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New Survey: Top Advisors Gain Nearly $8M in AUM Through Strategic Social Media Use

According to the fifth edition of Putnam Investments’ Social Advisor survey, more advisors than ever before are using social media to grow their business.
The survey, which included 1,014 U.S.-based financial advisors and was conducted in November 2017, found 86 percent of advisors reported that social media activity helped them gain new clients, up from 49 percent in 2013. Additionally, while the average amount of assets gained that advisors attributed to social media remained flat at $5 million, top advisors ($100 million+ in AUM) reported $7.8 million gained through their social media use.

While social media has been recognized as a key communication channel for advisors for several years, the survey uncovered a few new trends related to how advisors are using this channel to grow their business.
First, nearly nine out of 10 (88 percent) advisors reported that social media has changed their relationship with their clients. Two thirds indicated that social media makes it easier to share information, and nearly 60 percent have increased the number of touchpoints they had with their clients throughout the year.

Second, 54 percent of advisors indicated their plan to go deeper with their existing social network presences, with a majority of high-AUM advisors indicating that they wanted to add new social media team members and connect social in a more meaningful way to their marketing automation efforts. While grassroots and “DIY” efforts were sufficient in the past, more advisors are recognizing the need to have a strategic approach to their social media use today.

Finally, more than 80 percent of advisors indicated that their social media use helped them shorten the time required to convert a prospect into a client. This finding suggests that strategic social media usage not only helps advisors attract new clients, but also do so in a more efficient way than through other traditional channels.
To download the full survey report and learn about Putnam’s Social Advisor Maturity Curve, visit

The Future of Social Media: Video, Paid Content and 1-to-1 Messaging

In today’s world of Snapchat Spectacles, Instagram Live and the ever-popular selfie filters migrating to Facebook, financial services firms struggle to determine which social media trends merit their investment in both content development and compliance infrastructure.
Consumers are more empowered than ever and can essentially dictate how they want to engage with firms from initial marketing to service delivery. As Michael Barnes, vice president and research director at Forrester, stated in December 2016, “Power has shifted away from companies and towards digitally savvy, technology-empowered customers who now decide winners and losers.” Given this important shift, which trends are worth chasing?
As part of Hearsay Summit last week, a group of executives from the world’s leading financial services and insurance companies had the opportunity to sit down and discuss these trends and how they impact their field forces, comprised mainly of financial advisors, insurance agents and asset managers.
What emerged from this group of leaders was clear agreement on the importance of three key trends that are crucial to driving ROI on social: video content, advisor-led paid content (e.g., on Facebook) and 1-to-1 messaging.

Video Is Content King

Video consumption on social channels is at an all-time high. Facebook videos are estimated to receive 32 billion views daily, and trend analysis indicates that this could double as early as this August. Additionally, with the rise of do-it-yourself video channels such as Snapchat and Instagram, consumers are more inclined to consume brand messages in this form than ever before.
More importantly, they look to video to provide the authenticity and transparency that they demand from brands with which they choose to engage.
Yet the challenge here is clear: How should heavily regulated firms support video content in the right way? From the discussion last week, two key ideas emerged:
1. Start small and provide guardrails for self-made videos. Empower a pilot group of trained advisors to share authentic, self-made videos with connections and leverage a post-approval approach for compliance purposes (similar to how other dynamic content is managed). Most advisors will be new to video and will welcome the training and education. In cases of compliance gaps, videos can simply be removed from social sites like Facebook.
2. Leverage your entire field force to distribute brand video content. Brand-made videos are often beautiful, engaging and inspiring in ways that self-made videos might not be. While they have the clear benefit of already having sign-off from the compliance team, they are often expensive to produce. Make your investment go as far as possible by providing your field force with easy access to these videos so that they can distribute them directly to their social connections.

