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How to improve your company's Facebook EdgeRank by going local

Facebook is constantly tweaking EdgeRank, the behind-the-scenes algorithm that automatically chooses which stories appear in each user’s news feed. As the biggest social network in the world—it recently surpassed the one billion member milestone—Facebook aims to only share the most pertinent and engaging content with its users.
The latest major change to EdgeRank specifically affects corporate brand pages. Facebook has opted to reduce the frequency at which corporate page posts appear on fans’ news feeds in an effort to declutter the amount of brand-sponsored posts served up on mobile and tablet devices. This change requires companies to rethink their Facebook Page strategy in order to maximize the amount of visibility, reach, and engagement of their pages.

Increase Your Facebook EdgeRank by Going Local

In a way, this news shouldn’t be too surprising for savvy social marketers. Earlier this year, independent researcher Mainstay Salire released a report analyzing social media posts from corporate pages versus local brand pages. The researcher found that a typical local Facebook Page fan (someone who has liked the page) is worth 40 times a typical corporate Page fan.
Having tracked 14 million consumer interactions across Facebook, the report revealed that local fans pack a much bigger punch than corporate Fans from a sales and marketing perspective. While, at first glance, corporate Facebook Pages have the clear advantage in their massive fan bases and engagement, Mainstay discovered that local Facebook Pages actually generate 5x greater reach per fan and 8x more engagement per fan reached. Ultimately, one local fan is equal to 40 corporate fans.
With Facebook tweaking its EdgeRank algorithm to even further limit the reach of corporate page posts, it is clearer than ever that major businesses must go local with their social media efforts.
If you want to maximize reach and engagement with your customers on a national or even global scale, doing so from one corporate page is not the best way to do it. Instead, you need to equip your local salespeople and stores with the knowledge and software (like Hearsay Social) to help them best represent your brand on social media.
To learn more about how local pages outperform corporate pages on social media, download Mainstay Salire’s report, The Power of Going Local: Comparing the Impact of Corporate vs. Local Facebook Pages.

Dreamforce recap: Financial firms can go social with the compliance officer's blessing

[Ed. note: Hearsay Social will be sharing extra details and compliance expertise in a special Dreamforce session today, September 19. This session, “Compliance and Governance for the Social Enterprise,” will take place in the Ralston Ballroom at the Palace Hotel from 3 — 4 PM.]

Hearsay Social representatives Kwesi Graves and Sanjiv Baxi at Dreamforce ’12 Financial Services Day.

By 2016, digital interactions with financial institutions will outnumber face-to-face interactions 250-to-1.
Brett King, bestselling author and American Banker’s Innovator of the Year (2012), shared this astounding statistic at the Dreamforce ‘12 Financial Services Day opening keynote, hammering home the point that banks, insurance companies, and other financial firms have no choice but to adapt to new social and mobile technologies.
It’s not just that children and young adults are growing up with smartphones and tablets. As a matter of fact, the most quickly growing demographic on Facebook right now is the 55+ age group. Across the board, your customers and prospects will increasingly expect you and your representatives to serve their needs in real-time over their platforms of choice, like LinkedIn and Facebook.
But what will the compliance officers think?
If you get compliance and legal involved from the outset, it’s true that they will have many questions and concerns, but no hurdle will be too high, according to Dreamforce speakers Adrian Mariadas (VP of Global CRM at Barclays Corporate) and Andrew Bartels (Director of IT at PSA Insurance & Financial Services). Be as open as possible with attorneys and compliance officers about your goals and methods, and they will more often than not be on your side.
Bartels even told the audience about how he put a white paper together for his compliance team, addressing all their concerns and laying out all the procedures in one concise document. In the end, his compliance team gave their approval to Bartels’ social media project.
Compliance, legal, and social media can all indeed get along.
After all, there are solutions (like Hearsay Social) that offer robust social compliance capabilities for FINRA, IIROC, and SEC-regulated financial firms. (And if you’re a Salesforce.com customer, you’ll be pleased to hear that yesterday we announced Hearsay Social Cloud Compliance for Salesforce, letting organizations in regulated industries fully embrace the socially connected enterprise in the cloud.)
All told, things are looking very positive for the financial services industry on social media, as more and more of the most respected brands, like Allstate, Thrivent Financial, and Ziegler, lead the way in social media adoption for insurance agents, financial advisors, and wealth managers.
Have any questions about social media for financial services? Feel free to leave a comment!

