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New Facebook Advertising Solution Enables Corporate Marketers to Harness Proven Effectiveness of Local Ads

HSS-Corporate-to-Local-AdvertisingI’m excited to announce that Hearsay Social’s newest feature, Corporate-to-local Advertising for Facebook, launched today. Built from the ground up, this new functionality will help make Facebook advertising so much more easier and effective for our customers.
Here at Hearsay Social, we pride ourselves on our laser focus to help our enterprise customers leverage social and digital to drive business at the field level. And the value and power of hyper-targeted, local Facebook advertising has become increasingly clear. Consumers want to hear from and learn about businesses that aren’t just relevant to them, but are also accessible so that when they’re ready to buy, the experience is easy, local and convenient. This consumer buying journey is especially relevant to financial services, since ultimately an advisor’s or agent’s business is built on highly personal – and usually local – relationships.
Given that so many consumers are spending time on social media, networks like Facebook present a huge opportunity for advisors and agents to attract new local prospects, which is crucial to their business. But they don’t always have the time, trust, budget or know-how to capture those prospects using online advertising.
But corporate marketing teams at the firm level do have the expertise and budget for building and delivering great ad campaigns. What if organizations could use their existing advertising account and apply their marketing knowledge and budget to drive prospects directly to their local advisor or agent websites?
Our new Corporate-to-local Advertising feature does just that. It enables central marketing teams to leverage their marketing expertise to create, manage and optimize individualized Facebook ads for their field force … at scale. With just a few clicks, they can generate thousands of ads, each personalized with each advisor’s name, location and more, so that they have more in-market relevance while minimizing competitive bidding that can occur among advisors. Corporate marketers have the ability to centrally manage ad budgets while gaining full visibility into and access to manage local advertising campaigns – so that their advisors and agents can spend more time doing what they do best: servicing their clients.
To that end, I’m thrilled to share that American National, a leading insurance firm founded in 1905 with regional presences in all 50 states, has already seen impressive results from their Corporate-to-local Advertising program through Hearsay Social. The company has experienced 2,658 percent more traffic to their representatives’ local websites at a cost-per-click that’s 58 percent less than past Facebook advertising efforts that didn’t utilize Hearsay Social’s technology. Read more here.
This solution would not be what it is without the ongoing support and encouragement from our customers, many who have been with us from the very beginning of the initiative to help test, refine and pilot the technology and overall program – thank you!
Along with the rest of the Hearsay Social team, I look forward to adding new Corporate-to-local Advertising features and efficiencies, as well as expanding it to new social media platforms. Look out for more news in the coming months!
For more information, check out our press release.

Disrupting the buyer journey at the Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summit

Digital Marketing SummitLast week we participated in the first Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summit held in New York. Although the organization has held successful events in Canada, this was the first time it had brought the Summit to the U.S. as well as the first time that Hearsay Social participated as a sponsor.
The two-day event focused on challenges, opportunities and trends facing marketing professionals in financial services. Attendees representing wealth management, asset management, banking and insurance heard from industry thought leaders, influencers, and their peers in a number of sessions covering everything from 2015 trends to social media to gamification. Zeroing in on the marketer’s experience, the Summit brought to light the value of digital technologies to promote the brand and build awareness. Compared to other conferences I’ve attended, I found the conversations and themes more macro and strategic than tactical and field oriented.
Here were some of the main themes from the Summit:


The key word of 2014 and this summit was disruption. It’s become clear to marketers today that the increased volume of potential marketing channels is challenging the way brands position their products and services to address their market. With the increasing number of mediums, cutting through the clutter of white noise is getting more and more difficult, and attracting consumer attention is requiring more creative approaches.
In his presentation, “Blending Heritage and Innovation,” Bryan VanDyke (Executive Director, Head of Digital Strategy, Morgan Stanley) shared that digital disruption shows no sign of slowing, affecting everything from how we buy travel and pay our bills to how we consume media (newspapers, music, movies, and television). The financial services industry will not be immune to these digital disruptions and are being challenged to adapt.  He suggested that firms consider adjusting by providing the following:

  1. Global presence: Be everywhere, always on, on all devices, service all needs.
  2. Be personal: Be relevant, actionable, and clear respective of your audience.
  3. Be insightful: Be thoughtful, holistic, visual and easy to grasp.
Hearsay Social booth at Digital Marketing Summit
Michael Gardineer manning the Hearsay Social booth at the Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summit

