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Majority of Clients Want to Connect With You On Social Media, Says FPA / LinkedIn Study

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There’s no doubt that social media is a top priority for many financial services firms and advisors. Today, social media is a key way to connect and engage with clients and, by sharing education and thought leadership to help clients navigate their financial journeys, it can help grow business.
In a joint study by LinkedIn and the Financial Planning Association (FPA), nearly 70 percent of advisors said they saw a direct or indirect link between social media activity and new client acquisition, compared to 30 percent of advisors who saw no connection. Of those, eighty-three percent of advisors share content to build credibility, 76 percent share to raise awareness of their business, and 70 percent share content to deepen relationships with existing clients.
The report, entitled “Communication Evolution: Financial Professionals and the Future of Thought Leadership and Social Media”, explores how financial advisors are using social media to engage clients and prospects and how the most successful advisors are using thought leadership as a way to educate consumers.
Here are some key takeaways and slides from the report:

  • Client behavior is driving activity or advisors to provide on-going education and thought leadership delivered through social media
  • Client engagement drives referral growth, and there is an appetite for financial planning content
  • Prospects are doing more and more research on advisors before meeting with them, or to validate their decision afterwards
  • Younger prospects (those under the age of 44) are four times as likely to use LinkedIn before meeting with an advisor, compared to 33 percent of clients age 65 and older.
  • Three-fourths of advisors see the use of social media as an important way to target younger clients
  • While seventy percent of advisors share content with clients and prospects in order to build credibility, raise awareness and deepen relationships with existing clients, they still use mostly traditional methods of distributing that information (such as email)
  • Over half of the advisors in the survey who use social media said they added new clients directly as a result of the use, averaging five new clients and $3.5M in new assets in the past year
  • Advisors are more likely to measure the effectiveness of social media based on positive feedback from prospects and clients or the level of engagement from friends/followers than on the number of new client

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Clearly, social media use and thought leadership among advisors is here to stay, especially for those who want to attract and retain clients, deepen relationships, and grow their business. Perhaps the best strategy for increasing engagement is to be present (and active) on a full range of social networks, and tailoring your activity based on your and your client’s particular needs.
Download the full report for more insights. 
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Introducing Social Business Training for Advisors

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 4.33.49 AMA Google search for “social media best practices” results in more than 100 million pages. For a financial services advisor or agent who wants to leverage social media the right way to build relationships with clients and prospects, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
Today, we’re excited to announce the launch of our new Social Business Training offering, available now to Hearsay Social customers. Developed specifically for financial advisors and insurance agents, Social Business Training provides an interactive e-learning platform for advisors to gain practical knowledge on how to create a social media plan and grow their business.
“Social media and digital technologies are transforming the way advisors and agents are doing business,” said Abhay Rajaram, vice president of global customer success at Hearsay Social, in a press statement. “While it is clear these new technologies have incredible potential, they can often overwhelm advisors who are looking for a simple, structured way to get started. Social Business Training cuts through the information overload and helps advisors create a social media business plan that they can act on right away.”
The coursework, which is self-directed so advisors can learn at their own pace, covers the basics – including how to build a social media profile, gain credibility and grow a network – and progresses toward more advanced topics, such as identifying key metrics and complementing organic efforts with paid advertising. Each course features interactive elements including video, audio, text, knowledge checks, activities, a reference library and more.
At the firm level, administrators can monitor and report on the success of their training and education program via insights such as who has started and advanced through the courses.
For additional details on our new Social Business Training offering, including more details on the courses, read our press release.
Interested Hearsay Social customers should contact their Hearsay Social representative directly to learn more about Social Business Training and to sign up.

Putnam Survey Shows Nearly 80% of Advisors Gained New Clients Using Social Media

For the third year in a row, Putnam Investments released the results of its latest Social Advisor survey, which looks at the social media usage habits of over 800 financial advisors, comprising all business models, geographies, ages and gender. The survey, performed by BrightWork Partners on Putnam’s behalf, revealed some interesting data around four key areas: social media usage, demographics, social networks, and business goals.
According to the 2015 Putnam Investments Social Advisor survey, 79% of advisors who use social media gained new clients through social networks and of those, 29% gained over $1 million in new assets. That’s up from 66% in 2014 and just 49% in 2013. These numbers clearly show that social media use among advisors and ROI  are on the rise.
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And just who is the “social advisor”? According to the study, the typical financial advisor who uses social media and has acquired clients as a result of it possesses the following characteristics: 

  • 44-year-old male wirehouse advisor with 10 years of experience
  • Active on five social networks
  • Runs a book of business worth $80 million (median)
  • Gained an average of $1.8 million of client assets using social media

In the survey, advisors were asked how they are leveraging their primary social networks for business. The survey revealed that LinkedIn has by far the highest advisor adoption rate (70%), followed by Facebook (47%) and Twitter (42%).
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To learn more insights about the survey, read the press release or check out the full 2015 infographic, now available for download
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Congratulations to the Winners of the 2015 Social Media Silver Bowl Awards!

Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 1.37.49 PMAs the 6th annual LIMRA LOMA Social Media Conference for financial services (#LLSMC) comes to a close, we’d like to congratulate the winners of the Social Media Silver Bowl Awards! The Silver Bowl Awards recognizes innovation and business success of financial services firm and advisor use of social media campaigns and programs.
This year’s award recipients truly embody what it means to be innovative thought leaders via social business growth in many areas, including sales, customers service, digital marketing, and recruiting. The awards program aims to highlight innovative social business programs that make a measurable impact on business overall.

To that end, here’s the full list of winners:
Best Integrated Social Media Campaign
Voya Financial — “Born to Save”
Best Use of Social Media by an Agent/Advisor
*Thrivent Financial — Hannah Sorensen
*Sun Life Financial — Rebecca May-Gorges
Best Use of Social Media for Customer Service
Allianz Turkey — “Social Customer Care”
Best Use of an Emerging Social Channel
*Transamerica –Vine Campaign
Best Use of Social Media for Social Good
John Hancock — “There’s Only One Boston”
Best Use of Social Media for Recruiting
*COUNTRY Financial — “Candidate Experience”
Best Use of Social Media for Consumer Education
*Prudential — “Bring Your Challenges”
Best Use of Social Media by a Company Outside the United States
Allianz Turkey — “Becoming One”
*Denotes Hearsay Social customer

Congratulations everyone!
Learn about the Predictive Social Suite for Advisors.
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7 Big Takeaways from Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summit

Nestled in the heart of the Toronto financial district, digital marketers, social directors, and compliance officers from North America assembled for the Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summit annual event.  The event is built for financial marketing executives and focuses on dedicated streams around social & compliance, big data & optimization, mobile marketing & customer experience.
It would be difficult to sum up all the topics covered and discussions held during the breaks, so here are my top seven takeaways from the event:
1) It’s all about the customer experience
Jon Day of SapientNitro kicked off the event with some sobering statistics noting that only 54% of the public trusts Wall Street, haunted still by the prolonged downturn of 2009-2009. In order to rebuild investor trust, technology can help scale and create more personalized experiences.  At a foundational level, consumers expect financial services companies to help meet their needs and those that thrive go the extra mile by making it engagement easy and value added.  For brands, scaling via technology can help them save money, convert opportunities into sales and provide value through enhanced experiences.
Action: In order to rebuild trust and meet consumer expectations,  financial services organizations need to create personalized memorable experiences that consumers will share.
2) We’re living in a multi-device, multi-channel world 
Access to information via multiple platforms is commonplace these days, and consumers expect brands to reach them via their preferred channels.  The good news is that multiple channels don’t necessarily mean new content creation as much as the creative process of repurposing it.  A single white paper can be converted into a presentation, an infographic, or a podcast all amplified via social assets.  An approach that worked well for us when we launched the Advisor of the Future Executive Report in February, maximizing its exposure and providing readers different ways to experience the content.
Action: Identify the primary mediums your customers use to consume content, and create and repurpose content and distribute in multiple mediums.  
3) Reduced barriers of entry = success
Opening a checking or savings account should be easy.  Finding out your balance should be easy.  Moving money from one account to the other should be easy.  Financial services companies that find creative ways of making the process of becoming a client easy will thrive.  Online banking has solved for the ease of client acquisition for everyday transactions seamless and the real opportunity lies in doing the same on longer term client relationships that include credit, mortgage and investments.
Action: Reduce barriers of entry to secure the customer by making the process simple, and build loyalty by making the maintenance and access to information intuitive and easy.
4) Mobile, mobile, and mobile
The conversation around mobile and its growing use permeated every conversation and presentation at the event, especially smartphone usage.  Erin Elofson, Director of Financial Services of Facebook Canada shocked the audience when she shared that there are 7.2 billion SIM cards, outnumbering the number of people in the world.  In addition, there are approximately 100 countries in the world with more mobile phones than people.  I’ll let that sink in.
This year we crossed over where 51% of offline sales were influenced by the web, and more and more of that experience is being done on a handheld device.  The bottom line: if you don’t have a mobile strategy or your website is not optimized for a mobile experience you are placing your company, product and service at risk.
Action: Develop a mobile strategy that recognizes how your consumers are likely to seek out information or experience your product/service.
5) Collaboration wins
Creating a digital strategy does not happen in a single silo, but through collaboration. Implementation, especially in a regulated industry like financial services, requires buy-in and approval from multiple stakeholders. The earlier you engage stakeholders and make them part of the process, the easier it is to implement, process and maintain your digital program. The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, and digital transformation begins in the conference room.
Action: In order to build a digital strategy, assemble a team of key stakeholders to represent the interests of their departments and identify the opportunities and risks associated with a digital strategy, and stay at it.
6) The growing influence of Millennials
Millennials are more than just a demographic as much as a mind set. These digital natives have only known a working world with the internet. These savvy collaborators are influencing the experience, the content and the mediums.  As they become the majority of the workforce in 2020, they will drive it.
Millennials demand so much from companies and brands, and expect things at their fingertips on a 24/7 basis.  They consume content in multiple formats and prefer information via text, social, instant messaging, and blogging to share content and connect. Are you doing enough to connect with this growing base of investors?
Action: Create a strategy to address the changing and evolving expectations of the market influenced by Millennials. Focus on adding value, being authentic and socially responsible.  Leverage technology to personalize, simplify and amplify.  You can do it!
7) Content IS the ad
Traditional advertising is transparent, and consumers don’t like to be sold too- they want a conversation.  Savvy marketers are finding ways to increase brand awareness by developing creative content that helps tell their story aimed at adding value. Embed your message in stories, pictures, infographics.  In short- tell better stories where your product or service plays a starring role.
Action: Develop personas based on demographics and psychographics to understand your client and use this date to drive the kind of content that clients and prospect want, and the mediums that will make the most sense to tell your story.
In summary, the Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summit offered up two days of interesting conversations and themes that sparked new ideas and themes.  What was clear was that digital technology, especially mobile,  is moving and evolving faster than the industry is prepared to adopt.  Thereby, the ability for financial services companies to adapt and then adopt will prove to be a competitive advantage.
Are you ready? To learn ways to engage today’s social, mobile customer, read about our predictive social suite for advisors.
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Social Media Compliance: Yes, You Can Be Both Social and Compliant

