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Transforming customer relationships with social business: Recap from the 2014 LIMRA Social Media Conference for Financial Services

Victor Gaxiola and Molly Degnan at the LIMRA Social Media Conference in Boston.

In its fifth year, LIMRA’s 2014 Social Media Conference for Financial Services last week provided financial services teams the strategies they need to build relationships, generate sales and recruit new producers with social media.

This year’s presenters shared more real life success stories and tangible strategies than ever before. In particular, there was a heavier focus on successful use of social media by agents and advisors in the field.

Here are the some of the key topics covered throughout the conference:

Advisor use of social media

In contrast to prior years, where it seemed the conference was primarily focused on brand or corporate use of social media, this year’s conference was much more focused on how advisors in the field successfully leverage social business practices.

MassMutual, New York Life, Sun Life Financial, Guardian Life, and other organizations shared stories of how advisors successfully leveraged social media to maintain customer relationships and grow business. Even Zuckerberg Media founder and CEO Randi Zuckerberg (@randizuckerberg), who focused on social media trends,  provided some best-practice examples of advisors using Facebook to connect directly with their customers.

One standout session was a panel discussion, “Winning as a Team @ MassMutual,” moderated by Hearsay Social’s Customer Advocacy Manager, Victor Gaxiola (@victorgaxiola).

In a lively discussion, the cross-functional team from Mass Mutual, including Kathleen Mayko (Director, Brand Marketing, Life Company Marketing, @kathleen_mayko), Doug Morrin (Assistant Vice President & Counsel, Law Department, @DougMorrin), and Corina Roy (Assistant Vice President, Field Digital, Life Company Marketing, @corinaroy), shared the evolution of their social media program.


In a round robin format, Corina shared how MassMutual has mobilized its field force to embrace social technology to connect with prospects and clients, and Kathleen covered the brand perspective. Both expanded on the the need for interdepartmental collaboration and communication to meet the challenges of adoption early on and through the life of the program.

Victor categorized the challenge facing the industry well: “Social media in financial services is a revolution at an evolutionary pace.”

Representing the legal perspective, Doug was a refreshing surprise illustrating MassMutual’s progressive approach to social media understanding and adoption. He spoke about how he became knowledgeable about social media by actually creating his own social media accounts and using them. (A great tip for other legal and compliance professionals who are looking to better understand the technology.)

From the beginning, he approached social media as a business imperative; instead of being a roadblock, the legal and compliance team would be partners in making social successful at MassMutual.


Mobile and social media have always gone hand-in-hand, but this year the mobile conversation was front and center. There was some mention of mobile strategy in almost every presentation.

Randi Zuckerberg, for example, discussed a number of mobile trends. “People want to get everything within one click on their phone,” she said, sharing examples of mobile consumer applications such as Uber and asking, “so how do you give your clients what they need?” A few of the mobile applications from insurance companies that she shared were The Liberty Mutual Home GalleryProgressive Art app, and MetLife Infinity.

There seems to be general consensus that the way people digest information has changed, and therefore firms and relationship managers need to connect with customers, employees, and investors through mobile channels. In their “Social E-Motion” session, Aaron Brickman, Adam Sherman, and Louis Cardello (senior associates at New York Life), shared the statistic that cold calls are ineffective 97% of the time, highlighting the need for other ways to connect with customers and prospects.

Integrated campaigns

As the industry’s use of social media matures, it is only natural that financial services organizations become more sophisticated with their social business programs. Particularly apparent at this year’s LIMRA conference was the number of success stories concerning fully integrated campaigns across other digital channels,  in-person activities, and mobile.
In his session “Plan for the Moment – Twitter and Financial Services Partner,” Dan Greenberg (Senior Account Manager, Twitter, @dangb) shared some impressive examples of integration with Twitter marketing programs, live events and TV broadcasts. Dan highlighted a successful campaign that New York Life ran encouraging customers to share stories.

Dan also shared a variety of examples of Twitter tools available to help bridge Twitter engagement with other marketing programs, such as “Click-to-Call” on mobile and Twitter Cards.

The core day of the LIMRA event concluded with the “Silver Bowl Awards” hosted by Michael Lock (President & COO, Hearsay Social, @michaelhlock) and James Kerley (Chief Member Officer, LIMRA/LOMA). With this second-annual installation of these awards, the conference attendees had a chance to look back at each other’s successes over the past year and learn from some truly creative campaigns.

Can’t wait to see how you all continue to innovate over the coming year!