[Ed. note: Hearsay Social will be sharing extra details and compliance expertise in a special Dreamforce session today, September 19. This session, “Compliance and Governance for the Social Enterprise,” will take place in the Ralston Ballroom at the Palace Hotel from 3 — 4 PM.]

Unveiling Hearsay Social Cloud Compliance for Salesforce at Dreamforce ‘12

With tens of thousands of people descending on San Francisco for Dreamforce ‘12, it couldn’t be a more amazing time to be working on next-generation technology in Silicon Valley.
We at Hearsay Social are especially excited today to announce Hearsay Social Cloud Compliance for Salesforce, enabling financial services, healthcare, and retail organizations to fully embrace the socially connected enterprise in the cloud while adhering to industry regulations and corporate governance.
Hearsay Social Cloud Compliance for Salesforce will soon be available on Salesforce.com’s AppExchange, and includes FINRA, SEC, FTC, IIROC, FSA, and FDA compliance coverage across the Salesforce.com Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud, and Chatter.
[Ed. note: Hearsay Social will have a booth all day today at the Financial Services Industry Day (at the Grand Hyatt) to discuss this announcement and more. Additionally, Hearsay Social will be sharing extra details and compliance expertise in a special Dreamforce session tomorrow, September 19. This session will take place in the Ralston Ballroom at the Palace Hotel from 3 — 4 PM.]

Hearsay Social Cloud Compliance for Salesforce

Fortune 1000 organizations are eager to embrace LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, foursquare, and Chatter, but they want to do so in a way that adheres to industry regulations and corporate governance. We know this because our customers have been asking for a seamless way to compliantly engage in the socially connected enterprise, and this is what we have delivered with Hearsay Social Cloud Compliance for Salesforce.
Ziegler, a full-service investment bank serving institutional, retail, and commercial clients, is one of the first Hearsay Social customers to enjoy the benefits of our new offering. Sid Bhatnagar, Vice President of Business Applications at Ziegler, has already called our new product “an essential component” of his social enterprise’s architecture.
Here are the key product features to expect from Hearsay Social Cloud Compliance for Salesforce:

Hearsay Social Compliance for Sales Cloud

Navigate social accounts, contacts, and conversations in a compliant manner. Hearsay Social Compliance captures and archives social conversations to help your organization comply with business records and communications with the public regulations set by various regulatory bodies in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

Hearsay Social Compliance for Service Cloud

Maintain complete compliance while offering a world-class customer service experience. Hearsay Social Compliance automatically captures and archives customer communications as agents are assigned to and resolve cases on any of the social networks.

Hearsay Social Compliance for Marketing Cloud

Boost your brand power by aligning marketing messaging across the organization. Hearsay Social Compliance protects financial firms’ registered representatives from regulatory risk by retaining records of social media interactions deemed advertisements, which require pre-approval by a Registered Principal.

Hearsay Social Compliance for Chatter

Capture and archive conversations for business records and eDiscovery requests with Hearsay Social Compliance.

Learn more

If you’d like to learn more about Hearsay Social Cloud Compliance for Salesforce, be sure to visit our booth today at the Financial Services Industry Day (at the Grand Hyatt) or catch our presentation at Dreamforce tomorrow, September 19. The session will take place in the Ralston Ballroom at the Palace Hotel (directions below) from 3 — 4 PM. Or simply get in touch if you’d like to see a demo of our new product.

