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Sifting Through Data to Find Social ROI Gold

data ROI marketing digital tools
At the start of 2018, the marketing team for one of our customers made an advantageous discovery. The firm, one of North America’s largest insurance companies, had used the Campaigns feature in Hearsay Social to automatically post social content for its network of agents. Many of the posts linked back to the corporate website.
At the end of 2018, the marketing team found that the posts linking to the corporate blog drew over a million click-throughs. To be more precise, their social selling program was responsible for driving 1.05 million hits to their corporate website.
According to Wordstream, insurance is the most competitive category in Google search engine advertising and “insurance” is the most expensive keyword. Assuming an average $6.00 CPC across all channels, our customer’s price tag to generate the same amount of traffic would have been $6.3 million.
At a time when marketers are under increasing pressure to prove the value of their efforts, the ability to capture and analyze data has become paramount. While digital tools certainly make it easier to mine data and measure results, the right digital tools also can drive efficiencies within the organization – even beyond the marketing function.
In addition to helping identify the most effective content, most responsive client segments, and most risky compliance alerts, digital tools also enable automation of functions, empowering the most highly skilled employees to focus where it matters most, solving problems rather than accumulating data.
Whatever the challenge at hand, chances are good configuring and leveraging digital will help overcome the majority. To name a few:
Obviously, capturing and converting leads is a major goal for any firm, and many advisories look to their distribution teams for help. Often, significant budget is allocated to advertising and purchasing third-party lists for this purpose.
Ironically, most firms are already in possession of personal data for their best targets – in the hundreds of thousands of contacts languishing in advisors’ Rolodexes. The prospects most likely to convert are those who have already had some contact – however casual – with the firm. Digital tools like 1-to-1 Outreach in Hearsay Social can automatically pull email addresses from your CRM, enabling you to retain clients and convert prospects of new advisors who fail and leave your firm. The ability to track response through the platform provides the data needed to measure your results.
Client retention is another goal digital data can help facilitate and measure. It’s well known in the financial services industry that frequent and meaningful communication drives client loyalty – or perhaps more accurately, lack of communication is the primary reason for client attrition, especially among younger clients. Research recently released by Qualtrics cited lack of personalized attention as the main reason millennial clients switch financial advisors. It’s also typical for most advisors to spend 80 percent of their time focused on 20 percent of their client base. That leaves 80 percent of each advisor’s client base at risk.
Digital tools with the ability to automate and personalize messages help busy advisors send the right message at the right time, giving meaningful attention to a portion of their client base that might otherwise be ignored. Since all interaction is documented in the system, the data is available to measure retention increase from year to year.
Digital data can even drive efficiencies in compliance. Through the stack feature in Hearsay Relate, alerts can be ranked by degree of risk. Monitoring the data over time enables firms to identify and separate alerts that are genuinely critical from those that don’t require the same degree of supervision, thus allowing compliance staff to put their time to better use.
The ability to share data can also drive more meaningful and productive conversations between teams. Regarding compliance, many conversations take place based on concerns over hypothetical situations. Data enables teams to monitor specific communication types for trends and patterns and to discuss issues armed with data points rather than abstract ideas.
As leaders in our industry continue to point out, time is today’s new currency. Having the right digital tools that enable automated workflows, conserve resources, increase production – and measure results – are the key to proving ROI and meeting the expectations of today’s C Suite.
Where have you been able to apply digital tools to collect data and measure outcomes? We’d love to hear about your own experiences.

