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How 3 Firms Are Using Social Media Education Programs to Grow Business

shutterstock_130643495One of our goals at Hearsay Social is to arm financial professionals with the tools necessary to succeed in an always-connected world. This includes educating advisors and agents on how to use social media to build their credibility, engage with customers and prospects, and grow their business.
A recent article in Ignites, Financial Times publication, entitled “Anti-Social Shops Failing to Connect with Advisors” states “fund companies that fail to help advisors navigate social media are likely blowing a big opportunity to connect with client assets.” 
The article highlights three leading financial services firms – including Pacific Life, Putnam and Vanguard – who have successfully implemented programs to train and encourage its sales teams to use social media for business. 
In a Practical Perspectives study conducted in December 2015, nearly 90 percent of advisors rely on some type of social media guidance to build their practices’ online presence, but few lean on their home office for education and support. Instead, most (72 percent) do their own research, ask colleagues (37 percent), or rely on broker-dealers and custodians (36 percent).
But, according to the article, there’s a real opportunity for firms to build awareness and differentiate themselves at the advisor level on social media. It describes Pacific Life’s successful social media training initiative:

“The firm made sure its external wholesalers had LinkedIn presences in 2014 and knew how to use the network to connect with advisors. After launching the website in 2015, Pacific Life began holding presentations in branch offices, says Christine Tucker, VP of marketing at the company.

‘We do see it as a growth opportunity for helping advisors and helping our wholesalers differentiate themselves,’ she says.

Advisors have particularly gravitated toward more sophisticated training materials, Tucker says. The site includes pieces on how to prospect for clients by age or limit the visibility of connections on LinkedIn.

The social media education effort started because Pacific Life sought to create a unique value-add offering, one that would help advisors attract more business, Tucker says. The future buyers of mutual funds have been raised on technology, so the medium struck the firm as an ideal way for advisors to connect with them, she says.

‘We wanted to be able to have a different story to tell [in advisor offices],’ she says.”

The article also describes how Putnam Investments provides a multitude of ongoing social media training resources for its sales team:

At Putnam, everyone across the retail sales team is well versed in how to use social media to build business, says Jayme Lacour, director of social media at the Boston-based firm. That includes internals giving presentations over the Web and externals presenting ideas to advisors at the branch level and one-on-one, as well as the firm’s sales and marketing leaders speaking on panels. ‘It’s an expectation of our sales team from the top to the bottom,’ he says.

The firm offers a full range of presentations that cater to social media neophytes and experts alike. Putnam reps cover everything from creating a profile to using Boolean search terms to find potential clients on LinkedIn, Lacour says. …

A few years ago, Putnam rolled out a dedicated website, called Advisor Tech Tips, that includes social media pointers.

Building relationships with advisors through social media has been a major focus at Putnam, says Mark McKenna, head of global marketing. ‘This is really what we do hands-on with advisors,’ he says. For instance, the firm recently brought about 30 advisors into its offices for a full day of training, which also included professional head shots taken in Putnam’s studio, he says.”

Vanguard also is included in the story as a leader in providing social media education and support for its field force; the article says the firm recently added a section to its website offering tips for how advisors should use social media.
Log in to read the full Ignites article.
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Enrollment in Social Media Courses Now Open at The American College

shutterstock_307075406We’re excited to share that The American College has opened enrollment for its first formal social media coursework program, which Hearsay Social helped develop as part of a strategic alliance with the college to educate financial advisors on how to use social media to build their credibility, engage with today’s digital-first customers, and grow their businesses. The American College is an academically accredited, non-profit institution dedicated to leadership in innovation education and development for financial services professionals.
The initial course, “Social Media: Don’t Get Left Behind,” will offer financial professionals the practical skill sets required to develop, and manage, a successful social media presence, says The American College in a press announcement. The course – held online – is part of the Financial Services Certified Professional® (FSCP®) program.
In addition to helping develop the coursework, Hearsay Social and The American College will collaborate on additional opportunities that will empower thousands of financial services professionals to gain practical, hands-on knowledge and learn industry best practices.
Classes will begin January 2016 and seats are limited. Learn more and reserve a seat now.
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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.

Hearsay Social and The American College Team Up to Strengthen Social Business Education

logo_tacWe’re excited to announce Hearsay Social’s new strategic alliance with The American College to develop the educational institution’s first formal social media curriculum, and help both new and seasoned financial advisors succeed in today’s increasingly digital world.
Founded in 1927, The American College is an academically accredited, non-profit institution that exclusively serves professionals in the insurance, securities and banking industries. It offers education, certification and graduate programs that arm its students with the skills and knowledge they need to have a successful, lasting career in financial services. The American College created the first financial designation in 1927 – the prestigious CLU Insurance Specialty – and has continued to develop and deliver innovative programs that meet the needs of the changing financial landscape.
Together, The American College and Hearsay Social will create and implement educational programs to help advisors leverage the power of social media, mobile and more to grow their businesses. It’ll be the first time that The American College is integrating social media into its formal curriculum. With Hearsay Social as a leading champion of the use of social media, mobile-optimized websites and other technologies so that advisors remain relevant in an age of digital disruption, this collaboration will provide opportunities for thousands to gain practical, hands-on knowledge and learn industry best practices.
“Advisors know that being social media and digitally savvy has become a prerequisite to reach and connect with both today’s and tomorrow’s generations of clients,” said Hearsay Social CEO and founder, Clara Shih, in a press release. “More than 110,000 advisors use Hearsay Social and Hearsay Sites today, and we are thrilled to partner with The American College to help them, as well as thousands of others, achieve the next level of professionalism and success through our new joint social media education offering. Advisors asked, and we are delivering.”
For more details, check out our press announcement.