Hearsay Social customer success story: Pacific Union International

“Our more immediate goal in using social media is to empower our real estate professionals to take their own social marketing to another level, and Hearsay Social offers the easiest and most elegant way to do just that.”  — CC Holland,  vice president of digital media and content for Pacific Union International

More and more, businesses are realizing the vast untapped potential of social networking for forming relationships with customers and prospects to increase reach and revenue. Today we’re proud to announce that Hearsay Social now powers social sales and marketing success for Pacific Union International, one of our first customers in the real estate industry.
Last Thursday, Hearsay Social took the stage at Inman Connect SF with CC Holland, VP of Digital Marketing at Pacific Union International. CC is the marketing maven behind Pacific Union’s organization-wide social strategy. She understands the importance of real estate agents communicating brand consistency on social media while also creating and sharing a personal brand of their own.
As CC and the other Inman panelists discussed the endless opportunities of this new channel, the relationship between social media and the real estate industry became as clear-cut to us as the relationship between broker and buyer. After all, what do real estate professionals do best? They share their brand through connections and show the beautiful content of their listings. Sound familiar?

“For Sale” Sign: Getting the Word Out

Jeff Turner, Director of RealSatisfied.com, argued at Inman Connect that “brand is morphing into company culture. Your values are your true brand—how you live, interact, talk.”
Along those lines, CC recognized early on the importance of content as brands increasingly give voices to their real estate professionals on social media. She also realized that it’s the brand’s responsibility to communicate the company’s core values and how that should be shared with consumers.
“Stopping power in the News Feed is critical,” said Matthew Shadbolt, and CC understands that better than any social media maven. It’s all about photos, and eye catching images that make a person stop and click on your content.

Hosting the Open House: A Chance to Make Connections

A tastefully staged house can be the difference between an unremarkable open house and one that generates significant buzz and offers. CC has filled the Hearsay Social content library with an abundance of content that covers topics from real estate market trends to the best places to taste wine in Sonoma. CC knows that her customers don’t want to hear about real estate all the time, so she and her agents generally follow the 80:20 rule (80% community, recent events, personal information and 20% real estate content).
But nothing on social media matters if it isn’t measured, which is precisely why Pacific Union International uses Hearsay Social for our robust social media management tool. The Pacific Union team recognizes that, in addition to content distribution, it’s also important to have a tool to moderate your agents and what they are saying on social media. Having a powerful analytics tool allows their team to stay laser focused on what is working best for certain agents so they can replicate that success across the organization. CC and her team appreciate the simplicity of the Hearsay Social analytics which highlight the most important trends they need to track at an aggregate level and at an agent level.
Pacific Union understands that social media is all about connections—specifically, the connections their agents make with clients. Higher engagement rates means more eyes will see their content, strengthening the agent’s personal brand on social media. CC and her team encourage agents to engage with their clients on all of their social channels and recognizes that Hearsay Social’s Stream is a great, consolidated dashboard to efficiently engage across Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and foursquare.

Closing the Sale: Converting Social Media Connections into Clients

As CC so eloquently put it on stage last Thursday, “Content has to be at the core of every brand promise. It’s really important for our real estate professionals to get out there and make their own marks. As a brand we can be the stewards of great content. We give our agents ideas and inspiration.”
Watch the video below to learn more about how Pacific Union International is using Hearsay Social for its social media success.

Social Technologies Unlocked: Hearsay Social CEO speaks at Churchill Club


Would you believe that social media and social networks are mostly untapped across both the enterprise and consumer landscapes?
That’s the finding of a McKinsey Global Institute report entitled The Social Economy: Unleashing Value and Productivity Through Social Technologies. In advance of the report’s publication, several of the best minds in social media met in San Francisco for a panel discussion hosted by the Churchill Club, which has organized events for a quarter of a century with big names like Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, and Arianna Huffington.
For the social technologies-focused session, Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih sat on the panel amongst esteemed leaders in the social media space, including Wendy Arnott, VP of Social Media, TD Bank Group; BJ Fogg, Founder and Director, the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford University; David Gutelius, Chief Scientist, Jive Software. The panel was moderated by Michael Chui, a Senior Fellow at the McKinsey Global Institute.
View the discussion in its entirety in the video below and check out some of the best live tweets from the event:

Social media for financial services: Lessons from LinkedIn and Ziegler

Social media is continually proving to be an effective marketing tool for business professionals.  In the age of instant access, social media allows relationship-based salespeople to cast a wide yet targeted net that quickly draws in the ideal clients.
During LinkedIn’s “Financial Institutions and Social Media-Best Practices” webinar last week, more light was shed on the traction social media is gaining, specifically within financial institutions. Hot on the heels of data showing that 7 in 10 advisors use at least one social network for business, the webinar served only to highlight the increasing use of social media in the financial services industry.
In the first portion of the webinar, LinkedIn research consultant Emily Friedman shared results from a study tracking the social media use of 463 financial advisors in various fields:

Fast Facts

  • 29% of financial advisors already consider social media to be a major part of their marketing efforts.
  • Next year, it is expected that 52% of financial advisors will be actively using social media as a part of their business.
  • 71% of financial advisors that are already on social media found the high-value clients they seek through LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.

