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Q1 News Recap: '15 Predictions, 'Robo-Advisors' and Tools to Give Financial Advisors a 'Leg Up'

Key Speakers At 2014 WIRED BizConBelieve it or not, the first quarter of 2015 is officially over. It has been a busy quarter for Hearsay Social’s CEO Clara Shih regarding news coverage. In addition to running day-to-day strategy and vision for the company, Shih’s pursuits landed her in several key media outlets and industry publications in the past three months.
Shih kicked off the year with a powerful op-ed piece in FA Magazine posing the question: “Will Financial Advisors Become Obsolete?” In the article, Shih stressed the importance of personalized relationships amidst the rising threat of “robo-advisors,” stating that the industry must adapt to the changing landscape in order to survive and thrive in the digital age.
In early February, Shih penned 5 tech trends to watch in 2015 in Fortune.com where she explains and shares the biggest trends that will change the way we live and work. As for what exactly Shih sees for the rest of 2015? She expects the Internet universe to merge with the “real world”, for mobile commerce wars to deepen, and for social media to break out of the silo, among other predictions.
Later in the month, the company as a whole launched the Predictive Social Suite for advisors a platform that allows financial advisors and insurance agents to use technology to stay relevant and connect with their clients and prospects. The announcement followed with key news coverage:

And mentions in several industry publications, including:

As the end of the quarter drew near, Shih welcomed a key player to the senior leadership team and took to Bloomberg TV and Fox Business News respectively to discuss the various ways financial advisors can use social media and predictive insights to learn even more about their clients. In FBNs broadcast on An Easier Way to Predict Client Behavior, when asked “What do financial advisors glean from Hearsay Social and predictive analytics,” Shih cited reaching out and connecting with clients on social media as just one of the many way advisors can see what their clients are sharing about their lives.
Fox business news_clara photo screenshotIn the Bloomberg broadcast, Shih explains how the opportunities for advisors to engage with their clients today largely rest on social media, stating that technologies such as “natural language processing” and “machine learning” can be used to pick up certain “buying signals” such as a social media posts about someone’s child going to college. Both interviews provided a chance for Shih to discuss once again Hearsay Social’s new Predictive Social Suite for advisors.
For more media and news coverage, check out our press page or subscribe to the Blog.
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Google to Penalize Websites That Are Not Mobile-Friendly

Is your website mobile readyshutterstock_209175247? If not, Google will start penalizing your search rankings beginning April 21.
Google recently announced that it would be expanding how it uses website mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. In their official statement, they announced that this will have a “significant impact” on search results, meaning websites that are not mobile optimized — that is, non-responsive to different screen sizes or configured to be viewed on multiple devices — will see a heavy drop in traffic.
At Hearsay Social, we have suspected these changes for some time based on prior Google announcements. And once the April 21 changes take effect, the impact will be significant.
Moreover, Google rarely provides in such clear terms the secret behind their ranking algorithms, and the fact that they have done so here creates an opportunity to meet the demands of a changing era.
Are your advisor websites prepared?
Many financial services companies have realized the importance of mobile in the past few years and have invested in optimizing their corporate websites. One area frequently overlooked, however, has been advisor websites. This is especially important because mobile searches often return local results, according to a ComScore study, which stated that 56% of “on-the-go” mobile searches had local intent.
Are your advisor websites mobile optimized?
The good news is Google can help answer that question for you. They have provided webmasters with a tool that crawls a website and grades the mobile usability – a tool that very likely works in the same way that their ranking algorithm does.
Check out the Google Mobile Friendly test here
Try it out for yourself, how did your websites do? 80/100? 90/100? 95/100?
While doing research during the development of our Hearsay Sites product we found that most advisor sites were either not mobile optimized and scored in the low 50s or partially-optimized, bringing their score into the high 80s or low 90s. So if you scored in the 90s, congratulations, you’re doing better than many of your peers.
As we’ve developed our product using a mobile-first adaptive and responsive approach we’ve found that scores of 98 or 100 are not only possible, but really the only ones that should be acceptable. We never design for the test, but have found repeatedly that when our expert designers are given the tools and freedom to approach mobile design in the way they know is best for consumers, the results will follow.
 
