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Data-Driven Social Media 101 for Advisors & Agent

It’s generally accepted that data is important. But when it comes to using data to improve business results, many people have an instant aversion. Some think they don’t have the technical expertise, others believe they don’t have time. Luckily, being data-driven no longer requires the harrowing process of making pivot tables. Tools have improved significantly and small steps go a long way.

Here are some basics to get your data-driven social media journey started.

How to Measure Your Social Media Success

When measuring the success of your social media presence, you want to look at three key metrics: engagement, traffic, and conversion.
Engagement refers to how many people like, comment, and share your social media posts. Engagement is usually measured in proportion to how many followers you have.

Traffic refers to how many people visit your website from social media. These may be existing clients or new prospects.
Conversion refers to how many of your social media followers and website visitors end up taking a specific action you define as a conversion (anything from filling out a form to becoming a paying customer).

The more relevant your posts are to your audience, the better your engagement and traffic will be. And the results of these metrics are typically all connected; good engagement begets higher traffic, which leads to higher conversion numbers (as long as your website is customer-friendly).

We’ll cover different tools you can use to measure engagement below. To measure traffic and conversion, you’ll need to integrate Google Analytics into your website. Create a Google Analytics account and follow the instructions. If you’re using a third-party vendor to manage your website, like Hearsay Sites, check to see what analytics are available to you.

Facebook Insights

A Facebook Business Page comes with a dedicated data and analytics section called Insights. From here, you can navigate to different areas of interest via the sidebar.
When you click on Insights, you’ll land on the Page Summary section. This provides a general overview of your Facebook Business Page’s data, such as how many page views you’ve had recently. In the top right corner, you can export your data into a spreadsheet.

A good place to start is the Posts section.

This will tell you what kinds of posts have the most reach and engagement, with engagement broken down by reactions, comments, and shares.
With these insights, you can fine-tune your Facebook content strategy until you’re posting content that resonates with your audience.

LinkedIn Analytics

Non-Premium LinkedIn Users have access to some basic data, like who’s viewed your profile as well as the number of connections in your network, which you can view on the left-hand side.
Premium LinkedIn users have access to a lot more, with LinkedIn Sales Navigator the most useful solution for advisors and agents. In addition to more robust analytics than the basic level of LinkedIn, you’ll be able to track leads, receive lead recommendations, and get sales updates every time someone changes jobs

Additional analytics that LinkedIn Premium provide is an extended list of everyone who’s viewed your profile in the last 90 days. This gives you an opportunity to reach out to potential leads.

Twitter Analytics

There are two places on Twitter that you can go to to get Twitter Analytics.
One is the Tweet Activity section. This gives you the analytics for each individual tweet. To access it, click the icon next to the heart button on any tweet that looks like a bar graph. From here, you can see a summary of Impressions and Total Engagements (which adds up likes, retweets, and replies) for that specific tweet.

The other feature is called Twitter Analytics. Twitter’s analytics help you understand how the content you share on Twitter grows your business. A few things you can see in the Analytics section include:

  • Your Top Tweet
  • New followers
  • Top followers
  • Top mention
  • Engagement rate
  • Impressions month over month

You can also export your data for a CSV file, which will include your tweets, engagement data, and more.

Create a Data-Driven Plan

Once you have determined which metrics are important to you and your business, it is important to make a plan to utilize these resources to increase business.
Stick with your metrics. Vendors are constantly developing new tools to measure the impact of social media. That said, you should focus on using a handful of tried and true metrics that work for you and fit your goals.

Integrate data into your decision-making process. There are a couple of ways you can do this. For example, when deciding whether you should change up your content strategy, make sure to make it a habit to check your data first to see what’s working and what needs to be changed.

Set goals and strive towards them. A data-driven strategy works best when you are working toward benchmarks. There are a lot of potential metrics out there. Keeping a few specific goals and tracking against them will help you excel.

Learn More at an Upcoming Webinar

If you’re a Hearsay customer and would like a deeper dive into how to become a more data-driven advisor or agent, check out our upcoming webinar “Insights & Data-Driven Workflows”.