This impressive and broad adoption of social media by financial advisors is proving to be advantageous to their business and client relationships.
Financial advisors using social networks are finding the high-value clients they aim to acquire more easily and readily.  As a result, advisors now have the motivation to actively incorporate social media into their daily business practices. Education and empowerment of these business professionals and their firms are crucial in allowing them to take full advantage of the myriad opportunities social media has to offer.
“Financial advisors are not only using social networks to make professional connections but to also cultivate client prospects,” said Friedman. “For institutions that support these advisors there is a lot of potential for fewer missed opportunities and a stronger network of advisors who are able to have that competitive advantage in the age of social media. […] It is clear that advisors are well on their way to fully adopting social media, it is already a critical component of their marketing effort.”

The Listening Factor

Another featured panelist on the webinar was Anita Heisl, Senior VP of Practice Development at Ziegler Wealth Management, who shared insights from the business perspective.

A Hearsay Social customer, Ziegler allows and encourages its wealth managers and investment bankers to market their business on social networks, primarily LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
“One of the most important things that an advisor can do on any social media channel is listen,” said Heisl. “People have a tendency to think about social media as communicating out but the listening power is underserved.”
Social networking sites not only allow advisors to promote their business on a large stage, they provide access and a constant flow of information that can be advantageous to their enterprise.

Social Media Compliance

Though it has been proven that advisors can grow their business on social media, large firms worry about the language and nature of their employees’ posts, tweets, and messages. The legal ramifications of a non-compliant post can have detrimental effects on an enterprises’ reputation.
“We’re using Hearsay Social,” Heisl said in the webinar, explaining that the platform serves both their sales and marketing needs, all while staying compliant with industry regulations.  “Advisors want to communicate with their clients and being able to just pop into Hearsay, click post on something that they know is preapproved–and that someone has already put thought into–is very useful.”
Heisl explained the necessity of a vast social media content library for advisors to choose from, allowing them to tailor and identify key information for their specific clients.
LinkedIn’s webinar reiterated the growing importance and advantages for businesses to implement social media into their marketing strategy.  Social networks are already playing a major part in advisors’ marketing efforts and will continue to do so.

Lessons from Sam Walton: How a social-local strategy brings the human touch back to business

Ed. note: The following post, penned by Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih, originally appeared in Advertising Age.

Long before the digital age, all business was local and social. Customer engagement was paramount. Shopkeepers, barbers, and Avon ladies alike intuitively knew that their ability to connect with customers would often determine whether or not a purchase would be made. They also understood that investing in building long-standing relationships with customers would result in repeat visits and loyalty.
For many successful proprietors, this meant knowing customers by name, remembering their likes and dislikes, and being on hand to answer product questions. Years before founding Walmart, at the age of 26, Sam Walton put these principles to work as a variety store manager in Newport, Arkansas.

Sam Walton's original Walton's Five and Dime store, now the Wal-Mart Visitor's Center.

On stage at fMC (Facebook’s marketing conference) earlier this year, Walmart CMO Stephen Quinn hearkened back to this bygone era:

“If you went back 120 years ago, a retailer would be a pillar in the community. [Retailers] would know not only everybody, but their likes, what they thought was interesting, what new products they might be interested in.”

So, what happened to the shopkeeper who cared about customers? The answer is very simple: technology.
Technology has enabled two of the biggest changes to sweep across retail: national mega-chains and more recently, e-commerce. Both have played key roles in driving down prices by introducing greater transparency, efficiency, and economies of scale. But this has come at a cost: the customer experience now feels “mass produced.”
In his eloquent foreword to my book, The Facebook Era, 1-800-FLOWERS founder and CEO Jim McCann captures it perfectly:

“Past technologies helped drive down costs, improve reach, and grow the business, but in the process we lost something very important: customer connection. I have missed the direct customer dialogue I had in our retail flower shops. The digital age has felt largely transactional in comparison.”