Convert Leads With Paid Content

Scary as it might sound, organic reach on Facebook is dropping rapidly. In 2016, the average publishers’ organic reach on Facebook fell by 52 percent. Today’s savvy marketers and social sellers agree that paid content is a far superior way to find and convert leads versus generating vast amounts of organic content.
Through paid promotions, advisors can target key brand messages and top-performing content to the people they want to reach during their money-in-motion events, like getting married, moving, switching jobs and even retiring. Interestingly, many firms invest vast sums of money on paid content that direct viewers to corporate social pages, even though the majority of business transactions occur at the local, advisor-to-consumer level.
Recently, some firms have started to redirect some of these budgets toward their field force, as they see their advisors truly humanizing brand messages and ultimately convert social views into sales. Firms now even have the opportunity to automate this entire process with technology partners (like Hearsay), so that they can reach and then direct prime prospects to a best-fit, local advisor website or local social page.

Drive More Meaningful Touches With 1-to-1 Messaging

As Hearsay CEO and founder, Clara Shih, noted in her Summit keynote speech, loyal customers have two or more touches per month with their advisor or agent on non-investment related matters. But the days of blasting customers with email spam or snail mail are long gone. So how do you reach your customers in the way they want to be reached?
Leaders from the industry agreed that one of the best ways to connect with both customers and prospects is via 1-to-1 messaging channels, including Facebook Messenger. With Facebook Messenger, advisors can connect with both customers and prospects on their preferred channel, provide a more personal experience (given the two-way connection approval process that is not available via email alone) and also stay within compliance regulations. By opening up this channel, firms can improve their customer touch rate significantly and support advisors in their quest to protect and grow their businesses.
For more:
See how Charles Schwab is empowering their field force to grow business on social in this Summit keynote from Lisa Kidd Hunt, executive vice president and SIFMA chairman-elect:

And, learn how JPMorgan Chase uses social and digital to reinforce and amplify corporate branding campaigns, from this fireside chat with chief marketing officer Kristin Lemkau:


The Rise of the Social Employee: SXSW 2016 Session Recap

sxsw pederson photo 1Last week, I had the pleasure of presenting at SXSW on the topic of the Rise of the Social Employee: Rewards and Risks.  With my background in social media analytics and helping brands structure for social success, I was excited to share some of the learnings I have gathered over time watching brands struggle to find their social voices, at both a corporate and employee level.
Today, it seems that brands are even more focused on empowering their employees with social access, but many are confused about how to do this in a way that mitigates key risks.  This session, with 100+ participants, was a perfect venue to discuss ways brands can reap the rewards of their social employee base, and protect their reputations at the same time.
Here are my key recommendations for leveraging your social employees in a thoughtful way: 

Have guardrails and a disaster plan in place

You cannot control everything that is put into the social sphere.  That means that things can and will go wrong.  Show your employees how to leverage social channels appropriately through your social media policy (using specific scenarios and examples), evolve your policy to match technology and know your brand values and voice when responding to a disaster.  Remember that you can often show more about who you are as a company during times of crisis, rather than throughout the course of business as usual.  

Let your social employees’ voices be heard

Encourage your employees to speak up, to share their experiences and welcome others to the company through internal and external social channels.  When you encounter negative feedback, try to get to the root of the issues before just deleting the comment and moving on.  Listen to your employees’ ideas — your next best product might come from your newest employee!

Social championship starts at the top

Executives should lead by example when it comes to leveraging social.  Not only do employees think that C-suite participation in social media leads directly to better leadership, but they will also learn to follow the good example of the managers above them.  Show them how to listen to and serve prospects and encourage fellow employees through social channels.  
It was clear that while many audience members were excited about “the social employee”, many were still wondering whether it made sense for their own brand, from an ROI perspective.  
To capture the power of social, I shared this paraphrased analogy from Mark & Cheryl Burgess, authors of The Social Employee to inspire:

Think of your corporate social media presence like a baseball, and your social employees like a bag of marbles.  They may weigh the same and be roughly the same shape, but there is one big difference: surface area.  The marbles — your social employees — have roughly 300x the surface area compared to the baseball.  In social speak, this means that they have roughly 300x the first degree connections of your corporate social media assets.  Rolling out a new campaign?  What better way than to allow your social employees to share your brand messages with a touch of their own voice directly to their massive, and personal, networks.

sxsw pederson photo 2_mrrobot
After talking tech, look who I bump into–actor Rami Malek who plays a ‘techie’ on USA Network’s “Mr. Robot”.

