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Success Story: How Hartford Funds Went From Having a Social Media ‘Vendor’ to a True Collaboration

July 5, 2017

Part 3 of a 3-part series. Previously: Learn three creative ways Hartford Funds gets its wholesalers off the bench and to hitting social media home runs. Also: How they kick-started their social media program.

In my previous post, I shared some ideas for turning your wholesalers from social media spectators into players. Next up (in my last post!), let’s talk about the ways your third-party technology ‘vendor’ can be a ‘partner’ in helping grow your social media program.

Let’s face it; social media isn’t always at the top of the priority list for every organization. It can often be seen as a ‘nice to have,’ especially in financial services. So if you’re in a role like mine, you may find yourself in the position of proving out the value of this endeavor. You may also find yourself in the position of having very few resources with which to turn this ‘nice to have’ into a ‘must have.’

Time to get resourceful.

One of the best things I did when starting our social media initiative here at Hartford Funds was to schedule bi-weekly meetings with my Hearsay customer success manager. I did this because I had the expectation that my technology vendor would do more than just troubleshoot technical issues. I had the expectation that this would be an ongoing partnership.

Why? Because they can be a great resource for industry knowledge and best practices. And touching base bi-weekly helps me to optimize regularly, gain new insights and grow. Here are just a few areas where your technology partner can act as an extension of your team.

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

When I first started the social media program for our sales team, I had a ton of questions around best practices. How many posts should we have in our content library to start? How often should we be adding new content? How often should the wholesalers be posting? The list goes on and on.

But while this space was new to Hartford Funds, it wasn’t new to Hearsay. They had worked with similar firms in financial services. They had gained insights on best practices, and they were willing to share them. (Woohoo!)

And while every team is different – and some things still required a little trial and error – having an informed place to start was extremely helpful in getting things up and running. And our ongoing conversations around best practices continue to help me adjust and fine-tune our program.

Why Didn’t I Think of That?

Your technology partner can also be a great source of ideas and inspiration when it comes to things like rolling out a new program, increasing awareness or encouraging adoption. Ask them to share what other customers are doing that’s working well, or maybe even get connected with one of their customers that’s recently launched a program similar to one you’re working on. Connect, share and learn. It’s what social media is all about right?

The More You Know …

Now that we’ve been up and running for a bit, I believe that one of the most important things I can do as part of our social media program (and, admittedly, a piece that’s still a work in progress) is to create a shareable dashboard of key performance indicators (KPIs) that shows how our program has done month over month, as well as how we’ve done in comparison to industry benchmarks. This will help me to make the case for additional investments, as well as help me to pinpoint areas that need work. I view this piece as critical in taking our program to the next level.

My Hearsay customer success manager and I have recently started delving into the mechanics of this reporting framework – what data points I want to capture, frequency of reporting – and created a customized scorecard that she will send to me on a quarterly basis. This is really just the first step in performing regular health checks of our program to assess strengths and weaknesses, as well as the first step toward integrating these metrics into our overall brand social media results to see the impact our wholesalers are having on increasing awareness and driving traffic.

So that’s it for me. I’ve had a great time contributing in this space. I look forward to reading more on the blog from my peers in the industry, and learning some new tips and tricks that I can put into practice with our Hartford Funds social media program. Thanks for reading!

Lauren Kitson is an employee of Hartford Funds. As discussed in my previous blog posts, 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.

202091

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Lauren Kitson

Director of Digital Strategy, Hartford Funds

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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