In this live webinar, advisors will hear directly from Hearsay’s Customer Education Executive Chris Beck on how to be as data-driven as possible with your social media!
Sign up now for one of our upcoming advisor and agent webinars and learn more about key metrics and how to measure your progress analytically:

2019 Social Trends for the Digital Advisor or Agent


With a new year comes new social and digital trends. Hearsay CEO Clara Shih wrote a thought-provoking piece on what 2019 will hold in store for advisors in terms of technology trends over at WealthManagement.com. She says:
“In these turbulent market times, technology advancements used to amplify advisors’ human touch will matter more than during bull markets, and will define client relationships to years to come.”
One way technological advancements can amplify advisors (and all financial service professionals) is through social and digital communication channels. Here are four trends that will define your client relationships.

Trend 1: 1-on-1 Messaging

The recent news that Facebook is extending its messaging platform to Instagram and WhatsApp for an integrated experience is just the most recent example of the growing importance of 1-on-1 messaging. With this confluence, there will be 2.6 billion users who can suddenly all contact each other through, regardless of which platform they’re messaging on. While not every social and digital platform can do the same, this proves that the relevancy of 1-on-1 messaging will continue to grow.
Revisit your 1-on-1 messaging strategy: social media DMs, text messages, phone calls, email. Keep track of leads you’ve nurtured and send an email/text when the time is right. Many of you are probably already doing this today, but it doesn’t hurt to codify this further and focus more effort into this bucket. By automating other top of funnel activities, such as posting on social media and managing lead forms on your website, then you’ll have more time to spend on high-value 1-to-1 interactions with clients.

Trend 2: Build Trust

The past few years have been rocked by a crumbling trust in our social media networks. While most issues were with Facebook, including but not limited to Cambridge Analytica, fake news, and fake profiles found on the network, Twitter had its fair share of drama too with its use of bots and fake accounts. Trust is an ongoing conversation that those on the forefront of digital have to constantly keep in mind.
Building the lost trust back up on social media will require a massive effort from many folks, the social networks especially, but there are day-to-day activities that you can do to establish trust as well. Post personal and authentic content that shows a different side of your business. This could be posting images of the folks in your office volunteering or going to social events together. Some agents and advisors also post about their personal lives and families! Just be careful not to post anything that might be unprofessional and hurt your brand.

Trend 3: Real-Time Content Grows

Facebook and Instagram Stories and various live streaming features point to continued growth in real-time content. The continuing trend of real-time content is actually a branch of the conversation about trust. Folks are craving real-time content because it feels more authentic and real. We’ve seen the idea of real-time content productized in social media platforms through the use of Facebook and Instagram Stories. You also see it in the continued growth of live streaming on these platforms and others.
Create posts that mimic real-time content. Do this by posting content about current trends and events. Even if the post goes out a few days or a week after the news or trend first hits, your followers can still tell that you’re paying attention to the latest happenings and are savvy enough to comment on it. Think of it as being fashionably late or taking a moment to gather your thoughts on the subject before sharing.

Trend 4: Digital Connectivity

A lead goes to your website and fills out a contact form. You follow up with an email to schedule a meeting. After your meeting, you send a text thanking them for their time. Later on, you see they retweeted one of your tweets about market fluctuations. You send them a text, “Hey, thanks for retweeting. Call me if you have any questions about market fluctuations.” After your phone call, you send them an email with some follow-up information. As the digital landscape becomes more complex, so do your digital relationships with your customers and prospects. This opens up a world of possibility for your communication methods, but can also become a heady thing to manage.
Ensure whatever platform you’re using for digital communication can seamlessly connect all of these touchpoints. Look for solutions that can automate this process. Hearsay, for example, can automate the entire scenario described above!

Learn More

If you’re a Hearsay customer and would like a deeper dive into these four trends and how they apply to your business, check out our upcoming webinar “2019 Social & Digital Trends”.
In this live webinar, advisors and agents will hear directly from Hearsay’s Customer Education Executive Chris Beck about the latest trends in social and digital and how you can incorporate key findings into your approach.
Cut through the noise and get straight to the point: what are the key 2019 digital trends to look out for? How can you leverage them for your business?
Sign up now for one of our upcoming advisor & agent webinars, and get the foundation for your digital strategy ready to go by the end of the session:
Wed, Feb 20, 2019, 11:00 AM PST
Tue, Feb 26, 2019, 8:00 AM PST

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 Linktr.ee, 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

Advisor Websites: Improve your Search Ranking & Digital Presence with SEO


Using social networks to improve your business is important, but no matter where a prospect starts online, they ultimately end  at your website. Today’s prospects are constantly looking for more information before making their buying decisions and your website is an important part of that journey.
In fact, 2/3 of people of all ages say an updated website makes them feel more confident when dealing with financial services professionals, especially when it comes to insurance, according to LIMRA’s 2018 Barometer Study. A similar percentage of folks say they would not do business with an agent or advisor with an out-of-date website.

