In episode 22 of Hearsay Social On the Air we introduce Sarah Pedersen (Director of Customer Success at Hearsay Social, @SarahCPedersen), and the role she and her team play in the implementation and adoption of social by our clients.
We also explore how the Customer Success team collaborates with clients to help them define and reach their goals, meet their challenges, and thrive in their use of social media.
Be a part of the conversation with @VictorGaxiola and @ronnykerr on Twitter using hashtag #HSonAir
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For nearly a quarter of a century, Research magazine has annually recognized advisors in the financial services industry who have proven to hold themselves to a benchmark of excellence worthy of remark across the industry.
Those honored have served a minimum of 20 years in the industry, have acquired substantial assets under management, have demonstrated superior client service and have earned recognition from their peers and the broader community for the honor they reflect on their profession.
Today we want to take a moment to thank and congratulate this year’s winners for their achievements:
Lewis Altfest, CEO and Principal Advisor, Atlfest Personal Wealth Management
Sally Law, Chairman and CEO, Law & Associates, Raymond James Financial Services
Eugene Lerner, Managing Director/Partner/Founder, The Lerner Group, HighTower
From Southwest Airlines to Asos, customer engagement has already been transformed by Twitter. Representatives not only respond to customer complaints and inquiries at breakneck speeds, but they share content which show off the company’s unique style and culture, appealing to their respective audiences. Retailers from Burberry to Starbucks (where I’m proud to serve on the board of directors) not only shine through creative campaigns and audience engagement, but they have also made cutting-edge social- and mobile-enabled technology their core business.
Even in financial services, an industry sometimes perceived as slow and sluggish due to the regulatory environment, I’m excited to share that Hearsay Social enables the world’s largest banks, insurers, and financial firms to “get social.” We now support over 100,000 financial professionals, allowing them to meaningfully connect with clients and prospects across multiple social networks and devices.
Whether it’s improved responsiveness to customer complaints, greater audience reach, more instantaneous market insight, or the opportunity to connect with a new lead, compelling business cases now abound on social media.
In most organizations, however, social media still sits in a silo by itself. And some companies are still investing in social just to say they are social. Therefore, my big idea for 2015 is that social media will cease to exist as an individual silo, but instead will become integrated into standard business practice.
With the initial business case proven out, it is time for the C-suite as well as functional leaders to institutionalize social as a core part of how business is done every day. Here’s how:
Define a customer-centered vision for transformation
We like to think we’ve come so far, but change comes from the top. And how much can be said when, in 2014, two in three CEOs still have no social presence on any major social network whatsoever? (Source: 2014 Social CEO Report, CEO.com.) Of those CEOs who do use social media, two in three are only on one platform. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the only Fortune 500 CEO on every major social network is Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who is arguably the best equipped to understand the power of social.
We need to change this next year. If you truly want to create a customer-centered organization–that is, a company dedicated to long-term success amid seismic shifts in consumer expectations and behavior–then executives at the top must articulate why the transformation needs to take place. The first step towards articulating this is leading by example: CEOs, functional and line-of-business heads, and first-line managers all need to be practicing what they preach so that they are not only more credible but are also better equipped to lead and influence from within their organizations.
Create a new methodology, process, and metrics
It’s no longer acceptable to be doing social media for the sake of doing it. Have a plan in place, no matter how simple. Document your plan and intended goals, train employees and managers on it, drive success by checking in regularly, and, of course, measure people on it.
Our customer success team at Hearsay Social, for example, has developed a four-step methodology for financial firms and their advisors who may initially feel overwhelmed when approaching social: First, establish a presence, which can be measured simply by seeing who has online social profiles. Second, grow your network by connecting with colleagues and clients where appropriate–yet another step that can be easily measured. Next, listen to your network for opportunities that could help you grow your business. Finally, share content and thought leadership to continually stay top of mind with your audience.
Having a methodology, process and metrics in place for the social program helps institutionalize social as part of a company’s DNA and standard operating procedure while ensuring repeatability and scale as the company brings on new employees.
Cut and consolidate
Regardless of the organization, resources are never unlimited. Employees can only get so much done in a day, and there’s only so much cash flowing to fuel projects.
With that in mind, even the largest companies in the world must start thinking like startups by adopting a mentality of ruthless focus. In other words, you need to decide what you’re not going to do in order to make room for social.
