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The 5 Risks of Not Being on Social Media: Recap from the Financial Services Roundtable

Every year, more and more companies get smarter about avoiding the risks while tapping into the opportunities of social media.
This year’s Financial Services Roundtable (BITS) in Washington, DC took that conversation to the next level with participation from many financial firms, including Wells Fargo, RBC, and Bank of America and regulatory bodies FINRA and FDIC.

Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih spoke alongside thought leaders like Mark Risoldi, Managing Director at JPMorgan Chase; John Anderson, Director of Platform Operations at Facebook; and Kathleen M. Higgins, Department of Homeland Security.

Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih speaking at the Financial Services Roundtable (BITS)

Specifically, she addressed the risks of not being on social media:

1. Customers can’t find you

Many people use the social Web today to answer whatever questions they might have. When it comes to their most important purchase decisions, for example, people tend to trust their personal networks more than any other sources. On average, buyers progress nearly 60% of the way through their purchase decision-making process before engaging with a sales representative, according to Corporate Executive Board. That’s why it’s so important for you and your business to be findable on the social networks.

2. Struggle to stay top of mind

As a natural progression from the above, you should know that people are researching companies and their sales reps before doing business with them. What are they finding? Having a solid, trustworthy presence on social networks–with relevant information available there–will allow you to boost your credibility and keep you top of mind.

3. Missing out on what customers are saying

People often share important events in their lives on social media, such as when they change jobs or move cities. Tapping into these “social signals” provides an unprecedented opportunity for you to stay current with your most important contacts, including customers and prospects.

4. Losing touch with valuable contacts

Rolodexes and address books have been obsolete for some time now, but even CRM databases today are often full of outdated contact information. Conveniently, everyone typically keeps their information up to date on their social profiles. As a result, social networks provide the most accurate information about where your contacts are and what they’re doing.

5. Lack of innovation

Would you do business with a bank that doesn’t have an online portal? With every technological innovation, from the telephone to email to social, customers will expect businesses to be forward-thinking in the level of service they provide. Today, that increasingly means adopting social media.

John Anderson, Director of Platform and Payments at Facebook; Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih; and Paul Smocer, President of BITS (Technology Division of the Financial Services Roundtable)

Patty Gaumond, VP at State Farm; Michael Varzally, Executive Director at JPMorgan Chase; John Anderson, Director of Platform and Payments, Facebook; and Mark Risoldi, Managing Director at JPMorgan Chase

Other sessions at the event focused on how social media fits into financial services, specifically in regard to changing customer expectations, regulatory and legal rules, and lessons learned from past events.
We look forward to the next roundtable!

How to balance social media risks and rewards

Recently I had the pleasure of joining colleagues at Marsh and LinkedIn to speak on a timely webcast, “The New Reality of Risk: Balancing Social Media Risks and Rewards.” Watch a full replay of the webcast here.
With more and more of your employees using social media and social networking for sales, marketing, and other business activities, organizations must take conscious efforts to understand, evaluate, and mitigate the risks involved. In this webcast, we took a close look at what hurdles and benefits come from social sales and marketing.
Webcast participants included Mike Derezin (@mikedfresh), Global Head of Sales, Sales Solutions, LinkedIn; Adeola Adele, SVP, US Employment Practices Liability Practice Leader, Marsh; Robert Parisi, Managing Director, Marsh FINPRO; and myself. Thank you also to Regina Spratt, Managing Director, Marsh’s US Sales Leader for moderating.
Particularly inspiring were Mike’s introductory statements on the ubiquity of social media. Today, 91% of adults in the U.S. actively use social media. In the 18-24 year old range, that figure jumps to 98%. Around the world, over a billion people use Facebook to connect with family and friends, Twitter to follow specific interests, and LinkedIn to connect with colleagues and other professionals.
As social media becomes more and more valuable to both businesses and their customers, it’s clear today that governance is essential.
In developing social media governance, organizations must always start by setting clear goals and identifying exactly what risks are involved. At this stage, it is critical to receive input and buy-in across the C-suite to ensure that all the business needs are being met, from sales to marketing to compliance. Indeed, social media success requires cross-functional collaboration: you may view the organization departmentally, but the customer views you as a single unit.
Once goals have been established, next steps are to set a policy, train the organization, and enable social media activity. As a final and ongoing step, the organization must have a team in place to monitor and enforce all the guidelines they’ve established.
Ultimately, the greatest risk in all this is not being on social media at all. You must serve the customer where and when they prefer, especially if that means over mobile or on social media.

To see slides and hear the whole conversation, go to the webcast.