Your Clients And Prospects Need To Be Able To Find You

Just as you research prospective clients before you meet, your prospect will research you before engaging with you in person or on the phone. When they type your name into Google, they’ll expect to find your social media profiles and website right away – not to scroll through pages of results to find you.
Social Profiles such as LinkedIn, Facebook Business Pages or Twitter accounts (assuming they are public by default) will rank high in search engine results. In order to rank higher in Google search results, you need to make your profiles and website keyword-rich. To do that, you need to know what Search Engine Optimization is, also known as SEO.

What is SEO?

In technical terms, SEO is the “strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine.” Basically, SEO is making sure you use keywords, images, links, and other content that will make your website rank higher on Google when people search topics related to your industry or services.
For example, the advisor/agent website often serves as a content hub if you are able to post blog posts, and other information related to you and your practice like financial calculators or corporate-sponsored collateral on the importance of life insurance or retirement. If you’re a financial advisor that specializes in providing financial advice to small businesses, your website should mention key terms like “small business,” “local business,” and any other relevant terms to your business. Your blog posts should center around this focus and possibly even link to third-party articles that talk about the same industry. All of this helps to make sure your website is search engine optimized.
Firms that do NOT incorporate these strategies are at a major disadvantage. 57% of a purchase has already been made before first contact with a company representative. Influencing during this discovery phase is critical to the success of your business. Search engines reward websites that have consistent content updates because this signals to their algorithms that these pages are more relevant to users than sites that are not updated regularly.

SEO Tips & Tricks

Provide Quality Content

Text, images, and video: quality content goes beyond your basic contact information. Things to think about include:

  • Who you are?
  • What makes you unique?
  • Why are you a great person to work with?

Images, a written biography or an introductory video showcasing your office and you at work within the community are also great ways to expand this initiative.
Tailor your content based on your demographic and talk about things that are important to your target audience while identifying common struggles and concerns that enable YOU to post content that addresses those issues.

Make Content Dynamic

You do not want a website that you park on the Internet and throw away the keys. Stagnant websites  are “so 1995.” It’s important to share things that are relevant and recent. Some examples include:

  • Quick links to news article, such as what’s happening in the world or the economy
  • Long form articles or blog posts that allow you to use relevant keywords for ranking and link back to your website from your social networks

Use Relevant Keywords

It is important to optimize your website for the web and for search engines. By using relevant keywords you increase your SEO, however don’t get too caught up in the weeds doing this. Ensuring your information is up to date is the first step.
Place the keywords throughout every aspect of your site:

  • Tour titles
  • Content
  • URLs
  • Image names

And think about your keywords as search terms — how would someone looking for information about you search for it? This is the key to success.
This is just a snapshot of the content we have prepared to teach you about putting together a website for your business.
Register Now for our upcoming monthly webinar, Tuesday, December 18, 2018 at 8am PST/ 11am EST / 4pm GMT for SEO + Advisor Sites: How to Improve your SEO and Overall Digital Presence.  In this live webinar you will hear directly from Hearsay’s Customer Education Executive Chris Beck about how to use search engine optimization (SEO) to increase the discoverability of your business online.

Create a Content Strategy that Works for Advisors and Agents


Back in June, Hearsay Systems published our benchmark 2018 Social Media Content Study. We analyzed approximately 3.4 million posts from the 77,000 advisors using our Hearsay Social Platform. The Hearsay team extracted key insights on what kinds of content perform best on social media and filtered it by line of business. From there, the Customer Education team hosted a webinar that same month that covered it as well as some general best practices.
The study reached the following conclusions:

  • Corporate content is suggested the most by corporate marketing teams, but receives relatively low publishing rates in the field.
  • Non-industry content is suggested the least by corporate marketing teams, but has the highest engagement rates from agents’ followers.
  • Agents seek out and publish industry-related content the most.
  • Corporate marketing teams and their agents need to digitize and automate agent-client engagement workflows.

Based on these conclusions, here is a framework to use along with some best practices we’ve pulled that will take your content strategy to the next level.