Amplify reach and grow business on Facebook with Hearsay Social for Facebook promoted posts

Today Hearsay Social is proud to announce the launch of Hearsay Social for Facebook promoted posts, allowing advisors and agents to amplify their reach, increase engagement, and grow business on Facebook.
With over 1.3 billion people using Facebook monthly, it’s more crucial than ever for financial professionals to be leveraging the social network to share content, stay top of mind, and connect with prospective and current clients.


Hearsay Social for Facebook promoted posts allows relationship managers to take content they’ve published and broaden their distribution through Facebook ads, amplifying their visibility and increasing engagement. According to financial professionals, like Michelle Monson, Financial Consultant with Thrivent Financial, the new feature will be crucial to helping them grow business:

“I am excited about advertising on Facebook. I’ve had a business page since 2013 but wasn’t very active until Thrivent’s Field Social Media Team invited me to test Hearsay Social’s new ad functionality. It’s a great way to tell prospects and current clients that I’m on Facebook and to like my page to get helpful financial tips. I’ll be reaching people I never would have met otherwise.”

We’ve designed this new feature to make it easy for agents and advisors to launch, monitor, and optimize their advertising activity on Facebook. And for users that want to learn more about the value of ads and overall best practices, our Customer Success program now includes training on Facebook promoted posts.
Finally, as with the rest of the Hearsay Social platform, today’s newly announced feature integrates directly with our platform’s compliance functionality, allowing firms to continue archiving activity and addressing any advertising regulatory requirements.
Kyle Marie Woods, Marketing Manager at Thrivent Financial, commented on the news:

“We are thrilled to partner with Hearsay Social on this new ad integration and are impressed with the feature’s ease of use. We are excited about the opportunity it provides our representatives to build their local brand on social and expand their reach.”

We’re proud to unveil Hearsay Social for Facebook promoted posts, enabling us to help tens of thousands of advisors and agents to increase engagement and expand business through social media. If you’d like to learn more, check out coverage on InvestmentNews and ThinkAdvisor or stop by the Hearsay Social booth at the LIMRA Social Media Conference this week!

Social business at LIMRA #LLSMC: AXA Advisors, MassMutual, and Hearsay Social to share success stories

Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih and Jim Kerley (President of LL Global Services and Chief Membership Officer, LIMRA, LOMA and LL Global), at LLSMC last year. Photo courtesy of Corina Roy (@CorinaRoy)

Next week the Hearsay Social team is excited to be converging on Boston for the 2014 Social Media Conference for Financial Services hosted by LIMRA, a worldwide research, consulting, and professional development organization representing hundreds of insurance and financial services companies around the world.
As LIMRA’s Elite Strategic Partner, we look forward to connecting with business leaders and sharing the stage with sales and marketing executives like Kathleen Mayko (Director, Brand Marketing, Life Company Marketing, MassMutual) and Nicole Pesce (Director, Head of Digital – AXA Advisors) to discuss how today’s producers can use social media to build relationships, amplify their brand, and grow sales.
See below for a summary of all the conference activities where you can find Hearsay Social.

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Winning as a Team @ MassMutual: Social Media Program Best Practices

WHEN: 10:30 to 11:30 am on Thursday, August 21
WHO: Kathleen Mayko (Director, Brand Marketing, Life Company Marketing, MassMutual), Doug Morrin (Assistant Vice President & Counsel, Law Department, MassMutual), Corina Roy (Assistant Vice President, Field Digital, Life Company Marketing, MassMutual), and Victor Gaxiola (Customer Advocacy Manager, Hearsay Social) as moderator.
WHAT: Successful social media programs require cross-functional coordination and efforts within your company. But this is easier said than done. How do you coordinate a social media program with key areas? How do you ensure various stakeholders and managing teams are on the same page? Join a panel of social media program stakeholders from MassMutual representing Corporate Marketing, Field Digital Marketing and Legal, and hear their perspectives and learnings on what it takes to work together to drive success on social.


Successful Social Media for Advisors: A Fireside Chat with Nicole Pesce, AXA Advisors

WHEN: 4:00 to 4:45 pm on Thursday, August 21
WHO: Nicole Pesce (Director, Head of Digital – AXA Advisors) and Michael Lock (President & COO, Hearsay Social)
WHAT: In an industry built on relationships and trust, to maximize the value of social media, financial services firms must have a strong corporate presence on social, as well as a strong advisor presence on social across all the local communities and clients it serves. Join Michael Lock and Nicole Pesce to hear how AXA developed its social media program for its advisors, how it is driving higher adoption and advisor productivity on social, and where it’s headed next.


Hearsay Social is LIMRA’s Elite Strategic Partner and endorsed social media solution for member firms to learn about and be successful on social media.

