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#HSonAir Podcast: Customer Spotlight Series- Interview with Leah White from Modern Woodmen of America

leahwhiteIn Episode 71 we continue our Customer Spotlight Series with an interview with Leah White (@LeahMWA) Marketing Associate at Modern Woodmen of America. In our discussion, Leah shared how her early exposure to the insurance industry in the field has influenced her approach to working and supporting Modern Woodmen financial professionals from the home office.  We dive into the adoption and evolution of social media and websites, lessons learned on the effective use of content, and how Modern Woodmen is investing in developing the next generation of talent.

I invite you to be part of the conversation with me, @victorgaxiola on Twitter using hashtag #HSonAir. If you have a question, comment or suggestion, please send an e-mail to I also invite you to “like” our podcast page on Facebook where we share posts about the podcast, our guests, and other fun stuff.

Episode Links:
Modern Woodmen of America Website and Careers Page, and all social pages on Facebook,  LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Local Content to Engage Local Audiences: A Look Inside Farm Bureau Insurance of Tennessee’s Social Strategy

crop imageThere was never a doubt in the minds of the leaders at Farm Bureau Insurance of Tennessee that their agents had to be social. An integral part of the community for 67 years was the belief that by banding together, local farmers and community members could engage and cooperate to provide a better way of life in rural Tennessee.
If Farm Bureau’s history is about providing the hard working people of Tennessee financial advice and stability, then its future is about taking that local ethos to where their neighbors and customers spend a lot of their time today: on social networks.
When launching their new social program in August 2015, Jeff Pannell, chief marketing officer for Farm Bureau Insurance of Tennessee, knew he wanted to help agents provide their audiences with important news and updates about their financial lives.
But to be really part of the local community on social, Pannell also wanted agents to be a hub of information for their community about local news, events and other goings-on.
The question was, how to find and organize all the great personal planning and local content Farm Bureau needs for its agents? With only four people on the communications team, they needed a solution that would help them scale to distribute content its many users.
Enter Hearsay Social Curated Content Channels.
Hearsay Social’s Curated Content Channels is content offering that automatically populates the Hearsay Content Library with timely, relevant content that is directly in-line with Farm Bureau’s social strategy.
Curated Content Channels is flexible enough to provide content relevant to any social strategy. It eliminates the need for long online searches to find just the right content.
Kaz Suzuki, social media administrator at Farm Bureau, described the value of content by saying, “our agents’ involvement in their communities around the state is an important value for us. In working with Hearsay Social we were able to create a series of content channels that are populated every day with localized content about topics like Tennessee football, community events­­ and important causes, like the American Cancer Society.”

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Example of a local social post by Farm Bureau Insurance Tennessee showing their support for Breast Cancer Awareness month via their #FBITNpinkout2015 campaign.
Suzuki worked with her Hearsay Social Customer Success Manager, Senol Akin, to create a custom series of Content Channels that find and organize new content everyday about financial news as well as local Tennessee news and sports.

“The Curated Content Channels offering through Hearsay Social is great,” Suzuki said. “Everyday I’m served up new and relevant content that I can provide to our agents so they can inform and engage with their social audiences.”
We’re proud to support our customers in their efforts to engage customers and deepen relationships.
Learn more about Curated Content Channels on the Hearsay Social blog, or download Making the Shift: From Corporate to Local Marketing: 5 Ways to Maximize Agent Success in the Digital Age
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#HSonAir Podcast- Interview with Terry Golesworthy of the Customer Respect Group

terry400x400The financial services industry is in a constant state of flux, and in Episode 61 we interview Terry Golesworthy (@TerryCRG) President of the Customer Respect Group to get his thoughts on the changing landscape of digital technology and social media in the insurance space and how his organization has been a trusted source for benchmark data and online strategy advice since 2003.  
In our interview we also explore the evolution of social adoption, including the influence of competition both within the industry and outside the industry as well as highlight one of the best industry resources: Social Eyes.  Launched in 2011 in response to the demand for objective data and analysis, Social Eyes is a special newsletter/guide produced by the Customer Respect Group that provides insight on the “Insurer’s View of Social Media”, and an invaluable resource for industry insiders. To learn more about the Customer Respect Group and Social Eyes visit their website at
Join the conversation with @victorgaxiola and @elizelig on Twitter, use hashtag #HSonAir.  If you have a question, comment or suggestion, please send an e-mail to  
Remember to “like” our  page on Facebook and find out more about the long westward journey of our good friend Ronny Kerr on Twitter using hashtag #RonnyWalk

