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Highlights from Hearsay Social London Customer Forum 2016 – Key Trends and Takeaways

Hearsay Social customers from across Europe gathered for the 2nd annual customer forum in London on June 16. The interactive forum — geared for customers to learn how to derive success from their social media programs — was filled with practical tips and insights on the most pressing questions concerning their programs today, including those related to product queries and requests, scaling the business, and measuring ROI.  
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The afternoon opened with an address by Steve D’Angelo (@stephendangelo), global head of sales at Hearsay Social, and focused on major global trends shaping digital programs in the financial services industry. Steve thanked everyone for joining and and for their continued business. Steve stressed that this was their meeting and that they were free to ask any pressing topics that were on their minds concerning their programs. 
Below are some of the key trends and takeaways from the day’s event:

Industry Trends

Trend #1:  Communicate on your clients’ terms
Steve spoke about the changing preferences of the consumer in interacting with businesses.  Like other brands they are used to, customers expect their advisers to communicate on different channels with relevant and timely content, tailored to them. He emphasised the need to become a customer-centric organisation which goes beyond just having a single data view of the customer. The need to provide an omni-channel experience – where interactions move seamlessly between online and mobile SMS via phone and in-person – is increasingly important in this hyper-connected era. By being findable and available on multiple channels and platforms, the easier it is for customers to engage with you.
Trend #2:  Better connect marketing with relationship managers
Across our clients, there is no shortage of great content generated by marketing teams. But for that content to reach the right audience at the right time, firms need to leverage their front line salespeople – client advisers, relationship managers and agents. This not only ensures that marketing content gets amplified many times over, but it also creates a more personal relationship between the client or prospect and the advisor.
Trend #3: Get access to “dark data”
All companies collect and store dark data. Dark data is defined as operational data that is collected by firms but is currently not used by relationship managers in the field.  Steve emphasized the importance of this information for serving clients in an optimized way and improving the customer experience. For example, if a customer comes to your corporate website and then visits an advisor’s site, you should be able to have this data against the customer available to the advisor for timely and effective lead follow-up.  

Product Roadmap

Opening remarks was followed by an interactive session on our product roadmap led by Mark Gilbert (@Markegilbert), vp of products and Chris Andrew (@chriswandrew), managing director for Hearsay Europe. There was ample time for active discussion during the product session on how to enable agents/advisers to use Hearsay more often.
Scaling the program  
In one of the more interactive sessions presented by customers such as Thomas Rudelle (@ThomasRudelle ) ofAXA France, James McQueen (@McQueenUK) of Charles Derby (part of Old Mutual Wealth) and Liz Thompson of Aberdeen Asset Management, participants received practical tips for motivating and growing their social program. Some of the key takeaways on what makes for a successful program, included the following advice from Thomas:

  • Start small
  • Teach your Sales team to use social media through discussion forums, weekly meetings, and Facebook/LinkedIn groups
  • Engage in change management
  • Test and learn
  • Amplify and share adviser success stories, including through the use of regular video testimonials

Start small when measuring ROI
The day concluded with an informative discussion on how to measure ROI led by Hearsay Social’s Matthias Göllner (@goellnermat) and Andreea Costea of Allianz Romania. Matthias demystified ROI by presenting the Hearsay ROI framework mapped against the stage of digital maturity the customer is in – outlining a journey towards measurable ROI (see illustration below).
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Andreea showed the framework in action as she shared a recent case study based off of an online survey with advisers to understand the impact of social media on an adviser’s business.  Her presentation was full of practical tips on how to think about ROI, such as:

  • Leverage multi-dimensional views on ROI (NPS, agent success stories, agent survey)
  • Use the right measurement approach depending on the maturity of the program
  • Measure success early on in order to influence the actions and strategic direction of the project (e.g. agent training, social signals, Facebook ads)
  • Share successes in various ways (agent stories, best practices, leader boards for social)
  • Develop a community of agents on social media (e.g. Facebook group) to motivate them to actively share their success.  

