Citibank's Hard Fought Journey

Rachel Happe of Community Roundtable interviewed Jaime Punishill of Citibank and starts by asking Punishill about the ranking, or lack there of, within the social media sphere. Punishill said that it was easy to make the switch to social because many of their customers were web and digital-savvy. There wasn't a choice for Citibank to go social (there was they could choose not to) but because their customers were so web-savvy; it had to happen and because of Punishill's digital background he was a perfect fit to lead the campaign. Punishill took a "design, build, fly" approach to the social media campaign. He took one project, Twitter for customer service, and tried to move it to make meaningful impact and buy-in. By having this first campaign, it allowed Punishill and his team to write the policies and procedures manual and gave them a great first-run at the social sphere. After extensive training of their customer service representatives, soon Citibank's CSR's will take over the Twitter feeds. Now there are 40 CSRs online from 8am-9pm daily. Citibank did try to pre-script the Twitter dialogues, but that lasted about five minutes - it's very difficult to pre-script a live conversation.

What we're learning from today's conversation and from the presentations Monday and Tuesday is that process is important, but ethics and simple codes of conduct are even more important when dealing with social media at an organization. As social media moves forward, we see more and more emphasis for social media professionals to be social media educators. In fact, today's discussion highlighted that about 50% of a social media manager's time is spent within the organization, educating their companies about social media. From watercooler chats like, "So do you just Tweet all day? Must be nice." to proving (or trying to prove) ROI to the executive staff, social media is now social media education.


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