated? Will/When/Why it change?

@Citi Not every Citi staff needs social media to perform their job.

@Finextra How is that determined? Isn't that like saying - not everyone needs a telephone?

@Citi Just as some jobs don't require phones or email, some employeees don't need social media access to do their jobs.

@aden_76 Would you ever consider publishing your social media policy in the same way companies like IBM have?

@Citi We likely won't publish our social media guidelines, but we do a lot of knowledge sharing with our peers in the industry.]

@Finextra Blogs noticed Citi's Twitter push coincided with the Fabulis incident-saying Citi failed to use Twitter to handle it. Do you agree/not agree?

@Citi Many issues now first surface in the social space. Having social channels to respond through is a big positive for us.

@Finextra Would you have used social media differently if something like 'Fabulis' happened today, then?

@Citi Just like any other company, we're constantly learning and evolving.

@brettking What is the senior management view of social media's role moving forward?

@Citi Senior management is very supportive of using social media where it helps us better serve our customer.

@tek_fin Do you have rough estimate of split between "reaction" and "push" communication you do? ex: direct Q to you vs Com monitoring?

@Citi Depends on channel. For example @askciti is about responding & helping customers. @citi is primarily news & information.

@fxfieq Is the bank social media team part of a trading initiative (focus on facilitating transactions) or more about marketing/CRM?

@Citi Different social media teams support different business needs and initiatives

@Finextra Last Q - We're still interested in internal...There is a lot about customer engagement-but what are there any internal benefits for Citi?

@Citi Using social tools internally to share knowledge, collaborate on projects & find expertise is a major company wide focus

@Finextra Except for those staff that don't need social media? (or telephones ;-) )



Comments: (1)

Matt White
Matt White - Finextra - Toronto 04 June, 2010, 11:32Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Yep, can't help but compare this twitterview to the banksimple effort, which was far more open with less of a corp comms feel. That's not to denegrate Citi - it's clearly more difficult for a behemoth to get used to this kind of thing than an upstart with nothing to lose. The mere fact Citi agreed to try (kudos Liz) has to be applauded. Most of us are still feeling our way with this Twitter lark and I'm frankly still to be convinced that it is has much real value but there's only one way to find out: give it a go.

Elizabeth Lumley
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Elizabeth Lumley

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