Choosing Compliance Technology: Options and Considerations

This is the third in a series of blog posts by Mitch Avnet of Compliance Risk Concepts on the process of building a business case within your firm to support investment in compliance technology. Read part one here and part two here.
Integrating compliance technology into your organization is never a one-and-done proposition. If you’ve conducted due diligence and identified the gaps in your firm’s workflows and systems – as discussed in last month’s blog – chances are you’ve found more than one and in more than one area. Interaction and interdependency between departments typically means any solution you decide to implement will have an impact on other areas of your organization.
It’s important to know what you’re getting into and recognize you don’t have to (and shouldn’t) implement all the changes at once. And as you begin to consider solutions, it’s important to realize you don’t need to develop them inhouse, using expensive overhead and hours no one has free to invest.
While inhouse development is an option, many firms today are opting to go a different route, with the many cloud-based Service as a Solution (SaaS) products introduced to the market over the past few years. Products are available for compliance management and surveillance in virtually every area – if you’re here reading this blog, you’ve already found one of them.
SaaS solutions offer a number of advantages from an implementation standpoint.
Time is one big advantage. A solution that may take IT staff upwards of a year to complete inhouse can be implemented within 90 days with most SaaS products, usually requiring no new hardware and only minimal participation from IT.
Many are configurable to your specific needs and technologies exist that enable you to overlay them onto systems you already have in place. Many Saas firms provide training, which simplifies and speeds onboarding.
But, in my opinion, the biggest advantage cloud-based SaaS solutions offer is the fact that you are the beneficiary of all updates and changes the platform may make – without the pain, disruption and huge internal effort usually associated with inhouse software updates. Your systems are always operating with the latest, greatest software version available.
Of course, your C Suite executives and IT professionals need to become comfortable with the idea of having the firm’s data stored offsite, in the cloud. As reported recently, this is becoming less and less an issue as firms come to understand the sophisticated security measures being taken by cloud-based providers. SaaS providers in the financial services space offer dedicated connectivity to your own private cloud and data is stored using secure write-once-read-many (WORM) formats to comply with SEC Rule 17a-4. Cloud-based workflow is quickly becoming the norm in corporate operations; according to a survey recently cited in Forbes, the cloud will drive 83% of enterprise workloads by next year.
Because there are so many SaaS options that address specific compliance activities, you may find it worthwhile to implement some of them, even if you decide to go the inhouse development route for the bulk of your project. Either way, SaaS solutions can pave the way for a more successful implementation roadmap.
Once you’ve identified your gaps and the subsequent solutions you need to implement, how you proceed can often determine your ultimate success. A complete “boil the ocean” approach is not how you should approach the project, for a number of reasons.
When you’re trying to make a case for compliance technology, presenting a lengthy, complex roadmap to delivery will likely backfire. Chances are your C Suite executives and IT professionals don’t have the appetite for it, and we’ve all witnessed how large initiatives can be derailed in time as mergers happen, personnel changes or the firm’s priorities shift.
Instead, take an 18- or 36-month perspective. Identify where some of your greatest needs intersect with relatively quick and simple solutions. Focus on where you can achieve some quick wins to prove to your executives and affected employees the value your project is creating for the firm. Move on to the next quick win and keep the momentum building.
With the help of a project roadmap that isn’t intimidating and quickly implemented solutions that offer vast improvements in workflow and capability, you’ll be on your way to success in compliance technology integration.

Hearsay’s January Product Release is Here

At Hearsay we have one prime directive: help advisors grow their business. So when we heard that $68 TRILLION dollars was set to be up for grabs, we went to work on a way for advisors to stake their claim.

Introducing Hearsay Social for Instagram: The Social Media Platform of Choice for the Next Generation

Over the next few decades, approximately $68 trillion is set to transition across generations in what is being called “The Great Wealth Transfer.” Yet to date, advisors and insurance agents have struggled to effectively engage with younger potential investors and clients.
At a whopping 1 billion users – 70% of whom are under 35 – Instagram is a platform advisors and insurance agents can’t afford to ignore. For millennials and Gen X, Instagram is the second most popular social network. Both generations have massive buying power and both will have considerable need for financial advice as “the great wealth transfer” starts to become a reality.
To tap into this market, advisors and agents need a way to build trust and gain mindshare with the next generation of clients who:

  • Don’t generally work with their parents’ advisors
  • Seek the financial independence it takes to retire early (epitomized by the “FIRE” movement)
  • Don’t prioritize insurance and
  • Are potentially poised to inherit up to $68 Trillion in financial and non-financial assets over the next 30-40 years.

