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How 3 Firms Are Using Social Media Education Programs to Grow Business

shutterstock_130643495One of our goals at Hearsay Social is to arm financial professionals with the tools necessary to succeed in an always-connected world. This includes educating advisors and agents on how to use social media to build their credibility, engage with customers and prospects, and grow their business.
A recent article in Ignites, Financial Times publication, entitled “Anti-Social Shops Failing to Connect with Advisors” states “fund companies that fail to help advisors navigate social media are likely blowing a big opportunity to connect with client assets.” 
The article highlights three leading financial services firms – including Pacific Life, Putnam and Vanguard – who have successfully implemented programs to train and encourage its sales teams to use social media for business. 
In a Practical Perspectives study conducted in December 2015, nearly 90 percent of advisors rely on some type of social media guidance to build their practices’ online presence, but few lean on their home office for education and support. Instead, most (72 percent) do their own research, ask colleagues (37 percent), or rely on broker-dealers and custodians (36 percent).
But, according to the article, there’s a real opportunity for firms to build awareness and differentiate themselves at the advisor level on social media. It describes Pacific Life’s successful social media training initiative:

“The firm made sure its external wholesalers had LinkedIn presences in 2014 and knew how to use the network to connect with advisors. After launching the website in 2015, Pacific Life began holding presentations in branch offices, says Christine Tucker, VP of marketing at the company.

‘We do see it as a growth opportunity for helping advisors and helping our wholesalers differentiate themselves,’ she says.

Advisors have particularly gravitated toward more sophisticated training materials, Tucker says. The site includes pieces on how to prospect for clients by age or limit the visibility of connections on LinkedIn.

The social media education effort started because Pacific Life sought to create a unique value-add offering, one that would help advisors attract more business, Tucker says. The future buyers of mutual funds have been raised on technology, so the medium struck the firm as an ideal way for advisors to connect with them, she says.

‘We wanted to be able to have a different story to tell [in advisor offices],’ she says.”

The article also describes how Putnam Investments provides a multitude of ongoing social media training resources for its sales team:

At Putnam, everyone across the retail sales team is well versed in how to use social media to build business, says Jayme Lacour, director of social media at the Boston-based firm. That includes internals giving presentations over the Web and externals presenting ideas to advisors at the branch level and one-on-one, as well as the firm’s sales and marketing leaders speaking on panels. ‘It’s an expectation of our sales team from the top to the bottom,’ he says.

The firm offers a full range of presentations that cater to social media neophytes and experts alike. Putnam reps cover everything from creating a profile to using Boolean search terms to find potential clients on LinkedIn, Lacour says. …

A few years ago, Putnam rolled out a dedicated website, called Advisor Tech Tips, that includes social media pointers.

Building relationships with advisors through social media has been a major focus at Putnam, says Mark McKenna, head of global marketing. ‘This is really what we do hands-on with advisors,’ he says. For instance, the firm recently brought about 30 advisors into its offices for a full day of training, which also included professional head shots taken in Putnam’s studio, he says.”

Vanguard also is included in the story as a leader in providing social media education and support for its field force; the article says the firm recently added a section to its website offering tips for how advisors should use social media.
Log in to read the full Ignites article.
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Social Business Adoption: Step 1 – Secure, Maintain Executive Sponsorship and Championship

shutterstock_229999303This is step one of Hearsay Social’s six-step program to boost social business adoption across the enterprise. Check back next week for step two.
Executive buy-in is a critical first step along a firm’s path to increasing social business adoption. A recent assessment conducted by Hearsay Social of more than 100 financial services firms on their social business maturity found that those with executive buy-in – which may include the company’s CEO, CMO and/or head of digital, marketing, sales, compliance or IT – have an average of 13 percent higher maturity versus those without.
Here are five tips on how to encourage executive sponsors to lead by example:

