Author Archives: yhawong

Social Mention vs Topsy on Ameritrade vs Scottrade

Once again, Ameritrade and Scottrade are selected for my social media research. We looked at their social media channels and cultures in my last write-up. Let’s analyze their social media activities through Social Mention and Topsy. Apparently Social Mention gives you a more “general” view of social media activities while Topsy puts more emphasis on tweets monitoring, though they provide links, photos and videos social presence analyses as well.

Social Mention (1st left) and Topsy (2nd and 3rd left) for Ameritrade:


Social Mention (1st left) and Topsy (2nd and 3rd left) for Scottrade:


Topsy offers a rolling tweet report for the last 25 days while Social Mention shows MTBM (Mean time between mentioned). Unfortunately, these numbers are not directly comparable, due to:

  1. Social Mention rolls up mentions from various social channels, while Topsy shows only number of tweets.
  2. It is impossible to re-construct the actual “mention data” from MTBM alone.

Next, let’s see if the sentiment scores from Topsy and Social Mention can give us some useful information. Social Mention and Topsy are consistent to yield a conclusion that Ameritrade had more positive social presence reports than Scottrade. Topsy sentiment score goes from 0 (completely negative) to 100 (completely positive), and is at 50 to be neutral. Unfortunately, Topsy doesn’t provide further information on how this score is calculated. Social Mention provided tallies of positive, neutral and negative social “pulses”, and the ratio of positive to negative mentions. Does a high positive to negative ratio a good metric? Does a high ratio bring false sense of security to social marketers? Superficially one would conclude that Ameritrade is doing much better on social channels. How can we know the “strength” of these negative comments by comprehending this data? Here’s my recommendation: Add a trend of sentiment score over a period of time, for example, last 24 hours. The rationale is that a powerful negative comment is highly contagious in social world, therefore, social marketers should be able to infer what is going on by looking at sentiment trend.




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What is gillnet?

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The Humane Society of the United States on anti-gillnet fishing

Gillnet fishing is one of the causes to marine ecosystem damage. Possession of gillnets is illegal in some US states. Ironmen team is working to arouse public awareness on reducing gillnet use, especially in commercial fishing industry.

Does it look like they follow a content calendar?

The Humane Society of the United States is one of the organizations supporting anti-gillnet movements. It seems that they have dedicated resources to update their fb page (in general once every 2 days) and twitter (once every day).

How many people contribute to the social channels?

A dedicated Community Manager is tasked with updating fb messages and twitters, and some volunteers help gather information for fb and twitter updates.

What is the message they are getting across?

Who are they trying to reach?

Most of the fb or twitter messages are covering recent stories on saving animals. They connect and communicate with followers who are resonating about wildlife protection. Fb and twitter are also used for fund raising purposes.


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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:



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:


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


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.


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.


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.


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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