Ameritrade vs Scottrade

Ameritrade and Scottrade are two of the major discount stock brokers, which bloomed after SEC deregulated stock brokerage commission in 1975. Discount brokers attracted a lot of price- sensitive customers, who paid only a couple of bucks for a common stock transactions. Competition heated up among the discount brokers and they started to differentiate themselves by introducing special “features”, like trading efficiency and accuracy. Ameritrade and Scottrade started going online in the 90s. At first, they offered only online trading platform. When social media became one of the important customer communication channels, they joined this party; and both Ameritrade and Scottrade both have meaningful presence on social media space today.  Let’s look at some channels Ameritrade and Scottrade participate in:

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Facebook:

Both Ameritrade and Scottrade update their respective FB page on average once every day. A quick look at the like number suggests that Ameritrade wins this round. However, we all know that likes mean nothing, and the quality of posts has more to tell. Both companies respond to FB asks very quickly, usually within 8 hours. I can conclude a tie for these two companies on FB front, though something interesting caught my eyes on Ameritrade FB responses. For example:

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It seems that Ameritrade has held customer service representative accountable for the responses.

Twitter:

Both companies are twitter lovers. Ameritrade has an average of 3 tweets per day while Scottrade can easily have 5+ tweets for the same period. Their approaches are quite different too – Scottrade uses twitter to allow followers to track market news, and most of Ameritrade tweets friendly “remind” followers about their retirement and financial planning services. Personally I don’t think it is effective to repeat retirement planning once every two days. Ameritrade should change their strategy to use twitter effectively.

YouTube:

Scottrade and Ameritrade have their respective channels on YouTube. Comparing to Scottrade’s 5 years of YouTube history, Ameritrade is a new comer with only 2 years of YouTube videos. Scottrade had been updating their channel constantly over the last 5 years, on an average of once update per month.  Over the last 5 years, Scottrade has established their channel as education center. Ameritrade sees this differently, and apparently YouTube channel is just another owned media for Ameritrade. This observation is substantiated by recent video frenzy to align with their #itaddsup marketing campaign during Winter Olympics.

G+:

Scottrade has a G+ group with most information replicated from FB page. Ameritrade has a G+ group but it is a ghost town. I am not surprised because G+ is too far behind in this social media race.

Tumblr:

You read this right. A stock brokerage firm is on Tumblr. More interestingly, a stock brokerage firm who communicates a lot about the greatness of their financial and retirement planning services is on…. Tumblr. I will be astonished if Ameritrade tells me that the messages communicated on tumblr are well received by… teenagers. I guess that this is a good move in the world of quantity over quality and “diversification” is the rule.

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