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Special year-end episode with Hearsay Social Founder and CEO Clara Shih

clara thumbIn a special year-end episode of Hearsay Social On the Air, we invite Hearsay Social Founder and CEO Clara Shih (@ClaraShih) to discuss the origins of the company and the growth we’ve experienced in the past five years. We also explore her thoughts on the state of social media in financial services and what we can expect in 2015 and beyond.
Be a part of the conversation with @VictorGaxiola and @ronnykerr using hashtag #HSonAir on Twitter. Happy New Year!
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Powerful women in the boardroom: Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih and other leaders speak at Fortune's inaugural Next Gen conference

What an an honor it was seeing our CEO Clara Shih take the stage at this week’s inaugural Fortune Most Powerful Women Next Gen conference, a meeting of esteemed women leaders across business, government, the arts and other sectors.

Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih at Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit Next Gen
From left to right: Fortune Senior Editor at Large Pattie Sellers, former Microsoft executive Gerri Elliott, Flickr founder Caterina Fake and Hearsay Social CEO and founder Clara Shih.

In a unique session focused on women board members, Pattie Sellers (Senior Editor at Large at Fortune and Co-founder of Fortune MPW, @pattiesellers) spoke with Gerri Elliott (board member of Whirlpool, Bed Bath and Beyond and Charlotte Russe, @gerri_elliott), Caterina Fake (Chairman of the Board of Etsy and board director of Creative Commons, @Caterina), and Clara Shih (board member of Starbucks and Hearsay Social, @clarashih).

Each shared her unique journey to the boardroom and the individual challenges they had to overcome to get there. Of course, earning a seat in the boardroom is not the end of the journey–it’s the beginning.

To hear unique insights from Gerri, Caterina, and Clara, watch a video of the session and see some tweets below, and then check out Fortune’s piece on How to land a coveted corporate board seat.


Social business: Bridging the gap between strategy and governance

Altimeter Social Business Governance Figure 1As more and more businesses continue to implement social business into their overall strategy, the issue of social business governance is becoming a hot topic. What is social business governance? It’s the set of people, policies and processes that define how an organization executes its social business strategy.
Last week Altimeter Group published a new report on social business governance, exploring the relationship between governance and strategy while outlining some best practices for social business. It’s an illuminating report and I’d like to highlight some of the key findings on how this relates to our customers in financial services.

The gap between strategy and governance

One of the report’s more startling findings was the fact that, while social business strategy is well-developed and recognized as important, most survey respondents don’t believe that governance is well-defined and communicated across their organizations:

  • 53% of survey respondents agree that social business strategy forms the basis for governance
  • Only 16% of respondents believe that governance is well understood and deployed throughout the organization

In short, we still have a long way to go in terms of developing governance that is well-defined and fully supports an organization’s social business strategy. This is an even more critical issue for financial services organizations that operate in high-risk environments, as governance plays a critical role in preventing and mitigating risk.

Why we need governance

So why is it important to have governance that is clear, consistent, and understood throughout the organization? Altimeter lists several key drivers of governance within the report, but I’d like to call out a few that are particularly important to our customers:

  • Empower Employees: As consumer expectations shift, allowing employees to to engage in social channels to grow their business is a critical new piece of business strategy. Proper governance allows these employees to represent their firm and brand in an appropriate and safe manner.
  • Employee Use of Social: Recruiting the next generation of financial professionals is another important issue for many of our customers. Employees now expect to be able to utilize social media to communicate and work, as illustrated by this quote from Shel Holtz (principal of Holtz Communication + Technology, @shelholtz): “Telling a Millennial to use email is like telling someone 10 years ago to type up a memo and drop it off in the mailroom.” Social business governance enables employees to use the social tools that they want to, which in turn helps organizations recruit Millennials and beyond.
  • Regulations: Particularly for our customers within financial services, regulatory and compliance requirements drive a need for strong governance within those organizations. Without well-defined governance in place, organizations risk running afoul of both existing and emerging regulations.

Improving your governance

The report presented a system for social business governance called the 4 P’s: People, Policy, Process and Practice. It’s a great framework for thinking holistically about your governance; below is a high-level overview of the various components:
Altimeter Social Business Governance Four P's
For a more in-depth exploration of each of the “4 P’s” check out the full report.

The evolution of governance

I’d like to leave you with a great chart from the report, showcasing how an organization evolves its social business governance from a decentralized model to a hub & spoke model.
Altimeter Social Business Governance Evolution
Where is your organization along in its social business evolution? What issues are you grappling with as you build and refine your social business strategy? Let us know in the comments below.