2nd Annual Silver Bowl Awards

WHEN: 5:15 to 6:00 pm on Thursday, August 21
WHO: Hosted by James W. Kerley, LLIF (President of LL Global Services and Chief Membership Officer, LIMRA, LOMA and LL Global) and Michael Lock (President & COO, Hearsay Social)
WHAT: Do you want to know what great social media looks like in financial services? The #SilverBowlAwards are here to answer the question on everyone’s minds. Join us for an hour of fun and learning as the winner of the #SilverBowlAwards are announced. Categories include Best Use of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Best Use of Social Media by an Advisor, and Social Good.
We look forward to seeing you at each of these sessions, at the Hearsay Social booth, and online at #LLSMC!

Timeless business lessons revived in the social media era: Facebook and Hearsay Social at #LLSMC

For more #LLSMC updates, see our recap of day one, recap of day two, or learn why LIMRA selected Hearsay Social as its Elite Strategic Partner for social media.

Mandy Wilson (Senior Manager, Channel Strategy for Emerging Channels, RBC Insurance), Clara Shih (CEO, Hearsay Social), and Michelle Smyth (Director, Social Media, at Sun Life Financial). Photo courtesy of Michelle (@michelle_smyth).

That’s how many people around the world today are using Facebook to network with each other, according to Neil Hiltz, Head of Global Vertical Marketing for Financial Services, Facebook. And yet, as he explained at day three of LIMRA’s Social Media Conference in Boston, a billion people won’t drive your business forward. What really matters is connecting to the people that matter to you.
“I’m not advocating for a Facebook-only solution,” said Neil. “You have traditional media, so Facebook is a great complementary channel and a great challenger.”
He spoke to many insightful case studies, highlighting how insurance companies can look for social signals that lead to sales. For example, people regularly announce to their networks that they’re getting married or having kids–that’s an excellent signal that you should reach out and offer your expertise.
These points provided a perfect segue into Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih’s presentation on timeless business lessons revived in the social era. After all, every time technology transformed business through the past decades–through call centers, through the proliferation of email, and today through email–one thing has remained constant: the importance of person-to-person relationships.
So, how exactly has social media changed traditional business practices?

1. Get found

On average, according to a CEB study, buyers progress nearly 60% of the way through the purchase decision-making process before engaging with a sales representative. Today, social media is one of the most powerful ways to tip those scales in the sales rep’s favor. Social media pages and profiles are typically at the top of search results, and without these online presences, a salesperson or organization is at risk for not turning up in the search results when an interested prospect goes looking.

2. Build your network

For decades, sales managers built countless training programs around effectively utilizing personal networks because reps that could effectively engage and expand their networks rose to the top. The same is true today, and the rise of social networks has made this entire process more efficient and powerful. Just like shared connections in the offline world, online social networks provide the context, familiarity, and trust that allow good salespeople to effectively do business.

3. Do your research

Salespeople are always taught to research a prospect and their history before walking into a meeting. Today, social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter make it easier than ever for reps to better understand their customers’ needs. Researching social signals allows reps to reach the right people at the right time, and go in warm.

4. Establish credibility

Gone are the days when Yellow Pages, a storefront, or a Web 1.0 website were the first point of interaction between you and your customer. We have entered a world where social presence provides necessary credibility. Not only does a social page or profile indicate what you or your company does, it indicates who knows you, follows you, or has worked with you before. People are unlikely to walk blindly into their local bank in order to find a financial advisor: they’re doing their research on social networks to find people or businesses credible in the social era.
With billions of people broadcasting buying signals on social networks every day, it’s no wonder that 7 in 10 financial advisors are already using social networks for business purposes (according to an FTI Consulting and LinkedIn study). Even more striking, 61% of financial advisors surveyed said they had landed a new client directly from LinkedIn (according to a HubSpot survey).
By the close of #LLSMC, the message was clear: many insurance and financial firms today are already growing business considerably by engaging with customers and prospects on social media. Are you?


One tweet leads to $4.1 million sale: Gary Vaynerchuk at #LLSMC

For more #LLSMC updates, see our recap of day one or learn why LIMRA selected Hearsay Social as its Elite Strategic Partner for social media.

We’re glowing after a fantastic second day at LIMRA’s Social Media Conference for Financial Services. After our team closed out the day with a discussion on the path from compliance to ROI, we hosted all our customers and partners at a dinner over the Boston skyline. Thank you so much to everyone who attended!

Earlier in the day, Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee), co-founder and CEO of VaynerMedia and a well-respected social media thought leader, keynoted the conference with a presentation bullish on the power of social sales.

Obsessed with social selling, he said the only reason he believes in social media is because it helps sell.

