Skip to content

f8: Facebook finds your audience

The f8 conference was an epiphany for me. I saw the rise of a totally vertically integrated media company where content, IMG_4440communications, commerce, audience and advertising were all neatly wrapped up with a bow on a single platform called Facebook.

One of the big ah-ha moments for me was when Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, illustrated the evolution of sharing. In the early days it was all about text. It then moved to images (hence the acquisition of InstaGram) and now video, where Facebook is rolling out a series of new video experiences for the user, for video producers, and for brands.

In the not-too-distant future, sharing will evolved to virtual reality experiences as well (think Oculus).

What was amazing to me was that this evolution wasn’t about the most life-like way to share a cat video or what you had for breakfast, it was about sharing and broadcasting content in general.

Any content in any format can now be targeted at exactly the right audience at the moment they are mostly receptive to it.

Facebook is a platform where you can browse for content and rely on serendipity for discovery, where content is recommended to you by your friends, and where content can find you based on your stated interests.

For the everyday consumer, that content could be the mundane (cat video) or it could be the profound, as in the example Zuckerberg gave of sharing moments of a trip to Venice.

Media companies and brands (which are rapidly becoming the same thing, but that’s another discussion) can use these same immersive, targeted experiences to tell stories and provide information to their audiences.

The sophisticated targeting on Facebook means you can aim both content and advertising at exactly the right audience. Want to target a piece of content to 35-45 years olds? No problem. Within that content, do you want to target advertising only to females 35-45 years old? Facebook has you covered. No wasted ad-spend here.

IMG_4442Presentation after presentation demonstrated that Facebook is one of the premiere platforms to share any sort of content; personal, professional or corporate.

I recently heard the clever phrase “If content isn’t spread, it’s dead.” That is so true. As a brand, agent or advisor, if you have amazing content that isn’t shared by your audience to their audiences, it isn’t making any more sound than the proverbial tree falling alone in the forest.

Through its reach, targeting capabilities, and both organic and paid distribution options, Facebook is ensuring that content producers, be they cat and breakfast enthusiasts, brand or agents, or Pulitzer prize winning publications, can locate, zero-in on, and engage exactly the right audience at exactly the right time.

The Excellent Intro: Humanizing the Finserv Advisor using Content

Content and content marketing is the hot new idea to make brands seem more human, empathetic and alive.

But what happens occasionally when a human business-person (think advisor, consultant, professional services) uses content marketing to project an image? Yeah, they may end up sounding kinda robotic and corporate. That’s a bit of a strange irony, isn’t it?

Even if you’re using a great piece of content, it is often easier to Tweet out “must read” or something similar to your audience and hope people will take your word for it. Such intros rarely engage an audience, so the point you where trying to make with the content is then often lost.

Certainly, I’ll confess to being guilty of publishing out the automaton-sounding social message from time-to-time in a rush to say something, but for my more thoughtful moments here are best practices I’ve noticed:

1) Skip to the end: Jumping to the last chapter and summarizing it is a time honored way to finish that college paper, the same can be said for content marketing. If you have a great piece of content you want to send out but don’t know how to introduce it, skip to the end and summarize in one sentence the conclusion.

2) Things that make you go “hmmm…”: One way to engage an audience with content is find those few sentences that make the whole piece interesting, and then distill those sentences down to one and use that to intro the post.

3) Answer your own question:  Rather that saying “Interesting article about xyz…”, answer the question “This is an interesting article because….” and everything after the “because” falls into your intro. For example, if the article is interesting because it explains how to optimize returns bycutting fees with index funds, then title your post “Need to optimize retirement returns? Try index funds”, rather than the more automated “Interesting post on index funds.”

Finding great content can sometimes be easy. Finding a way to get your audience to engage can be harder. But looking to the content itself to find the one or two nuggets that really help the piece shine can also help your own posts sparkle.

On Facebook, high-quality, engaging content is more important than ever

In order to ensure people are always seeing highly relevant content, Facebook® recently announced that fewer overly promotional posts will appear in people’s News Feeds beginning in 2015.

As people connect with more friends and Like more business Pages, News Feed is becoming increasingly crowded. Overly promotional posts in News Feed add little value compared to other more relevant posts, so Facebook, after conducting a widespread survey, listened to people’s feedback and addressed this in their recent announcement.

As I’ve highlighted with other evolutions of the News Feed, high-quality, highly engaging organic content will continue to be featured. So for financial services professionals, if your posts are getting a lot of Likes and comments, Facebook will continue to feature them in News Feed; good content that informs, entertains and makes people think will win.

