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The Lure of Pokemon GO and What It Means for Small Businesses

IMG_2597Pokemon GO has taken over.
The augmented reality mobile app and game that launched a few weeks ago has seen phenomenal growth rates, with engagement rates surpassing Snapchat and a higher percentage of daily active users than Twitter!
Armed with a smartphone and a sense of adventure, Pokemon GO users have made the streets and parks of America an extended playground with people actively searching for prized Pokemons to capture. I tried the app with my kids, and we spent hours running around outside capturing Pokemon together. It was a way to connect and engage with them in a fun activity that offered a competitive and physical activity, bridging both the digital and real world. It’s part nostalgia and part scavenger hunt, and has captured the imagination and the attention of both young and old.
The initial bump of usage has been surprising, and many suggest that it will likely be a passing fad. However, you cannot dismiss the appeal and possible opportunities it offers small businesses with a physical location that can capitalize on the attention by drawing customers to their doors.
In a recent piece entitled “3 Simple Ways to Pokemon Grow Your Business,” Dave Kerpen and the team at Likeable Media lay out three suggestions on how small businesses can leverage the popularity of Pokemon GO:
1. “Lure” Your Customers Through the Door
Provided your place of business is near a PokeStop, you can draw foot traffic to your doors by creating a “lure” to attract more Pokemon for 30 minutes, all for less than $1. Businesses can set up lures within the app, and start seeing the traffic roll in. I can certainly see where an insurance office or independent financial advisor could use a lure to draw attention and possibly new business at a very affordable price point. It couldn’t hurt.
2 . Pick a Team (or All 3 Teams) 
Once you reach a certain level on Pokemon GO, you have the option to be part of one of three teams, each with their own name and color: Instinct (Yellow), Mystic (Blue) and Valor (Red). Dave suggests that small businesses can create special offers for teams and promote them on social media to help draw more traffic.
3. Use Social Media Content and Ads to Incite Pokemon Excitement
Part of the fun of Pokemon GO is how it has captured our attention, and while people are talking about it and participating, this is a good time to leverage social media content that is relevant and engaging and tied to Pokemon fever. Targeted Facebook ads can play on the search theme of the game, and you change the copy to reflect the kinds of products and services you offer. For example, insurance providers can relate the search of a Pokemon to the search for better insurance coverage.
Who knows how long the hype of Pokemon GO will last; however, what it has illustrated is how quickly a new application can grow in both adoption and utilization. This could only have happened now with the proliferation and widespread use of mobile technology. Once again, it’s an opportunity even for “traditional” industries and businesses to challenge the status quo and rethink different approaches to draw attention and people to your business.
P.S. Go Team Mystic!

Clara Shih Discusses New Book "The Social Business Imperative" on DisrupTV

Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 3.50.49 PMHearsay Social CEO and founder Clara Shih (@ClaraShih) today had the pleasure of being a guest on DisrupTV (@DisrupTVShow), a web series focused on leadership, innovation and disruption.
Co-hosted by R “Ray” Wang (@RWang0), principal analyst and founder of Constellation Research, and Vala Afshar (@ValaAfshar), chief digital evangelist at, the show features candid, informal conversations with game changers in business, technology and media.
On the show, Clara shares the inspiration behind her newly released book, The Social Business Imperative: Adapting Your Business Model to the Always-Connected Consumer (including how she was able to accomplish writing it while on maternity leave). She also discusses:

  • Why social and digital have become too important and too strategic to delegate to a junior or siloed team; CEOs, boards and management teams must personally own and drive their companies’ digital strategy
  • How today’s customers want and expect to be able to engage with the brands they purchase from and how companies that do not leverage digital communication channels are at risk of being disintermediated
  • Examples of companies that are embracing Social Business

DisrupTV Episode 0020: Featuring Clara Shih, Naveen Rajdev & Alan Lepofsky 6.17.16 from Constellation Research on Vimeo.
Please ‘like’ the The Social Business Imperative Facebook Page to get the latest updates on book signings, appearances, updates and more. Also, be sure to follow #DisrupTV to stay informed on upcoming shows and guests!
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#HSonAir Podcast: Customer Spotlight Series- An Interview with Sabrina Magyar of BMO Nesbitt Burns

