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Q&A with Gabrielle Levin, Hearsay’s Director of Content Strategy

Say hello to Gabrielle Levin, Hearsay’s Director of Content Strategy. After being a Hearsay customer for almost 10 years (most recently at PIMCO), Gabby is eager to combine her boots-on-the-ground experience with Hearsay’s offerings to elevate your content strategy! 

Recently, we sat down with Gabby to learn more about her expertise, and how she’ll be partnering with you to build and execute on your content strategy programs. Here’s what she shared.

How did you get into this line of work, and why are you passionate about it?

It was a total accident. After a decade producing TV commercials in New York, I took a break to chase my writer dream, but the irresistible allure of corporate America with its 401k matching and health benefits drew me back in. That’s how I wound up at Franklin Templeton where Matt Dunn – now the EVP of Digital Marketing at PIMCO – and I created a global social media program. That was back when FINRA didn’t even yet have formal guidance for social media! Real frontier stuff.

Confession: I’m not passionate about social media. I am, however, passionate about spending time on stuff that matters, so helping people cut through the clutter and figure out how to make their social selling program yield real results makes me super happy. 

At this point, everyone knows that social is table stakes for good marketing strategy, but so many programs are too tangled in process, politics, or policy to get out of check-the-box mode and into real ROI mode. My mission, which I’ve chosen to accept, is to fix that.

In this past year, how have you seen storytelling and content strategy change? What content themes and channels will continue to thrive in our post-pandemic world?

The most striking shift I’ve seen is in people’s willingness to be more human and personal with their professional social channels. Lockdown left so many of us starved for human connection, which may be what finally nudged people to reveal their more casual side. People like to do business with people they like. A steady stream of stuffy stuff just isn’t going to create that kind of genuine, trust-building connection.

So what thrives now is responsiveness, timeliness, and relevance. That means being more thoughtfully engaged in how you’re showing up in social feeds. No matter the channel, meeting people’s need for information, entertainment, education, acknowledgement, whatever…that’s where the magic will happen. Quality over quantity. 

What is the most common mistake that financial services firms make when it comes to social media content strategy and execution?

The most common misstep I’ve seen more times than I can count isn’t exclusive to financial services firms. It’s the inexplicable choice to create a social program and then starve it of oxygen.

Social media content is a very public face of a firm and its employees, yet somehow people with inadequate experience and/or insufficient support are often at the helm. Maybe it’s an assumption that youth equates to social media expertise, or that pervasive personal use means anybody can “do Facebook,” but channel fluency doesn’t equate to marketing savvy, and personal use is vastly different from business use. Whatever the reason, the result is diluted potency of a program’s potential business impact and potential exposure to unnecessary risk. 

Now that people’s lives have transitioned even more to the digital realm, the importance of supporting a social program with a team of seasoned specialists capable of navigating an emotionally charged landmine field is even more critical.

What is a best practice that any social media content administrator/creator can adopt, regardless of technology or team size?

No matter what your tools are or what your team looks like, you can create content rooted in good storytelling, aka “know your audience”. With human connection as your North Star, even a basic program can deliver meaningful results.

What’s ahead for you at Hearsay? How will you be partnering with our customers?

I’m very much motivated by my experience as a long-time Hearsay customer and the experiences of the other Hearsay customers I’ve met at the annual summit. The common challenges that span our industry—adoption, activity, engagement, demonstrating value, compliance—guide my focus on helping program owners use content to create a virtuous cycle that elevates the entire ecosystem.

My hope is that Hearsay customers think of me as a content strategy consultant and collaborator, available to help with anything from ironing out a specific wrinkle in a one-time working session to engaging in an ongoing series of sessions to create and iterate on an overarching strategy. Bottom line: If you’re a Hearsay customer and you think your content could be generating more engagement or inspiring more enthusiastic adoption or kicking off more business connections, we should talk!

Vivien Wang

Vivien Wang is the Director of Content Marketing at Hearsay, where she is charged with producing compelling content that engages, educates and services customers and external audiences. Based in San Francisco, she has over two decades of B2B startup marketing expertise, and holds a BA in Communication from Stanford University, and an MBA from Santa Clara University.

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