What does Facebook define as “overly promotional?” This will include posts that strictly sell and make no attempt to engage, such as:

  • Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  • Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  • Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

High-quality organic posts will continue to appear in News Feed. In addition, with Hearsay Social’s new promotional posts feature, financial services professionals can also use ad dollars that were previously wasted on low yield ads like billboards and instead invest them in higher yield Promotional Posts to get even greater reach.

Facebook® is a registered trademark of Facebook Inc.

Cross-posted from Hearsay’s blog


Subscribe to our blog

Strategies for using Facebook promoted posts in financial services

Financial services reps the world over are now using Facebook to connect with clients, share ideas and communicate thought leadership. While hugely effective, that is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of how to effectively use Facebook in the financial services industry. In a recent article, I introduce strategies on using promoted posts on Facebook to further extend your reach. The benefits of Facebook promoted posts in a nutshell are: 1. Targeting: Promoted posts make it simple to target exactly the audience you’re seeking based on a number of factors, including location, age, gender, and other demographics. 2. Grow engagement: Whether you’re just starting out or looking to expand the footprint of your Facebook Page, promoted posts help grow engagement through calls to action, such as inviting people to visit a website . 3. Get seen: With so much great content on Facebook, it’s difficult to ensure your content is seen on others’ News Feed’s. Promoted posts provide a great and simple way to boost your content higher in News Feed, so there’s a better chance your audience will see them. I drop more knowledge in the article here: Social Media Promotion – Life & Health AdvisorLife & Health Advisor.

Social media podcast: Of partnerships and military coups…

One of the great things about working at Hearsay Social is the ability to experiment, try out ideas, and always find new ways to #GSD (get sh*t done!). One great example is the great podcast series my colleagues in marketing are doing. It is a lot of fun and a great way to learn about how social is impacting the financial services world.

I had the great opportunity to participate in the most recent podcast. It was a lot of fun and we also got a chance to dive in to some deep thoughts on:

  • Social media as an extension of the human experience
  • How social media is used differently around the world
  • Hearsay’s approach to innovation and partnering.

There is also a small story about my craziest moment at Hearsay Social (hint, it involves a military coup).

Check it out: Interview with Ron Piovesan of Hearsay Social: #HSonAir Episode 8 — Hearsay Social.

Three Ways Advisers Can Use Social Media Content to Connect With Clients

(Cross posted from ThinkAdvisor)

Sharing compelling content is the most effective way to engage an audience on social. The challenge is that there is an endless supply of material coming from every possible direction. At a certain point, it all just starts to sound like noise.

So how can advisers rise above that noise to deliver information of value to their customers? How do you decide what’s best for your social channels?

Hearsay Social recently signed content partnerships with Broadridge, LifeHappens, NewsCred and Trapit so that agents and advisors can always access high-value, compelling industry and general interest content to share on s­­ocial and engage their audiences.

By working with these great companies, we’ve come up with a few important tips for social media publishing that will help investment professionals clear through the clutter to drive meaningful interactions with clients.

1.  Relevance and Quality Matter

The easiest place to begin is by listening. Uncover what your clients are talking about and why. What are the main issues facing their personal and professional lives? Do you have many clients getting married? Having children? Changing jobs? Being aware of their life events will help an advisor find and pass along the right content.

Know your audience. It’s not enough to simply pass along information, you need to curate the news. It is vital to pick the best sources and provide insight into issues in order to rise above the noise. Address why people should care about the items you post and use it as an opportunity to showcase that you’re knowledgeable, trustworthy, and interested in what’s best for your clients.

Easier said than done, right? Getting the right news to customers can seem like a daunting job, but the reward is worth the effort. If you need help, engage a curation service. Just be sure that you know the reason behind every piece that you post.

2.  Make an Emotional Connection

Authenticity is key on social so when you use content to connect with clients, put your own spin on it (as long as it’s compliant with regulatory standards). Show your personality and that you’re human, not just someone who posts news because corporate says so. Establishing an emotional connection plays a vital role in customer acquisition and retention.

A key point to remember is that it’s not just what you’re selling but why. This is an extra layer on top of curation. Once you’ve found the right content, highlight for your audience why it is so important. Think about your clients’ goals and how certain content may help. For example, you may have clients whose kids are heading off for college. Curation would dictate you find content on tuition. But to create the emotional connection, find content specifically around how to budget and save money to put towards tuition.

