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Ten tenets for social business success

shutterstock_111111614In episode 21 of Hearsay Social On the Air, we review the ten tenets of social business that drive engagement and success and explore ten best practices for financial professionals to improve their digital connections to get measurable results. Join the conversation on Twitter with @VictorGaxiola and @ronnykerr using hashtag #HSonAir.
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Personal touches on social media key to building relationships

thinkadvisor-logoAs a busy financial professional, you don’t have a ton of extra time to manage your social media presence. A standard, solid strategy for advisors today is to find time once a week to post and schedule links to industry or company articles. But, as you’ve likely discovered, this doesn’t result in very many likes, comments, or other forms of engagement from your audience.
So how do you boost your social media presence and make yourself stand out from the pack?
While it’s crucial to share professional content — that’s how you establish credibility — there’s something equally important: showing off your own personal voice. Building relationships within the financial industry has always been about trust, and today you do that by being genuine and trustworthy not only in your business activities, but also on social networks. Customizing your content with your own voice is key to social media success: in fact, content with personalized messages performs six times better than generic links without your customization.
The five tips in this ThinkAdvisor article outline some easy steps you can take to become a more engaging social poster through your personality.

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.

5 stats you should track to be successful on social media

Measuring the impact of a social media engagement program can seem like a daunting task, especially if you are just getting started. With a seemingly endless supply of social data at your fingertips, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
Don’t stress! Stop, and take a deep breath. Social media measurement is more manageable than you think.
The key to success is to start small and establish a few important bases before you try to tackle complex social media ROI models. Whether you are brand new to social media or can tweet in your sleep, we have compiled a few of our favorite metrics below to help you kick off (or extend) your measurement efforts. What makes these metrics so special? Three things: they are specific, they are easy to measure over time, and they are actionable. So take a look, and get going!

1. Reach (Facebook): How many people saw your post

No calculations necessary. See the number of impressions on your Facebook posts by simply looking at the number that appears under each post on your page. Additionally, if you have more than 30 fans on your Facebook page, you can click into your Facebook Insights and monitor the “Reach” for each of your posts. (“Reach” is the same thing as “# of people saw your post”.) For even more insight, sort them to see which of your posts gained the most views.
Action: Look for a theme in your most viewed posts and capitalize on this theme in future posts.

2. Engagement (Facebook): People talking about this (PTAT) / Likes

Find these stats under your Facebook page name. Dividing your PTAT value by the total number of Likes on your page will give you a sense of how engaged your base of fans is. This percentage, which typically ranges between 2-5%, gives you an up-to-the-minute view into just how many of your fans are interacting with your page through any variety of interactions, including likes, comments, shares, mentions, and tags. While it’s not uncommon to have a 2% engagement value, shoot for 5% for a truly stellar Facebook business page.
Action: Pay attention to any peaks or troughs in your engagement metric. Re-engage fans by sharing photos, asking a question, or celebrating your fans’ milestones.

3. Time (all networks): Hearsay Social Metrics

Do you ever wonder when you should post content? Should you post at 9am or 9pm? On Tuesdays or Thursdays? The answer is unique to every business, every page, and every social network. With Hearsay Social’s “Engagement” data, found under “Metrics,” you can determine which day of the week is the best to share content and even what time of day will earn you the most engagement.
Action: Craft your engagement strategy around these metrics. Schedule content for popular times and make sure to respond to your engaged fans.

4. Shareability (Twitter): Search “@yourtwitterhandle” at

Creating content for your social media audience is a good thing. Inspiring your fans and followers so much that they decide to share your content with their audiences is a great thing. To measure this in Twitter, simply search your handle (or use Hearsay Social Metrics) to see exactly how many mentions and retweets you’re receiving. Are people retweeting what you have to say?
Action: If you get lucky, you might just find your brand enthusiasts through your retweet search. Think about engaging them directly by thanking for them for their support in a tweet.

