How 3 Firms Are Using Social Media Education Programs to Grow Business
February 8, 2016
One of our goals at Hearsay Social is to arm financial professionals with the tools necessary to succeed in an always-connected world. This includes educating advisors and agents on how to use social media to build their credibility, engage with customers and prospects, and grow their business.
A recent article in Ignites, a Financial Times publication, entitled “Anti-Social Shops Failing to Connect with Advisors” states “fund companies that fail to help advisors navigate social media are likely blowing a big opportunity to connect with client assets.”
The article highlights three leading financial services firms – including Pacific Life, Putnam and Vanguard – who have successfully implemented programs to train and encourage its sales teams to use social media for business.
In a Practical Perspectives study conducted in December 2015, nearly 90 percent of advisors rely on some type of social media guidance to build their practices’ online presence, but few lean on their home office for education and support. Instead, most (72 percent) do their own research, ask colleagues (37 percent), or rely on broker-dealers and custodians (36 percent).
But, according to the article, there’s a real opportunity for firms to build awareness and differentiate themselves at the advisor level on social media. It describes Pacific Life’s successful social media training initiative:
“The firm made sure its external wholesalers had LinkedIn presences in 2014 and knew how to use the network to connect with advisors. After launching the website in 2015, Pacific Life began holding presentations in branch offices, says Christine Tucker, VP of marketing at the company.
‘We do see it as a growth opportunity for helping advisors and helping our wholesalers differentiate themselves,’ she says.
Advisors have particularly gravitated toward more sophisticated training materials, Tucker says. The site includes pieces on how to prospect for clients by age or limit the visibility of connections on LinkedIn.
The social media education effort started because Pacific Life sought to create a unique value-add offering, one that would help advisors attract more business, Tucker says. The future buyers of mutual funds have been raised on technology, so the medium struck the firm as an ideal way for advisors to connect with them, she says.
‘We wanted to be able to have a different story to tell [in advisor offices],’ she says.”
The article also describes how Putnam Investments provides a multitude of ongoing social media training resources for its sales team:
“At Putnam, everyone across the retail sales team is well versed in how to use social media to build business, says Jayme Lacour, director of social media at the Boston-based firm. That includes internals giving presentations over the Web and externals presenting ideas to advisors at the branch level and one-on-one, as well as the firm’s sales and marketing leaders speaking on panels. ‘It’s an expectation of our sales team from the top to the bottom,’ he says.
The firm offers a full range of presentations that cater to social media neophytes and experts alike. Putnam reps cover everything from creating a profile to using Boolean search terms to find potential clients on LinkedIn, Lacour says. …
A few years ago, Putnam rolled out a dedicated website, called Advisor Tech Tips, that includes social media pointers.
Building relationships with advisors through social media has been a major focus at Putnam, says Mark McKenna, head of global marketing. ‘This is really what we do hands-on with advisors,’ he says. For instance, the firm recently brought about 30 advisors into its offices for a full day of training, which also included professional head shots taken in Putnam’s studio, he says.”
Vanguard also is included in the story as a leader in providing social media education and support for its field force; the article says the firm recently added a section to its website offering tips for how advisors should use social media.
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