Ask Yourself…

First off, when building your content strategy, you must ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the goal of this channel?
  • What is the desired action?
  • What is the specific type of content my audience wants to get in this channel?
  • What is the right tone?
  • What is the ideal velocity?

Using these questions as your framework, you can apply the following social network and content strategy best practices.

Social Network Best Practices

LinkedIn: Use this professional platform to demonstrate thought leadership and build your professional network. While it’s important to build up your reputation as a thought leader across all the networks, it’s most important on LinkedIn. Take a look at the “What people are talking about now” section on the right-hand side of the homepage and see if you can join the trend and create posts about those topics. It’s generally a best practice to post on LinkedIn from noon to 5pm.
Facebook: Grow your network and spread word of your business on the largest social network in the world. Make sure your posts have an informative and friendly tone. Facebook is a great place to show off how awesome your business is, but also how fun and personal you and your team are. We’ve found that the best hours to post on Facebook are from 9-10 am and 1-3 pm.
Twitter: Imagine if Facebook and LinkedIn had a child that moved at a million miles a minute and had a 280 character limit. That’s Twitter in a nutshell. It’s a platform that combines the personality of Facebook with the trending professional topics on LinkedIn and thrives on real-time pithy insights. With an educational and professional tone and by posting from noon-3pm every weekday, you’re sure to find some level of success with this challenging but worthwhile platform.

Content Strategy Best Practices

From our 2018 Social Media Content Study, these four content strategy best practices are sure winners:

  1. Share more non-industry content.
  2. Put an entertaining, engaging spin on industry and corporate content.
  3. Leverage automation and industry-specific technology to make it easier to publish the right content, at the right time.
  4. Maintain an open dialogue between your corporate marketing and compliance teams.

Not sure how to implement these findings into your strategy? Good news! This was just a sneak peek…
Join our upcoming webinar Content 201: Building and Promoting your Personal Digital Brand for deeper insights into how you take your financial services content strategy to the next level. We’ll covers how to build a strong brand strategy by focusing on your strengths and personality, as well as the latest trends in social media content strategy, based on our 2018 Social Media Content Study. Learn how to develop your unique voice on social by posting great content that will help you connect with and grow your audience!
Register now for the webinar on November 13, 2018: 8am PST/ 11am EST / 4pm GMT

Digital Superstitions Debunked

Digital superstitions
Because the digital world as we know it today is so new, there is bound to be miseducation out there about it. Just as superstitions and stories about monsters and boogeymen thrive amongst communities that are scared of the unknown because they don’t understand it, professionals might see digital media (especially social media) in the same way. However, just because it’s unknown and scary doesn’t mean we can’t break it apart, understand it, and even work with it.
Halloween is just a few weeks away so in the spirit of spookiness, here are three digital superstitions that have been debunked.

“Social media takes too much time.”

FALSE. If you automate and prioritize your social efforts, social media should take up no time at all.
In a survey of our users in 2017, we heard that the average advisor wants to spend about 5-10 minutes a week managing their digital marketing activities. That makes sense when you see that over 70% of all content posted is re-posted from the library. In an effort to make that 10 minutes better spent on digital marketing behaviors that truly differentiate your practices, we built Dynamic Campaigns to provide critical automation around sharing timely and relevant content. Instead of spending time re-posting from the content library, you can spend 5 min writing one great, personalized, and relevant post for your clients and prospects. The rest of the content can go out on your behalf automatically by subscribing to the right mix of campaigns provided by your corporate marketing teams.
For custom content, we highly recommend you make them really personal – posts that you can’t get from a dynamic campaign once a week. Your one custom post a week should be something that can only come from you or your firm. This helps build your brand as a personable and human one. You become a professional that clients and prospects can relate to. It might take a few more minutes than simply subscribing to a campaign, but it’s well worth the time in the long run.

“There’s no way to measure success.”

FALSE. There are many ways you can measure your success on social media.
For starters, the social networks each have their own data and analytics tools. On Facebook, you have Audience Insights. On Twitter, there’s Twitter Analytics and on LinkedIn there’s LinkedIn Analytics.
Facebook Analytics provides you with an overview of various demographics of who has liked your Facebook Page. In addition, every time you run an advertisement, you have access to a wide variety of performance metrics.
Twitter Analytics provides you with a real-time look at the people that are most relevant to you, such as followers or people who have engaged with your Tweets. It gives you the ability to learn about your audience’s demographics, interests, lifestyle and purchase behaviors. Leverage these insights to create the most relevant messages and help you identify new audiences to reach out to.
To access the audience insights dashboard from the Analytics dropdown on ads.Twitter.com, select Audience Insights. You can also access the analytics insights dashboard via analytics.twitter.com by selecting Followers.
With a basic LinkedIn account you are provided with limited insights into who has viewed your profile, how many profile views you’ve had, and the number of views your post has gotten. You’re also provided robust Insights related to long-form posts.