schwab imageAdvisor use of social media is on the rise – and not just for connecting with friends and family. Today’s social, mobile, and web technologies are changing they way we live and work, including the way people give and receive financial advice.
Recent studies show that more than 40% of high-net-worth individuals cite social media as important for accessing information on financial products or services. This creates opportunities for advisors to engage clients and prospects and deepen relationships using social media – and this can all be done while staying compliant.
As part of ongoing compliance updates for independent advisors, Yasmin Zarabi has provided key compliance considerations for social media in a recent report published on Schwab’s Insights Hub.
Here’s a brief outline on what you can find in the compliance update:
Be where your clients and prospects are

  • Investment advisor use of social media for business purposes is increasing
  • Relevant and personal content shows who the advisor is, helps build strong, trustworthy relationships, and ultimately drives business

To reap the full benefits of social media, it’s important to plan and account for compliance, legal, and branding issues

  • Implement a clear and concise written policy
  • Provide supervision procedures based on the firms overall risk-based principles
  • Have in place a fully compliant technology solution for content retention and retrieval

Avoid endorsements and recommendations about your skills
Advisors should avoid retweeting any tweet from either a securities research analyst or a client who is providing a testimonial about the advisor’s performance or a product or service of its firm.

  • Disable endorsement feature
  • Don’t accept recommendations
  • Add note to profile saying you do not accept endorsements or recommendations
  • Third-party content you push out or link to may be considered your own content

Not all social media “likes” are created equal
Whether a “like” or “favorite” is OK under the SEC guidance depends on context. For example, a like from a third party may simply indicate that a visitor enjoyed an article that was shared, whereas a like that an advisor solicits as an indication of a client’s experience with the firm may be construed as a testimonial—the latter does not comply with the rules.
Links to third party sites
According to the SEC guidance, advisors should not link to commentary on third-party social media sites unless they can show all three of the following:

  • That the advisor has no ability to affect which public commentary is included or how the commentary is presented on the independent social media site
  • That the commentator’s ability to comment is not restricted
  • That all comments, both good and bad, can be viewed publicly

Read the full Compliance Considerations for Social Media piece here.
Looking for more information on compliance and regulatory issues? Visit our Resources page.
Disclaimer: The material available in this article is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. We make no guarantees on the accuracy of information provided herein.
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