Lessons from the Chase/WaMu Merger on Twitter

[Editor’s Note: This is a follow-up piece to yesterday’s article from Freddy J. Nager, “The post-WaMu blues: Chase has lost ‘that lovin’ feeling.” Chase just recently completed remodeling WaMu’s branches which has triggered an outpouring of emotion from former WaMu customers and employees.]

The Financial Brand hopped on Twitter to see what people were saying now that the WaMu brand has almost been fully devoured by Chase. If you don’t yet “get” Twitter, don’t worry. You’ll get a sense of why it’s important after reading this, even without any prior experience with the popular social networking tool. Here are selected excerpts from a day-long scan of tweets mentioning “WaMu” (the bank, not the radio stations with the same call letters), which included about 30 in all:

WaMu is becoming Chase. I am becoming annoyed.

@KiltedDad (Seattle, WA)

In case u didn’t know, WaMu sucks now!!!

@dubyabejay (Seattle, WA)

my local wamu is now a chase bank. boo!
I liked the wamu brand 🙁

@bensonlee (National City, CA)

WAMU now Chase – you really screwed up. As a small business owner you really screwed us. Customer lost.

@enjaysauce

Looking to switch banks. I loved Wamu dearly,
but Chase is not cutting it for me!

@kgandstuff (New Jersey)

The Chase makeover of the Seattle WAMU branch is fugly. Time to switch banks.

@evermeire (Seattle, WA)

WAMU/Chase just lost a customer today. I loved the customer service at WAMU. So sad that it went away with the name.

@PlumCrazyRE (Duvall, WA)

You don’t have to know how Twitter works at all to find such an outpouring of emotion over the loss of a financial brand fascinating. These are people who took time out of their day to share their feelings with their friends (called “Followers” in Twitter)… about a bank. And these aren’t whacked out nut jobs, or digruntled Gen-Y types with nothing better to do. These are regular people.

Key Question: Would people mourn the loss of your brand if it went away? Would anyone pen a eulogy in song for your brand? Has any common consumer ever voluntarily mentioned your name and the word “brand” in the same sentence?

You’ll notice that four of the seven tweets above come from people in the Seattle area. If you are in sales or marketing with a financial institution in Western Washington, wouldn’t you be interested in reaching out to these people?

@coachandrew Have you ever considered switching to
[your bank]? We’d love to have your business. Send me
a message and I’ll give you a call.

Think about it. Four people a day, 365 days a year. That’s over 1,400 qualified leads a year. And we’re only talking about monitoring Twitter for conversations referencing one financial institution. Here’s the key thing: These people are at that critical moment when inertia in their financial relationships is weakest.

Using the advanced features at search.twitter.com, you can perform super robust scans of Twitter conversations. You can look for people who are talking about “banks,” “fees,” “switching,” “WaMu,” “Chase,” “BofA,” “Wells Fargo,” or any number of your competitors. You can limit your search to a targeted geographic area. You can even search for people who have a negative attitude. And the best part is, you can automate your Twitter searches, like this RSS feed that will give you almost-realtime updates for people mentioning “WaMu” within 100 miles of Seattle.

What makes this particularly interesting is that Chase has an active Twitter account. They use it around three times a week. But they don’t talk to- or acknowledge anyone. Why aren’t they in Twitter playing a little defense, responding to people’s questions and concerns?

Compare these tweets for Chase (shown left) and Bank of America (shown right). Again, you don’t have to know squat about Twitter or how it works to tell who is using the medium more effectively.


Chase vs. BofA on Twitter
Notice @chasebank only publishes a one-way, self-serving stream of tweets,
while @BofA_help is actively engaging other Twitter users with “@ Replies”
(a way to respond to a specific person directly in Twitter). Also, notice the highlighted
tweet in Chase’s Twitter stream making the announcement that “Chase is now in California.”

[Editor’s Note: Look for an upcoming report on Twitter from Jeffry Pilcher, publisher of The Financial Brand. The report, titled “A Comprehensive Guide to Twitter for Financial Professionals,” will be available for purchase through Online Financial Innovations, publishers of the Online Banking Report and Netbanker.com. Send an email if you have any questions or would like to reserve your copy today.]

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