“Scheduled posts aren’t as effective.”

FALSE. They can be every bit as effective as their more inefficient, manual counterparts. 
There is a commonly held belief that social media accounts purposefully limit the reach of content posted through third-party apps, probably in an effort to keep spam content low.
Besides an official statement from Facebook’s Matt Trainer back in 2011, this myth is still a pervasive one. However, several experiments have been run the past few years from online sources, such as Agorapulse in 2017. They found that there was little difference between the way 3rd Party App content and native app content performed.
What might be fueling this myth is actually user error. Folks who schedule content through 3rd Party Apps might be posting lower quality content in general or posting the exact same post across all social networks, which can affect engagement rates and reach. Just be sure that you’re still mindful of the content you post and where you post it, and your content should do great regardless!

10 More Digital Superstitions

Learn about ten more digital superstitions in our upcoming customer education webinar, Digital Superstitions: Let’s Debunk 13 Social, Digital, and Personal Brand Myths. In this live and Halloween-themed best practices webinar, advisors will hear directly from Hearsay’s Customer Education Executive Chris Beck about the truths behind some of the scary and spooky myths regarding your social, digital and personal brand efforts. Join us Tuesday October 16, 2018: 8am PST/ 11am EST / 4pm GMT or watch the recorded version.
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Ready to Text Your Clients and Prospects? Don't Break These Rules

In April 2017, FINRA released Regulatory Notice 17-18, which directly addressed texting in the financial services industry. It stated that text messages, like social media content and email, must be archived.
Despite this regulation, our research has shown that more than 50 percent of advisors are already texting clients, putting themselves and their firms at risk. Texting is one of the most efficient ways to reach clients, which explains why most advisors are doing it – whether their firms’ policies allow it or not.

Advisors have found that not only is texting the most responsive form of communication, but, clearly, customers overwhelmingly prefer it. In fact, 98 percent of texts are opened, and 90 percent are read within the first three minutes. Because regulators are starting to take a closer look at advisor-client texting behaviors, make sure you’re following these texting best practices.

1. Obtain Consent to Text

By law, you must obtain consent to text a client or prospect before you can begin texting them. This is sometimes called opt-in or attestation. To obtain this consent, the first text you send to a client or prospect must be a compliance message that states who you are, that message and data rates apply, and how to opt out.
In order to make sure you get this opt-in right, using texting technology that already has built-in compliance is highly recommended.

2. Text With Care

The casual nature of texting can also lend itself to easily being abused as a channel for spam. If the recipient doesn’t respond to your opt-in text, we recommend following up after waiting the same timespan you would when following up with an email. Remember: they can text “STOP” at any point during the text conversation and this will legally require you to stop sending texts.
If that happens, a proper compliant texting platform should automatically shut off all communication with that contact.

3. Respond in a Timely Fashion

Once your client texts back, it’s usually best practice to respond as soon as you can. This could be difficult to do given you have other tasks at hand and responding back to dozens of client texts daily can seem daunting.
When overwhelmed with a Herculean task, there’s no better way to tackle it than through delegation. Giving your staff members access to your client texts via a team texting console so they can respond to on your behalf is a great way to address this. That way, if you don’t have time to respond to a text, your staff members can.

4. Follow Your Firm’s Communication Policy, Privacy Rules and Standards

This best practice might seem like common sense, but many professionals often unintentionally throw policies and rules out the window when texting, due to its casual and quick nature. When looking to invest in texting compliance technology, you should consider one that has built-in text blocking functionality that will prevent you from sending certain words.
If you’re a Hearsay customer, join us for this month’s advisor webinar, “Optimizing Your Mobile Efforts,” on Tuesday, September 18, 2018, at 8am PST / 11am EST / 4pm GMT to learn more about the latest in mobile advisor communication, how it is an essential part of your business, and how Hearsay Relate can help you solve these business problems. Leave with action items that enable you to get the most out of your digital communication channels.
Disclaimer: The material available on this blog is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.
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Email Marketing, Social Media and You

Email marketing may seem like old technology, but it’s far from out of the game in terms of importance. The Understanding Financial Services Email Marketer in 2018 study found that over half of financial services marketers are using email marketing to promote their businesses. It’s also estimated that 49 million emails are sent by financial services companies per month, with customers receiving on average three emails monthly.