Finally, a big thank you to everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to come for the annual customer forum in London.  Your engagement and dialog are the reason we strive to do better.  
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Recapping The Financial Services Forum and Hearsay Social's Social Media and Compliance Event in London

The following post was written by Ellie Kirk of The Financial Services Forum and Anita Moorthy, Head of EMEA Marketing at Hearsay Social. 
The first part of 2015 saw The Financial Services Forum and Hearsay Social collaborate on a project to help educate the financial services industry on social media and compliance best practices. UK event_1
Following a series of interactive breakfast meetings, an industry working group was formed that included senior marketing and compliance decision makers across the UK financial services industry. Later, a social media and compliance best practices guide was presented to the FCA for comment. This culminated in a Social Media and Compliance event on September 24, hosted very aptly at Facebook’s London office where speakers from the FCA, Killik and Co, Shawbrook Bank, Hearsay Social, and others were in attendance.
Below are highlights and key takeaways from the event. Names of individuals were omitted, as the conference was held under the Chatham House Rules.
The Social Media and Compliance half-day event revealed some interesting data: affluent millennials — the most prominent generation at present — are up to five times more likely to seek financial advice via social media than any other generation. This is news that may frighten some financial services providers, whom we acknowledged are known to be late adopters of new technologies. This set the scene for the rest of the day: with more consumers seeking advice on social media, it’s critical that your company is present on social media or risk being left behind.
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This is, in part, why Hearsay Social and The Financial Services Forum teamed up to create a Social Media and Compliance reference document for compliance in financial services, which is in line with the FCA requirements for social media. The team behind the reference document are also creators of the LinkedIn Social Media and Compliance for UK Financial Services Companies, a private group where financial professionals can continue the discussion around compliance and keep an open dialogue amongst peers.
It was clear during the session that not only does it make perfect business sense for financial services companies to adopt social media policies that can be rolled out company-wide, it will become inevitable. With strong audience participation, everybody agreed that financial services companies should embrace social media (as long as they remain compliant)! UK event-image 3
Moreover, the benefits of social media in financial services companies should not be overlooked. From giving a place for start-ups to reach their target audience, to allowing large financial industry players to reach a wider audience, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn can — and should — be used responsibly to help the industry keep the customer at the heart of their businesses.
From the presentations, we learned that the key to using social media successfully is to use it to communicate with customers, not sell to them. Social media allows companies to define their voice, tone, and way of doing things. It’s their chance to position themselves as a friendly and approachable business; not a hard-selling, faceless machine.
Furthermore, while compliance may be daunting for some, it’s important for marketing and compliance teams to work together to drive social media forward in business, including by providing training and mentoring to best educate these teams on new digital technologies. While the framework should be compliant with regulations in the UK, social media as a tool to give a human face to a business should not be ignored. Therefore, it’s more critical than ever that financial services companies don’t get left behind!
To continue the conversation online, join the LinkedIn group for Social Media and Compliance for UK Financial Serv Companies.
To learn more about implementing a compliant social media program in your financial organization, download the Social Media and Compliance Reference Guide.
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First European Customer Forum: Keys to Social Business Success for Financial Services Firms

