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Social Business Adoption – Step 6: Have a Strong Content Strategy and Pipeline

shutterstock_338921585This post is the last and final installment of Hearsay Social’s Six-Step Program to Boost Social Business Adoption across the enterprise.
Advisors are often pressed for time to deal with matters of productivity and figuring out what to post on social media. Moreover, it can be downright daunting for many advisors to try to figure out how to balance their personal lives with their professional lives on social media. And According to a LIMRA study, one of the most common impediments to social media adoption are a shortage of content and slow review processes of the content.
Here are 6 tips for building and maintaining a robust content library to ensure your advisors have something worthy and relevant to share on social media:

  1. Follow the “80/20” rule: One way to boost your content efforts is to follow an “80/20” rule. The rule simply comes down to this: 80% of your social media content should be non-financial and non-promotional in nature; 20% can be financially focused content that arms your advisors with valuable information that they can share with clients and prospects.
  2. Create custom content tags within the Content Library for easy searching.
  3. Leverage Hearsay Social’s Curated Content Channels to find ready-to-share compliant content.
  4. Utilize RSS feeds for accessing and curating content to upload into the library.
  5. Help advisors save time and increase productivity by highlighting easy-to-use Hearsay Social functionality, such as Hearsay Social Mobile and iPad Apps.
  6. Leverage Hearsay Social for Facebook Ads or Promoted Posts to enable advisors to take content they’ve published and broaden their distribution through Facebook ads, amplifying their visibility and increasing engagement. 

adoption-guide
For more success insights on how to educate the field and arm them for success, as well as Hearsay Social’s entire six-step framework for social business adoption across the enterprise, get our new, free Social Business Adoption Guide. 
View all six steps in our Social Business Adoption guide infographic.

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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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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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Financial Marketers' Forum: Content Marketing Insights from the C-Suite

picstitchEveryone’s talking about content marketing, but what are some of the major players in financial services doing to use, scale and measure content?
Senior marketing leaders from several top financial and media companies convened in our hometown last week to participate in Gramercy Institute’s “Forum: San Francisco” event, a half-day program that focused on what works (and what doesn’t) in the current world of financial marketing. Not surprisingly, content marketing was a hot topic.
A panel addressing the overarching theme “Content Marketing: Why It Works Well in Financial (Does It?)” uncovered the opportunities and challenges that leading companies are experiencing when it comes to creating and distributing content.
Panelists included:

  • Gabe Dalporto, CMO & President/Mortgage at Lending Tree
  • Matt Dunn, VP of Digital Publishing and Social Strategies, Franklin Templeton Investments
  • Laura Nemeth, CMO at RS Investments
  • John Toth, Head of US Ad Sales for Reuters.com, Thomson Reuters

Here are our four takeaways from the panel:
1. The efficiencies of digital distribution can no longer be ignored. Information is moving faster than ever before, creating an enormous demand for quality, relevant and increasingly more personalized content that reaches consumers where they’re spending time online.

Panel insight: Determine a theme or topic that you can be an authority in, find where people are talking about that topic and make sure you own that space and have a strong content presence there, whether that’s earned or paid.

2. You can’t manage what you can’t measure. New technologies are enabling marketers to monetize and monitor the ROI of their content, which they were largely unable to do effectively during the days of print. What’s more, the feedback loops provide – in real time – the ability to create better, more focused content for their audiences.

Panel insight: Leveraging ad platforms and using cookies to track behavior all the way to conversion are just a few of the strategies that the panelists engage in to measure their content marketing efforts.

3. Aim to build social relationships first, and business will follow. When it comes to creating and sharing content, the goal should be to engage with audiences in a meaningful, consistent and personalized way that builds trust. There are no quick wins or hits; consumers want long-term financial partners who are there to help them, not alarmists, and need to be educated about their options, not schooled.

Panel insight: Think about how the stories you tell can scale and be repurposed. Rather than distributing the same content everywhere, would it have more impact if regional markets and offices are able to add a local, more personal touch to broader content themes?

4. Leverage time-saving technology. There are many products and tools to streamline a firm’s content marketing efforts, from creation to curation to promotion to distribution and everything in between. Focus on the part of the process that requires the most time commitment or manpower, and partner with a technology provider that will help remove those barriers to productivity.

Panel insight: Matt Dunn of Franklin Templeton Investments mentioned the use of technology providers such as Contently to help his team manage editorial calendars, as well as Hearsay Social to empower advisors to share compliant content with their social media followers.

For more information on the latest content offering from Hearsay Social, see the recent post about our new Curated Content Channels.
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The Internet of things and other 2015 trends you need to know about

key15As a special holiday treat, eMarketer is sharing a complimentary report entitled Key Digital Trends for 2015.
The report is broken up into three distinct sections. First, it describes the the five key trends in consumer behavior and technology adoption that every marketer needs to know about. Next, it delves into five buzzy technologies that could possibly gain traction in 2015, but are still unproven. Finally, it plainly calls out the areas that “are more hot air than hard reality.”
Here’s a brief outline of the findings:

Five key things you need to know about 2015

  1. ‘Responsiveness’ will rule
  2. Mobile search will surpass desktop
  3. Programmatic will move beyond digital display
  4. The Internet of things will become a thing
  5. Cross-device targeting at scale

Five things that might get big (but might not)

  1. Wearables: not quite ready to wear
  2. Mobile payments? Wait until next year
  3. New life for social commerce
  4. Will content marketing sputter?
  5. Cord-cutting: still more hype than reality

Five things you won’t need to worry about

  1. The desktop
  2. QR codes: not the next big thing
  3. Social TV: the conversation is pretty quiet
  4. Baby boomers: going bust
  5. Privacy? Security? Yawn.