For example, many of the insurance agencies we power on social media have decided to stop advertising on park benches and in the Yellow Pages. Instead, they are using their funds to buy promoted posts on Facebook. Another company, a financial services firm, which previously provided two separate training programs for “inter-generational wealth transfer” and “social media” realized that there was actually an opportunity to combine the two because social media should be core to any effort to appeal to future generations of heirs.
Let your people teach and inspire one another
The first three steps are all top-down, but equally important, if not more so, is the groundswell of employee engagement and feeling of ownership. Companies more than ever need to have bottoms-up evangelism and peer-to-peer sharing to succeed in the digital era.
As partners of our client companies, we regularly attend national conferences hosted by our client organizations that bring together advisors across the country to share ideas about how they do business today. Time and time again, we hear anecdotes of social-savvy advisors sharing their success stories and ROI proof points, which serve to sway even the most skeptical advisors to become social media believers and practitioners. In the end, though executive buy-in is crucial, peer-to-peer evangelism will be much more credible than corporate departments pushing their initiatives down. You need both.
Expect continual iteration
To succeed as a company in 2015 and beyond, it is imperative to accept that change is ubiquitous and accelerating. There’s new tech coming out every day–from mobile payments to virtual reality, connected cars and homes to the Internet of Everything–destined to challenge and upend every established sector. In turn, each of these disruptions will cause even newer technologies like social media to evolve, and there will always be new use cases. Perhaps your company may pave the way to the next innovation in social media case studies.
In 2015, social will be disrupted by going mainstream across the enterprise. Soon, we will no longer call it out separately. Social as a silo is going away. A decade ago, we spent a lot of breath talking about “online” experiences, but today we assume every customer is always online. Social will be the same.
In episode 17 of Hearsay Social On the Air we introduce Greg Kroleski (Product Manager, Hearsay Social, @gregkroleski) and the role he and his team play in the design and development of our enterprise solution for the financial services industry.
We also discuss how customer feedback impacts the evolution of our solution and leads to future enhancements. Join the conversation with @VictorGaxiola and @ronnykerr on Twitter using hashtag #HSonAir.
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Dreamforce, Salesforce’s annual tech show and music festival, took over the streets of San Francisco last week–and Hearsay Social was there in full force.
Not only did our resident DJ/Corporate Communications Manager Ronny Kerr (@ronnykerr) drop the wax at one of the after-parties, but the rest of the team was there to see and be seen and learn about the future of SaaS from one of the greatest cloud companies in the industry.
Keynote speakers hailed from across backgrounds, including Hillary Rodham Clinton (Former Secretary of State), Al Gore (45th Vice President of the United States), Marc Andreessen (Co-founder and Partner, Andreessen Horowitz), and Reid Hoffman (Co-Founder of LinkedIn). Here are three key takeaways from the event:
Anthony Robbins, a life coach, self-help author, and motivational speaker, spoke with the audience about how businesses should treat customers in the way an individual treats loved ones. If you don’t address issues and work together toward better solutions, then the relationship won’t last.
In his keynote, Salesforce Founder, Chairman, and CEO Marc Benioff announced the Customer Success Platform, which aims to better connect customers through sales, customer service, marketing, communities, apps, and analytics.
Digital shift in financial services
As we discuss regularly on the Hearsay Social blog, there are many changes afoot in the financial services industry affecting how firms do business and how clients expect to be served.
One example demonstrated at Dreamforce: Berkshire Hathaway transitioned its new travel protection insurance to be almost fully automated on digital allowing customers to collect claims almost instantly. In this new mobile-social era, financial services teams need to evaluate digital solutions by first finding the right people to build a process that can pick a vendor that’s a partner and not just a vendor that completed the best-looking RFP.
Another topic that recurred at Dreamforce was Salesforce’s shifting its partner ecosystem to focus on vertical-specific apps. With customer success crucial to the company’s overall mission, Salesforce knows it needs to optimize its platform and solutions for various industries, including financial services, healthcare, and life sciences.
Overall, the theme of the show was all about customer focus in the digital era. Whether it’s managing a pipeline with Sales Cloud, a new product launch with Marketing Cloud or keeping customers happy with Service Cloud, Salesforce’s dedication to customer success is clear.
