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5 Themes from SIFMA's 2016 Social Media Seminar

Social media is transforming the advisor-client relationship in very significant ways, from enhancing client services to enabling advisors to authentically communicate with clients and prospects. This year’s SIFMA Social Media Seminar, which aptly took place in the heart of San Francisco’s financial services district on February 25, brought together over a hundred professionals and thought leaders in wealth management, marketing, compliance, and social media to explore how to maximize the use of social platforms amidst an ever-changing regulatory framework. Here’s a look at some of the key themes that emerged throughout the day. 
Regulations and the future of wealth management are top of mind
Our own Founder and CEO Clara Shih (@clarashih) kicked things off during a fireside chat with John Taft, CEO of RBC Wealth Management-US (@RBC), to discuss the role of social media and digital technology and what that means for the wealth management industry. At the onset, they discussed the impact the Department of Labor’s proposed fiduciary rule might have on advisors and brokers, emphasizing that advisors must continue to add value by embracing technologies and delivering information when, where, and how consumers want. 

Clara shared an engaging slide that illustrated the ways today’s clients want to engage with advisors–both online and offline–setting the tone and thought leadership that became an integral part of the discussions throughout the rest of the day.

Social business is everybody’s business

In a lively panel presentation on the importance of integrating social media into corporate and financial advisor communications, Sunayna Tuteja (@sunaynat), Director of Social Media and Online Communities at TD Ameritrade, gave everyone a stark reminder that social business is everybody’s business, and social media can no longer be disassociated from a company’s overall marketing strategy. As we’ve often said before, instead of relegating social media to a social media marketing intern, for example, companies must “move social media out of silos and into total integration,” as explained by Dan Greenberg (@dangb), Sr. Account Executive of Financial Services at Twitter, during another panel discussion. 

Consumption shifts will expand into mobile and video platforms

LinkedIn’s Head of North America Financial Services Marketing, Menaka Thillaiampalam (@menakathill), along with Twitter’s Sr. Account Executive of Financial Services, Dan Greenberg, and DoubleDutch CEO and Co-founder, Lawrence Coburn (@lawrencecoburn), discussed some of the key trends facing the financial services industry, mainly centered around the consumer consumption shifts that are currently taking place. One major consumer trend is that the high-net worth market is growing and the way consumers process money will change. Menaka calls it a “societal shift, more so than a generational shift.”
Case in point: “71% of millennials would rather go to the dentist than listen to what their banks are saying,” says Menaka, according to a recent LinkedIn study on the mindset of affluent millennial investors. In reaching out to millennial investors, Twitter’s Greenberg advised the audience to make mobile–and even video–part of their marketing plans, stating that “mobile has doubled the time we spend online.” Moreover, the use of social media has boomed from 7% of individuals in 2010 to 65% today, he says. “And with those that have more than $75,000 of investable assets, the use is very high.”

The discussion moved to the topic of content and the need to focus on communications around social media and educational content. “75% of investors want their financial advisors to give them educational content online, and 35% of prospective clients turn to social media and other online platforms for advice,” says Menaka. “They are using social media to validate their choices, so thought leadership should be seen as a tactical or strategic step,” she said.

The power of the authentic voice (Hint: Create content that makes you seem human)

According to the presenters on the financial advisor panel, authenticity remains a critical means for communicating and engaging with today’s clients and prospects. The group discussed some of their most successful social media strategies for enhancing communication via social media platforms and highlighted how content that resonates is content that wins the day. For example, Karen Goodwin (@karenjgoodwin), a financial advisor at Ameriprise Financial, talked about her successful use of Facebook to promote a Mother’s Day event. Chris Norton (@RogersNortonWM) of Raymond James spoke about how social media allowed him to garner community support for an employee’s child who was participating in an important Little League series.  

Overall, social media allows advisors to grow their customer base with the right type of people.

Evaluate social media compliance in context

Last, but not least, our own VP of Legal and Compliance, Yasmin Zarabi (@yasminzarabi), along with Marc Gilman, Executive Director of Enterprise Legal at Morgan Stanley, and Michael Lisi, Director of Litigation Support at Fidelity Investments, ended on a strong note on a social media compliance panel moderated by Hardy Calicott, Partner at Sidley Austin. Yasmin reinforced to the audience and fellow panelists that compliance is still a large component of any digital strategy, but the rules are really not so black and white. In other words, context really matters. When you look and evaluate whether someone is doing something wrong, you have to look at the totality of the circumstances, she added. 