Digital is not just about technology

Digital is not just about technology because it’s more importantly about building connections with your customers. Firms getting caught up in technology challenges are overlooking the value in establishing a strong strategy first and then proceeding with a methodical approach that’s aimed at strengthening relationships.
In his presentation, “Strategy Considerations for Digital Marketing Transformation and Innovation in Financial Services,” Bill Barrett (Managing Director and Global Head of Digital Marketing, BNY Mellon) challenged participants to be disciplined in their digital adoption, and suggested 10 tips to follow:

  1. Develop an achievable strategy
  2. Ensure executive sponsorship
  3. Socialize with key internal stakeholders
  4. Seek out advocates in all areas of the company
  5. Listen to your audience
  6. Start from scratch if necessary
  7. Avoid “design by committee”
  8. Don’t believe everything you hear
  9. Don’t take on too much at once
  10. Keep experimenting

In essence, Bill provided a blueprint for the process marketing teams should follow when carefully adopting digital strategy: note, for example, that he specifically says in step one to develop an achievable strategy, taking into account the challenges an organization may have at the onset wanting to tackle too much at once.
Bill also reinforced how marketing teams must be mindful that their strategy needs to be flexible and nimble in order to adapt to changes recommended by consumers and internal stakeholders. If your brand is everywhere, especially in the minds of your consumers, you might as well take advantage of that by listening to their feedback and experimenting.

Alicianne RandThe buyer journey

Consumer buying behaviors are changing, and the products and services they buy are being influenced more and more by marketing and front of the funnel activities. In her presentation, “Content Marketing for Financial Brands as Publishers,” Alicianne Rand (VP Marketing, NewsCred, @aliciannerand) shared how content is core to who we are and how we live our lives. On average, we are exposed to 5,000 marketing messages every day, and we are being conditioned to tune out the noise. When you consider that only 0.01% of banner ads are ever clicked and 85% of TV ads go unwatched, how can you compete for the attention of consumers?
The fact is we choose what matters and is relevant to our lives, and today 70% of B2C and B2B purchase decisions are made before a buyer even speaks with a sales representative, according to Alicianne. As a result marketing departments are taking on more responsibility and accountability in the buying journey than ever before.
To cut through the noise, marketing departments must modify their approach with social media and other scalable digital technologies to personalize the experience and make the content more relevant to the individual consumer. Alicianne suggested that we challenge the old way of doing things with a new approach:

  1. From brand-led to value-driven: It’s all about consumers’ needs and the value proposition the brand can provide. Don’t constantly talk about who your company is and why it matters; instead position your products and services around the challenges they solve and the time or money it saves.
  2. From ad campaigns to always-on brand newsrooms: The 24/7 digital cycle is forcing brands to let go of traditional campaigns and instead leave the digital door open at all times. This is especially true for global brands that have consumers in every time zone. Social is always on, so having a presence isn’t enough if you don’t have the resources to support the ongoing conversation that is taking place. Airlines have been some of the fastest to adapt to their global customer needs both in availability and support in real-time
  3. From demographics and target audiences to the individual: Access to big data and insight data is making it easy for the brand message to be personalized to the individual needs of consumers as opposed to the general messaging to a single demographic. Targeted digital advertising platforms such as Facebook Ads has made this process much easier leveraging the data users provide to provide a more laser-focused delivery.

To conclude, we are undergoing a digital transformation that is affecting how we market and position the value that brands add to the market and to individual consumers. This is forcing brands to question their traditional methods and embrace the opportunities that digital technologies provide to connect with the right customer, at the right time, with the right message.

Congratulations to the newest class of Gramercy Institute's 20 Rising Stars!

Gramercy Institute 20 Rising StarsThe Gramercy Institute, a network of senior marketers from the world’s leading financial institutions, this week celebrated 20 up-and-coming leaders in the financial services marketing industry.
The people listed below run the gamut: some are responsible for traditional activities like brand strategy and advertising while others are driving rapidly evolving projects like digital marketing and social media content strategy.

