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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.

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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.


Quality content rules the Facebook news feed

With over 1 billion users worldwide coupled with deep local reach and engagement, Facebook is a key social platform for financial services professionals to reach out and connect with customers.

Everyday, millions of agents and advisers use their Facebook Business Page to share content, post updates on their business, and provide useful insights into what is happening in the market.

But it is a simple truth that as more people engage on Facebook Business Pages, the more crowded a user’s news feed will be. At best, a user can review dozens or maybe a hundred updates a day.

To reduce noise and keep a user’s news feed as relevant as possible, Facebook uses over 1000 filters to determine which posts should get highlighted.

In a recent TechCrunch article,  Facebook News Feed Director of Product Management Will Cathcart highlighted the main filters:

  • How popular (Liked, commented on, shared, clicked) are the post creator’s past posts with everyone
  • How popular is this post with everyone who has already seen it
  • How popular have the post creator’s past posts been with the viewer
  • Doe the type of post (status update, photo, video, link) match what types have been popular with the viewer in the past
  • How recently was the post published

As an agent or adviser, you’ve worked hard to build a loyal and active following on your Facebook Business Page. Make sure you keep those followers engaged and up-to-date by posting timely, relevant content.

Focusing on consistency and quality of content will help determine how prominently your post will appear in your follower’s news feed.

Finding the market behind the numbers

My son like puzzles. He’s only two years old but he loves to find the most complex puzzle in the house, take it apart, and then out it back together. To see a young child wanting to tackle a series of complex puzzle problems is an inspiration to watch as a parent.

It is also inspirational to watch as a business development professional.

I’m not much good at the types of puzzles my son likes to tackle, but I enjoy figuring out another type of puzzle, markets.

Sometimes those puzzles are technology-related; figuring out who the main vendors are in a market, how their products differentiate, and trying to boil it all down to understand who is disrupting whom.

You figure out these technology markets because you need to understand who to partner with, who to maybe buy, or who is or may become a competitor. Or maybe the right answer is to just leave that market alone.

Then there are global puzzles, which are the ones I’ve recently been spending a lot of time. You can read reports, you can talk to experts, but it isn’t until you go out into the various markets and talk to potential customers and partners, do you begin to understand a market.

Reports have numbers, markets have nuances. You need to be actively investigating a market, technology or global, to properly understand the nuances.

Selling my iPhone for seven figures…

My phone’s got what can no longer be gotten…

The game is no longer available through online stores, but it still works on phones that had previously downloaded it.

As a result, some online users have offered to sell their smartphones still containing the Flappy Birds app for large sums of money.


BBC News – Flappy Bird creator removes game from app stores.

Interview tip: Talk ideas, not resume

At Hearsay Social we’re hiring like mad so I’ve been doing a lot of interviewing. As a result, I’ve also been asked for interview tips and feedback.

My number one reply is to make the interview about ideas, strategies and tactics and not about your experience.

Ironically, in an interview people don’t want to learn about you, they want to learn how you can help them and their company. (OK, maybe I’m overstating this a little…  they want to learn about you also!)

But when you interview, try to put yourself in the interviewer’s place and understand their problems and challenges. Then be proactive in addressing those concerns.

I’m always impressed with people who make the effort to try to understand what my challenges are then use the interview time to talk me through how they would manage those challenges.

Sure, as you’re coming from the outside, some if it is guesswork and no one will ever expect someone to get the company’s challenges 100% correct. But if someone does their homework, make smart guesses about what the challenges are, and then comes up with reasoned approach to solve those challenges, they’ll immediately impress and make the conversation more about an exchange of ideas and tactics, rather than going point-by-point through a resume.

My goal when I’ve interviewed is to never have the interviewer refer to my resume. If they need to look at my resume and ask me about what is on it, I feel like I’ve lost because we’ve run out of things to talk about and have had to resort to a resume discussion.


But if we spend the entire time talking about ideas, strategies and tactics, I feel like I’m making myself already part of the team. And that’s the ultimate goal.

Content partnerships as a BD goal?

I lead the strategic alliances team at Hearsay, which means my day-to-day is all about creating business partnerships with other companies in complimentary markets.

Business partnerships…. but what about content partnerships. Interesting idea. This article got me thinking.