Not only is Salesforce committed to the cloud, but it is also committed to caring. Hearsay Social attendees and hundreds of thousands of others met Marc Benioff’s challenge to donate a million meals during the show. Salesforce’s mission of improving public education and supporting our military vets was also an inspiration to us all.
Sharing 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 Happens, NewsCred 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.
As a Fortune 500 financial services organization, Thrivent Financial manages approximately $90 billion in assets for nearly 2.5 million customers. And today they are one of the most innovative financial firms using social media for business.
In the below video, we sat down with Compliance and Sales leaders at Thrivent to hear about how social media has impacted their organization. First, we hear about the program’s business drivers from Knut Olson (SVP, Financial Network, Thrivent Financial), who notes that one cohort (versus a control group) experienced a 22% increase in customer acquisition mostly driven by social media.
Additionally, we hear from Paul Johnston (VP and Deputy General Counsel, Thrivent Financial) on overcoming the early compliance hurdles of social media. Check it out:
With fall in full swing, our schedule is packed with events around the country where we hope to meet you face to face!
The Hearsay Social team is thrilled to take our vision for social business on a global tour this fall. From NACD, Fortune, and Women on Wall Street to SIFMA Social, LIMRA Annual, Dreamforce, and American Banker, we will be coming to a city near you to share best practices, case studies, and thought leadership around the future of selling.
Here are three events this week where our CEO Clara Shih will be headlining sessions:
Clara kicks off the tour this week at the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) Board Leadership Conference, to be held in the Washington, D.C. area. Clara, who is also on the board of Starbucks, is speaking alongside directors from Allianz Global Investors Mutual Funds, Mutual of Omaha, Coca-Cola, JetBlue and many others, as well as Mary Jo White, Chair of the SEC.
Clara and fellow panelists will be leading a session called “Social Media Strategy: The Board’s Role,” on Monday, October 14th. They will discuss how social media has provided companies with a unique platform to listen and communicate with their clients, employees, fans, and critics.
At Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington, D.C., Clara will participate on a panel, “Leadership: Lessons from Under-40 Influentials,” to discuss “power, ambition and the next generation of leadership,” on Wednesday, October 16th.
Other speakers at the event include Warren Buffett (Chairman and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway Inc.), Mary Callahan Erdoes (CEO, J.P. Morgan Asset Management); Carolyn Everson (VP, Global Marketing Solutions, Facebook), Marissa Mayer (President and CEO, Yahoo!), and Sheryl Sandberg (COO, Facebook).
At Deutsche Bank’s19th Annual Women on Wall Street Conference, Clara will join other high profile female leaders, including Vicki Fuller (Chief Investment Officer, New York State Common Retirement Fund), Sallie Krawcheck (Owner, 85 Broads), and Mary Schapiro (Managing Director and Chairman of the Governance and Markets Practice, Promontory Financial), to talk about how they have “defied conventional wisdom, taken risks, and cultivated success.”
Additionally, on October 16th, Kristin Shevis, head of sales, Eastern U.S. for Hearsay Social, will participate on a panel, “A Conversation With Social Media Leaders,” at the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) Social Media Seminar in New York. Panelists will explore the role of social media in the financial services industry. Other speakers at the event include executives from LinkedIn, Twitter, FINRA, SIFMA, and top financial firms.
Check out our events page to see where we’ll be in the coming weeks and months!
Every day, a billion people share the most important moments of their lives on social media, from new jobs to newborns — and everything in between. Your own social networks are full of these “social signals” and your competitors are acting on this information in real time. So how do you go beyond basic corporate pages and enable your agent force to sell more?
Join our webinar and learn how to:
Activate your entire company on social media
Train and onboard a geographically dispersed agent force
Amplify and measure brand reach across your people
Systematically address governance and regulatory issues
What a year it has been for you our customers, for the social media industry, and indeed, for the world. From Tunisia and Egypt and Libya, to your incredible successes, career milestones, and record-setting ROI on social media, to the LinkedIn, Zynga, and Jive IPOs and Hearsay Social’s 6X growth, 2011 was marked by three overarching themes which I will reflect upon in these closing remarks for the year: Massive Change, Game-Changing Innovation, Incredible Growth. Massive Change
2011 saw the toppling of multiple authoritarian regimes. Their timing with the upswing in social media adoption was no accident. The transparency, connectedness, and decentralized power resulting from social media played a critical role in every revolution. What can corporations learn from the Arab Spring? Tech editor David Kirkpatrick wrote a fascinating Forbes cover essay, ‘Social Power — and the Coming — Coporate Revolution’ on this topic:
“Civilizations have clashed in an unexpected way this year, as ordinary people using Facebook and Twitter knocked down dictators in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Social might is now moving toward your company. We have entered the age of empowered individuals, who use potent new technologies and harness social media to organize themselves… to force you to listen to what they care about and to demand respect. Both your customers and your employees have started marching in this burgeoning social media multitude, and you’d better get out of their way–or learn to embrace them.”
