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Building Trust and Partnerships: Keys to Successful Social Selling Programs

What does it take to successfully scale social selling programs? Recently, Hearsay’s VP of Marketing Leslie Leach was joined by Cully Eisenbeis, Senior Channel Management Specialist for Social Media at Edward Jones, and Caitlin Pollack, Senior Manager of Social Marketing Platforms at RBC, to discuss this topic. Cully and Caitlin are two of Hearsay’s most successful clients; Cully oversaw Hearsay’s fastest rollout, getting 12,000 users live in 60 days, while Caitlin manages one of our most mature programs. 

Three key takeaways emerged from their discussion.

Share authentic content to build trust

With a ubiquitous presence on Main Street, Edward Jones is a 100-year-old firm whose reputation is built on face-to-face relationships. Fast-forward to the digital age, and it became clear that the ability to “digitize” the cultivation of that trust that advisors previously built in a local neighborhood was imperative for future success.

Initially, Cully’s team had doubts about the relevance of social media for their high-touch clientele, but Cully knew that helping them share authentic content on a consistent basis could help them build and reinforce trust.

He shared a story about his dad, who as a client, had a light-bulb moment while scrolling through his Facebook feed. Cully’s dad said, “I follow all the news outlets..and there’s fake news, real news…I never know what to believe. But I came across [my advisor’s] post and I said, ‘Wow, I’m going to click on this. I trust Brad. I trust Edward Jones. I trust the content that they’re publishing is going to be true.’” After seeing this post on 401k rollover options, his dad picked up the phone to call his advisor. 

To date, Edward Jones advisors have posted about 2 million pieces of content and have just as many engagements. To Cully, the biggest win comes from advisors’ reactions. “When they see that they’re being given suggested dates and times of when to post content based on their followers’ interactions…[they say] ‘Wow, this is really, really innovative for our firm,’” he says. 

Cully’s conclusion? Consistent, quality content helps win hearts and minds, and deepens trust.

Partnerships are key for buy-in and success

Although people can be averse to change, partnering with internal and external teams facilitates the process and minimizes resistance. Legal, compliance, IT, reputation management, and change management teams all play a part in successfully onboarding a social media management platform, and are critical when obtaining early buy-in and cooperation.

Edward Jones also helped teams get across the line by leveraging Hearsay’s training programs. They relied on Hearsay’s customer advocacy team—which uses a one-to-one approach to proactively reach individual advisors and provide customized service—to onboard 6,000 users.

By utilizing all internal and external resources at hand, Edward Jones achieved a 62% adoption rate across the firm in five months, and has over 13,000 users to date. 

Regular sharing ensures a streamlined process

To allow program leaders to focus on specific needs, goals, and objectives for their particular line of business, RBC transitioned from a decentralized approach to a “center of excellence” model. On a weekly basis, Caitlin meets with the IT team, the platform owner, and Hearsay CSM (Customer Success Manager) to review program initiatives, share ideas, and communicate upcoming changes on behalf of each line of business, with the goal of ensuring that each program is on track. Annually, the team has a “Hearsay Day” where they review and compare noteworthy initiatives, results, and program goals. 

She also recommends—and is dedicated to—scheduled maintenance and shared learning. During scheduled maintenance, the team reviews configurations and ensures all the right users are active. For example, a recent compliance audit helped validate that workflows implemented from several years ago were still effective and appropriate.

When it comes to shared learning, users meet to discuss ideas such as content best practices and customized training. One of RBC’s business segments hosted a level-up training, targeting advisers who were already highly engaged Hearsay users. Other segments will now be able to access this, reducing duplicate work and helping the team scale its training and growth.

A huge thanks to Cully and Caitlin for sharing how they continue to run successful social selling programs. You can watch a replay of their session, and other Summit sessions here

Katherine Creeden

Katherine Creeden is the Marketing Operations Specialist at Hearsay. Based in Austin, she’s spent the last five years in marketing, helping teams run efficiently behind the scenes. She has a BS in Corporate Communications and a certificate in Business Foundations from the University of Texas at Austin.

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