Learn more by downloading the full report and exploring additional resources below.
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3 strategies to overcome social media challenges in wealth management

Article first appeared on thewealthnet on Tue, Dec 9, 2014.

logoThe wealth management industry has been slow to embrace and understand how to harness the power of social networks in their organizations. However, with a billion people on Facebook and 200 million on Twitter and LinkedIn each, there’s no question that your customers – both young and old – are already there. Clients today expect their advisors to interact more often, to offer them more personalized service and to communicate when and where they want.
A recent 2014 survey by PAM Insight of financial advisors shows that, compared to last year where only 67.9% used Linkedin, this year that number has increased to 83%. The other network that was mentioned was Twitter with 54% having corporate Twitter accounts. The future also seems bright for social media initiatives with over 72% planning to increase spend in the next year.
Hearsay Social recently had the opportunity to dig behind these numbers when it partnered with Financial Services Forum to host a meeting with heads of marketing from some of the largest wealth management firms in UK. A roundtable discussion on the state of social media and the challenges facing this industry brought to light three key challenges and strategies to overcome perceived barriers:

Risk

When it comes to the biggest barriers in adopting social, compliance and risk took center stage. PAM Insight reports that “as with previous year’s survey, 66.7% of advisors stated compliance as the main concern.” But the problem here was less about specific requirements and more about the fact that there is no clarity on what the rules are, which has paralyzed many companies into taking no action.
Recent guidelines from FCA were applauded by the group to be a move in the right direction but there were still a lot of questions on what FCA will and will not accept. There was agreement that the industry can’t wait indefinitely for the rules to be clear, so companies should start by implementing some basic social media strategies:

  • Provide advisors with a pre-approved library of content
  • Enable a workflow to automate content approval
  • Adopt a third-party system to capture social conversations and archive it.

Content

Another area that sparked a lot of conversation amongst the group was content. How do you differentiate your content from your competitors? How do you ensure that your content is not “spam” for your customers? And, more importantly, how do you shape the conversation on social media?
This concern was consistent with PAM Insight’s finding that showed 64.3% of respondents were concerned about lack of control on what content is communicated. After much discussion on this topic, attendees agreed that the best strategy to overcome content issues is education. Education on how to represent yourself online in a manner that is true, trustworthy and personal. Education on the right type of content for the right audience. And education on regulatory risk and social media policies of the company.

Timeliness

Most participants feel that social media moves too fast. If you want to be on social media channels, you need to be prepared to respond in time. Many people spoke about the compliance process and the length of time it takes, often making social conversations less relevant by the time they are ready.
Since introducing any change takes time, it is imperative that companies start now to understand what social media can do for them and take incremental steps to help their people build relationships online. Creating cross-functional teams with marketing, sales and compliance and educating themselves on how social media works are a couple strategies that can help with timeliness and embracing these new channels of communication.
Overall the impact and benefits of social media dominated the conversation. This is again in line with the survey results of PAM Insight. The survey showed that 61% of advisors believed “building industry presence and credibility” was the biggest benefit. While 44% said attracting clients and retention of existing clients (80%) were important benefits of social media.
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On Facebook, high-quality, engaging content is more important than ever

FacebookIn order to ensure people are always seeing highly relevant content, Facebook® recently announced that fewer overly promotional posts will appear in people’s News Feeds beginning in 2015.
As people connect with more friends and Like more business Pages, News Feed is becoming increasingly crowded. Overly promotional posts in News Feed add little value compared to other more relevant posts, so Facebook, after conducting a widespread survey, listened to people’s feedback and addressed this in their recent announcement.
As we’ve highlighted with other evolutions of the News Feed, high-quality, highly engaging organic content will continue to be featured. So for financial services professionals, if your posts are getting a lot of Likes and comments, Facebook will continue to feature them in News Feed; good content that informs, entertains and makes people think will win.
What does Facebook define as “overly promotional?” This will include posts that strictly sell and make no attempt to engage, such as:

  1. Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  2. Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  3. Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

High-quality organic posts will continue to appear in News Feed. In addition, with Hearsay Social’s new promotional posts feature, financial services professionals can also use ad dollars that were previously wasted on low yield ads like billboards and instead invest them in higher yield Promotional Posts to get even greater reach.
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Facebook® is a registered trademark of Facebook Inc.

Interview with Pat Hume of TrapIt: #HSonAir Episode 10

Pat-Victor-WebinarIn episode 10 of Hearsay Social On the Air we launch our Partner Highlight Series with an introduction to TrapIt President Pat Hume (@pathume66).
The episode features a replay of a joint webinar hosted by Victor and Pat on content marketing and the importance of having a content strategy to connect and add value to your social audiences. You can follow the webinar conversation on Twitter at #FinServContent and add your review and feedback to our show at #HSonAir.
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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!
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3 ways advisors can use social media content to connect with clients

thinkadvisor-logoSharing compelling content is the most effective way to engage an audience on social. The challenge is that there is an endless supply of material coming from every possible direction. At a certain point, it all just starts to sound like noise.
So how can advisors rise above that noise to deliver information of value to their customers? How do you decide what’s best for your social channels?
Hearsay Social recently signed content partnerships with Broadridge, Life HappensNewsCred and Trapit so that agents and advisors can always access high-value, compelling industry and general interest content to share on s­­ocial and engage their audiences.
By working with these great companies, we’ve come up with a few important tips for social media publishing that will help investment professionals clear through the clutter to drive meaningful interactions with clients.
Continue reading this article over at ThinkAdvisor.
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