TD Ameritrade: Social business is everybody’s business — Live from Member Meeting 31

Coverage of this session by Sharon Gilmartin of Connect with her by following her on Twitter.

2:10 —'s Patrick Higgins introduces TD Ameritrade's Director of Social Media & Online Communities, Sunayna Tuteja.

2:11 — Sunayna: 31st Member Meeting? No way! High fives all around.

2:13 — Sunayna takes a poll around room: How many people are a part of your marketing team? About half. How many in communication? Much fewer. How many have funky/alternative titles? Just a couple.

2:14 — Sunayna: How often has your team been moved around and re-organized? We all have the same war wounds, and one lesson TD Ameritrade is learning is that it doesn't matter where your department sits. Social can be sustainable in an organization if you build your program right.

2:17 — Sunayna: Through a series of mergers and acquisitions over the years, TD Ameritrade evolved into its current form of retail brokerage. Our mission: “Help Bring Wall Street to Main Street since 1975.”

2:18 — Sunayna says the firm seeks to democratize investing, and decided the best way to do that was through the most democratic platform: Social. But getting started is dizzying. So many decisions, especially if you're a part of a highly regulated industry (as many in the audience are). Again, war wounds!

2:20 — Sunayna describes one of those decisions: Where does your social program sit? That structure determines so many things like your budget, the scope of your work, etc. It feels like there's an inherent need to build a centralized model because it makes it easier to have it siloed, especially in the beginning. Think “command and control” model. But the landscape has shifted. Now, leadership has a much better understanding of social and its users. That shift is good!

2:21 —  Sunayna: The only downside is that everyone wants to participate and help something go viral. The “command and control” model that helped us get off the ground now seems antiquated. Platforms are changing too rapidly. We say we're in the business of social, but really, we're in the business of change management.

2:23 — Sunayna: We must evolve. Initially, social meant listening and reacting to things we heard. Then, it became more integrated with marketing campaigns and communication. Which led TD Ameritrade to move from “command and control” to the “enablement and empowerment” model.

2:24 —  Showed a video that was aired during the Olympics that highlighted the culture of TD Ameritrade. Its unique culture defines how things are executed and approached.

2:27 —  Sunayna: First, TD Ameritrade looked at the business model. The three steps were to examine business goals, understand client needs, and examining social capability. What came from this is a social focus in five areas, first of which is adoption. Things continue to change, so we have to adopt and can never stop. Enablement is another – we have to let things go and let others handle responsibilities.

2:29 —  Measurement and innovation are two more areas of focus. Giving permission and encouraging innovation is key. Governance is the final area of focus. No peanut galleries – everyone participates and everyone takes ownership of both successes and failures.

2:30 — Sunayna: The Olympics was the big test to see if the new model worked. Among other parts, TD Ameritrade started a social giving campaign. Lots of anticipation among partners who worked on developing the campaign, and the results were excellent. Core lessons: add value not complexity and “purpose is the new black.”

Q & A:

Q: When you created your new hashtag for the giving campaign, did you have to then treat it the same way you did with other hashtags in terms of monitoring, response, etc?

A: Sunayna: Listening and responding is still at the core of what we do. We follow the notion of “engagement begets engagement.” Social customer service is the new 1-800 number.

Q: You mentioned you have a TV screen outside your office to get your executives' attention. What do you put on it?

A: Sunayna: It started because everyone came to my office to talk, but never about what I want to talk about. So we started the TV – sometimes it's a live feed of our social platforms, other times it highlights some of our key successes, and other times it showcases wins. Now, we are getting special requests!

Q: How do you handle engagement and empowerment in a highly regulated industry?

A: Sunayna: Regulated environments make you be much more purposeful. Often, regulations are used as an excuse. But now, they are being used as a challenge among those in the same industry and forces you to be more thoughtful. Oftentimes, it's worth trying to figure out what someone is trying to achieve and then helping them think through the strategy of how to go there. In the “Command and Control” model, it would be a hard “no,” whereas now it's a collaborative process.