#HSonAir Podcast: Customer Spotlight Series- Interview with Cori Schmid from Mutual of Omaha

cori.schmidOn the heels of the LIMRA Social Media Conference for Financial Services (#LLSMC), Cori Schmid, Social Media and Online Marketing Manager at Mutual of Omaha (@mutualofomaha), joins us in our San Francisco studio to talk about social adoption, digital trends in Financial Services, and of course one of my favorite shows- Wild Kingdom. We were thrilled to have Cori as our first customer guest to join us in our San Francisco studio for this recording.
In Episode 57 I also interview Stephanie Tsai (@stephhhtsai) of our Customer Success team. Stephanie works closely with Cori and her team at Mutual of Omaha to grow their program, establish goals, address challenges, and ensure that the program thrives.
Join the conversation with @victorgaxiola and @elizelig on Twitter, use hashtag #HSonAir. If you have a question, comment or suggestion, or would like to be on the show, or know someone who should- please send an e-mail to
Remember to “like” our Hearsay Social On the Air page on Facebook and continue to follow the progress of our good friend Ronny Kerr on Twitter using hashtag #RonnyWalk.

The Rise of Social Recruitment, Early Adoption, and Other Insights from LIMRA's 2015 Social Media Conference

IMG_8578Last year, when Stephen Selby, Assistant Vice President of Regulatory Services for LIMRA, announced that the LIMRA LOMA Social Media Conference for Financial Services (#LLSMC) was coming to San Francisco, no one was more excited about the news than I was. You could hear the enthusiasm in what at the time was only our third Hearsay Social On the Air podcast.  
As many of you know, Hearsay Social is based in San Francisco, and having the conference in our hometown was going to provide us an opportunity to show off our beloved city to all the social professionals in attendance and “paint the town red.” Our keycard photo competition was built to get people out of the hotel, explore our city and have some fun at the same time. 
I’ve been lucky to attend #LLSMC for the past four years in a row, providing me an opportunity to observe just how far the financial services industry has evolved in a very short amount of time. Changing consumer expectations and the growth of the internet of things has certainly forced this industry to adapt. Well, I am happy to report that the financial services industry is not only evolving, it is thriving. I hope my ongoing optimism isn’t clouding my objectivity.
As you can imagine, wrapping up three days of conference activity isn’t easy, so after careful reflection, here are my four key takeaways from this year’s conference:

1. Social recruitment is on the rise

A new and welcomed addition to the conference was a Hackathon session on day one that was led by Greg Bailey (@gbaileyco), Partner at Insure.VC. and known industry veteran. Greg rarely needs an introduction amongst these circles and we had the privilege of interviewing him on or podcast a few months ago about his latest venture. Popular in these parts, hackathons are created for educational or social purposes to encourage and create new ideas and actionable solutions. In our case, we were asked to focus first on some of the biggest problems facing the financial services industry and then make recommendations on how to solve them. The key takeaway from the assembled group? We need to do more to recruit and retain talent, and social networking and digital technology should be part of the solution.

This is not the first time this has come up. As a facilitator of multiple customer roundtable events, and as a participant at industry conferences, this has become a recurring theme. However, the appetite to leverage social media as a solution to address this challenge has been gaining ground. I anticipate that as more and more distributed teams have access to social to manage relationships and connections with clients and prospects, the next stage of development will be to use social as a way to recruit and retain talent.

2. Early adopters of social media moving ahead of the competition

It has been nearly five years since FINRA released its guidance on the use of social media by the financial services industry. Organizations that mobilized a social strategy and implemented a solution shortly thereafter are now leading the industry and charging ahead. It’s as if all of us were at the same starting gate of a long race five years ago and today it’s become much easier to identify which organizations are pulling ahead and lapping the competition. I attended two sessions that illustrated the evolving growth of social, the first was a fireside chat between Corina Roy (@corinaroy), Assistant Vice President, Digital and Customer Experience at MassMutual and Abhay Rajaram, VP of Customer Success at Hearsay Social.   The other was a session facilitated by New York Life by Phyllis Tozzi (@phyllistozzi), Corporate VP, Social Media Marketing, Aaron Brickman (@aaron_MMA) and Louis Cardello (@louiswcardello), both Senior Associates, Social Media Marketing. In both sessions the keys to success and their social evolution closely matched the key findings from our own Social Business Maturity Model released last week, namely that organizations that succeed and progress in their maturity typically have a collaborative team to move the social project forward, and the support and buy-in from and senior leadership. There are many other factors that contributed to the evolution of the programs at Mass Mutual and New York Life including the need for constant evaluation and training, course corrections based on feedback, and ongoing communications across all levels of management from the home office to the field and back. What both of these organizations illustrated was that the entire endeavor is a process that will take time and some occasional set backs for it to grow and mature.

