Last week, I had the pleasure of attending SIFMA’s Social Media and Digital Marketing Seminar with a group of my Hearsay colleagues.
Hearsay’s founder and CEO, Clara Shih, kicked off the event with a keynote, “Solving the Loyalty Crisis,” on how financial services companies must leverage digital tools to help advisors scale their high-touch practices.
Clara discussed how advisors these days are feeling more pressured than ever – from lower-cost competition, to new regulations, to the greatest generational wealth transfer on the horizon. She then outlined the four requirements that firms must act on in order to increase advisor productivity:
- Automate/delegate 1-to-many: Advisors need a way to easily automate, delegate and nurture customer engagement until critical 1-to-1 sales conversations
- Seamlessly drive 1-to-1 workflows: Advisors need efficient hand-off between 1-to-many and high value, 1-to-1 sales conversations like annual review notifications and referral requests
- Gather actionable analytics: By optimizing and increasing CRM data, sales and marketing leadership can get the visibility and insight they need to drive successful advisor programs
- Have compliance built in: If the compliance barrier is high, field adoption plummets
The day then featured discussions on the digital transformation of financial services, touching on topics ranging from artificial intelligence to cybersecurity. Over the course of many engaging conversations, a few things in particular stood out.
The Trust Vacuum
Among the topics discussed was the deterioration of trust on a global scale. Highlighted as one of the markets with extreme trust losses over the past year, America and, in particular, its media institutions, have been among the hardest hit. So where is the public turning for trusted sources of information?
They’re turning to subject matter experts within their own networks, and advisors and agents that are actively engaged online are poised to benefit. To capitalize on this opportunity, advisors and agents need to deliver facts, insights and substance … and they need to be timely and relevant.
Shifting Consumption Habits
To remain relevant, advisors and agents need to adapt. During a panel discussing social media trends, Ken Johnston, industry manager for financial services at Facebook, shared that the average consumer scrolls through what amounts to 300 feet of content daily. The expectation across all the panelists – which also included industry representatives from Twitter and LinkedIn – is that 75 percent of all content will be video by 2020. So how can advisors stay top of mind?
Depending on company policies, one option could be Facebook Live video. Imagine the possibility of being able to address your network with timely content as soon as a quickly developing situation is materializing; for instance, sending a reassuring message during a stock market sell-off. As video increasingly becomes the preferred social medium, this is one worth watching.
For more on Facebook Live: “To Stream or Not to Stream? Compliance Considerations for Facebook Live”
Social Media as the Consistent Prospecting Tool
As a former financial advisor myself, I found the “View from the Field” panel – featuring high-performing advisors from Merrill Lynch, Raymond James, Wells Fargo Advisors and Edward Jones – particularly interesting in that each had a distinctly approach to finding new business. One advisor tapped into traditional family networks, while another specialized in 401(k) plans. Another targeted firms with recent layoffs to find people that needed financial assistance during transitional moments.
What is consistent across all of the advisors is their use of social media to initiate contact and nurture warm introductions. They rely on social as a critical validation tool to establish themselves as a thought leader in their unique area of expertise. Each emphasized just how crucial a role social plays in their business development and client retention efforts, and how staying timely and relevant sets them apart.
The event was a great way to bring together leaders across marketing, sales and compliance, and across financial services firms, social media networks, tech startups and academia, for insightful discussions on issues affecting the industry. At the rate at which things are transforming, it will be incredible to see what’s in store for financial services.