A central theme of fMC last month was how social media provides a way to put a human touch back into business. Several Facebook executives, including David Fischer, Mike Hoefflinger, and Chris Cox, took the stage at various moments to explain how Facebook’s new Timeline redesign provides businesses with an opportunity to “reintermediate” a human touch in their online interactions with customers. Less advertising, more engagement. Less cookie-cutter, more authentic. Less corporate, more local.
Slowly but surely, even the biggest retail organizations around the world are awakening to this sea change. Quinn and his team at Walmart have recommitted to a “social-local strategy” that I think would have made Sam Walton proud.
Walmart has launched thousands of Facebook Pages, one for each of its brick-and-mortar stores. Designated store employees who have received special training on social media are responsible for maintaining the pages, such as by responding to customer questions and issues, sharing targeted local promotions, and discussing town news or events, such as the local football game. Quinn says social media is enabling Walmart to “go back to the future” by providing an authentic local customer experience, but at scale.
Walmart is not alone. A growing number of brick-and-mortar retailers from Lululemon and Home Depot to 24 Hour Fitness and Quiznos are embracing social-local. According to a report published last month from Mainstay Salire, local Facebook pages already outperform corporate pages by a factor of 40 (Download the report here.)

Like Walmart, 24 Hour Fitness offers gym members a tool for finding their local center’s Facebook page, which publishes more relevant information and local promotions.


Disintermediation is fine for highly commoditized brands and products, but if you want to build brand differentiation and customer loyalty, there are no shortcuts to authentic engagement. Certainly, social-local requires greater coordination than having brand pages alone, but like anything, what you get out of social media is proportional to what you put in.
Retail e-commerce sales topped $61.8B in Q4 of 2011, but this still amounts to less than six percent of total retail sales. Embracing a social-local strategy allows retailers to capitalize on the shift in consumer behavior toward digital, social, and mobile technologies at the store level where most of the transactions are still taking place, even while investing in growing e-commerce channels over time.
It turns out shopkeepers, barbers, and Sam Walton had it right all along. Customers want to be treated like real people, not an audience segment. Having 20 million fans secures bragging rights for any brand, but from the perspective of the fan, it’s generally far more engaging and rewarding to be part of a smaller, more intimate community.
Today, social-local is a really good idea. As more of your customers get smartphones, check in to your store locations, and begin demanding authenticity with a human touch, it will soon become mandatory. In my next article, I will discuss how retailers should go about establishing and operationalizing a social-local strategy, as well as why I believe brands have no choice but to do this. Please stay tuned.
Watch Walmart CMO Stephen Quinn talk about his social-local marketing strategy below:

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz shares inspiring leadership wisdom with Hearsay Social

“Everybody must have a voice,” urged Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to the Hearsay Social team during a surprise afternoon visit. No matter your age, seniority, or role—you play a crucial part in executing on the vision of your company. “Don’t let mediocrity become the standard.”

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih

Mr. Schultz encouraged the Hearsay Social team to continue fighting for the absolute best at this critical stage in our company’s growth, which he likened to the time-sensitive “imprinting” stage of a child’s growth. In addition, he proclaimed that every business from Starbucks to Hearsay Social must heed three key points to be successful today:

  1. Every business must provide a unique value proposition to the market. For Starbucks, that’s providing quality coffee and giving back to the community. For Hearsay Social, it’s empowering our customers to be highly successful social marketers.
  2. Digital and social technologies represent a tidal wave of change utterly transforming the way companies do business. A clear innovator in the Fortune 500, Starbucks asserted its commitment to understanding and embracing these new technologies when it appointed Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih to its board of directors this past December.
  3. In the 21st century, customers only support those companies that share their values. At Starbucks, Mr. Schultz’s aim is to “manage through a lens of humanity.” Positive revenue growth at the corporation must go hand in hand with positive growth in local communities around the world to make it all worthwhile.

Thank you for all the great advice, Mr. Schultz, and we can’t wait to see you again!

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