5. Relevance (Twitter): Total You Are Following on Twitter / Total Twitter Followers

If you’ve ever wondered whether your tweets are resonating with your follower base on Twitter, wonder no more. Divide the number of accounts you’re following on Twitter by your total number of Twitter followers to calculate a relevance percentage. If you get a value around 30% or lower, you are doing very well. As a thought leader, you’re like accumulating a healthy following by sharing great content. Having a relevance value around 50% or higher, on the other hand, might not necessarily be a bad thing. Perhaps your strategy is to simply follow back anybody that follows you, a policy that many Twitter users have adopted.
Action: Follow people who you would like to follow you back. Consider tweeting at prospective followers to invite them to follow you.
That’s it! With five easy steps, you can start tangibly measuring your social media efforts to track exactly how your posts and conversations resonate with fans and followers. Each of these metrics lays the groundwork for you to analyze the business impact and ROI of your social sales and marketing efforts.

Holiday secrets revealed: How to increase social media engagement

The holiday season isn’t just a time for hot chocolate, snowball fights,and family—it’s also a prime opportunity for companies to engage with customers through social media. But in the blizzard of posts, tweets,and Internet memes that accompany the holidays, how can companies and social marketers know what messages will resonate with their audiences? And with work schedules so irregular, do the usual timing guidelines still apply?
Before the new year got too long in the tooth, Hearsay Social’s resident data nerds decided to take a look at 2011’s holiday season by the numbers.

Our conclusion was startling: if 2011 is representative of most years, engagement is 13 times higher on New Year’s Day than on Christmas!
We drew the raw material for our analysis from over 300K posts made by more than 10K Facebook pages in the final quarter of 2011. For each post, we measured customer engagement by counting the total number of likes and comments, then normalized by the size of the company’s fan base and aggregated by day of week. Most non-holiday weeks fit a consistent pattern of initially low engagement on Mondays, fluctuating slightly over the week before peaking on Saturdays. The week of Christmas, however, was unusual not only for having particularly poor engagement on Monday, but for a sustained period of low engagement during the latter half of the week. That low continued into the beginning of the next week before increasing to roughly normal levels in the middle of the week and skyrocketing on New Year’s Day.
Though a single year of data isn’t definitive, our findings are certainly suggestive—perhaps Facebook is quiet on Christmas, when we spend time with our families, while New Year’s Day is particularly active as we share stories and pictures from the holidays and get ready to return to work. Given the magnitude of the difference between the two holidays, the message for social businesses is clear: social media campaigns on New Year’s Day deserve just as much planning and attention as those on Christmas.

FORTUNE Summit recap: Power, social media, and words of wisdom

If you’ve been following our blog, you know that I recently traveled down to southern California for the FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Summit, where I was honored as one of this year’s top woman entrepreneurs.
It was unbelievably energizing and touching to meet some of the most remarkable and talented people in the world, from Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and Campbell Soup Company CEO Denise Morrison to Glenn Close, Christy Turlington, and the incredible Somaly Mam, who has devoted her life to fighting human trafficking. Success stories, lessons learned, and words of wisdom shared at the event gave me tremendous optimism about where the world is headed.
Three days long, the Summit was not just about recognizing the impressive work being done by female leaders around the world, but also served as a forum for advancing the conversation on the important issues of our day, from globalization to social media.
I had the fortune (no pun intended) of being invited to speak on the social media panel, entitled “Seeking Authenticity: Marketing and Social Media,” alongside Karen Quintos (CMO of Dell) and Annie Young-Scrivner (CMO of Starbucks).

Sue Callaway, Karen Quintos, Annie Young-Scrivner, and Clara Shih

Our lively discussion was moderated by the very impressive Sue Callaway, Contributing Editor at Fortune, and focused on these key areas:

  • The convergence of offline/online
  • Measuring social media ROI but associating online engagement (e.g., likes, posts, and tweets) with actual store traffic and sales data (frequency of visits, average purchase amount per visit)
  • Differences between B2C and B2B on social media
  • Opportunity to humanize a brand by creating executive or employee personas
  • The importance of authenticity and unique brand voice

I feel incredible lucky to have been part of this group. I even got to chat with Warren Buffett about the global economic crisis. His advice to me? To stay focused on making our customers happy, and that it was entrepreneurs like us who would ultimately lift this country out of recession. Wow!