  • Jared Barchus, Marketing & Brand Strategy, Morgan Stanley
  • Kimberly Bindra, Director, Duff & Phelps
  • Wendy Buzzeo, Director, Digital Marketing, MetLife
  • Tricia Conboy, Director of Advertising, Sun Life Financial
  • Katie Cowley, Marketing & Communications Manager, Aberdeen Asset Management
  • Kathleen Gambarelli, Digital Media Manager, Ptarmigan Media
  • Claire Good, Associate Director, Sullivan
  • Rohini Gupta, AVP, Global Advertising, Natixis Global Asset Management
  • Michael Herrera, SVP, Digital Marketing, Citi
  • Tom Hughes, Vice President, Marketing, Allianz Global Investors
  • Stephanie Lynch, Associate, Goldman Sachs
  • Wendy Marcone, SVP, Global Banking & Markets Marketing, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Shantini Munthree, Head of Brand Management, Vanguard
  • Janelle Nowak, Social Media Content & Channel Strategy Manager, Capital One
  • David Partain, VP-Digital Strategist, Northern Trust
  • Justin Pesola, SVP, Digital Media, Citi
  • Hunter Ricks, Digital Marketing Strategist, Lincoln Financial Group
  • Geoffrey Sanders, SVP, Digital Marketing, Citi
  • Shayaan Seraj, Digital Media Supervisor (TD Bank Group), Starcom Mediavest
  • Chad K. Smith, Head of Global Content Syndication, BlackRock
  • Ashley Sobel, Associate Director, The Media Kitchen
  • Nicole Stonehouse, Vice President, State Street Global Advisors
  • Leah Weis, Marketing Manager, Digital, E*TRADE Financial

They’re each crucial not only to their respective organizations, but also to driving new success and innovation in the financial services industry. Congratulations to all of you who made the list!

Amplify reach and grow business on Facebook with Hearsay Social for Facebook promoted posts

Today Hearsay Social is proud to announce the launch of Hearsay Social for Facebook promoted posts, allowing advisors and agents to amplify their reach, increase engagement, and grow business on Facebook.
With over 1.3 billion people using Facebook monthly, it’s more crucial than ever for financial professionals to be leveraging the social network to share content, stay top of mind, and connect with prospective and current clients.


Hearsay Social for Facebook promoted posts allows relationship managers to take content they’ve published and broaden their distribution through Facebook ads, amplifying their visibility and increasing engagement. According to financial professionals, like Michelle Monson, Financial Consultant with Thrivent Financial, the new feature will be crucial to helping them grow business:

“I am excited about advertising on Facebook. I’ve had a business page since 2013 but wasn’t very active until Thrivent’s Field Social Media Team invited me to test Hearsay Social’s new ad functionality. It’s a great way to tell prospects and current clients that I’m on Facebook and to like my page to get helpful financial tips. I’ll be reaching people I never would have met otherwise.”

We’ve designed this new feature to make it easy for agents and advisors to launch, monitor, and optimize their advertising activity on Facebook. And for users that want to learn more about the value of ads and overall best practices, our Customer Success program now includes training on Facebook promoted posts.
Finally, as with the rest of the Hearsay Social platform, today’s newly announced feature integrates directly with our platform’s compliance functionality, allowing firms to continue archiving activity and addressing any advertising regulatory requirements.
Kyle Marie Woods, Marketing Manager at Thrivent Financial, commented on the news:

“We are thrilled to partner with Hearsay Social on this new ad integration and are impressed with the feature’s ease of use. We are excited about the opportunity it provides our representatives to build their local brand on social and expand their reach.”

We’re proud to unveil Hearsay Social for Facebook promoted posts, enabling us to help tens of thousands of advisors and agents to increase engagement and expand business through social media. If you’d like to learn more, check out coverage on InvestmentNews and ThinkAdvisor or stop by the Hearsay Social booth at the LIMRA Social Media Conference this week!

Sales: Then and Now

We’ve come a long way from when rolodexes and telephones were the best tools for selling. Today, leading salespeople use social networks to research, connect, and engage with customers and prospects, supercharging their selling efforts.
In this chart, taken from our ebook The Social Era Demands Social Selling, we show exactly how sales has changed.

Continue reading about the power of social sales in “The Social Era Demands Social Selling,” available for download here.

The future of marketing: Moving at the speed of social

When the lights went out in the Superdome during yesterday’s Super Bowl, nobody would have guessed that marketers would benefit the most from the blackout.
In the 30 or so minutes that the game shut down, Oreo’s marketing team, poised and ready in a social media command center, launched into action, quickly designing an image that they could promote across social networks (Twitter and Facebook). In doing so, they proved to their fans and followers, and marketers around the world, that they can always connect with customers, no matter the situation.

Advertising during high-profile events will never be the same. In fact, this extremely timely, relevant, and funny content may have been more impactful than Oreo’s Super Bowl ad which had to compete with many other multimillion dollar commercials.
Oreo’s approach was beautiful in its simplicity. They took advantage of something extraordinary happening in the moment, quickly crafted a marketing message, and made the most out of an otherwise awkward moment.
How can relationship sellers take advantage of this new point-in-time marketing tactic?

  1. Be prepared: Always have the right people in the room to approve messaging so you can quickly push marketing messages.
  2. Move fast: When opportunity strikes, it’s important to take action quickly for the best results.
  3. Listen carefully: Take note of how the general population is responding to the event and make sure your messaging will resonate or break through the noise.
  4. Respond appropriately: Know which channels will work best to promote the message.
  5. Follow up: Respond, retweet, and actively promote the message once it’s been syndicated.

Advertising Age, Inman News recognize Hearsay Social's leadership in social sales and marketing

Today we’re taking a moment to share appreciation for our customers and partners. Thanks to all our customers’ success on social media, Advertising Age and Inman News recently honored Hearsay Social for its leadership in social sales and marketing.

At the end of Inman News Real Estate Connect NYC last month, Inman News announced the Inman 100, naming Hearsay Social Founder and CEO Clara Shih one of the most influential real estate leaders in the “Media, Blogging, Social Media, Marketing” category. (To learn how real estate can benefit from social media, download our social sales and marketing success kit.)
In addition to the Inman 100, Clara was also recently named to the Advertising Age 40 Under 40, honoring “innovative, young marketing leaders who have made their mark in the client, agency and media realms — all before their 40th birthdays.”
Regular readers of Advertising Age will be familiar with Clara’s DigitalNext column, where she has published several posts on social sales and marketing:
The Original Social Networker? Your Insurance Agent
Insurance agents are the most natural “social networkers” on the planet. They were educating clients, investing in long-term relationships and growing their businesses through word-of-mouth referrals long before social, mobile and digital technologies existed. In this article, we explain how social media initiatives in the insurance industry are models of forward thinking.
Three Key Steps to Local Success With Social Media
Big-name brands like Walmart and 24 Hour Fitness are trailblazing on social media by connecting with customers on locally created social-media pages. Every store and gym gets its own page to share locally relevant content with consumers in the area. In this article, we outline three crucial steps to get e-commerce and brick-and-mortar teams working from the same playbook.
How Walmart Is Localizing Its Stores With Facebook
Long before the digital age, all business was local and social. Customer engagement was paramount. Shopkeepers, barbers and Avon ladies alike intuitively knew that their ability to connect with customers would often determine whether a purchase would be made. In this article, we explain how a local-social strategy makes big-box stores more relevant to their communities.
Facebook’s New Business Pages Means Marketers Must Evolve
The new Facebook Business Page is not only a visual transformation of the site, it is a game changer for the marketing function. In this article, we describe how Facebook’s Timeline format requires brands to shift from the static “tabs” mindset to a “Timeline” mindset based on continually fresh, engaging, and authentic content.
Google+ Prepares to Revolutionize the Local Landscape
In this article, published just over a year ago, we rightly predicted that Google would combine its Google+ social network with data from Google Places for a powerful social-local tool. (On May 30, 2012, Google Places was replaced by Google+ Local.)
We share all our achievements with each and every one of our business partners. Thank you!

What does GM's decision mean for Facebook advertisers?