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 9.56.54 AMHearsay Social recently hosted its first European Customer Forum in London to highlight best practices around social business in an ever-changing global financial services industry. Customers hailed from all parts of Europe including France, Germany, Spain and the UK and spanned multiple industries including wealth and asset management, banking, and insurance. This varied customer base provided an excellent opportunity to share best practices and tips for rolling out a successful social business program.
Motown-inspired entertainment from The Chapman Brothers set a lively and fun atmosphere for the bulk of the day, which included an interactive discussion around three main topics: content strategy, adoption best practices, and compliance. Members of Hearsay Social’s Customer Success team facilitated and guided the discussion to capture best practices and insights shared by our customers.
Below are key takeaways from the event:
1. Robo-advisors can be an opportunity for financial services firms
Abhay Rajaram, VP of Customer Success at Hearsay Social, kicked off the program with some high level thoughts on trends in the financial industry and what it means for the financial advisor. His overall message: It’s imperative for advisors to become “technology empowered” and to supplement what can’t be replaced by automation (i.e. the human touch) with digital technologies.
2. Targeting based on life events is key
Chris Andrew, Managing Director at Hearsay Social UK and Europe, gave an update on Hearsay Social’s product roadmap and new products, such as Hearsay Sites and new modules like Facebook Ads that allow finer targeting of audience segments. Our customers were particularly excited about the ability to target ads based on life events, such as marriage, retirement, and saving for college. As one participant said, “If you don’t have a lot of connections, then this functionality is incredibly valuable.” He also emphasized that the Facebook Ads module leverages Hearsay Social’s compliance workflow as well as the Content Library for finding and promoting pre-approved content.
3. Know your audience well
The more you know and understanding your audience, the better it is to create appealing content to connect with those audiences. That was the overall takeaway during the discussion on content strategy. Below are tips participants shared on effective content creation habits:

  • Fresher, more informal content for agents is better vs. stuffy, brand speak.
  • Visual content wins.
  • Include cultured themes, even if they do not relate to industry insights or products and services.
  • Go for original images over stock photos.
  • Use infographics or videos to point to long form content (such as whitepapers) as attention-grabbers.
  • Consider using content that is entertaining or even “risky” or satirical.
  • Mix it up. Link to content at the local or macro level (such as general news updates) and content that resonates with “niche” audiences.
  • Personalize content. People like to engage with other people.
  • Interesting idea for a post: “Have a title and picture that is not related to the main text but to a link at the end of the post: this insures the reader is interested by the entire post, and intrigued to click on the link at the end of the post to ‘find out more.’

4. The keys to successful rollout and adoption of Hearsay Social is to continuously train and share your successes
The adoption and rollout table focused on ideas for initial agent activation and the on-going task of maintaining momentum of the program.

  • Get all stakeholders involved early in the program.
  • Convince sales management to set objectives for the agents/advisors upfront, include social as part of the sales methodology.
  • Organize in-person training sessions in the beginning: explain social media, Hearsay Social but be very practical.
  • Keep trainings ongoing – preferably in-person. If doing webinars do them as “lunch & learn”; give points/rewards for agents who participate in the trainings.
  • Ensure your content strategy stays relevant; gather agents feedback and adjust your content accordingly.
  • Ensure there is close supervision by sales management.
  • Keep momentum going by creating internal Facebook/LinkedIn groups for agents and advisors to share their experience & challenges.
  • Send a weekly or monthly newsletter with social media tips; share best practices or run a contest among agents.
  • Identify success stories, record a video of the testimonies and share during sales events.

5. Varying levels of risk profile and understanding of key regulations remains a challenge for financial services firms
Most banks and asset management firms in the audience were heavily focused on compliance while others were early in their approach to social media risks. Firms that were farther down the social media maturity curve shared that protecting employees from saying or doing the wrong thing depended heavily on having clear social media policies and guidelines in place and enforcing them through rigorous training.
Across all countries, it was clear that regulators held the companies responsible for any wrong doings of the employees. And hence it was in the best interest of the companies that there are systems and processes in place to supervise social media communications relating to business.
On the question of protecting an individual’s privacy on their personal social media accounts, the best practice Hearsay Social has recommended to its clients is to be clear on what channels can be used for business and how they can be used. So for example, Twitter allows a person to have multiple accounts, similar to emails, which means people can have a personal Twitter handle and a business Twitter handle. For Linkedin, companies can set up the use of Linkedin Sales Navigator for business communication and allow the advisors to continue using Inmail for personal communication.
Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 9.58.27 AMThe big takeaway from all the sessions? A forum to interact with other users of Hearsay Social who share similar vision and objectives for their advisors is invaluable. We will continue to create opportunities like this to share insights and learnings so that we can innovate and grow together as an industry.
Thank you to the entire Hearsay Social team, our attendees and invited guests for the support and for making this inaugural European Customer Forum a great success!
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