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These are live-blogged notes and sketches from a discussion between Terry Hurlbutt, Head of Community and Engagement at Bazaarvoice, and Taylor Alston, Vice-President and Head of Social Media at JP Morgan Chase, from the Bazaarvoice Summit, held on 6th April 2022. You can catch the on-demand webinar version here.


Building communities is incredibly important to the way we all work and interact. They’re not new, they’ve been around for literally thousands of years, but they’re continually evolving. How can we work better with them?

JP Morgan’s strategy is about humanizing their financial products and brand. They have a community of 600 wealth advisors who use social media to distribute information to their prospects and existing clients. Taylor Alston’s very familiar with using social listening and monitoring to drive engagement, but social media remains the wild, wild west, constantly shifting and changing. 

There’s one constant, though: Building communities is about people who have a shared interest. With a strong brand, you have people who are interested in it, and that’s a community in itself. We have to make content that’s relevant to them.

But you might also want to tackle and engage with new communities you see value in. What are the strategies to move the needle with those groups, to meet them where they are, to talk their language? These are the two groups of people that she concentrates on. 

What content does your community need? 

The major goal is to take your platform as a brand, and figure out what you want to be known for. JP Morgan Chase intends to be a go-to source for investing, market news, and wealth-planning conversations. It’s a complex topic, and the target market is aspiring affluent millennials. So, they’re doubling down on education and giving them the information they need, that’s applicable to their lives.

It’s about making a complex topic less complex, so they walk away feeling smarter. What really helps is them is listening. They spend a lot of time using social listening tools and working with their insights team to access new research. And they look at our they performance, at content metrics, and monitor if people engaged and comment. It turns social media into a real-time focus group. 

Learning how to nurture conversations is really important. That might be making things more understandable, but its also answering questions from the community. How do you create ongoing discussion with your audience? Can you match tactics to audiences? 

Helping students celebrate success and transition into work

Here’s a great example: In 2020, countless brands were trying to figure out how they could help in the early stages of the pandemic when people were hurting. 

“We wanted to be really thoughtful about how we did this, and the topic we chose to address,” said Alston. “Online, we were seeing many students taking to social media to express their frustration at not getting to walk across a stage during their graduation. It’s a Super Bowl moment for them.”

So, they rallied the company around the idea of a virtual graduation event using social and a livestream. They had a live commencement address, used your ambassadors and figures like Barack Obama. They saw over 1 million streams that day, and trended, which was amazing.

But off the back of that, they provided tools and information for people transitioning from student to working person. And they had a user-generated campaign to complement it, asking students to share their cap-and-gown walk. It was a beautiful moment they were able to share online, a community moment of shared experience, involving over 30,000 people’s content. 

It was, in effect, an invitation for new people to join their community. They used their ambassadors to welcome people, they worked with the universities to draw people in, too. 

Adding new platforms to your content mix

How do they decide when to add a new platform into the mix? The beauty of social media is that it changes every day, so you never know when there will be a new platform, a new opportunity to penetrate into a new community. They have a presence across every platform, bar TikTok, but they aim to get there soon. They’re already looking to it for inspiration, especially around short-form video edutainment. 

But it’s also a good research tool. What content is bubbling up and getting a ton of engagement around wealth planning? Alston wants to address those questions. 

“For our community, we look at success in two ways,” she says. “Every day, we’re looking at channel health, follower growth, engagement works, sentiment around content. These are key areas for success. And then when we do paid media, we look at business impact. We set the objectives up front, and track that.”

At any given time, you can have different goals and KPIs because there’s so many ways of driving community.

Inspiring brands building communities

Alston takes inspiration from brands outside the financial sector. Starbucks is doing great work in social, she thinks, and they bring their fans into their content pretty frequently. It gives the audience an incentive to be part of the community. Nike has always been so brave and unapologetic about what they do, in her view. They know what their community cares about, and they address that, and they have no fear of backlash. 

And then there’s Target, who have a really great voice on Twitter. Very relatable, and it taps into cultural trends. And that’s important because people want to be seen, to be heard. There’s lots of social justice issues going on. 

“We put out statements in support of some issues when I was on the Chase side of the business. It was scary because it was new, but the feedback we got from our community for standing up for them was so beautiful to see. You have such power as a brand to do the right thing. I’m proud we were able to do that.”

Know what your community cares about, and be the partner and friend they need. 

What’s next for JP Morgan Chase? 

Next on JP Morgan Chase’s agenda for building communities is evolving their content in the TikTok edutainment style. They’re also thinking about online to offline experiences, especially for their fans. Fun way of deepening relationships are something they’re exploring — especially surprising and alighting them with unexpected gifts or experiences. 

After all, gifts are one of the ways that building communities helps people bond with each other.


The retail industry is as strong as ever. And consumers hold the power like never before. They decide how a brand is perceived, and the risk of boycott in today’s cancel culture is very real. The dramatic power shift to customers has led to heightened actions and vocalizing for authenticity, improved experiences, and above all, for consumers to feel heard. Catch up on Bazaarvoice Summit to see how to win hearts and minds of today’s consumers.

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