  1. If they don’t already have one, help them build out a professional profile on LinkedIn, Twitter and/or Facebook.
  2. Empower them to produce content. Audiences are especially interested in what executive leaders have to say. They could start writing and posting on topics they are thought leaders in or are passionate about. If that’s not an option, designate someone to learn their voice and write on their behalf.
  3. If the executive sponsor is already producing content on the company blog or elsewhere, expand the reach of the content by promoting it via the company’s social media channels and to the field.
  4. Encourage the executive sponsor to follow on social media other execs that they know and/or admire.
  5. Show the executive sponsor how to listen for opportunities on social media for two-way dialogue with his or her fans and followers.

adoption-guideWant to get more details on Hearsay Social’s entire six-step framework and how real firms have successfully implemented a social business program? Get our new, free Social Business Adoption Guide now.
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How to Effectively Drive Social Business Adoption [Infographic]

There’s no doubt that social media is here to stay, and companies that don’t invest in a program to grow business on social are quickly being left behind by those that are seizing this opportunity. It’s no different in the financial services industry and by now, most firms know that having a social media program is mission-critical. But how do you ensure its success, especially when you have a distributed sales team of hundreds – if not thousands – of advisors, agents, and relationship managers that must be onboard?
We at Hearsay Social have created an infographic that outlines the six essential elements of a successful enterprise-level social business program. For more than six years, we’ve worked with hundreds of leading financial services and insurance companies to help drive social business adoption.
Here are the key learnings:

Want to know how real firms have successfully put these strategies in place and the results they’ve experienced? Download our new, free Social Business Adoption Guide now.
This blog post is part of a six-week series where we take a deeper look into each of six steps that contribute to social business adoption success. Check back next week when we focus on Step 1: How to Secure and Maintain Executive Sponsorship and Championship.
Social business adoption infographic from Hearsay Social
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6 Ways to Increase Social Business Adoption

shutterstock_272711567According to a recent Putnam study of 800 financial advisors, nearly 80% of respondents gained new clients using social media. For this reason, among many others, it’s important that financial services companies have a solid social media program in place. In fact, companies with a dedicated team and social business program have a significantly better chance at social business success–which is critical for advisors who want to keep up with today’s social, mobile customer.

Fortunately, we have spent a lot of time and energy uncovering key insights and recommendations after working with hundreds of customers to help drive social business success. As such, here are six best practices your business should be following:

1. Secure and maintain executive sponsorship and championship

Getting executive sponsors involved early and often is an important first step to increasing social business adoption. Executive sponsors lead by example, increase program visibility and help clear any roadblocks. Executive champions, i.e. those who are personally active on social media, empower employees to do the same.

2. Provide ample training and educational resources

The success of your social business program depends on your employees actually using the social business platform.  By providing ample learning opportunities and resources on how to best use the platform, you increase your chances of social business success over time.

3. Zealously advocate the program at the field level

In many companies, there’s often a disconnect between what’s happening at the corporate level versus what’s taking place in the field. To help bridge this gap, you may need to go door-to-door to field offices to create awareness of the social business program, as well as provide training on how to best use the platform.

4. Promote and enable advisor success stories

Peer-to-peer evangelism is a great way to increase adoption by sharing success stories from people who have already found value and tangible ROI. These “social media superstars” become the champions of your social business program and act as a catalyst within their teams to motivate others to apply the technology.

5. Use gamification

Salespeople are naturally competitive, so why tap into this natural tendency by allowing them to engage in some friendly competition? For example, you can use leaderboards, “badges”, and the like to motivate teams by offering a reward tied to a key metric of success.

6. Create and maintain a strong content strategy and pipeline

Help your users establish credibility by providing useful suggested content on a regular basis, while giving them the flexibility to let their personalities shine. Given that advisors are often pressed for time, maintaining a strong content pipeline can help with productivity and lead to greater program adoption.
adoption-guideFor more information on how to implement social business adoption strategies within your own organization, download the free Hearsay Social Adoption Guide.
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