Research: Financial advisors improve client retention and increase AUM with digital and social tools

Digital Wealth Management researchAt Hearsay Social, one of the most frequent questions we hear from the financial services industry is this: “What is the ROI of social media?”
Depending on who you ask, there are a few answers. What we’ve seen is that social media ROI is largely qualitative, with a social media presence alone resulting in new business or better relationships with existing clients. Additionally, the ROI for each firm will depend on the goals associated with that firm’s particular social strategy. For many firms, the first measure was growth, connectivity, and having a compliant social presence with little to no infractions.
Beyond that, however, we’ve heard countless anecdotes directly from financial advisors attributing increased business to their use of social media. Backing up these anecdotes, Accenture recently published a report entitled Reimagining Wealth Management for the Digital Age, which explores not only how digital technologies and social media are changing the wealth management industry, but also what results have been seen.
Here are a few of the best results:

  • Over half of financial advisors have found and/or converted clients via digital channels
  • 77% of financial advisors have improved client retention via digital/social tools
  • 74% of financial advisors have increased assets under management (AUM) via digital/social tools

Besides these and other eye-opening statistics, Accenture’s 20-page report analyzes how digital technologies and the new “digital generation” have disrupted traditional ways of doing business in the wealth management industry. Near the report’s conclusion, the consulting firm offers three essential components that will help financial firms, advisors, and their clients find success in the new digital era:

  1. Empowerment: of both client and advisor, building trust by making clients better informed
  2. Engagement: to enable a more collaborative relationship between client and advisor
  3. Agility: of both mindset and business model, to adjust rapidly to the speed of change

To learn more, download the full Accenture report here.

Interview with Ted Jenkin of oXYGen Financial: #HSonAir Episode 9

ted jenkinIn episode 9 of Hearsay Social On the Air we interview Ted Jenkin (CFP and co-CEO of oXYGen Financial, @TedJenkin) to share how he and his business partner Kile Lewis (@kilelewis) are developing their practice to address the next generation of investors. Listen to the show to explore how oXYGen Financial is approaching business from a progressive perspective, and how it’s generating positive results.
Finally, join @VictorGaxiola and @ronnykerr on Twitter to participate in the conversation using hashtag #HSonAir.
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Interview with Ron Piovesan of Hearsay Social: #HSonAir Episode 8

ron the air
In episode 8 of Hearsay Social On the Air we launch our employee spotlight series by having a conversation with Ron Piovesan (VP of Strategic Alliances, Hearsay Social, @ronpiovesan).  
In our discussion, we learn more about the work Ron does at Hearsay Social, what he learned from living in India, his thoughts on social media as part of the fundamental human experience, and how our partner development strategy adds value for our customers. 
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Finally, join @VictorGaxiola and @ronnykerr on Twitter to participate in the conversation using hashtag #HSonAir.

Interviews with Marie Swift and Michael Kitces at #FPABE in Seattle: #HSonAir Episodes 6 and 7

Marie SwiftIn episodes 6 and 7 of Hearsay Social On the Air we introduce and review the Financial Planning Association (FPA) Business and Education Conference (#FPABE) in Seattle and sit down with two thought leaders there.

Episode 6: Marie Swift

In episode 6, we interview Marie Swift of Impact Communications to discuss how she works with independent advisors and planners on their marketing and public relations activities. Also, if you’ve ever wondered whether social media activities can be traced back to real ROI–in dollars–this is an episode you don’t want to miss.
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Michael KitcesEpisode 7: Michael Kitces 

In episode 7, we extend our coverage of the FPA’s conference in an interview with Michael Kitces (financial planner, commentator, speaker, and educator at and partner of the Pinnacle Advisory Group@MichaelKitces). We learn about the evolution of his views toward social business in relation to financial planning, the power of having a blog as a content cornerstone, and the creativity of niche marketing.
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As always, remember to  join the conversation on Twitter with @VictorGaxiola and @ronnykerr using hashtag #HSonAir. We love hearing your feedback!

