Actually, I’m going to say really nice things about Goldman Sachs. They are extremely active on social media and have a very clear strategy of how to implement their well defined plan… Only kidding. They’re actually really rather useless. But we should at least give them an apple for trying.
Goldman on Twitter is a bit like that dumb kid in high school with aspirations above his IQ. While you admire the get up and go in the kids attitude, you know you shouldn’t encourage them too much, because it will inevitably lead to a huge disappointment somewhere down the road of life and they’ll end up used and abused in a crack den somewhere.
I began taking an interest in Goldman Sachs’s social media strategy, particularly their Twitter strategy, when I started to see regular promoted tweets from them on my Twitter feed.
I tweeted a request to my followers to email me screenshots of any Goldman Sachs promoted tweets they received. Here’s just a few of them (thanks to all who took the trouble to send me the screenshots)
Fair enough, every corporation has the right (nay obligation) to make itself appear as a good egg. So what’s the problem with Goldman’s strategy? Well it's all a bit like British sausages isn't it? Rather bland and not very good. Allow me to elaborate.
“We’ve learned that we have to invest in telling our story online and protecting the Goldman Sachs brand.” Said Lisa Shallett, Goldman’s head of digital world domination and social wizadry.
Lisa may think she’s telling a story, but she’s not. The again, us banking people aren’t really known for being story tellers of the riveting variety. In fact, what Goldman is doing is conducting a good old fashioned direct marketing campaign. All they are doing is giving you an advertising brochure and delivering it through social media.
So how’s that working out for them?
Not particularly well. Goldman has over 100 000 Twitter followers (I’ll get to those in a bit) and each of these brochure tweets get’s just a few retweets. Go have a look, now. It really isn’t going well for them. Let me put it in even clearer terms: No one is listening to Goldman Sachs!
Then we come to the followers. Here’s a chart of the growth of Goldman's Twitter following.
You don’t need to be doing a Goldman Sachs internship to work out that this looks a little suspect.
(Having said that, this is a common practice and I've written about it before. Click here for my article about buying a following.)
So what is it they need to do?
Well that's simple: They need to engage with their audience.
I've written about this until my fingers bled and talked about this until my throat has turned to sandpaper, but when oh when will financial companies get it that social media is about being social? Come on people, get with the program, the clue is in the name dammit. It starts with the word “social”. You need to engage and you need to discuss. How you engage and how you discuss that is the strategy. Sending out advertising brochure’s and keeping your mouth shut isn’t a strategy. It's just being lazy.
Goldman needs to get some live bodies in there, some of Goldman's own pretty boys and pretty girls, all smiling and grinning and drunk on the corporate Kool-Aid. Obviously you keep them on a short leash, but that’s what things like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck are for. You start engaging with those people on Twitter who aren’t trolling Goldman. Amongst the fake followers and the rest, surely there must be at least two who will behave nicely to Goldman.
Guess what happens then? You start building a fan base of people that retweet and promote your content (yes the brochures too) and discuss with you in a civilised manner. That means that all the trolling and negative stuff gets pushed down the feed so it is out of sight when people search for “Goldman Sachs”.
I can’t believe I’m this dumb, I’ve just written lord knows how many billable hours worth of advice to Goldman Sachs on how to make themselves look loveable on Twitter. I think I’m going to go off now and shoot myself. Oh wait!!!
The boxing video at the beginning. Did you watch it? What was my point? It’s a video of a street fighter who had had the great idea to go into a boxing gym and challenge a boxer. So the coach of the club put a fifteen year old boy in the ring with this “tough guy”, a grown man, who then took a right proper bashing from the young lad (as you can see from the video).
Social media is like boxing. If you want to become good, you need to watch lots of it and read about the different types of training regimes, but none of that is any good if you are not actually doing the training and most importantly, getting in the ring regularly to do the hard physical sparring. It’s painful, it’s hard work, you get an ass whoopin' every now and then, but you learn to operate and do things correctly under pressure and you eventually come out on top.
Not having the necessary skills and experience can work for you for a little while (like for the street fighter in that video, he did okay to begin with) but in the end experience and skill wins out every time. Don't believe me? Just #AskJPM