The path to success here lies in helping them deploy a coordinated digital strategy across multiple channels and enabling them to rapidly respond with automation and delegation.
To meet this challenge, we’re excited to announce that Hearsay Social now fully supports Instagram. As a mobile-first platform, Hearsay Social Dynamic Campaign Instagram Social Media PostInstagram complements Hearsay’s abilities to empower field advisors and agents while they’re away from their office. Adding this critical network to the Hearsay Advisor Cloud further enables advisors and agents to engage with the increasingly vital “next generation.”
By leveraging Instagram, an advisor can build and grow their network by posting engaging content about a trend in the market or an insurance agent can share the latest clever ad campaign (have you seen those Allstate ads?). And with Hearsay’s addition of Triggered Advisor Actions and Hearsay Relate over the last year, advisors can quickly respond to potential new clients by utilizing powerful workflows with one-click follow-up via text (newsflash: millennials don’t read email) or mobile calling. Personalized, compliant communication is instant and simple. Read more in the Press Release.
Of course, adding a new social network to your program might seem daunting. That is why we have the hands-on training, implementation and support options you need to get your program off the ground. We’ll partner with you to help design an industry-specific approach to Instagram that is tailored to meet your unique objectives and provide you with the dashboards and reporting to measure your results and generate program insights. As always, we maintain vigilance when it comes to compliance to make sure you meet the rigorous regulatory requirements of financial services.

Beyond Instagram

Hearsay Social for Instagram is part of a bigger January release that includes other user experience improvements. Here are a few highlights:
PDF Capture of 3rd Party Links: For compliance and program admins, Hearsay Social now makes it easier to meet FINRA’s guidance around capturing and archiving the contents of a 3rd party link.
Hearsay Help Center: For all users, we invested in an overhaul of the Hearsay Help Center. In addition to a new design for improved user and support experience, we added our technical documentation portal for easy reference.
Contact Management: We refreshed our Contacts experience across the Hearsay Platform. It’s easier to add, edit and manage contacts in Social, 1-to-1 Outreach and Relate.

The OCIE Electronic Messaging Risk Alert (and How Hearsay Can Help)

Happy New Year! The SEC would like you to include updating your advisor electronic messaging compliance policy in your resolutions so 2019 is the year of execution.
In 2018, the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) increased the total number of examinations by 10% compared to 2017. We believe the number of examinations will continue to increase in 2019 as mentioned by Hearsay Chief Business Officer, Donna Prlich, a few days after the release of the OCIE’s fifth and final risk alert of 2018.
The focus of the alert was to “remind advisers of their obligations when their personnel use electronic messaging” AND to “help advisers improve their systems, policies, and procedure [related to electronic messaging].
The OCIE highlighted that the increase of use and the number of changes in the way “mobile and personally owned devices are used pose challenges for advisers in meeting their obligations under the Books and Records Rule and the Compliance Rule.”

Advisers Act – A Quick Refresher

The Advisers Act “Books and Records Rule” Rule 204-2 requires advisers to make and retain records relating to their investment advisory business. This includes “originals of all written communications received and copies of all written communications sent” relating to

(i) any recommendations and advice made or proposed,

(ii) receipt, disbursement, or delivery of funds,

(iii) purchasing or selling a security, or

(iv) the performance of a managed account or securities recommendation,” subject to certain limited exceptions.

The Advisers Act “Compliance Rule” Rule 206(4) requires advisers to “adopt and implement written policies and procedures reasonably designed to prevent violations of the Advisers Act.”

Highlights from OCIE’s Dec 2018 Risk Alert (and how Hearsay may be able to help)

The Examination Observation: 
Specifically prohibit business use of apps that can be misused by allowing an employee to:

(i) send messages anonymously,

(ii) automatically destroy messages, or

(iii) prohibit third-party viewing.

How Hearsay Can Help: 
Hearsay Relate allows teams to monitor, archive, and access the complete text conversation using the tool’s built-in supervision functionality.
The Examination Observation: 
If advisers [financial firms] permit the use of personally owned mobile devices for business purposes, they must adopt and implement policies addressing use with respect to, social media, instant messaging, texting, and information security.
How Hearsay Can Help:
Hearsay’s solutions are deployed at over 150 financial services firms and used by over 150,000 advisors. Our Customer Success team will guide your organization through the strategies, processes and best practices necessary for successfully implementing a compliant text messaging program.
You may also find this Guide to Creating a Compliant Texting Policy useful.
The Examination Observation:
For advisers [financial firms] that permit the use of social media, personal email, or personal websites for business purposes, contract with software vendors to:

(i) monitor the social media posts, emails, or websites,

(ii) archive such business communications to ensure compliance with record retention rules, and

(iii) ensure the capability to identify any changes to content and compare postings to a lexicon of keywords and phrases.

How Hearsay Can Help:
Hearsay provides a comprehensive, built-in compliance solution that enables firms to monitor, supervise and comply with policies and industry regulations including FINRA, SEC, FFIEC, IIROC, FCA and MiFID II requirements. Our patented solutions include record keeping and universal supervision across all advisor social media, text messaging and local website activity, enabling organizations to easily and cost-effectively comply with these (and more) complex regulatory requirements.
OCIE has encouraged advisers to review risks, practices, policies, and procedures regarding electronic messaging and to consider improvements to their compliance that would help comply with their regulatory requirements.
The sooner you revisit/create your policy relating to texting the better. Check out this Guide to Creating a Compliant Texting Policy to get started.
We anticipate this Security Alert is just scratching the surface when it comes to the SEC and FINRA evaluating compliant texting and social media policies and practices. Reach out to the Hearsay team with any questions or comments.

In the Spotlight: Mark Teofilo, Program Administrator and Social Media Consultant, CIBC

With an enormous base of advisors and agents using social, websites, email and compliant texting with mobile calling, Hearsay is in the unique position to be a hub for those in the industry to learn from one another.
Each month we put the spotlight on a customer who’s fully embraced digital transformation. We’ll share stories of advisors and agents who are using digital to be more productive, build deeper relationships and increase business, as well as those of distribution, marketing, compliance and IT leaders who successfully led or participated in digital initiatives.
Mark Teofilo is a Program Administrator and Social Media Consultant for CIBC in Toronto. He uses Hearsay Social Dynamic Campaigns to deliver targeted, quality content to his field advisors and consultants, saving them a great deal of time. Read on to hear how digital has impacted Mark’s previous 2 years with CIBC.

Tell us about the Hearsay program that you manage at CIBC.

We launched our Hearsay program in May of 2017, to our mobile sales force, which includes Mortgage Advisors and Investment Consultants across Canada. We are extremely thrilled with the partnership Hearsay has offered; it has enabled us to build a successful social program. We currently leverage Hearsay primarily for its social capabilities and we will be looking to expand in 2019 to included Relate [compliant texting and calling], Advisor Actions, and 1­-to-­1 Outreach.
Our team at CIBC continuously focuses on increasing engagement, activity and adoption. We strive to provide relevant content, best practices and training to help advisors achieve social success.

What Hearsay Social feature has benefited your advisors the most?

Hearsay’s Dynamic Campaigns help automate publishing for advisors, ensuring they continuously stay top of mind with their connections. Campaigns make it easy for advisors to be active without having to do the legwork of actually “being active.” They also provide the admin team the ability to push out and publish content fairly effortlessly and are great for organizing and adding content on an ongoing basis, along with insights that allow admins to determine the strategy of what content should go out at what exact time.

What is the most successful campaign that you have run?

Our most popular and engaging campaign is “Lifestyle” related. Without giving away our secrets, this specific campaign often trends weekly on all social sites and receives high engagement from our advisors’ connections. The success of this campaign points towards the 80/20 rule.
This campaign and campaigns, in general, offer the benefit of time savings. Advisors are busy and often dealing directly with clients. They understand the importance of social but don’t have time to develop those channels. If advisors subscribe to Dynamic Campaigns, it ensures they are socially active without hindering their daily/weekly schedules. Dynamic Campaigns also provide assurance that any important and time-­sensitive content will still be published, even if advisors are unavailable.

How do you measure the success of campaigns?

We measure the success of these campaigns by the number of advisor subscriptions and overall engagement by our advisors’ connections. A high number of subscriptions by our advisors shows demand for the content that is made available. A high number of engagements shows that the advisors’ audience values the content too. Campaigns that generate engagement help facilitate and develop relationship building and ultimately lead to increased business.

What excites you about Hearsay’s vision?

Hearsay’s dedication to innovation and growth is what excites me. They never rest on their laurels, and continuously strive to create an all-­encompassing tool which is essential for any advisor who is looking to be successful. In just a year and a half, I’ve seen Hearsay roll out a bundle of new features and platform capabilities – all of which are extremely valuable. I think we are only touching the surface, and I’m excited to learn more about what’s to come!

When you’re not at the office, what do you do for fun?

I enjoy being active and spending time with family and friends. When I’m not at work, you can often find me at the gym, playing sports, or watching my beloved Maple Leafs. I mean what Canadian doesn’t love hockey?!
Have a story to share? Email Brittany Hedin for a chance to be on the blog.

Instagram for Financial Pros: Three that Work, Why, and Tips to Get you Started

Instagram: The Final Frontier. That may sound dramatic, but for many financial services professionals on social media, it certainly feels that way.
Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter seem easy enough to understand: put in a link and some copy and you’re good to go. Sometimes you’ll post a photo, but it’s by no means the focal point of your profile and page. Most of the time, your link does the photo work for you!
Instagram, on the other hand, is another animal altogether. Its bread and butter are the images you post and how they appear together in your feed (the grid layout of an Instagram’s profile). If you’re not a photographer or graphic designer, it might feel overwhelming to commit to building an audience on a social media platform that relies heavily on engaging graphics.
However, it’s not that hard once you break it down. Here are three successful financial professional Instagram accounts, why they work, and how you can easily mimic their successes without learning Photoshop or taking a single photo.

1. Ray Dalio @raydaylio – Simple, Straightforward, Sticks to a Theme

Ray’s page is consistent, easy-to-understand, and inspirational, from his bio to his posts. He makes full use of the entire bio section. It’s formatted with paragraph breaks and emoji as expressive bullet points, which makes reading and understanding it easy. He leverages the link section to promote his latest book, Principles For Navigating Big Debt Crises.
His posts are simple and straightforward. They’re all quotes about business and leadership with the same colors, designed in the same format. The red, black, and white colors are the same as the colors as his website, which creates a cohesive personal brand.

The Takeaway: Keep It Simple, Stick To Your Theme

Instagram is often thought of as the place to post pictures of your breakfast or photos of your dog. Ray’s page breaks that expectation and shows that sometimes a simple method works best. If you have lots of experience and wisdom to share, why not share it on Instagram? For this type of account, make sure you stick to your theme and brand and don’t stray too far or else your posts might stick out like a sore thumb on your profile. Organization is the key to the success of this type of account. Make sure you’ve got your content strategy planned and scheduled out and you’ll have a strong brand and account in no time.

2. Brittney Castro @brittneycastro – Aspirational, Personal, Inspirational

Brittney Castro’s page is light, refreshing, and has a good mix of content. Her bio, like Ray’s, is well-formatted; at first glance, you know exactly who she is, what her credentials are, and what her professional interests are.
In her link section, she’s using a service that many Instagram power users take advantage of, which is, a service that compiles several links into one page. Instead of relying on one static link or changing it whenever you want to highlight a different website or product, you can just make edits to your Linktree page.