3. Want to win? Fight for attention with creativity and authenticity

IMG_8589One of the advantages of attending a conference like this one is the opportunity to hear from outstanding speakers, and this year was no exception. We heard from the likes of Chris Brogan, Clara Shih, Scott Klososky, Debra Jasper, Betsy Hubbard and Julian Aldridge, and many others. The overlying theme of all the presentations was that today’s consumer expects more, and that earning their attention is becoming a bigger and bigger challenge. A challenge that is being met by creativity, and then supported via an authentic voice. People want realness. People want to feel that you care. It reminds me of something we used to say when I worked as a financial advisor, “people don’t care what you know, until they know that you care.” Let that sink in.
At no time was this more evident than during the announcing of the annual Silver Bowl Awards.  As a judge for the second year in a row, I got to review multiple entries across categories and was impressed by the level of creativity and thought that went into the development of multiple campaigns. Even more impressive was how much of the work was driven internally and developed organically without the use of an agency.  
If you’d like to win the award next year, my suggestions is that you get creative and stay authentic. It’s a formula that works and apparently wins awards.

4. Although still an important and critical component of social business, compliance is no longer the main focus

IMG_8602This last observation did not come to me until well after the conclusion of the conference as I was reflecting. Almost as an afterthought, I realized how little talk there was around compliance. I assure you that this was not the case just a few years ago when it seemed it was the only focus. Mind you, this is not to say that compliance doesn’t matter anymore, it does, it’s just not the main conversation anymore. In my opinion, this is a very positive sign that the industry has evolved and we are much further along in embracing social as a business tool embedded in the DNA of our marketing and sales process.
Addressing compliance concerns will continue to be a pre-requisite to any social program, and our continued participation at FINRA events and relationships with the regulatory bodies will ensure we are abreast of how their decisions and guidance affects our customers and their business.
In conclusion, the industry continues to move forward and we are seeing some encouraging and creative approaches that businesses are taking to further their evolution to connect with clients, prospects and recruit new talent.  Knowing that it would be a challenge to encapsulate three days worth of a conference material in a blog post, we released an entire podcast (see below) devoted to exploring the themes of the conference. I encourage you to not only listen to it, but to also be a part of the conversation by sending us your questions, comments and suggestions to or via Twitter using hashtag #HSonAir.
If you attended the conference in person, or followed along on the conference hashtag #LLSMC, what did you think?  I’d love to hear from you.


#HSonAir Podcast: Themes from the LIMRA Social Media Conference for Financial Services

FullSizeRender (3)The LIMRA Social Media Conference for Financial Services (#LLSMC) was in our hometown of San Francisco and we were there to cover the event as we painted the town Hearsay Social Red. In episode 56 we discuss the themes, conversations and highlights of the conference including: the rise of social for recruitment, how early adopters are pulling ahead, and how organizations are getting creative in their use of social.
As part of our podcast we also expand on the ideas presented by the conference speakers and the #SilverBowlAwards. To see a list of this year’s winners of the Silver Bowl Awards, check out our post from last week, that includes back-to-back winner Thrivent Financial for best use of Social Media by a Financial Advisor.
Join the conversation with @victorgaxiola and @elizelig on Twitter, use hashtag #HSonAir. If you have a question, comment or suggestion, please send an e-mail to
Remember to “like” our NEW page on Facebook and continue to follow the progress of our good friend Ronny Kerr on Twitter using hashtag #RonnyWalk


German Insurance Firms Agree Social Media Provides “Human” Touch Necessary for Growth

German economyAs the largest economy in the European Union and the fourth largest in the world, Germany is an important and robust hub for financial services, including leading multinational firms such as Allianz and Zurich Insurance Group. We’ve made lots of exciting progress establishing awareness of the Hearsay Social brand within the DACH region over the past 12 months, including announcing a dedicated Hearsay Social presence in Munich earlier this year.
We recently partnered with a prominent insurance industry group in Germany, AMC, on a survey to gauge the state of social media usage among German insurance companies, as well as to identify opportunities to help agents better leverage technology to grow business. Respondents included mid- to senior-level marketing executives at companies that are part of the AMC network.
Key findings include:
German insurance firms understand the value of having a presence on social media

  • 84% report using social media for business; of those, Facebook, XING and YouTube lead the charge
  • About half consider Facebook to have the highest potential for sales and marketing, as well as XING
  • Twitter is often used to learn about current events

Leveraging social media at the individual sales agent level is the next big opportunity

  • Most respondents agree that having sales agents provide a “human” touch for their customers is a good reason to use social media for business purposes
  • The majority say it’s important for them to provide localized, personalized content via their agents

The current technology solutions at German insurance firms seem to be lacking

  • Nearly all respondents say the identification of relevant events in a customer’s life is important, but many also reported that their current software solution does a poor job of providing these insights

German insurance firms want stronger, clearer regulations on what they can say or do on social media

  • More than 50 percent state that more regulations will encourage social media use for business