3. Build Relationships That Last

The wisest money you can spend is on customer retention. Loyal customers are crucial to the long-term viability of your business, and in today’s competitive environment, building trust is key. I know that I would continue to use the adviser who understands me, who grows with me and who I believe looks out for my best interests over someone new and unproven who may claim offers of better coverage at a lower cost. The reason comes down to trust.

How do you build and maintain trust with clients via social? Engage, not just with content but with the audience as well. Depending on your comfort level, you can use social to find ways to turn online conversations into offline meetings. You can respond to comments or participate in dialog. Things you notice on social media might prompt you to pick up the phone or schedule a meeting.

Social media can lead to a far more personal degree of service than you’ve ever delivered before, and it can be grounded and tied to clients’ real experiences in the moment.

Publishing relevant content provides another channel with the potential to create meaningful client interaction. What you choose to do with that opportunity is up to you.


Financial services: Find, relate and engage with the best prospects on LinkedIn and Hearsay Social

Social selling leverages your professional brand to fill your pipeline with the right people, insights and relationships. Why has social selling seen such high adoption rates? The buyer’s process has changed:

  • According to the CEB (Corporate Executive Board, 2013), 5.4 people are now involved in the average B2B buying process.
  • The CEB also shared last year that 75% of buyers are using social media for research.
  • The Harvard Business Review in 2012 shared that 90% of decision makers say they never respond to cold outreach.

Sales in 2014 is the art of navigating and getting ahead of these trends. Leading to the point of sale, a revenue producer must stay in contact with the prospect to provide relevant and compelling information so as to always remain top-of-mind.

LinkedIn and Hearsay Social understand the modern sales process and have teamed up to help financial services professionals capitalize on the moment a client wants to make a purchase.

How Sales Navigator supercharges the LinkedIn experience

The LinkedIn Sales Navigator program is the premier social selling solution, allowing revenue producers to find, relate and engage with the best prospects on LinkedIn. Revenue producers can maintain contact with an ever-growing target list and move prospects along the funnel from initial interest to final sale.

The benefit is demonstrable. After using LinkedIn Sales Navigator for only 11 weeks, a major wealth management firm was able to connect with new clients, rapidly build new relationships and bring in more than $100 million in new investable assets. This is an actual benefit realized by a wealth management firm in the market today. How? By being notified by LinkedIn of life change events such as a job change and surfacing the person in their network who can provide a warm introduction. Referral selling at scale!

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a premium subscription purchased centrally on an enterprise basis for revenue producers. The program also includes targeted training and education for the duration of the agreement.

This supercharges the LinkedIn experience.

LinkedIn Spring 2014

Depending on their specific strategies, financial advisors are using Sales Navigator to identify C-Level executives, partners and business owners on LinkedIn in particular industries or at particular companies. They then see who in their networks can make referrals into that target audience.

Commercial bankers are going a step further by reaching out to business owners in their third degree to start sales conversations. The benefit is scaled exponentially in collaborative teams as Teamlink helps revenue producers share contacts and find the best way to enter and grow an account.

LinkedIn and Hearsay Social are seeing more and more traction in the insurance sectors where agents are looking for benefits managers and brokers. Revenue producers across the financial services, banking and insurance sectors are saving these prospect lists and receiving daily updates of new perfect prospects along with relevant insight gleaned from a member profile and the name of the person in their network that could make the referral. Why go in cold?

Using LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Hearsay Social to grow business

To harness the power of the LinkedIn Sales Navigator platform, insurance and financial services firms face the unique hurdle of regulatory compliance, as well as the need to access tools that make a revenue producer effective on social.

image (1)

This is where Hearsay Social comes in. With over 85 leading financial services customers around the world including Raymond James, Penn Mutual, and Thrivent Financial, Hearsay Social’s 1-2 punch of its content library and compliance engine means that revenue producers always have access to compelling information to compliantly share on social.

The content can come from a third-party news source, the corporate marketing department or even be developed by the revenue producers themselves. Hearsay Social also has content partnerships so producers will always be able to engage their prospects in the most compelling way. And all these conversations can be as open or as closely monitored as compliance officers choose. Compliance sets the social media rules, and the Hearsay Social platform implements.

Hearsay Social also integrates with enterprise governance and archiving systems so access can be controlled via single sign-on, and conversations can be stored in a compliant WORM archive.

These and other topics were discussed at an exclusive recent event at the LinkedIn headquarters in the iconic Empire State Building in New York. A packed room of senior insurance, banking and financial services executives heard case studies, saw demos and learned how to use LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Hearsay Social to build new relationships.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,155 other followers

%d bloggers like this: