At last month’s Hearsay Summit, VP of Marketing Leslie Leach spoke with Kiersten Shank, Product Owner at Lincoln Financial, and Erika Clyma, Social Media Lead at Ameriprise Financial, to discuss their journeys measuring ROI from their Hearsay programs. Both leaders were able to drive big results through targeted planning and execution, but each accomplished success in very different ways.
In this post, we share three of their key learnings.
An agile framework ensures continuous improvement
When COVID-19 hit, Kiersten’s team had to quickly become flexible and open to changes. “We didn’t know what was happening from one week to the next,” she said. “We didn’t have time for as many iterations or errors, due to how fast things were moving.” Rising to the challenge, Kiersten implemented an agile marketing process with her wholesaler field organization.
The team organized into collaborative “social pods” that held monthly planning meetings, weekly stand-ups (for tackling impediments and discussing upcoming changes), and monthly retrospectives, where stats from every post were reviewed to sum up achievements, learnings and areas of opportunity. This format allowed teams to pivot quickly, and adjust programs based on near real-time analytics.
In one retrospective, Kiersten learned that viewers tended to hone in on the graphic, for posts promoting webinars. The following month, her team started incorporating webinar time within the graphic (instead of just within copy), and saw engagement double.
Automation streamlines publishing and metrics capture
To ensure that her field teams weren’t posting the same thing, at the same time, on the same day, Kiersten and her team leveraged on-behalf scheduling to automate content publishing. “Everything funnels through us, and then we devise the appropriate time and date to push that content out on their behalf, so they know that we’re really utilizing the best timing and are going to get the best metrics on that content for them.” Working in tandem with the web analytics team, her team created dashboards for key stakeholders, highlighting website traffic from social posts. In the month of March, social media drove 52% of website traffic.
COVID threw a lot of curve balls, but by combining an agile approach with automated content delivery, Kiersten and her team were ready. “We were really grateful to have our ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ model. [Our wholesalers]…never dropped their presence…and they were able to continue to grow those relationships at their own pace while learning how to virtual wholesale in this new world.”
Erika’s program differs from Kiersten’s in size, scale and model. As more of a B2B2C model, Ameriprise Financial’s 5000 advisors that use social media are the driving force behind any social media ROI. Erika rarely takes action on behalf of advisors, but instead focuses on a significant area of opportunity each month to move them along their social selling journeys.
Lead with data to activate advisors
Erika’s monthly focuses—on a different topic, strategy, or opportunity for the field—are at the heart of her advisor activation strategy. “The ultimate goal is to have more advisors follow our recommended practices, and decrease the number of advisors who end up putting social media on autopilot,” says Erika.
Looking at both quantitative (from Hearsay reports) and qualitative (direct feedback from the field) data help her pinpoint where to focus each month. Recently, Erika analyzed the top, and bottom, 25% of advisors on social media. “While I was analyzing this data, I noticed that the majority of our top social media users had at least one on-behalf-of user, and that the bottom 25% actually didn’t have an on-behalf-of user.” (The “on-behalf-of user” or delegate, in Hearsay, enables an advisor to grant access to another practice or staff member, for additional support.)
From this, Erika hypothesized that advisors with at least one Hearsay delegate would improve client experience, and grow their book of business faster. She developed a SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound) goal of increasing the amount of Hearsay workspaces that assigned at least one on-behalf-of user by 5%. Then, she leaned on her training, operations, and supervision partners to determine the best avenues for driving awareness, and sharing best practices across all advisors, not just those that lacked delegates. Ultimately, in its first month of execution, Ameriprise advisors exceeded Erika’s SMART goal, increasing delegates by 6.26%.
But while it’s called a monthly focus, the work doesn’t stop at the end of the month; the cycle repeats itself. “That’s how you actually measure the return on your investment,” Erika notes. “You keep looking back at the work you’ve already accomplished…week over week, month over month, and even year-over-year to make sure you track the progress that you’re making after you’ve actually executed a strategy.”
A huge thanks to Kiersten Shank and Erika Clyma for sharing the nuts and bolts behind their ROI success with us! You can watch a replay of their session, and other Summit sessions, here.