He goes on to talk about Hearsay Social’s role in all of this:
“Hearsay [Social]’s tools presume something elemental in a world of social power: that the empowerment of employees is directly tied to the empowerment of customers–because they will inevitably end up working, maybe even conspiring, together.”
Social media has been a catalyst for massive change in the World Order. It is having the same effect on the Corporate Order. Massive change usually means massive opportunity, and this is precisely why Steve and I started Hearsay Social two years ago. Yet we are just scratching the surface of the sea change about to come. Game-Changing Innovation
In October, I had the pleasure of having dinner with Warren Buffett and Lloyd Blankfein at the Fortune Power Summit in Laguna Nigel. Since they have a pretty good track record when it comes to financial matters and predicting the future, I asked their opinion on the economy and whether we are headed for a continued downward spiral. Do you know what Warren told me? It was quite uplifting: he told me he believes with all his heart that innovation and entrepreneurship are what will ultimately lift this country out of recession.
Will we rise to the occasion?
2011 saw the launch of several game-changing social marketing innovations, all of which I am proud to say Hearsay Social was an important part of:
Google+ Brand Pages. We were thrilled to be among a small handful of launch partners for Google+ last month and see tremendous potential for brands to connect the power of Google search and local to social.
Facebook Timeline and Open Graph. Hearsay Social sat in the front row at f8 this year, where Mark Zuckerberg unveiled a fresh new profile layout and metaphor, which is coming soon to brand pages and will take customer engagement to even higher levels.
Twitter Brand Pages. Recognizing the enormous business value for brands on social media, Twitter finally followed suit and unveiled their version of social brand pages.
Incredible Growth and Learning
A year ago, there were 500M Facebook users, 100M Twitter users, 50M LinkedIn users, and 0 Google+ users (it did not yet exist). Today, there are over 1B people on Facebook, and the other networks too have more than doubled. A year ago, social business was still a hazy, nice-to-have concept. Today, social business is a must-have reality. 2011 was the year of social media maturation. As an industry, we have graduated from siloed one-off pilots to serious cross-functional enterprise adoption, integration with business processes, and impressive ROI. The greatest highlights for me this year were when many of you, our amazing customers, called, emailed, or tweeted on different occasions to share that our partnership had resulted in material growth for your business. With great excitement, you told me this not only justifies your efforts but is bringing much-deserved executive mindshare, additional resources, and yes, hard-won glory. Here are just a few of your impressive accomplishments:
Blowing past 16,000 active and successful social pages across LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ (and making it look easy)
Forging over five million meaningful social customer relationships
Convincing your organizations to take social seriously – taking your vision from “exploratory” to “critical business driver”
Taking on the ultimate personal and professional challenge, having the time of your life inventing the future of your company and industry
Just like the pioneers of the Internet fifteen years ago, you are the ones defining, shaping, and leading the social era. At a time when the business outlook still feels uncertain, you have stepped up to the plate with bold optimism, inspiring ideas, and a willingness to experiment, learn from mistakes, and share. Kudos to you for your hard work and conviction, and thank you for learning and growing with us.
YouTube video: Seven lessons we learned from working with our customers. “7 Habits of Highly Successful Social Marketers,” my keynote talk at this year’s ad:tech conference
As for Hearsay Social, we will continue our unrelenting pursuit of excellence, which for us means driving innovation and growth for your organizations so you can benefit from the changes that await in 2012. Given your incredible successes to date, our collective learning and partnership, and the incredible team I am so lucky to work with every day at Hearsay Social, I have never been more optimistic about the future of business and the world. Here’s to 2012 – the year of social media success, innovation-led business growth, and global economic recovery. Thank you for inspiring us all.