While my time in Austin was short, it was both inspiring and eye-opening.  Not only did I get to speak with dozens of other conference-goers who were passionate about content marketing, social recruiting and expanding digital access to employees of all types, but I also got to see social bring together individuals from around the globe…in person.

Thank you to all who attended for helping to make this 2016 presentation a success!
Sarah Pedersen (@sarahcpedersen) is Director, Customer Success at Hearsay Social. 
To learn more, visit

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3 key steps to jump-start your business using social media

thinkadvisor-logoAt a family reunion last year, I caught up with my cousin who has been a financial advisor for the past 15 years. The topic of social business came up, given his work and mine as a manager of customer success at Hearsay Social. An avid proponent of social media for business, he was excited to share some of his recent success stories with me.
First, he said that his favorite thing about social business is the fact that “it works while he sleeps.” In fact, his two single largest accounts originated simply because he managed an up-to-date and compelling social presence. After finding him through an advisor-search tool on his company’s website, these clients researched him on social media before proactively contacting him.
Second, my cousin explained that he actually spends very little time on social media. Like most other successful financial advisors, he aims to spend most of his time with clients. But he does set aside a small amount of time to keep his profile up to date, grow his network, listen for key buying signals from his prospects and clients, and share relevant content.
Not everyone has mastered social business in the way my cousin has. In fact, my team at Hearsay Social is specifically dedicated to coaching advisors on how to optimize their social media usage for measurable business results. What we’ve learned over the past few years is that there are three key actions that you can take today to jump-start your social business.
Continue reading this article over at ThinkAdvisor.

Executing social sales, part 1: A Twitter social sales success story

We often talk about social sales and salespeople using Hearsay Social to attract prospects, retain customers, and grow business.
Every day, we hear from you–our customers–how different people make their sales happen through social media in their own unique ways. But often salespeople new to social media ask, “How do I actually make that social sale happen?”
In this three-part series, we will share three stories detailing just how social salespeople were able to make their deals happen using Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. You will learn that each of these salespeople knew their audience, were patient, and, not surprisingly, proved to be quite social savvy.
In this first video, you’ll see how Brian, a social salesperson from a Fortune 500 company we work with, live-tweeted during a conference and ultimately ended up gaining a new follower. Want to know what happens next? You may be surprised to learn how valuable Brian’s new follower proved to be!
Take a look:

5 essential tools for the social salesperson

Through our work with successful social salespeople, we have had the opportunity to see exactly how these individuals attract leads and convert prospects to clients. Beyond posting regularly, taking action on social signals, and perfecting their own engagement strategy, this group also leverages the social media tools that are readily available to them in order to make the most out of their social media efforts.
But how do they know which tools to use? It seems that everywhere you look these days there is another new free social media measurement tool on the market. Skip these for now. Instead, we are going to show you how you can take advantage of the tools you already have in your social media tool kit.

