This article was originally published in Forbes.
The American public recently learned that Silicon Valley needs to work with the government more effectively in order to protect the privacy of the consumer. At a recent event, “MONage, The Future of Communications”, Glenn S. Richards, Partner, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, explained the overall importance of government regulations for the consumer and shared how the technology community can become more compliant. This is a summary of that presentation.
Why Are Regulations Important?
Innovators may outpace or even ignore regulators, but eventually, the government will find you, said Richards. Rather than wait, he suggests that firms proactively review the regulatory landscape that impacts their products and services and then design offerings with this in mind. Although innovators typically resist regulation, he described four compelling reasons that regulations exist:
Consumer protection. Whether it’s physical safety, such as autonomous vehicles, or privacy, consumer protection is important to regulators. There are now increasingly serious conversations about protecting the privacy of the consumer on social media. These concerns may result in pressures to move towards a more European privacy model of opting in or out. It’s important that firms capturing data gain consent from customers. Firms should also carefully consider how data is captured, stored, and accessed.
Public safety. In the post-9/11 world, the government wants to understand how technologies work, and how they can be used to find, and stop, persons that want to do harm to our country.
Level playing field. When disruptive technology enters the marketplace, the incumbents will naturally say “Whoa, all our regulations need to apply to these new guys too” said Richards. A natural question is why home sharing and ride sharing companies aren’t regulated in the same way as hotels and taxis. Although disrupters typically initially take the position that rules don’t apply to them, over time, they eventually submit to regulation.
Taxes. Governments always seek to tax revenues and broaden their tax base. When your products generate revenue, the government will took for its percentage. Even if it doesn’t initially know how to categorize what you are offering, they will eventually figure it out, said Richards.
7 Ways Technology Firms Can Become More Compliant
Given the importance of regulations, how should the technology industry proceed? Richards shared some advice about staying on the right side of the government and regulations when it comes to social media and other new technology:
- Look at the current regulatory landscape to understand the requirements. If none exist because your technology is unique, try to find similar technologies or services and determine how they are regulated.
- Design your product to meet the needs of people with disabilities. The government (particularly, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)), is clear that newly developed technology must be able to be used by persons with physical disabilities.
- Be good corporate citizens. Make proper disclosures about what your services can and can’t do. Disclosures should be clear, conspicuous, and true. Disclosures will enhance your relationships with regulators and help you to avoid or mitigate lawsuits.
- Join trade associations. Trade associations will help your firm stay up to date on rules and regulations and important legislation that that may impact your industry. Many association are attempting to establish standards and best practices that may keep regulators at bay when the industry acts responsibly.
- Educate lawmakers and establish relationships to take away the fear of the unknown. Introduce your services and technology to regulators. Describe how you are creating jobs and creating economic value. Visit Washington, but also invite the local, state and federal legislators and regulators to your facilities. You will gain the regulators’ cooperation when they feel part of your community.
- Make campaign contributions to gain access to politicians to mitigate legislation that may hinder your operations.
- Not surprisingly, Richards’ final bit of advice is this: Hire a good law firm.
Good advice for us all.
It’s 2018, and we are, in the famed words of the late Steve Jobs, “at the intersection of computers and humanism.” Artificial intelligence and automation are penetrating every part of our lives. Robotics are shaking up age-old practices, like animal husbandry, that haven’t changed much in centuries. The implications of blockchain technology on institutions, government, and society at large are massive. And, after a decade of voice technology being replaced by instant messaging and text, voice is experiencing a resurgence thanks to Alexa and Siri.
The convergence of technology and financial services also is accelerating at an unprecedented pace. Global fintech activity hit a new quarterly record in 2018 with $5.4 billion raised across 323 deals, and the world’s largest firms continue to make enormous technology investments, according to VC industry tracker CB Insights.
Yet, in the hundreds of conversations I’ve personally had with both in-the-field financial advisors and the best corporate minds in the business, the questions remain: How do we marry the incredible promises of technology and digital with the reality of an advisor’s largely analog day-to-day, and the business outcomes that truly matter? How should we balance our appetite for AI solutions with human subject matter expertise in something as personal as financial advice?
I’m excited to bring together more than 130 leaders in financial services to discuss these challenges and continue the Advisor Cloud Conversation at Hearsay’s sixth annual Hearsay Summit (#HearsaySummit), which takes place this week on May 23 and 24.
Register to watch the Day 2 (May 24) livestream
Our marquee event will feature two exciting days of thought-provoking conversations, connections, and inspiration – all against the beautiful backdrop of San Francisco, Hearsay’s hometown. This year’s program will have small-group round table sessions, inspirational TED-style talks, fireside chats, and dynamic panels featuring exceptional leaders from financial services and Silicon Valley including:
- Erik Jepson, Managing Director, Head of Digital Marketing, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management
- Kirk Dudtschak, Executive Vice President, Personal and Commercial Banking, Royal Bank of Canada
- Ed Fandrey, U.S. Vice President of Financial Services, Microsoft
- Maran Nelson, CEO and Co-Founder, Clara Labs
- Executives from Facebook, LinkedIn, and Salesforce
- And many more
Top of mind will be how machine learning and automation can power highly specialized, industry-specific workflows that not only eliminate the manual tasks that continue to plague advisors’ day-to-day, but increase both the amount and accuracy of data flowing through corporate CRM systems. We will also discuss why the industry’s recordkeeping requirements are actually a game-changing opportunity for corporate teams and advisors to learn from, and act on, data.