Gary’s chief belief is that every person’s job is to be a storyteller. (Fittingly, much of his talk drew on his own personal experiences of growing up in the Soviet Union, emigrating to the U.S., and eventually establishing a presence in technology and social media.) Relationship managers like financial advisors and insurance agents are successful when they are telling stories, not just trying to sell directly. And they distinguish themselves from the rest of the pack by telling different stories and by telling them in different ways. That’s where social media comes in.

One of his friends, who tweeted “thinking about moving,” eventually bought a $4.1 million apartment after a progressive insurance agent reached out in response to the tweet. This is just one of many successful social sales examples, and it’s a sign of the times we live in.

“We are living through the biggest culture shift of all time,” said Gary, referring to the unstoppable proliferation of the consumer Internet over the past two decades and social technologies today.

Gary Liu (VP Marketing, Hearsay Social), Paul Desimone (VP, Compliance and Regulatory Services, LIMRA), Erik Qualman (author of Socialnomics), and Augie Ray (Director of Social Media, Prudential)

Gary Vaynerchuk’s keynote set the stage for several great presentations throughout the day by executives from John Hancock, Mass Mutual, Prudential Financial, Fidelity Investments, Northwestern Mutual, Google, LinkedIn, LIMRA, and more.

In his session, Augie Ray (@augieray), Director of Social Media Prudential, called attention to the fact that, though banks and insurance companies are in the “trust” business, they are at the bottom of the trust rankings, according to a study by Edelman. Fortunately, social networks provide a way for real advisors and agents to correct that gap.

Ameriprise, as an example, allows people to find advisors that they have shared connections with on LinkedIn.

In a later session, a representative from LinkedIn confirmed the power of your professional network. Ben Ortman (@ortman_social), Social Business Connector and Innovator, Global Accounts, LinkedIn, explained that the key is to find individuals with relevance in mind. Build trust and strengthen your relationships so you can reach out at just the right time.

All in all, a very informative day at #LLSMC! To read more, see our recap of day one or learn why LIMRA selected Hearsay Social as its Elite Strategic Partner for social media.

Greg Bailey (VP Marketing, Pacific Life), Clara Shih (CEO, Hearsay Social), Jim Kerley (President, LIMRA Services), and Michael Lock (COO, Hearsay Social)

Smiling faces en route to Hearsay Social’s #LLSMC dinner on Thursday.

At LIMRA #LLSMC: The opportunity for financial advisors on social media is now

Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih and Jim Kerley, president of LIMRA Services, at LLSMC. Photo courtesy of Corina Roy (@CorinaRoy)

LIMRA kicked off its annual Social Media Conference for Financial Services in Boston yesterday, and, as LIMRA’s Elite Strategic Partner for social media, Hearsay Social was there in full force to share insights and stories with customers and partners.
Today and tomorrow, we’ll be leading two sessions at the event:
Today at 4:30 PM in the Duxbury Room, Gary Liu and Meagan Herfkens will be discussing “The Path from Social Media Compliance to ROI.” Join us to learn all about how you go from preventing risks to reaping the rewards of social selling.
Tomorrow at 9:45 AM, our CEO Clara Shih will present a keynote session on “Four Timeless Business Lessons Revived in the Social Media Era.” Come learn how the value of advisor relationships hasn’t changed, but how the way they connect with customers has changed.
The very first session of the conference, led by John Ploumitsakos (Director of Online Sales, Twitter, @johnp) and Dipayan Gupta (Director of Social Media Marketing, New York Life Insurance Company, @Piron), largely focused on the opportunities for financial services marketers on Twitter, which now boasts over 200 million monthly active users. People are generating so much content on the microblogging social network that Twitter says it processes one billion tweets every 2.5 days. That’s incredible!
So how can financial marketers and advisors take advantage of that?
“Plan for everyday moments” was John’s primary advice. While it’s great to participate in big events like the Olympics and the Super Bowl, you can also make an impact just by engaging with your audience on everyday topics, like exercise and sleep. Every interaction pays off, especially when you respond directly to your customers. A recent Nielsen study confirmed a 30% lift in brand favorability when brands engaged with tweets. Not only that, but purchase volume also grew by more than 50%.
Dipayan added to John’s comments by highlighting New York Life’s slogan, “Keep Good Going,” which calls attention to positive, real life moments. These everyday moments often spark conversations with your target audience–use that as an opportunity to provide tips, tools, and further reading around whatever interests them. By building your credibility, you strengthen your social media presence and ultimately increase your potential to drive successful social sales.
To learn more, drop by the Hearsay Social booth and say hello! We always love meeting new faces.