Sabrina Magyar PicIn Episode 81 we take the show on the road and up North to Toronto, Canada, for a special interview with Sabrina Magyar, Senior Marketing Manager, Advisor Support at BMO Nesbitt Burns.  In our interview, Sabrina shares how the Advisor Support team works closely with advisors to help educate and illustrate the value of social media as part of their overall marketing and personal branding strategy.  Sabrina also shares how senior leadership buy-in helps drive adoption and the best practices learned along the way.
Be part of the conversation with @victorgaxiola and @alissadossantos on Twitter using hashtag #HSonAir.  If you have a question, comment or suggestion, please send an  e-mail to   We also invite you to “like” our podcast page on Facebook where we share posts about the podcast, our guests, and other fun stuff.


Hearsay Innovation Summit 2016: Enabling the Omnichannel Advisor in the Age of the Always-Connected Consumer

Hearsay-IS2016-1409San Francisco was the perfect backdrop to Hearsay Social’s fourth annual Innovation Summit (#hearsaysummit), celebrating the intersection of financial services, innovation, and technology. Last week, we had the pleasure and honor of hosting over a hundred thought leaders in technology, wealth management, mortgage, insurance, and banking.
The Summit, which took place on Thursday at the Terra Gallery, provided a unique opportunity for a select group of senior executives, heads of sales, marketing, and compliance, and technology leaders to discuss the most important challenges and opportunities facing the financial services industry.

Key themes included the ongoing role of human advisors and agents and the necessity of firms to leverage technology to empower their advisors to keep them at the center of all customer journeys. Presenters focused on the changing business models and client expectations, including their perspectives of the industry, companies, people, products, and trends poised to emerge in 2016 and beyond.

Here are additional highlights, photos, and key takeaways from the day’s event.

Meeting the expectations of both advisors and clients will challenge existing financial services firms

Hearsay-IS2016-0409Kicking off the Summit was Shelley O’Connor, co-head of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management (@MorganStanley), who shared how her company’s goals to increase efficiencies in branches, enhance the advisor-client experience, and make it easier for advisors to touch more clients more often will be met digitally. 
Today’s shifting client expectations will require advisors to cut through the noise and deliver insights that go well beyond a company’s product offering, she said during Thursday’s opening keynote. I’ve shared this sentiment before and believe the key to connecting with today’s omnichannel client is to engage them in the ways they want to use, not the ways we find convenient.
Naureen Hassan, chief digital officer at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, outlined four key areas that the company will focus on to reach its digital goals; namely, marketing, digitized processes, next-gen products, and client experience. Hearsay-IS2016-0438The company uses data and technology to better understand, acquire, retain, and serve their clients during their whole life cycle.
My co-founder and Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih (@clarashih) spoke about today’s omnichannel advisor and client, and what firms must do to own the digital last mile. For example, in order for advisors to move up the value chain over the next several years, firms will need to leverage next-gen technology tools that enable advisors to deliver the right content, to the right person, at the right time.Hearsay-IS2016-0572
This underscores the importance of marketing to millennials and devising effective solutions that help reach, engage, and convert this highly influential market.

Understanding your customer is crucial to building an ecosystem that lasts

Kenneth Lin (@kennethlin), CEO and founder of Credit Karma, a financial technology startup that continues to challenge financial industry incumbents such as banks and payment networks, spoke during a fireside chat with Noah Wintroub (@nwintroub), global head of internet and digital media at JPMorgan, and challenged everyone to think of their data and what it can do to help companies truly understand their customers.
The pair spoke about how communicating with customers via social and mobile is a huge part of that, as is optimizing your platforms to get a good grasp of what’s important to your consumer base. In Credit Karma’s case, they’ve built a billion-dollar business disrupting the credit score industry by giving people free access to their scores and helping to match consumers with mortgages, auto loans, and more.
In a fireside chat with The Wall Street Journal tech reporter Deepa Seetharaman (@dseetharaman), Braintree COO Amit Jhawar (@Braintree) discussed the next generation of online payments, and how his company democratizes payments, allowing easy access to loans for the masses. His advice? Companies will need to retool their business models to meet consumers’ growing demand for convenience and security. Hearsay-IS2016-1002