We will learn how sales, marketing, and IT teams at top global firms are collaborating to integrate advisor-client engagement channels – social media, texting, mobile voice, email, advisor websites, and more – and building full-funnel, scalable field digital programs that measurably lift advisor productivity and client satisfaction.
Last but not least, we will announce the launch of a new, powerful Hearsay solution that will become an advisor’s go-to communications app to engage with clients on their preferred channels, compliantly.
For the full agenda and speaker lineup, visit www.hearsaysummit.com.
I also encourage you to attend virtually and participate in the discussion on Thursday, May 24, when we take to the main stage! You can:
See you there!
You probably know that having an active social media presence is essential in today’s fast-paced digital world. However, it can feel daunting to know how to get started with setting goals and putting a plan of attack into motion.
This month, Hearsay is hosting a webinar, “Level Up Your Digital Presence,” on ways to help you gamify your social media approach and make it fun, engaging and, most importantly, effective.
Gamify Your Social Media Approach
Gamification is the process of applying game-playing elements to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service. In our webinar, we’ll discuss common gamification techniques that can easily apply to you and your firm, which you can use to help create a fun and competitive atmosphere for your social efforts:
- Point Scoring: Tracking the number of leads, number of cold calls, sale quotas, etc. that you or your team complete
- Leaderboard: Keeping track of which individuals have the most points to foster an environment of friendly competition
- Rewards: Rewarding leaders and individuals with the highest number of points to incentivize top performers
Goal Setting and Unlocking Rewards
Having the right expectations about what you hope to accomplish on social media for your business is critical. Determine your short-term and long-term goals and make sure you write them down. These goals should be measurable, frequently revisited and adjusted as necessary. Think S.M.A.R.T.! Use the framework below to help you define and manage your goals and objectives:
- Specific: Target a specific area for improvement
- Measurable: Quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress
- Assignable: Specify who will do it
- Realistic: State what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources
- Time-related: Specify when the result(s) can be achieved
Saving Your Game and Reviewing Your Process
In addition to setting goals and developing an actionable strategy, it’s important to look at your metrics to see what’s working and where you can improve. Goals are only valuable if you measure success and tweak the formula!
Once you’ve put a social media plan in action and evaluated the performance metrics, it’s time to tweak your strategy! Perhaps you didn’t achieve the goal you set for your first month. Why not? What could you change so that you can hit that goal next month? How might you improve the type of content you post? After making a few changes to your strategy, continue to experiment and measure your progress until you find the right fit for your social audience.
Are you a current Hearsay customer? If so, join our webinar, “Level Up Your Digital Presence,” on Tuesday, May 15, at 8am PST / 11am EST / 4pm GMT, to learn much more about how you can utilize several of these gamification techniques in your social media program to help you and your team find success. Hearsay’s Customer Education Executive Chris Beck will provide tips on how to set actionable goals and develop a comprehensive digital plan for your business that will directly impact your ROI. Learn how to make social media fun and effective with a few easy tips and tricks to level up your digital presence!
Hearsay’s exclusive focus on the financial services industry provides us with an unprecedented amount of data on the digital activities by financial services firms and their advisors. One of the things that excites our team the most is uncovering new insights from our proprietary data, and using that to develop highly industry-specific features, tools and best practices recommendations for our customers that map to the business outcomes they care about the most.
I’m proud to share our new benchmark Social Media Content Study, which aims to go beyond how advisors use social for business and looks at what social media content is actually resonating with their followers, clients and prospects.
In all, our customer success and data teams analyzed approximately 3.4 million posts from 77,000 advisors using our Advisor Social platform to determine:
- What types of content are most popular with advisors?
- What content actually drives engagement (prospect and client touch points) from their followers?
- How can corporate or field marketing teams, as well as advisors, better optimize their content mix?
- What differentiated content trends are we seeing for the wealth management, life insurance, and property and casualty insurance verticals?
What did we find out? Here are some top-level key results:
- Corporate content is suggested the most by corporate (45 percent), but receives relatively low publishing rates in the field (26 percent). Takeaway: Corporate and field marketing teams invest a lot of resources to share and promote branded content, but advisors aren’t posting it.
- Lifestyle content is suggested the least by corporate (23 percent), but has the highest engagement rates from advisors’ followers (48 percent). Takeaway: A small pool of lifestyle content for advisors to choose from/share limits their ability to present their personal authentic self, which their followers like to see.
- Advisors seek out and publish industry-related content the most (42 percent). Takeaway: Advisors look to social media to show off their financial expertise.
What can corporate and field marketing teams do to improve their programs and optimize their content mix?
We outline four best practices in the report, but on a more strategic level, corporate teams need better alignment with the field and consumer preferences, as well as a strengthened connection between social media and core business outcomes.
This can be accomplished by:
- Leveraging data to improve content mix. (We recently launched a new offering called Hearsay Content, which helps marketing teams enhance their advisor content libraries with lifestyle and industry content from well-respected sources.)
- Automating general social publishing for advisors. This allows marketing teams to do what they do best (informed by data), and frees up advisors to focus on higher-value, 1-to-1 client interactions that are more likely to lead to sales-oriented conversations.
- Guiding advisors on what to do next once a touch point is made on social – e.g., automated suggestions to follow up with a contact on a more personal channel like email or text, with additional content or a call-to-action that is personalized to that contact.
I highly encourage you to download the full Social Media Content Study for additional data points, including specific trends for the wealth management, life insurance, and property and casualty lines of business.
If you’re a current Hearsay customer, your customer success team can provide detailed, prescriptive recommendations on how to improve your advisor content libraries and help increase your publish and engagement rates. We’re ready and eager to help!