Dear Goldman Sachs, Here’s How To Use Twitter

By May 31, 2012

goldman sachs twitter screenshot

More than six years after the launch of Twitter, Goldman Sachs has finally joined the social network. The investment bank joins fellow financial institutions Bank of America, Barclays, and Credit Suisse to name a few. Although it’s a big step forward for the famously loathed bank whose reputation was tarnished in the financial crisis of 2008, the new public relations chief may be behind the proactive communications move.

Richard Siewert Jr. joined Goldman Sachs in March after choosing between the media-forward Pepsi Co., and the position at the investment bank. His background is in business communications. He was the former counselor to the US Treasury secretary from 2009 to 2011. Although Siewert is not likely the man behind the curtain tweeting on behalf of Goldman Sachs, it’s likely that his forward thinking influence had something to do the the bank’s Twitter debut.

To be successful on the social network, Goldman Sachs has to follow the unwritten rules of Twitter. Although the bank’s account already has just over 11,000 followers, there are a few mistakes the the Goldman Sachs team are already making.

Follow people

Goldman Sachs isn’t following any accounts. This is a problem because Twitter is for two-way conversations as well as broadcasting news and information. By not following other accounts, Goldman Sachs sends a subtle message that the social media team is not interested in discussion, but rather using Twitter as a blow horn for the company. Nobody likes a self-obsessed account on social media. The Goldman Sachs team might not know which accounts to follow because they fear that following suggests a more formal relationship. In the financial world, it’s easy to see how this could be viewed as a problem. One financial institution on Twitter that follows relevant accounts is Bank of America. The bank follows a mix of financial reporters and other financial institutions.

twitter following

Don’t defer to your legal team before every tweet.

Social media scares large corporations and institutions because they are hyperaware of the legal ramifications of corporate communications. The Goldman Sachs account already gives a clue that the institution is making the social media team adhere to strict legal guidelines. You can see in the bio of the account that that the team has to be careful about seeming as if they endorse specific people and ideas: “RTs are not endorsements.” Social media interactions must happen fast to be relevant. Getting a legal team to agree to a tweet could take days – seriously. If the social media team has to defer to the legal team before every tweet, the institution is missing the point of social media – human connection.

Tweet about subjects other than Goldman Sachs

The Goldman Sachs account has tweeted ten times. All of the tweets have been about Goldman Sachs. This is a problem because Twitter is a conversation, not a corporate communications channel. Goldman Sachs should use the account to reestablish its position as a financial thought leader. The account could even be used to educate the public about financial services.

Use link shorteners

The social media team should be using link shorteners like to track link clicks and to save characters. So far, the social media team is not using link shorteners.

It’s great that Goldman Sachs is joining Twitter to ramp up its corporate communications efforts. If the investment bank’s social media team is going to be successful, let’s hope that they play by the unwritten rules of the Twitterverse.