Most financial institutions have been wary if not downright hostile to social media. Not TD Ameritrade. The online broker has been on the cutting edge, taking advantage of social media both to connect with clients and to offer services other brokerages shy away from.
Not too long ago, I had a chat with Nicole Sherrod, managing director, trading, at TD Ameritrade and a daily voice on Twitter. What struck me about our conversation is how TD saw that this platform would help them connect with customers.
Anyone who deals with big banks or brokerages (no names needed -- we know who you are) can understand just how remote these institutions, keepers of our hard-earned money, can be.
Nicole noted that she had started her career in customer service, "with a headset on my head." And then something happened. She got promoted. More than once. As she climbed the corporate ladder something also happened that wasn't always good. She said she began losing touch with customers.
In the world of startups and innovation, entrepreneurs across the spectrum will tell you: never lose touch with customers. They must be the center of your universe.
Twitter turned out to be an unexpected way to re-connect, says Nicole: "Getting onto Twitter has been so valuable. I feel that intense re-connection. It helps me to be a better executive and allows me to offer more to the company."
She also tested out new products and asked her followers for advice on how to prioritize products in the pipeline.
And you probably won't be surprised to learn that new clients came to TD as a result of the open line Nicole helped to create on her Twitter feed where you will also catch photos of her adorable son. And this is the other critical piece of advice Nicole has for pros testing the social media waters: "You have to let people get to know you. I'm a working mom. My son is the reason why I work so hard."
You can follow Nicole on Twitter @TDANSherrod. You can also glimpse her in one of many TD Ameritrade YouTube commercials, which remind me of the E.F. Hutton series back in the day when finance was funny. And next week Nicole will be on hand at the Benzinga Fintech Awards in New York City.
Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.
I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.