BBVA Compass Chief Marketing & Digital Sales Officer Jennifer Dominiquini earned international recognition as a driving force in the social media space, receiving the Corporate Social Media Leader of The Year Award in July from the Incite Group.

Dominiquini was among more than 120 social media experts at Incite Group’s 2016 Corporate Social Media Awards ceremony in New York. Applicants were judged on how the company had incorporated social media into the heart of their operations and customer activities. She shared some of her best practices, and how her team at BBVA Compass has raised the bar in the social media space.

Tell us about social media at BBVA Compass and what channels it uses and why.

What’s great about BBVA Compass is actually we believe in social media. A lot of channels that we have — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter — are really taking off and having a lot of traction. We also are making YouTube a much more visible and important part of our strategy. I was at a conference last week on social media and the key thing was video, video, video. If you’re not doing video on social media, then you’re probably not doing social media. We’ve also tried to experiment in social media, so we’ve been dabbling in Pinterest and Snapchat. We did our first branded filter for Snapchat at Comicpalooza and it got a ton of engagement. Those are the main social handles.

The important thing to communicate is that every single one of them plays a different purpose. That’s an important point because on social media, one size does not fit all and every channel deserves its own strategy. However, good social media is, I believe, at least connected to a bigger, bolder strategy and a story that you’re trying to tell.

If you’re not doing video on social media, then you’re probably not doing social media.

Paid social media is also starting to become important for the bank from a marketing perspective. The way marketing has used the handles historically is to engage with clients, but now we’re using social to actually acquire clients. It has gone from a channel that didn’t really have a very good return to being a quantifiable channel. We use social media to promote our posts. We’re using custom audiences on Facebook, and we’re able to tailor the content to the people we want to reach and we’re able to boost the engagement on certain pieces of content.

The other way we use social media in our paid initiatives is, before we actually go out and run a big spot or pay for the media, a lot of the times we’ll test to see how different spots resonate. That’s very powerful because not only can you use social media to learn more about your customers and market trends, but you can also use it to test your advertising. That’s a very, very cost-effective way.

How does social media work into your overall marketing strategy?

There are two ways. One is in terms of just deepening relationships with clients. We want to have a way for our clients to engage with us on a much more human level. So part of it we use to just push out content, and also it’s really just a good way to listen to what clients are saying about us — sometimes it’s negative, sometimes it’s positive. When we push out information, it’s in a much more tailored way, depending on the audience that we’re targeting. So people can feel connected to the bank, either learning about what we’re up to or potentially hearing more information from us in a way that feels much more personalized because we’re tailoring it to the handle and we’re also tailoring it to the audience.

The second way is, we are using social media to really build our brand externally and really trying to bring the global purpose to life and also the Bright Futures platform. In the past, we used our channels to push out a lot of product-specific information. What we learned is that, depending on the channel, there’s kind of a saturation point. There’s only so many things you can say about a CD rate, but there is a lot you can say about being “money fit,” or about bright ideas for business. Likewise, the bright future stories of our brand ambassadors also resonate and we have had very good engagement with the portfolio of bright futures videos we have created and showcased on bbvabright.com.

What advice would you give to others looking to get on social media?

I think the first thing you need to do is, you need to really understand the brand strategy. I was speaking on a keynote panel a week ago, and the common denominator for every single brand was, know your strategy, know where you’re going and make sure that you understand where social is going to reflect your brand. I know that sounds trivial, but the reality back in the day, social media was kind of an afterthought to most people’s strategies. It wasn’t core. In this case, what we’re trying to do is make sure that the voice and the tonality of the authenticity of the brand, the humanity of the brand, comes out in all of our social touchpoints and we have content that is engaging, snackable, relevant, but that it ladders up to the brand.

Some people think overly about what could go wrong on social versus thinking about what could go right

And then I also think, if you’re on social, you have to be social. So a brand that is not only able to field complaints, but can be empathetic through those channels and can address client needs but also be thoughtful about participating in social conversations. It’s really important. I think sometimes in regulated industries, I’ve noticed some people think overly about what could go wrong on social versus thinking about what could go right if you do it and you do it well.

What’s a recent social media initiative that you feel like has garnered the kind of traction that you wanted it to and was meaningful?

We were recognized for our work with the Ed Sheeran concert here at BBVA Compass Stadium. We’re all really proud of that because not only was it a big-name event, but it allowed us to do surprise-and-delights and really engage with people dying to go to the concert or once at the concert can be upgraded to better seats. That was our first “Aha!” moment, where we thought we really could be a social brand.

But probably the moment I’m most proud of is when Elton John tweeted out our LiveBright hashtag. You can’t go wrong when Elton John picks up your hashtag! This is when we did a pop-up concert with him out on Sunset Boulevard. He did it as a way of saying thank-you to the city of West Hollywood for believing in the bright future of a world without AIDS and he had Lady Gaga do a special act. People on social media were saying, “Wow, look at this amazing concert” and our brand was front and center. I thought that was pretty amazing.

Contact: Communications