To learn more details about the survey results, read our press release issued in Germany.
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#HSonAir Podcast: Interview with Gregory Bailey of Insure.VC

baileyWe’ve heard a lot about FinTech, but what about InsureTech? In episode 48 we interview Gregory Bailey (@gbaileyco), Partner at Insure.VC and long time industry thought leader on the changes we are seeing today in mobile, social and wearable tech as well as big data in the ongoing evolution of technology in the insurance space.
Gregory will be a speaker at the LIMRA Social Media Conference for Financial Services in our hometown of San Francisco this August.  We hope to see you there.
Join the conversation with @victorgaxiola and @elizelig on Twitter, use hashtag #HSonAir.  If you have a question, comment or suggestion please send us an e-mail to  Like our NEW page on Facebook and follow the progress of our good friend Ronny Kerr or follow on Twitter using hashtag #RonnyWalk
Thanks for listening!


#HSonAir Podcast: Interview with Norah Denley of LIMRA on Financial Services Industry Support of Social Media

DenleyAre Financial Services companies doing enough to arm their advisors, agents and producers with the resources and support they need to succeed with social media? In episode 39 we interview Norah Denley (@NDenley) Sr. Research Analyst at LIMRA on the results of a recent study they conducted exploring how financial services companies are adopting social media and the ongoing challenges identified by participating member companies.
Additional Segments:

  • Sanjiv Baxi (@SanjivBaxi) from our business development team stops by to share infromation about the launch of our Curated Content Channels– an innovative way for advisors to find and articulate in their authentic voice on social.
  • Nicole Johnson (@nicjohnmedia) co-author of the Advisor of the Future visits to discuss the recent reactions to the Executive Report presentation in Chicago.

Additional Notes:

  • Blog post reviewing the LIMRA Social Media Conference- October 2014
  • Download your copy of the Advisor of the Future Executive Report

Join the conversation with @victorgaxiola and @elizelig on Twitter using hashtag #HSonAir.  If you have a question, comment or suggestion please send us an e-mail to  We also encourage you to LIKE our NEW page on Facebook and follow along on all #RonnyWalk progress.


Embracing and Applying New Digital Tech Emerges as Top Theme at 2015 LIMRA Distribution Conference

At the LIMRA Distribution Conference for Financial Services last week, technology took center stage and book-ended the 2-½ day conference.  Kicking off the conference, James W. Kerley, Chief Membership Officer of LIMRA and LOMA, focused heavily on technology and challenged distribution leaders to embrace social media and digital technology to enable producers to excel in today’s digital world. Jim echoed thoughts he shared at the 2014 conference: sales is changing, and it’s changing faster than ever before. “To be a leader in the digital age,” Jim said, “you must be a digital savvy leader.”

Jim set two key takeaways for the conference attendees:

  1. The need for growth.
  2. The requirement to not only “Think Differently” but to “Act Differently”

The Future of Client Acquisition
The first outside speaker was Greg Bailey, Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, Athene USA, who covered The Future of Client Acquisition. It seems notable to have a marketing leader on the main stage at a distribution-focused conference, something I imagine that would have been much less likely a decade or more ago when customers where less influenced by digital channels throughout the buying process.

According to Greg, the future growth of this industry relies on a new and innovative approach to distribution. Greg shared, “4 opportunities to shape the future of customer acquisition and realize your potential”: 1. Mobile Technology, 2. Social Technology, 3. Big Data, and 4. Wearable Technology.
Here’s his recap via Twitter:

Finding, Keeping and Managing Clients: How Technology is Changing the Business of Sales

Another technology-focused session was the closing panel moderated by Knut Olson, SVP of Mission Advancement for Thrivent Financial. Knut is so passionate about technology-enabled distribution teams that he said he believes good distribution leaders should act essentially as CTOs.  For this reason, it makes sense that he brought together Michael Lock, President & COO, Hearsay Social with Jaymie Brill who leads Financial Services, for LinkedIn Sales Solutions and Simon Mulcahy who leads Financial Services for Salesforce.  In leading the discussion, Knut shared his the “dream” of a completely integrated content strategy, to empower distribution at Thrivent Financial.

Much of the discussion on the panel was around how technologies like Hearsay Social, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and Salesforce will continue to evolve, and work together for a seamless customer experience.

Evidence that Distribution Leaders are Embracing Change
This was the third LIMRA Distribution conference that I have attended, and it has been amazing to witness the changing conversation.  Just a few years ago, there was still a focus on “proving ROI” for social and digital initiatives in distribution for financial services.  The focus on technology and evolution at the 2015 conference shows how the industry and its sales leaders recognize that the time to change is now. And, embracing and applying technology is critical for advisors and agents to reach today’s and tomorrow’s customer.