For information on how to boost social business across your organization, download our latest Hearsay Social Adoption Guide.
Check out our events page for upcoming event information, and please join us as we continue the conversation at #OmnichannelAdvisor.

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#HSonAir Podcast: The Rise of the Omnichannel Advisor

Screenshot 2016-02-12 11.32.25In Episode 75 we invite Gary Liu (@garycliu), VP of Marketing at Hearsay Social to talk about the rise of the Omnichannel Advisor and the impact that it will have on the financial services industry.  We discuss how the convergence of social, mobile, and digital technologies are rapidly changing consumer behaviors, preferences and expectations and what financial services professionals need to do today to stay competitive in our evolving digital world.
We invite you to be part of the conversation with @victorgaxiola and @alissadossantos on Twitter using hashtag #HSonAir.  If you have a question, comment or suggestion, please send an  e-mail to   We also invite you to “like” our podcast page on Facebook where we share posts about the podcast, our guests, and other fun stuff.


Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih: The Vertical Cloud and Regulations Will Have a Profound Impact on Business in 2016

shutterstock_293401085In 2015, the exponential changes taking place within the technology industry was a recurring theme in the business world. Change was no longer just ubiquitous; it was accelerating. Today, this message has become even clearer as technological advancements continue at a rapid pace and are revolutionizing every aspect of our daily lives.
I wrote how this is fundamentally changing the consumer experience in a recent article published by Fast Company entitled “The Rise of Millennials, Crowdsourcing, And Automation.” But what about the enterprise? Here are two massive trends that business leaders need to watch in 2016:

The vertical cloud comes of age

For some years now, many cloud vendors have sold their products to multiple industries – an approach that has worked exceptionally well for companies like Workday and Salesforce. In 2016 and beyond, thanks to key technology developments across the public and private arena including low cost web hosting services and no-cost open-source programming languages, we will see the vertical cloud come of age, particularly in highly regulated industries such as healthcare, government, and financial services – industries that have largely been neglected by Silicon Valley due to the unique complexities involved. According to Frost & Sullivan, the opportunity in healthcare cloud will grow from $903 million in 2013 to $3.5 billion in 2020, while TechNavio predicts cloud financial services will grow 25% per year through 2018.
With the privilege of focus, vertical cloud solutions will be game-changing with obvious benefits. It offers more tailored offerings to address specific needs and solve unique industry challenges; it offers rapid ease of deployment, eliminating the need for lengthy implementations to customize and “verticalize” a “one-size-fits-all” product; and it allows those vendors to develop true industry expertise and deeper customer relationships such that customer feedback can rapidly evolve into newer and better solutions over time.
Ultimately, this enables those vertical cloud solutions to grow faster and establish dominant market share than traditional software vendors. Gartner estimates that the 2015 vertical spend of $113 billion will grow at 7 percent per year, something that Salesforce took note of last year (following Infor’s lead at their Dreamforce event) by doubling down on their vertical-focused strategy.

Regulators will aggressively play ‘catch-up’ to keep up with the impending regulatory tsunami

In 2016, there will be a growing number of regulators and regulations from the SEC, FINRA, DoL, CFPB, IRS, CFTC, OCC, state regulators, and others. The rapid and revolutionary shifts enabled by technology in recent years have caught regulators off-guard in everything from hospitality and transportation to healthcare and cybersecurity. But in 2016, I expect regulators across industries and countries to aggressively play catch-up and apply new levels of pressure on many disruptive companies.
We’re seeing this start now, with regulators across the globe poking holes in Uber’s business model. Right here in San Francisco, Prop F, aimed at regulating AirBnB’s impact on the tight housing market, failed to pass but still garnered 45 percent of the popular vote.
Not surprisingly, this game of regulatory catch-up is even more pronounced in highly regulated industries such as financial services. For example, the Department of Labor has proposed new rules requiring financial advisors to disclose any potential conflicts of interest with funds they recommend, while leaders at the SEC consider if and how to regulate robo-advisor firms, perhaps holding them to a fiduciary standard for offering (automated) advice.
Hearsay Social, for one, is helping firms and advisors navigate the impending tailwinds by keeping them abreast of these changes and offering solutions to remain successful.
As regulators continue to keep up with these massive changes, 2016 will be a year where businesses across industries will need to prepare for the shifting regulatory landscape while still delivering value to their customers. To overcome the overhead costs and time required to manage to regulatory guidelines and policies, companies will need to find ways to drive efficiency and growth by leveraging technology that enables their workforce to be more productive and compliant.
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