Email continues to bring value as a marketing tool because of its unique ability to create valuable personal touchpoints at scale. In the financial services industry, this is key. The ability to have meaningful, high-touch connections with your clients is crucial to building and maintaining relationships. Money is an intensely personal subject, and advisors need to prove their commitment to their clients’ financial success with every message, every meeting, every email.

4 Email Marketing Best Practices

1. Personalize
Customers are more likely to open emails when their name is in the subject line and/or mentioned in the body. It makes the email experience seem more engaging and authentic and less like a robot sent them a message. In order to make your email stand out amongst the thousands of other emails that clients receive, personalizing it is the right way to go. It is important to invest in an email program that lets you personalize emails at scale.
2. Automate
Schedule your emails in advance and automate the sending process. If you frontload the work of sending and scheduling emails on Monday, then you have time for the rest of the week to focus on other high-value tasks. Automating also ensures that you maintain a consistent level of contact with your clients, which helps to build your relationship with them. You won’t have to worry about whether or not you’re sending a happy birthday email to each of your clients on his or her special day; a good automation program ensures it.
3. Mobile-Friendly
According to Email Client Market Share Trends, 46 percent of all emails are opened on mobile devices. Make sure your email is easy to read on a phone and that your messaging is concise and clear. Test your email content by sending it to yourself first to view it on your phone. Ask yourself: Would you read this email if you were busy and on the go? How does it read? Is the most important information at the top? Is it engaging? Another important thing to keep in mind is whether your images, such as logos or professional portraits, are appearing correctly.
4. Consistent with Social Presence
It is important to ensure that your tone in your email efforts is consistent with the content you’re posting on social media. By making sure your brand and behavior are the same across the board, you’ll present a consistent, reliable presence that your customers and prospects will grow to know and trust.

Email Copy Best Practices

1. Subject Line
Personalize your email subject lines and ensure that they 1) have less than 50 characters, 2) create a sense of urgency, and 3) pique the interest of the reader.
2. Body
Make sure the body of your emails are concise and clear, and that the point of why you sent the email is easily understandable “above the fold.” “Above the fold” once referred to any content that appeared on the top half of the front of a folded newspaper. Content had to be catchy and interesting enough for people to want to buy and continue reading. Nowadays, it means anything that’s not cut off by the bottom edge of a computer or phone screen.
A call to action is what you’re trying to get the reader to do after reading the email. It could be clicking a link to a new blog post, scheduling a new meeting, or a request to follow you on social media. Whatever action you hope to encourage, your messaging must be clear from the get-go, or your recipients will most likely lose interest and stop reading.
3. Cadence
Coschedule.com aggregated 10 studies on email marketing in order to find overall recommended times and days to send out marketing emails.
The studies show that the best days to send emails are on Tuesday through Thursday (Tuesday being the best, Thursday being the second best, and Wednesday being third best). The best times are 6am, 10am and 2pm, and between the hours of 8pm and 12am. Because these are averages and studies conducted across several industries, we highly recommend you test different times and date combinations to see what works best for you. Experiment, experiment, experiment … and then stick to whatever combinations work best for you and your client base.
4. 1-to-1 Outreach
From personalization at scale to automation via email campaigns, Hearsay’s 1-to-1 Outreach feature (part of our Advisor Social solution) allows financial advisors and insurance agents to email their prospects and clients easily, efficiently and effectively – with the right message at the right time – in a way that drives sales.

If you’re a Hearsay customer, join us for this month’s advisor webinar, “Email Marketing, Social & You,” on Tuesday, August 21, 2018, at 8am PST / 11am EST / 4pm GMT and learn how to combine your efforts on social media and email marketing to expand your overall automated workflows, content channels and other best practices can optimize your digital communication. We will cover the importance of using social and email to meet your customers and prospects where they are, and make tangible gains for your business. See you there!
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How Financial Advisors Can Level Up Their Digital Presence

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.

Let’s Go!