The advice industry must adapt to changing client demographics

Chip Roame (@chiproame), managing partner at Tiburon Strategic Advisors, led an incredible discussion and shared some staggering statistics, noting that consumer wealth is approximately $60 trillion and expected liquidation is $30 trillion. 
Hearsay-IS2016-1046In a robo-advice start-up versus traditional brokerage “debate,” panelists Michael Sha, CEO and founder of SigFig (@sigfiginsights), Bo Lu (@bolu), CEO and founder of FutureAdvisor, and Naureen of Morgan Stanley cleared up some misconceptions that often surround robo-advice options. All parties agreed that the future of wealth management will include a combination of traditional and online advice offerings to meet the needs of a diverse and ever-changing client base. Bo challenged us to think of our own jobs – how many of us utilize software to provide products and services. Advisors and agents have been somewhat under-armed, and firms must do a better job at ensuring advisors are armed. 
Hearsay-IS2016-1187  Hearsay-IS2016-1214
Hearsay-IS2016-1375We were also thrilled to have as a guest Debbie Sterling (@debbieblox), CEO and founder of GoldieBlox, a toy company out to inspire the next generation of female engineers. During a fireside chat with The WSJ’s Deepa, Debbie shared why and how she has made it her mission in life to tackle the gender gap in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. Watch this video for an inside look at how the company has introduced engineering concepts to girls through storytelling and toy building.

Advisors and wealth managers aren’t making the most of technology

Jon Sakoda (@jonsakoda), general partner at New Enterprise Associates (a Hearsay Social investor), discussed the big tech challenges that lie ahead. He says we’re experiencing the “unbundling of financial services” and admonished that “disruption is a leap of faith.”
Hearsay-IS2016-1472The overarching takeaways from all the speakers? Advisors need every advantage to navigate uncertain change, including digital technologies that free their time to focus on what they do best – helping coach clients through tough life decisions.
Thank you to everyone who came to see us, and thanks to the entire Hearsay Social team, our attendees and invited guests, and our partners for the support and for making this the best Summit yet!
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View slides from the presenters at SlideShare, and check out the Summit videos on YouTube.
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The Social Business Imperative: Eight Years Later

Cover_9780134263434_Shih_FinalI’m thrilled to announce the release of my new book, The Social Business Imperative: Adapting Your Business Model to the Always-Connected Customer, available starting this week online (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and more) and in bookstores.
When I wrote my first book back in 2008, social networks were just getting off the ground. The Facebook Era articulated a radical vision for how social media would transform media, relationships, and influence, creating new opportunities for businesses in the process. Skeptics abounded. Even that book title was controversial at the time. People needed a lot of convincing that social media wasn’t just a fad, so I drew on academic sociology research and drew parallels to the rise of the Internet 15 years earlier.
What a long way we have come. Today, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t believe in social media’s profound impact on every aspect of work, life, and society. As consumers, we live the social, mobile, and digital transformation every day – from the moment we wake up and scroll through Facebook to when we tweet the world good night just before falling asleep. Social media now drives more traffic to most websites than search engines do, and last year social media surpassed even email as the top Internet activity.
Businesses, too, have made great strides. Nine in 10 companies now use social media in some capacity. Yet tremendous untapped opportunity remains – $1.3 trillion in business value, to be exact, according to McKinsey Global Institute. Most organizations are still using social media only in superficial ways or only in select departments (generally brand marketing, recruiting, and customer service), but the rest of the organization has yet to catch up. And very few companies more than a decade old have built or adapted their entire business model for the Facebook era. Yet that’s precisely where the biggest prizes await.
Eight years later, many organizations are still wondering where the ROI is, or hoping in vain to stumble upon the next viral campaign. The challenge, as is so often the case, is that vision is easy, but operationalizing vision is hard. The Social Business Imperative (#socialbizimperative) is the execution-oriented sequel to The Facebook Era’s vision. It describes how social has come of age for businesses (what I refer to as Social Business) in an increasingly mobile world, how organizations can take a strategic, proactive approach to operationalize Social Business in every major function and department, and how these currently siloed initiatives can be tied together cohesively to deliver efficient, consistent customer experiences and unlock transformational new business models.
There are two primary reasons why Social Business has become an imperative. First, social media is where customers spend their time and expect to engage. The continued dramatic rise in smartphone penetration and usage is driving up social engagement even further. Second, the so-called big data generated by customers on social, mobile, and digital platforms can be harnessed for predictive analytics – which in turn can be used to power new business models and practices that delight customers with personalized experiences, curation, and convenience.
The book includes case studies from leading companies that have embraced the Social Business mandate, including Warby Parker, Wells Fargo, Raymond James, Ameriprise, Disney, Ritz-Carlton, L’Oreal, Farmers Insurance, Ritz-Carlton, and Netflix, spanning many industries and continents.
As Forbes summed up in its review of the book earlier this week, Social Media is Everyone’s Business – Yours Included, the mistake many management teams make is over-delegating social and digital efforts to fairly entry-level social and digital teams. In reality, social and digital are too important and too strategic for company leaders to not personally own and drive.
It’s been an incredible journey from start to finish and I’m so happy to share the finished product with the world and especially our amazing customers, who are featured in and served as great inspiration for the book.
Please ‘like’ the The Social Business Imperative Facebook Page to get the latest updates on book signings, appearances, updates, and more!
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#HSonAir Bonus Episode: The DOL Fiduciary Rule

