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Success Story: 3 Ways Hartford Funds Is Increasing Wholesaler Adoption of Social Media

Part 2 of a 3-part series. Previously: Learn how Hartford Funds obtained leadership buy-in and kick-started its social media program.
In my last post, I described how my company, Hartford Funds, got our social media program off the ground, from making the case that social media is worth investing in, to helping align compliance and sales, to executing a successful pilot. So what happened next?
After that initial spark of interest, it was critical to keep the momentum going among our wholesalers and advisors. If you’ve just started a social media program at your firm, you know how important this is. Here are some suggestions – a friendly heads-up, if you will – as to what you might want to keep in mind as you build out your adoption strategy; you know, the stuff I wish someone would have told me.

Content Is (Fill in the Blank)

Important. Critical. King. We’ve all heard it before. We get it. But curating the content you provide to your wholesalers is particularly important. At Hartford Funds, we essentially have two audiences we need to appeal to – our wholesalers and external advisors. The best way that I’ve found to appeal to wholesalers is to provide a variety of content and to be flexible enough in our process to take requests for specific content (within reason).
Lucky for me, content shortage is not an issue that we encounter often. Still, I wanted to add some breadth to the Hearsay content library and help the wholesalers create a well-rounded presence on LinkedIn by sharing content outside of our own.
One way I do that is by adding one LinkedIn Pulse article each week to the library. The articles are chosen by one of our writers and center around business related topics like leadership and practice management. The wholesalers appreciate the variety and, based on engagement, I think the advisors do, too.
I also regularly tell our wholesalers to let me know if they see something communicated from our marketing team that’s not in the content library. Because of our tight content creation process, nine times out of 10 I’m able to have that request in the library within a day or two.

Keeping Wholesalers Interested

The nice part about social media is that there’s built-in reinforcement in the form of likes and comments. The more you get, the more you want to post. What I’ve found, however, is that even the most well-intentioned of wholesalers can lose momentum and go dark if you don’t keep the practice of posting interesting and top of mind. Here are a couple of tactics that I found helpful.
The Personal Weekly Email: It’s true: Hearsay does send out an automated email to users when new content is available in the library and that’s a great reminder. However, I found that our wholesalers were much more likely to open up an email that came from an actual person – as in me. So every week when new content is available in the library, I send out an email to let them know it’s there and to give them a summary of the new topics in hopes of piquing their interest and getting them to post. I also include a link to the Hearsay app to keep it super easy.
The Leaderboard: One of the things I learned early on about our sales team – and I’d venture to say is probably true for most sales teams – is that they are a pretty competitive bunch. So, I shamelessly played to that competitive spirit by including a leaderboard in my weekly emails. Calling out the top three or top five wholesalers based on posts and engagement each week created a little friendly competition (up the ante by including sales leadership on your weekly emails).

What to Do About Benchwarmers

Benchwarmers are the ones who were interested enough to connect their social media accounts to Hearsay but just can’t seem to click that publish button. This is probably the most frustrating group because they’ve already done the majority of the work by connecting their accounts. There aren’t enough reminders in the world to get these folks posting. So you have to get to the root of the problem, which is often a lack of time and/or good time management skills.
The solution? Simplify, simplify, simplify. Here are a few examples of how to reach this group:
The Hearsay App: Maybe you just need to be where they are. This is probably the easiest of all solutions. Get the Hearsay mobile app approved by the powers that be for use on their smartphones and tablets, and you instantly make it easier for these folks that are always on the road.
The Campaign: Maybe they just need you to save them a few minutes and take the guesswork out of it. Enter, the campaign. You pick the posts, you pick the dates, and all they have to do is opt in with two simple clicks to have the posts automatically publish to their pages over the course of a predetermined timeframe set by your Hearsay administrator. I said it before, I’ll say it again: easy-peasy.
The Delegate: Maybe they like the concept but just can’t find the time. In this case, giving them the ability to delegate posting to their internal wholesaler or an admin could be just the ticket to keeping them in the game. Hearsay offers a delegation feature as part of the Engage platform that allows you to formally create a role for a delegate, so they can post on someone’s behalf while utilizing all of the recordkeeping and monitoring functionality inherent in the tool. Win/win.
So there you have it folks; just a few things I discovered along the way that might be helpful in your social media journey.
Next: Up next, hear from Lauren on the value of collaborating with a technology partner at a strategic level and why she thinks metrics are the ultimate key to success for the Hartford Funds social media program.
Lauren Kitson is an employee of Hartford Funds. As discussed in the piece, Hartford Funds has hired Hearsay to provide its recordkeeping services for LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. The views and opinions expressed herein are Lauren’s and may not necessarily represent those of Hartford Funds.
Posts in This Series:


Lauren Kitson

Lauren Kitson is responsible for social media strategy at Hartford Funds, where she oversees the direction, content curation and day-to-day management of the corporate brand accounts, the LinkedIn program for sales, and the paid social media strategy. She lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia with her husband and two kids, ages 2 1/2 and 18 months. In her free time, you can find her reading books, playing with play-doh and wrangling kids.

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