Creating content partnerships seems to be the evolution of co-marketing agreements, maybe with less overhead.

“We’re a company that is very focused on the women and health spaces,” Bloom said. “We choose brands and organizations that align with our goals — widespread menstruation education and the destigmatization of women’s health taboo. Often, these brands are media properties or non-profits. It’s not uncommon for HelloFlo to promote content created by these other brands, and vice versa. It not only creates lasting partnerships, but also visibility and shared traffic.”

Content Partnerships Fuel Startup Growth | The Content Strategist.

… and this is why I like index funds

With massive computers doing massive trading in the span of milliseconds, it is hard to imagine how fund with some sort of proprietary trading theory can beat the market.

Love this quote:

The 60/40 Vanguard fund, which anyone can invest in, opening an account in about four minutes and 26 mouse clicks (I counted), beat the average multistrategy and long-short hedge fund over the last decade. And it did it with lower annual volatility (measured by standard deviation).


The world’s smartest investors have failed.

Vertical enterprise apps: Empowering the end user

Just as (relatively) new and (at first) niche TV outlets like HBO or Netflix, brought new choices to consumers, so too will new, and at first niche, applications bring more functionality and utility to enterprise users. 

OK, I’ll admit that the analogy made in this GigaOm article is a bit odd, but the point is well taken.

The enterprise is probably the most exciting market in disruption now.

As Hearsay Social investor and all around genius Jon Sakoda highlighted in an earlier talk, Silicon Valley left behind many key verticals in the 1990s. Sure, there are ton of great horizontal  applications, most notably Salesforce, but few have attempted to go into a vertical, really understand the requirements and workflow, and come up with a new application just for them.

Happily, all that is changing and it is exciting stuff. The poster child is Veeva and how they are overhauling the life sciences industry.

Guidewire is not only vertically focused (insurance), but focused on a vertical within a vertical (property and casualty insurance.) Oh yeah, their market cap is $3.4 billion, thank you very much.

We’re seeing the same trend at Hearsay Social. We know there many various social media sales and marketing platforms out there but none really understand or serve the needs of the financial services market.

The financial services market is huge, complex, critical to the success of our economy, and yet so poorly understood by tech companies.

But being laser focused on that industry means we can help financial agents and advisers better understand social, better understand their customers, and help them turn social into as important a communications channel as the phone or email.

The financial services industry is dying to learn more about the crazy rapid changes in how consumers are accessing information.

Hearsay understands social, we understand financial services and because of our focus, we are the best in the market hands-down in bringing the two industries together.

The enterprise is going though massive disruption. We’re leading the way in financial services and it is great to see others adding unique, industry specific value, in other verticals.

Finding the HBO or the Netflix of the enterprise: What we’ve all been waiting for — Tech News and Analysis.

Targeted listening informs business on social

About two months ago, I started a new role as head of strategic alliances for Hearsay Social, a company that provides social media management for sales and marketing teams. We particularly focus on financial services markets like insurance, and wealth management.

While there are other companies that focus on various aspects of social media management, Hearsay Social stands out for several reasons:

1)   Focus on using social for business: I teach a course on B2B social media and the one question I get time and time again is how to use social to support business goals. Many people understand the great value social provides communications, branding and customer support; but how to use social for other aspects of business is not well understood. Hearsay addresses that problem head-on.

2)   Industry expertise: Social is hard. It is a new industry, a new medium, and figuring it out can be tricky. Financial services is hard. It is a regulated environment and a couple of misplaces statements can land you in big trouble with regulators. Hearsay demystifies the complex web of social networks and makes them safe and useable for people in highly regulated environments.

3)   “Hear” is as important as “Say”: Before anyone goes out to market and sell using social, you need to be aware of what is going on in your social graph. At Hearsay, the “Hear” part is targeted social listening only on a user’s direct connections, and not the entire social universe. By being more targeted, Hearsay helps a user find a particular social signal that may trigger a customer call, which is the “Say” part

I’m really excited to be part of the Hearsay Social team and I’ll have more to update in the coming months. While Hearsay’s approach to social is somewhat different than what I teach about in Company is the Content, the two are very complimentary. So it will be interesting (for me anyway) to see how my work in one informs and influences my work in the other.

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