General Motors Facebook Advertising DecisionEveryone is talking about GM’s decision yesterday to stop paid advertising on Facebook. It was indeed one of the very first questions asked to our CEO Clara Shih this morning during her appearance on CBNC Squawk.
While many were quick to interpret this as a sign of Facebook’s limitations, it actually highlights the need to treat Facebook as a very different marketing channel than traditional online strategies like SEO or SEM.
With half the US population on Facebook, advertisers cannot ignore the opportunity to connect and engage with customers on this network. It’s not about whether or not to advertise on Facebook, but how to do it effectively. Here’s what every Facebook advertiser needs to consider before following in GM’s footsteps.
Facebook ads fuel brand awareness
Facebook ads are really “top-of-funnel” brand ads, but their performance is often compared to “bottom-of-funnel” search advertising, such as Google AdWords. Marketers can target ads based on specific keywords and phrases a user searches on. The fact that the user is searching on these words generally indicates intent to purchase.
In contrast, Facebook ads are more on par with awareness-generating brand advertising such as TV, print, and display ads. But Facebook is able to go further than traditional brand advertising because of the hyper-targeting capabilities it offers advertisers. For example, marketers can run CPC or CPM campaigns based on very narrow audience profiles, such as 25-28 year-old females who have “liked” BMW. This is what allows Facebook ads to have any conversion at all, something that traditional brand advertising generally cannot do.
But Facebook doesn’t always have to be about brand and awareness building. The future of Facebook’s advertising platform will likely expand into the lower part of the marketing funnel, such as with social search ads or even at the point of transaction with social e-commerce.
As our CEO Clara Shih points out in her recent article in the Huffington Post, “Facebook could also partner or compete head-on with traditional offline channels such as TV, digital dashboards in automobiles, and smart billboards enabled with near field communication that tailor their displays to whomever may be nearby.”
Brand ads drive valuable engagement
In a study of Facebook Pages with over 100,000 fans, Audi was determined to be the most engaging brand on Facebook (an unexpected victory over Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga). Cars are a part of our cultural DNA. Automotive brands have a high social currency, and people love to share information about their cars during their everyday lives.  It’s no wonder customers want to take that passion and enthusiasm online to Facebook and readily share it with their friends.
An effective way to use Facebook to capitalize on the social nature of the automotive business is to use Facebook Sponsored Stories and Reach Generator. Typically, only about 16% of any brand’s fans will see a post, photo, or video posted from their corporate page. Sponsored Stories allow brands to pay to ensure the ad is seen by at least 75% of fans who have already “liked” the page.  One study showed an increase in click-through-rates (CTR) by 46% for advertisers using Sponsored Stories.
Pave the way to success
Brands need to engage with their customers on Facebook, but doing this well isn’t easy. Hypertargeting for awareness generation, message amplification through Sponsored Stories, and relationship building at the local level will help ensure Facebook continues to drive results for advertisers.
To learn more about advertising on Facebook and what the Facebook IPO means for marketers, watch Clara’s interview on CNBC below:

Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih honored with AWNY "Changing the Game" award

On behalf of our company, industry, customers and partners, I am excited and proud to announce that Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih was named a winner of this year’s “Changing the Game” Award from Advertising Women of New York (AWNY).

Following her remarks on innovation on a panel led by Bloomberg Businessweek Senior Editor Diane Brady, Clara was formally recognized this afternoon in front of a sold-out audience of over 600 industry leaders from BBDO, Universal McCann, Leo Burnett, Facebook, LinkedIn, as well as some of the largest global brands.

Founded in 1912, AWNY is a women’s association in the communications industry made up of over 1,500 influential women and men representing the advertising, marketing, media, promotion, and public relations fields.
“Clara embodies all of the characteristics we value,” said Susan Aminoff, Event Chair for the 2012 AWNY Changing the Game Awards. “She is a visionary and an outstanding leader who built Hearsay Social to empower organizations on social media. She profoundly changed how companies market to consumers.”
The prestigious award recognizes “women within the industry who are true catalysts of innovation—fearlessly making bold moves and reinventing the rules of marketing to transform their brands, their organizations and those of their clients.” Clara won in the “No Apologies” category, whose recipients were selected by an esteemed independent judging panel based on their ability to create entirely new business models or develop new market opportunities.
Almost 600 people are attending today’s sold out Changing the Game Awards Luncheon, but you can follow the hashtag #CTGA2012 on Twitter to see live tweets from the event.
A big congratulations to Clara and the other winners, including Beth Comstock (SVP/CMO, General Electric), Kirsten Evans (VP Marketing, Walmart), and Esther Lee (SVP Brand Marketing & Advertising, AT&T)!!/jecofield/status/192718634420928512!/clarashih/status/192485825789960192!/dianebrady/status/192832298557771776!/_AWNY/status/192626873476456449!/bethcomstock/status/192329886520709120!/lizbigham/status/192311312641036288!/_AWNY/status/192288946611425280!/_AWNY/status/192248590075297792

Congratulations Facebook!

Yesterday Facebook filed for an initial public offering (IPO) to raise $5 billion, reiterating once again that the social revolution couldn’t be more real. The social network is now populated by 845 million monthly active users liking, commenting, and sharing with each other billions of times every day.
From a financial perspective, the numbers are just as impressive. Facebook earned $1 billion on sales of $3.7 billion, and businesses advertising on the network accounted for 85% of those total sales, or $3.2 billion. A social business is clearly the thing to be in 2012 and beyond.
On behalf of the entire Hearsay Social team, I’d like to wish a hearty congratulations to Facebook for all their accomplishments. We look forward to seeing what wonderful projects they have in store for the future and, as one of their key partners, we won’t stop delivering social marketing success to the enterprise.