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What can you do?
April 21 is just around the corner. While you may not have time to launch new advisor websites in under two months, there might be some minor fixes you can put in place to minimize the damage.
As you begin an undertaking to refresh your advisor sites, we recommend asking why your websites got so far behind in the first place. The answer is often that you were using an inflexible system or outdated technology. The reality is that the web is a constantly evolving ecosystem and if you aren’t prepared to move at the pace of change, your websites will be out of date the day they launch. Unfortunately, this is all too often the case in our industry.
At Hearsay Social we have a different approach to advisor websites. We take care of the technology. Your team and advisors provide the great content that consumers are looking for – what we do is keep the website up to date with the latest standards in SEO, mobile usability, markup, CSS, and other capabilities.
If your websites are already mobile friendly, great! But if not, and you find yourself too busy to stay up to date with the ever changing world of SEO, web standards, and Google algorithms, it may be time to explore how a technology partner can help you provide up to date tools for your advisors.
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#HSonAir Employee Spotlight Series: Eli Menaker (Marketing)

EliIn episode 30 we introduce Eli Menaker (@EliZelig), Online and Email Marketing Manager at Hearsay Social. In our discussion we explore Eli’s role in promoting the Hearsay Social brand with clients and prospects, how he leverages technology to make a connection, and thoughts about the Predictive Social Suite we announced in Mid-February.  We also riff about Alaska, Ultimate Frisbee and the Serial podcast.
Join the conversation on Twitter with @VictorGaxiola and @EliZelig using hashtag #HSonAir.  Use the hashtag to ask questions, make comments or suggestions. If you have a question you’d like answered on the air, send an email to: OnAir@HearsayCorp.com.

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Introducing Hearsay Social’s Predictive Social Suite for Advisors

Mobile, social, and web technologies are changing the way we live and work – including how consumers discover and make important buying decisions regarding financial products and services. Over 40% of high-net worth individuals under the age of 40 cite social media as important for accessing information on financial products or services, and this number keeps growing.
Today, we proudly enable over 100,000 advisors, agents, bankers, wholesalers, and other financial relationship managers worldwide to connect and deepen client relationships on social media while staying compliant. In recent months, a growing number of you told us “Social has become essential, but the social channel alone is not enough.”
Well, we listened, and today I am thrilled to unveil our new Predictive Social Suite (read today’s coverage on CNBC). Starting today, advisors can “hear” and “say” not only on social channels but across multiple digital channels, all from a single dashboard.
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The need to modernize traditional sales organizations and help advisors compete against the onslaught of disruptive consumer technologies, such as “robo-advice” websites, has quickly become the defining issue of financial industry CEOs and boards of directors.
Penn Mutual is one such forward-thinking Hearsay Social customer. We had a chance to brief their CEO, Eileen McDonnell, on our new platform and were honored by what she had to say: “Hearsay Social’s Predictive Social Suite is precisely the set of technologies advisors need to stay relevant and productive with today’s digital and socially savvy clients.”
As part of our new Predictive Social Suite, we are today also unveiling a new product, Hearsay Sites, a responsive, mobile-first advisor website solution. With Hearsay Sites, advisors can easily post tailored content to their websites from the same central Hearsay Social dashboard they currently use to manage social media engagement. Soon, advisors will also be able to receive predictive notifications of website visitor activity for follow-up – for example, being alerted that a particular client might be interested in a college 529 plan. Hearsay Sites also comes with built-in search engine optimization (SEO) and enterprise supervision and compliance through the Hearsay Enterprise Platform.
With the Predictive Social Suite, advisors can manage listening, engagement, compliance, publishing, and analytics across multiple digital channels all within one powerful suite.
To learn more about today’s exciting news, view the press release.
For additional insights, be sure to download our executive report on The Advisor of the Future: How to Stay Relevant in the Digital Age, and watch my keynote presentation from the 2014 Annual LIMRA Conference.
Take a look at some additional press coverage below:

Let us know your thoughts on Twitter @hearsaysocial #predictivesocial!
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