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!
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Why Every Financial Services Professional Needs a Personal Online Brand

Were you ever curious about a person and looked him or her up online? You might’ve come across his or her social media accounts, personal website, pictures and work. While doing this casual research, did you notice that you were beginning to develop an opinion or understanding of who that person is and what he or she is all about?
This image, oftentimes curated, is a personal brand.
In the digital age, anyone with an online presence can have a personal brand, whether it’s intentional or not. The act of personal branding is the deliberate marketing of yourself and your career. It’s a constantly evolving process of establishing in the mind of others the impression you’d like them to have of you.
As one might imagine, without careful curation and thought put into your personal brand, your professional work can easily be misinterpreted in a way that you might not want. Simple things like having a website that’s not mobile friendly or a Facebook business page that hasn’t had a new post in a week could easily become personal brand (and career) killers.
To make sure this doesn’t happen, you have to understand the importance of your personal brand, and then actively work to build and promote it.

Personal Branding in the Financial Services Industry

What people take away from your brand can have real business implications. Online branding is more than just logos, ad copy and talking about why your products and services are the best – it’s all about letting your personality shine through the noise and showing prospects what you have to offer. The more people like what they see and hear about your brand on social media, the more they will be inclined to check out what you have to offer.
When it comes to the financial services industry, your online personal brand can make or break your business. Why? It comes down to trust.
According to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer study, trust is significantly declining across all industries. They say 2018 will be the the year for the “Battle for Truth.” Distrust is high in the U.S. and it’s up to organizations to continue being proactive about building trust with their constituents, including advisors in the financial services industry. It’s great that the public’s trust of the industry is improving (albeit still very low), but it’s up to us to not rest on our laurels and to keep this momentum growing. A powerful way to do that is by making sure your personal brand is as professional and trustworthy as it can be.

How to Build Your Personal Brand

To begin building your personal brand, you need to first define your brand’s personality across different online channels. It’s important to determine which social profiles you plan to use for business purposes and ensure that your pages are all current and consistent across platforms.
As you think about developing your brand, think of these questions and prompts to help you get started:

  • What would you like people to associate with you when they think of your name? (e.g. trustworthy, knowledgeable, etc.)
  • What is your subject matter expertise?
  • What general qualities would you like to link to your brand? (financial services/insurance, dependability, honesty, etc.)
  • Describe your brand’s personality. (Trusted, dependable, long lasting, etc.)
  • How do you deliver high-quality customer service?
  • What do your customers and prospects already think of your company?
  • What qualities do you want them to associate with your company?

Keep these qualities and associations in mind when working on more public-facing online channels like social media and your website, but personal branding should be something that is incorporated into everything you do. This includes what you write in private messages, texts, and emails, too.

Once you have an idea of what you want your personal brand will be, here are a few social media action items to implement these learnings.
1. Interact with Your Online Networks
Scan your newsfeeds and timelines for important posts to interact with. Social media is a place for you to share your thoughts, but commenting on, liking, and sharing others’ posts are just as important to building your brand.
2. Demonstrate Thought Leadership
Post engaging, timely and thought-provoking content to build your reputation as a thought leader in your field. Your brand can be anything you want it to be, but having the goal of being a thought leader isa  general best practice as it cements your reputation as a trusted and well-informed professional.
3. Post About Life and Office Successes
This one might be a little intuitive as you’re trying to build up your professional career. However, a large part of building trust online is by being vulnerable and personal. This doesn’t mean you should start treating your professional networks like they’re your personal pages, but it’s highly encouraged that you let yourself be a little human online. Feel free to post about exciting life events (having a baby, buying a house, hobbies) and fun happenings in your office (birthdays, outings, office remodeling).
These are just a few suggestions/examples, and might not apply to whatever personal brand you come up with! So be sure to continue to revisit your answers to the questions above and see if the tactics you’re using are matching up with your brand strategy.
With this foundation, you can stay one step ahead of the competition by curating your online presence. You’ll have an awesome personal brand in no time and prospects will flock to your business because of your trustworthy reputation.
Are you a current Hearsay customer? If so, join our newest webinar, “How to Build and Promote Your Personal Online Brand,” on Tuesday, April 17, at 8am PST / 11am EST / 4pm GMT. Our very own Customer Education team will provide tips on how to create a strong brand strategy by focusing on your strengths and letting your personality shine through your social media efforts. Learn how to develop your unique voice on social and build a personal brand to connect and grow your audience!
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