DOLThe release of the long anticipated DOL Fiduciary Rule is certain to be a topic of discussion and debate in the days and weeks to come as the industry digests the final ruling and interprets its effect on the industry.
In this bonus episode, we share a short audio segment from a recent compliance webinar with Yasmin Zarabi, Vice President of Legal and Compliance at Hearsay Social and Stephen Selby, CRCP, Assistant Vice President of Social Media Strategy, Audit & Regulatory Relations at LIMRA with thoughts on the DOL Ruling potential impact on social media and digital technology in Financial Services.
We invite you to be part of the conversation with @victorgaxiola and @alissadossantos on Twitter using hashtag #HSonAir.  If you have a question, comment or suggestion, please send an  e-mail to   We also invite you to “like” our podcast page on Facebook where we share posts about the podcast, our guests, and other fun stuff.

Digital Technology Transformation and Adoption at RPM Mortgage

In the past year, I’ve had the good fortune of sitting down twice with Amy Malloy, Social Media Marketing Specialist at RPM Mortgage, to understand how they are empowering their loan advisors to leverage social media to connect with clients and prospects. The result of our meetings were a short recorded video and a longer form Hearsay Social on the Air podcast.
Video Case Study
In this video, Amy shares how social media has impacted the ability for their loan advisors to reach and connect with clients and prospects in a more dynamic way to tell their stories and stay connected. Through social media, they’ve managed to increase referrals and stay top of mind, all while leveraging the ease of use of the Hearsay Social integrated platform.

Hearsay Social on the Air Podcast
Earlier this year, Amy visited our offices again and we recorded a special Customer Spotlight podcast to explore further some of the ideas introduced in the video, including looking at how RPM Mortgage is analyzing the value of social media and what is driving people to make buying decisions.

In both instances, Amy provided insight on how the mortgage industry, and specifically RPM Mortgage, is using technology to react to changing regulations and customer expectations. By empowering their loan advisors with the technology to tell their stories, connect with customers, and measure their success, they are embracing the digital transformation necessary today, to thrive in our digital world.

#HSonAir Podcast: An Interview with Mike Byrnes of Byrnes Consulting

mikebyrnesIn Episode 77, Mike Byrnes (@byrnesconsultin), National Speaker, Founder and President of Byrnes Consulting, joins us to talk about the state of digital technology in Financial Services including our review of the recent SIFMA Social Media Summit in San Francisco.
With over 25 years’ of industry experience, Mike specializes in helping companies with business planning, marketing strategy and business development including PR, social media, event planning and  marketing.  Mike also give presentations, workshops, webinars and 1-on-1 consultations to advisors across the country and industry events.  We hope you enjoy this informative conversation.
We invite you to be part of the conversation with @victorgaxiola and @alissadossantos on Twitter using hashtag #HSonAir.  If you have a question, comment or suggestion, please send an  e-mail to   We also invite you to “like” our podcast page on Facebook where we share posts about the podcast, our guests, and other fun stuff.