Financial social business needs content marketing [WEBINAR]

Pat-Victor-WebinarContent is the fuel for social business. If you’re not sharing high-quality, relevant content on social media, then you’re not providing your audience with real value.
That’s why, earlier this year, Hearsay Social partnered with several industry-leading content providers to expand our Content Exchange platform and better equip financial professionals with the right kind of content to be successful on social media.
If you have questions about how content actually plays into a successful social business strategy, join our webinar next Thursday: we’ll be sitting down with one of our partners–Trapit–to talk about the power of social business, brand awareness, and content marketing. Register for the webinar and learn why financial social business needs content marketing.
WHENThu 10/2 at 1:00 PM PT
WHO: Patricia Hume (President of Trapit) and Victor Gaxiola (Customer Advocacy Manager at Hearsay Social)
WHAT: Social media is great, isn’t it? It can help increase business. It can help build brand awareness. And it can help differentiate your business from your competitors. To maximize their use of social media, sales professionals must know what kind of content resonates with their prospects, and they must become reliable, trustworthy sources of information. Join this webinar to learn how your marketing and sales teams can leverage content marketing to build brand awareness, engage with prospects, and close deals.
WHERE: Register here!

At the best companies, innovation is everyone's job: Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih at #WIREDBizCon

Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih and the Hearsay Social NY team.

Yesterday we were proud to have our CEO Clara Shih (@clarashih) join other business and technology thought leaders at the 2014 Wired Business Conference in New York City.
The theme of the conference was “Rethink” because businesses today need to rethink everything. From eCommerce and the arts to architecture and surgical robotics, from repurposing plastic and clothing production to gaming and the social enterprise, no industry or idea can remain stagnant.
We enjoyed seeing all the insights shared by great industry minds, including David Karp (founder and CEO, Tumblr, @davidkarp), Nolan Bushnell (founder, Atari, @NolanBushnell), Lawrence Lessig (professor at Harvard Law School and founder of Creative Commons, @lessig) and Andrew McAfee (principal research scientist at MIT and cofounder of the Initiative on the Digital Economy at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, @amcafee).
Highlights from the conference include:

  • In the “Mr. Green Jeans” session, founders from Parley for the Oceans and Bionic Yarn demonstrated how they’re making jeans out of plastic (i.e. bionic yarn). Using the jeans’ cool factor, they deliver a message of sustainability: retrieve and recycle, reduce and replace.
  • Hardeep Walia (founder of Motif Investing and a friend of Clara’s) demoed his platform, which enables people to invest in concepts and ideas rather than individual stocks.
  • In a special one-to-one chat with Jill Schlesinger (CBS News Business Analyst, Host of Jill on Money, @jillonmoney), Clara spoke about how Hearsay Social empowers financial services representatives with an authentic, trusted voice. She also shared early stories of building the platform’s first prototype with her co-founder Steve Garrity (@stgarrity). Finally, Clara discussed with Jill how an organization’s success hinges on its people: innovation is everyone’s job, from the CEO on down.

Watch Clara’s session here and see tweets from the event below:

You Can Sell, But You Can’t Hide: Join Hearsay Social and Farmers Insurance at SXSW Interactive 2014

SXSW_Blog_image (1)Going to SXSW? We’d love to see you there!

There are over 800 confirmed sessions for SXSW Interactive alone, featuring a host of influential technology and business leaders including Anne Wojcicki (CEO and co-founder of 23andMe), Biz Stone (co-founder of Twitter and CEO of Jelly), and Chelsea Clinton, who is currently Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation.

Here’s one session you don’t want to miss: On Monday, March 10 at 11 AM, Hearsay Social and Farmers Insurance will be leading a talk titled You Can Sell, But You Can’t Hide, which will explore the state of social media in today’s business landscape.

We’re especially excited because our session is a “Core Conversation,” meaning that instead of being a traditional single person or panel presentation, all attendees are invited and encouraged to participate in the discussion. That means we want you and your colleagues to attend our session with fresh ideas on how social media can make an impact across businesses. Come ready to talk!

You Can Sell, But You Can’t Hide

WHEN: 11 AM on Monday, March 10

WHERE: Hilton Austin Downtown, Room 616AB, 500 E 4th St

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 2.51.22 PM

WHO: Jason Suen (Director, Global Customer Success at Hearsay Social, @JasonSuen) and Patrizio Spagnoletto (Head of Digital, Farmers Insurance, @patospago)

WHAT: Social media has changed the game for salespeople, who can no longer survive without adopting new technologies. Today’s buyer is more informed and more connected than ever before, and this change has forced salespeople to adapt or become obsolete. In this session, Hearsay Social and Farmers Insurance, two leaders in the world of social business, will walk through the changing landscape of the connected buyer, and discuss why and how salespeople have to step up their game.

Learn more about our session on the SXSW website or check out one of the below resources from SXSW 2013:

SXSW in 60 seconds: Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih on the most exciting innovation of 2013

“The Death of Marketing” at SXSW 2013

Brian Solis and Clara Shih discuss social content marketing at LinkedIn’s #SXSW Influencers Reception