  1. Who’s Viewed Your Profile (LinkedIn)
    At first glance, seeing who has looked at you online can feel a bit odd. But given LinkedIn’s professional focus and privacy options, this should be a go-to resource for social salespeople. The list is a boon since it captures a record of the people who, for one reason or another, were compelled to gather more information about you. Perhaps they were interested in an article you shared on LinkedIn or perhaps a friend recommended your services to them. Either way, it’s a prime way to identify people who may be potential leads or even upsell targets.How to use this tool: To begin, the only way to see who has viewed your profile is to allow other people to see when you have viewed them. To do this, go to Settings and then click “Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile”.  Set this option to “Your name and headline” – the first option. Navigate back to your profile, and find the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” link on the right side of the page. Next, consider connecting with the viewers you know, but who are not yet a connection. Finally, do a little research on the individuals you do not know.  Leverage LinkedIn’s “TeamLink” feature to see which connections you share with these new people and determine who can make an introduction.
  2. Social Signals (Hearsay Social)
    A key aspect to social selling is taking advantage of opportunities to reach out to your clients and prospects. But the question remains: how do you identify these opportunities? One of the best, and easiest, ways to uncover these prime conversation starters is our very own Social Signals. With Social Signals, you can avoid the hassle of searching for your connections’ important updates one by one, across multiple social media sites. Rather, you will receive a curated list of these important life events, including birthdays, job changes, relocations, relationship changes, and more, in one centralized feed.

    How to use this tool: Once you log in to Hearsay Social, simply click on the Signals tab.  Use the filters (Birthday, Family & Relationship, Job, Location and Uncategorized) to find relevant updates about your connections.  Now, get the conversation going!
    (Please note: not all organizations have access to Social Signals.  If you are interested in receiving Social Signals, please reach out to Hearsay Social Support.)
  3. Reach 2.0 (Facebook)
    If you read our earlier post 5 stats you should track to be successful on social media, you know that reach is a fundamental metric that all social salespeople should be using.  Advanced social salespeople probably want to understand even more about their reach in order to optimize their content strategy and get the most out of any paid promotions.  Consider these reach building blocks:
    Organic reach: The number of unique people who saw your content in their News Feed, in the ticker or on your page.
    Viral reach: The number of unique people who saw a story about your page published by a friend.
    Paid reach: The number of unique people who saw your ad or Sponsored Story.

    How to use this tool: First, access this tool by going to your Facebook business page’s Insights section and clicking on “Reach.” Scroll down to find the section “How You Reached People (Reach and Frequency)”. Next, spend some time reviewing the components of your reach and how they varied across the time period shown on the chart. Connect periods with high reach – whether organic, viral or paid – to the content that drove these peaks. Pay attention to how your paid promotions are faring so that you can optimize your social marketing spend. Over time, you will be able to better predict which of your posts will go viral and how to reach more of your audience with content that matters to them.
  4. Demographics of your Likers (Facebook)
    One of the questions social salespeople often ask themselves is “Who am I reaching with my content?” Some will also ask, “Am I reaching the right audience with my content?”  To answer these questions, take a look at your Facebook Insights.How to use this tool: To find this information, navigate to your Facebook business page’s Insights section and click on “Likes”. Here you will find a summary of their demographics including their gender, age group, country, city, and language.  Once you’ve digested this information, take a minute to answer these questions:
    Are you surprised by the breakout of your Likers?
    Are they older than you expected? Younger?
    Are you reaching people across the country?
    With this information, you can continue to refine the content you share with your audience. If you want to reach an older demographic, for example, consider sharing information about how to spend your retirement instead of how to build a nest egg. If you want reach people who speak another language, include a translation or two in your content to see if you can target these people directly.
  5. Social Sales
    At the end of the day, when you are using social media as a social salesperson, what matters is simple: SALES. But how do you track this information? How do you know at the end of the quarter what percentage of your sales came from social media? The answer is simple: it is up to you! Better than anyone else, you know how you landed each one of your sales. The key is to track information, no matter how you do it.How to use this tool: Again, it is up to you to decide how to measure your social media sales success. Here are a few ideas that we have gathered from our expert social salespeople:
    Maintain your own social sales tracking worksheet that you update regularly (timing will depend on your typical sales volume).
    Leverage your company’s CRM tool if it offers a way to classify a sale’s source as social media.  (If this is not available, consider asking your head of sales to make “social media” an option!)
    Poll your customers to learn how they found you.
    Collaborate with other employees to build a social sales measurement chart so that you can see how you are faring compared to your peers.
    Managers can consider offering a bonus to the salesperson who lands the largest number of social sales per quarter/year.