Her posts are a mix of videos about financial advice, beautiful photography, and motivational quotes with a white marble background. She makes use of IGTV, Instagram Stories, and Instagram Highlights, making her page well-rounded and ready with content that covers everything someone on her page might be wondering about with her business.
The theme of Brittney’s layout is consistent with its white and neutral color palette but has enough variety of content that her posts feel fresh. A theme that’s too consistent could come across as too pre-planned and inauthentic, which is why it’s essential that she breaks up the monotony with more casual photos and videos of herself. This adds a personal touch and builds her brand, which is something that certain demographics, particularly millennials, look for. She comes across as likable, comforting, and trustworthy.
All in all, her brand is clear: finances don’t have to be scary. They can free you to live the exciting life you want – the lifestyle that she’s showing you on her Instagram profile.

The Takeaway: Help Your Leads Imagine A Better Life (With You)

What really makes Brittney’s account pop is her use of photos to convey a sense of both adventure and security. Financial freedom gives you both of these things, which translates perfectly to her brand as a financial professional who acts as a helpful guide to living your ideal life.
If photography is not your strongest skill, don’t fret! There are plenty of websites online that offer beautiful stock photos for free. Pexels and Unsplash are great places to start. Find some photos that fit the message you’re trying to send, create a content strategy around them, pepper in some inspirational quotes and educational short videos here and there, and you’ve got a formula for success!

3. The Joe Money Podcast @getjoemoneyright – Credible, Educational, Information-packed

The Joe Money Podcast’s Instagram page’s message is clear from the get-go: “We know what we’re talking about.” The bio includes a note about being in a Top 10 list of Instagram accounts, which gives them credibility and legitimacy and includes a link to their website in case you want to learn more.
Their posts are consistent in theme, using primarily black and green colors, and educational in content. You don’t even have to tap into a post to know that the creator(s) of this podcast are expert in their field, the design of the posts communicate that from just the layout itself.
Some posts don’t include financial advice but are relevant to current happenings, such as this 2019 resolution post.

Others include accessible savings advice that many can put into practice.

So while the posts are consistent visually, the content itself varies, which makes it an exciting account to follow.

The Takeaway: Educate to Generate Leads

If you’ve got an eye for graphic design and visual storytelling and love to share your financial wisdom, this might be the type of Instagram account you want to create. Canva is a free and simple online program that you can use to create images with great design.
Just keep the following things in mind when creating mini infographics like these:

  • Use a limited color palette (2-4 colors), with few variances when you can. This is the magic behind The Joe Money Podcast’s page and why it looks uniform.
  • Create a logo or banner to use across all of your posts, similar to The Joe Money Podcast’s logo and banner at the bottom of their post. This naturally unifies all of the separate posts and also doubles as a watermark in case anyone reposts your work.
  • Keep it simple. Plan out the educational content you want to cover and simplify, simplify, simplify. People scroll through Instagram and rarely spend any longer than a few seconds to a minute on a post, so the easier the content is to digest, the better and more engaging it will be.

If you’re a Hearsay customer and would like a deeper dive into Instagram and how you can use it for your business, check out our upcoming webinar “Instagram & Hearsay Social”.
In this live webinar, advisors and agents will hear directly from Hearsay’s Customer Education Executive Chris Beck about using Instagram for business. You’ll learn how to use this platform to generate leads and develop long-lasting business relationships. We’ll also take a look at Hearsay Social’s new integration with Instagram and all the exciting features in store.
Sign up for “Instagram & Hearsay Social” now by clicking on your chosen date below:
Wednesday, January 16, 2019: 11am PST / 2pm EST / 7pm GMT
Tuesday, January 22, 2019: 8am PST/ 11am EST / 4pm GMT