Social Business Adoption – Step 5: Four Ways to Amp Up the (Friendly) Competition

shutterstock_174735368This blog post is step five of Hearsay Social’s Six-Step Program to Boost Social Business Adoption across the enterprise. Check back next week for the last step, step six.

One great way to increase participation in your firm’s social business program is to take advantage of the natural competitiveness inherent in your best performers and salespeople. Get this key group of stakeholders excited and, in turn, encourage the wider field to get involved by stoking some friendly competition.
Use tried-and-true gamification techniques such as scorecards, badges and leaderboards to keep track of behaviors that the social business program has been set up to measure and grow. These metrics might include the number of times advisors or agents log into their company’s social media management platform, the number of content pieces they publish, or by how much their networks grow over a certain period of time.
Here are ideas to step up your gamification game:

  1. Offer a reward tied to a key program success metric. For example, one company gave out a prize – Super Bowl tickets – to the regional sales manager with the highest percent increase in usage of the social business technology platform.
  2. Make it fun, engaging and easy. Run the idea by a few members of your target audience before rolling the game out broadly, to ensure it will appeal to the largest subset of users possible. Remember, though, that not every single salesperson will want to participate. But for those who do, it’s important to keep the excitement going throughout the contest period.
  3. Create, publish and share a leaderboard, scorecard or another method to keep track of those who are at the top of their game – literally. This helps jump-start competition, highlight the most active participants and attract people who are not already in the program.
  4. Run a “30 days of social” campaign to bring additional visibility to the program.

adoption-guideFor more success insights on how to educate the field and arm them for success, as well as Hearsay Social’s entire six-step framework for social business adoption across the enterprise, get our new, free Social Business Adoption Guide now.
To learn more about Hearsay Social’s training options, contact your sales representative or customer success manager.
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Social Business Adoption – Step 4: Promote, Enable Field Success Stories

shutterstock_302256263This blog post is step four of Hearsay Social’s Six-Step Program to Boost Social Business Adoption across the enterprise. Check back next week for step five.
It’s important for advisors to regularly hear from the corporate or home office about the benefits and potential of social business, but peer-to-peer evangelism is critical to motivating and mobilizing them as well. After all, salespeople want to hear from and about other salespeople, especially about how they achieved their successes.
As part of your social business program, you need to identify people who have found the program valuable and can provide real-life examples of how they leverage social media grew their book of business. Then, you must empower them to share and amplify their stories. Here are three ideas how:

  1. Share advisor/agent success stories with the executive team. In addition to generating awareness among the field, it’s important for high-level decisionmakers to get visibility into how the social business program is producing real results, so they can see the return on investment. After all, these are the folks who will have considerable influence on any contracts and future financial commitments to the initiative.
  2. Find your power users and make them feel special. Run a report to see who within the company is using social media regularly and have an engaged following. Reach out and invite them to an exclusive group or circle of fellow power users (e.g., “Social Media Superheroes”) that provides special access to things such as continuing education, future beta programs/sneak peeks and other resources that might not be available widely.
  3. Increase advisor/agent visibility via peer to peer sharing. Encourage these power users and early adopters to share their stories not just within their immediate teams but across the entire organization. This not only promotes the overall social business program in general, but gives these individuals increased visibility and positions them as leaders in social. Some ideas include: regularly profiling them in internal corporate newsletters  and/or the company Intranet; highlighting their success strategies at sales conferences and other events; and/or developing a how-to based webinar using them as a use-case example.

adoption-guideFor more success insights on how to educate the field and arm them for success, as well as Hearsay Social’s entire six-step framework for social business adoption across the enterprise, get our new, free Social Business Adoption Guide now.
To learn more about Hearsay Social’s training options, contact your sales representative or customer success manager.
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