To learn more about how salespeople leverage social media to grow business, watch the below video highlighting some top performers at Farmers Insurance:

5 stats you should track to be successful on social media

Measuring the impact of a social media engagement program can seem like a daunting task, especially if you are just getting started. With a seemingly endless supply of social data at your fingertips, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
Don’t stress! Stop, and take a deep breath. Social media measurement is more manageable than you think.
The key to success is to start small and establish a few important bases before you try to tackle complex social media ROI models. Whether you are brand new to social media or can tweet in your sleep, we have compiled a few of our favorite metrics below to help you kick off (or extend) your measurement efforts. What makes these metrics so special? Three things: they are specific, they are easy to measure over time, and they are actionable. So take a look, and get going!

1. Reach (Facebook): How many people saw your post

No calculations necessary. See the number of impressions on your Facebook posts by simply looking at the number that appears under each post on your page. Additionally, if you have more than 30 fans on your Facebook page, you can click into your Facebook Insights and monitor the “Reach” for each of your posts. (“Reach” is the same thing as “# of people saw your post”.) For even more insight, sort them to see which of your posts gained the most views.
Action: Look for a theme in your most viewed posts and capitalize on this theme in future posts.

2. Engagement (Facebook): People talking about this (PTAT) / Likes

Find these stats under your Facebook page name. Dividing your PTAT value by the total number of Likes on your page will give you a sense of how engaged your base of fans is. This percentage, which typically ranges between 2-5%, gives you an up-to-the-minute view into just how many of your fans are interacting with your page through any variety of interactions, including likes, comments, shares, mentions, and tags. While it’s not uncommon to have a 2% engagement value, shoot for 5% for a truly stellar Facebook business page.
Action: Pay attention to any peaks or troughs in your engagement metric. Re-engage fans by sharing photos, asking a question, or celebrating your fans’ milestones.

3. Time (all networks): Hearsay Social Metrics

Do you ever wonder when you should post content? Should you post at 9am or 9pm? On Tuesdays or Thursdays? The answer is unique to every business, every page, and every social network. With Hearsay Social’s “Engagement” data, found under “Metrics,” you can determine which day of the week is the best to share content and even what time of day will earn you the most engagement.
Action: Craft your engagement strategy around these metrics. Schedule content for popular times and make sure to respond to your engaged fans.

4. Shareability (Twitter): Search “@yourtwitterhandle” at

Creating content for your social media audience is a good thing. Inspiring your fans and followers so much that they decide to share your content with their audiences is a great thing. To measure this in Twitter, simply search your handle (or use Hearsay Social Metrics) to see exactly how many mentions and retweets you’re receiving. Are people retweeting what you have to say?
Action: If you get lucky, you might just find your brand enthusiasts through your retweet search. Think about engaging them directly by thanking for them for their support in a tweet.

5. Relevance (Twitter): Total You Are Following on Twitter / Total Twitter Followers

If you’ve ever wondered whether your tweets are resonating with your follower base on Twitter, wonder no more. Divide the number of accounts you’re following on Twitter by your total number of Twitter followers to calculate a relevance percentage. If you get a value around 30% or lower, you are doing very well. As a thought leader, you’re like accumulating a healthy following by sharing great content. Having a relevance value around 50% or higher, on the other hand, might not necessarily be a bad thing. Perhaps your strategy is to simply follow back anybody that follows you, a policy that many Twitter users have adopted.
Action: Follow people who you would like to follow you back. Consider tweeting at prospective followers to invite them to follow you.
That’s it! With five easy steps, you can start tangibly measuring your social media efforts to track exactly how your posts and conversations resonate with fans and followers. Each of these metrics lays the groundwork for you to analyze the business impact and ROI of your social sales and marketing efforts.