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First European Customer Forum: Keys to Social Business Success for Financial Services Firms

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 9.56.54 AMHearsay Social recently hosted its first European Customer Forum in London to highlight best practices around social business in an ever-changing global financial services industry. Customers hailed from all parts of Europe including France, Germany, Spain and the UK and spanned multiple industries including wealth and asset management, banking, and insurance. This varied customer base provided an excellent opportunity to share best practices and tips for rolling out a successful social business program.
Motown-inspired entertainment from The Chapman Brothers set a lively and fun atmosphere for the bulk of the day, which included an interactive discussion around three main topics: content strategy, adoption best practices, and compliance. Members of Hearsay Social’s Customer Success team facilitated and guided the discussion to capture best practices and insights shared by our customers.
Below are key takeaways from the event:
1. Robo-advisors can be an opportunity for financial services firms
Abhay Rajaram, VP of Customer Success at Hearsay Social, kicked off the program with some high level thoughts on trends in the financial industry and what it means for the financial advisor. His overall message: It’s imperative for advisors to become “technology empowered” and to supplement what can’t be replaced by automation (i.e. the human touch) with digital technologies.
2. Targeting based on life events is key
Chris Andrew, Managing Director at Hearsay Social UK and Europe, gave an update on Hearsay Social’s product roadmap and new products, such as Hearsay Sites and new modules like Facebook Ads that allow finer targeting of audience segments. Our customers were particularly excited about the ability to target ads based on life events, such as marriage, retirement, and saving for college. As one participant said, “If you don’t have a lot of connections, then this functionality is incredibly valuable.” He also emphasized that the Facebook Ads module leverages Hearsay Social’s compliance workflow as well as the Content Library for finding and promoting pre-approved content.
3. Know your audience well
The more you know and understanding your audience, the better it is to create appealing content to connect with those audiences. That was the overall takeaway during the discussion on content strategy. Below are tips participants shared on effective content creation habits:

  • Fresher, more informal content for agents is better vs. stuffy, brand speak.
  • Visual content wins.
  • Include cultured themes, even if they do not relate to industry insights or products and services.
  • Go for original images over stock photos.
  • Use infographics or videos to point to long form content (such as whitepapers) as attention-grabbers.
  • Consider using content that is entertaining or even “risky” or satirical.
  • Mix it up. Link to content at the local or macro level (such as general news updates) and content that resonates with “niche” audiences.
  • Personalize content. People like to engage with other people.
  • Interesting idea for a post: “Have a title and picture that is not related to the main text but to a link at the end of the post: this insures the reader is interested by the entire post, and intrigued to click on the link at the end of the post to ‘find out more.’

4. The keys to successful rollout and adoption of Hearsay Social is to continuously train and share your successes
The adoption and rollout table focused on ideas for initial agent activation and the on-going task of maintaining momentum of the program.

  • Get all stakeholders involved early in the program.
  • Convince sales management to set objectives for the agents/advisors upfront, include social as part of the sales methodology.
  • Organize in-person training sessions in the beginning: explain social media, Hearsay Social but be very practical.
  • Keep trainings ongoing – preferably in-person. If doing webinars do them as “lunch & learn”; give points/rewards for agents who participate in the trainings.
  • Ensure your content strategy stays relevant; gather agents feedback and adjust your content accordingly.
  • Ensure there is close supervision by sales management.
  • Keep momentum going by creating internal Facebook/LinkedIn groups for agents and advisors to share their experience & challenges.
  • Send a weekly or monthly newsletter with social media tips; share best practices or run a contest among agents.
  • Identify success stories, record a video of the testimonies and share during sales events.

5. Varying levels of risk profile and understanding of key regulations remains a challenge for financial services firms
Most banks and asset management firms in the audience were heavily focused on compliance while others were early in their approach to social media risks. Firms that were farther down the social media maturity curve shared that protecting employees from saying or doing the wrong thing depended heavily on having clear social media policies and guidelines in place and enforcing them through rigorous training.
Across all countries, it was clear that regulators held the companies responsible for any wrong doings of the employees. And hence it was in the best interest of the companies that there are systems and processes in place to supervise social media communications relating to business.
On the question of protecting an individual’s privacy on their personal social media accounts, the best practice Hearsay Social has recommended to its clients is to be clear on what channels can be used for business and how they can be used. So for example, Twitter allows a person to have multiple accounts, similar to emails, which means people can have a personal Twitter handle and a business Twitter handle. For Linkedin, companies can set up the use of Linkedin Sales Navigator for business communication and allow the advisors to continue using Inmail for personal communication.
Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 9.58.27 AMThe big takeaway from all the sessions? A forum to interact with other users of Hearsay Social who share similar vision and objectives for their advisors is invaluable. We will continue to create opportunities like this to share insights and learnings so that we can innovate and grow together as an industry.
Thank you to the entire Hearsay Social team, our attendees and invited guests for the support and for making this inaugural European Customer Forum a great success!
Related Resources:

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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