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Funniest #AskJPM tweets reveal pitfalls of social media

Bad idea.

JP Morgan Chase invited the world of Twitter to ask questions of its Vice Chair Jimmy Lee using hashtag #AskJPM.  Questions on leadership, career advice. 

It didn’t go well:

IS IT TRUE "JPM STANDS FOR "JUST PAY MORE"?

WHAT'S THE BEST WAY TO GET BLOOD STAINS OUT OF A CLOWN SUIT?

DOES JAMIE DIMON PET A SMALL CAT AND LAUGH OMINOUSLY WHILE HE'S RUINING POOR PEOPLE'S LIVES? 

But maybe the most apt question was:

WHY DID U THINK THIS WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA?

It was basically as if Count Dracula decided to do social media engagement with the villagers.  

Robin Carey, CEO of Social Media Today, says you have to understand how people perceive you.

“When I’m told that it’s really important to develop a personal brand,” she says, “I always say what if your personal brand is that you really are a jerk?”

Carey isn’t saying that JP Morgan Chase is a jerk, but some people think it is.  And a company needs to listen to social media in order to know that.  As William Ward, professor of social media at Syracuse’s Newhouse School puts it, it’s a two way street.  “If they were using social media and monitoring the conversations around their brand and their industry, maybe they would’ve thought better of this.”

It’s not impossible for a controversial brand to put itself out there.  But it needs two things. First, FANS, who can shout down the negative people.

“A good example is Dove Unilever,” says Carey, “Greenpeace went after them over palm oil, but the company had developed a league of supporters who beat back the Greenpeace Initative.”

JPMorgan Chase has only been on twitter for a year, which clearly wasn’t long enough.

“With enough time,” says Carey, “they could’ve developed their own network.”

And if you don’t have fans, at least hire people to counter the negatives.

Bank of America, says Carey, is a good example.  “They have a huge team in New York sitting in a room looking at what’s being said about the bank all the time and respond appropriately in real time.”

Sometimes companies can rely on employees to be social media cheer leaders, but JPMorgan is hesitant to allow its employees to tweet over regulatory concerns, says Carey.

Jonah Berger, professor at the Wharton School, says authenticity is key, and for now too many people don’t view JPMorgan as authentic, even though it has been trying in some ways.

And to the bank’s credit, they were fairly authentic in their response.

“Tomorrow’s Q&A is cancelled. Bad Idea.  Back to the drawing board”

About the author

Sabri Ben-Achour is a reporter for Marketplace, based in the New York City bureau. He covers Wall Street, finance, and anything New York and money related.

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