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Hearsay Social Continues to Demonstrate Innovation by Obtaining Third Patent

shutterstock_403185298The team here at Hearsay Social works tirelessly to uncover and develop brand-new ways for technology to improve the lives of our customers and today, I’m both humbled and excited to announce that we’ve been granted our third patent, this time for inventing a unique single sign-on (SSO) technology for our enterprise social media management platform.
The technology integrates multiple social networks and systems so that users of our platform can access various networks, including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, using a single log in. We implemented this technology because our customers maintain their own internal systems to manage the people in their organization, and we wanted to give them the flexibility and control to decide how and when to grant them access to the platform we’ve built.
For our enterprise customers (which includes eight of the top 10 global financial services firms!), this is a significant efficiency gain for their financial advisors and insurance agents who rely on social media for business and to compliantly reach out and connect with customers and prospects.
At Hearsay Social, we’re always looking for new, innovative ways to make the Hearsay experience as easy and seamless as possible. This new patent demonstrates how we’re pushing the boundaries for what’s possible and, last but not least, truly putting the customer first, which is a core value shared across the entire company. Kudos to the team and I look forward to more inventions in the future!
For more details on the new patent, see our press release.
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New Facebook Advertising Solution Enables Corporate Marketers to Harness Proven Effectiveness of Local Ads

HSS-Corporate-to-Local-AdvertisingI’m excited to announce that Hearsay Social’s newest feature, Corporate-to-local Advertising for Facebook, launched today. Built from the ground up, this new functionality will help make Facebook advertising so much more easier and effective for our customers.
Here at Hearsay Social, we pride ourselves on our laser focus to help our enterprise customers leverage social and digital to drive business at the field level. And the value and power of hyper-targeted, local Facebook advertising has become increasingly clear. Consumers want to hear from and learn about businesses that aren’t just relevant to them, but are also accessible so that when they’re ready to buy, the experience is easy, local and convenient. This consumer buying journey is especially relevant to financial services, since ultimately an advisor’s or agent’s business is built on highly personal – and usually local – relationships.
Given that so many consumers are spending time on social media, networks like Facebook present a huge opportunity for advisors and agents to attract new local prospects, which is crucial to their business. But they don’t always have the time, trust, budget or know-how to capture those prospects using online advertising.
But corporate marketing teams at the firm level do have the expertise and budget for building and delivering great ad campaigns. What if organizations could use their existing advertising account and apply their marketing knowledge and budget to drive prospects directly to their local advisor or agent websites?
Our new Corporate-to-local Advertising feature does just that. It enables central marketing teams to leverage their marketing expertise to create, manage and optimize individualized Facebook ads for their field force … at scale. With just a few clicks, they can generate thousands of ads, each personalized with each advisor’s name, location and more, so that they have more in-market relevance while minimizing competitive bidding that can occur among advisors. Corporate marketers have the ability to centrally manage ad budgets while gaining full visibility into and access to manage local advertising campaigns – so that their advisors and agents can spend more time doing what they do best: servicing their clients.
To that end, I’m thrilled to share that American National, a leading insurance firm founded in 1905 with regional presences in all 50 states, has already seen impressive results from their Corporate-to-local Advertising program through Hearsay Social. The company has experienced 2,658 percent more traffic to their representatives’ local websites at a cost-per-click that’s 58 percent less than past Facebook advertising efforts that didn’t utilize Hearsay Social’s technology. Read more here.
This solution would not be what it is without the ongoing support and encouragement from our customers, many who have been with us from the very beginning of the initiative to help test, refine and pilot the technology and overall program – thank you!
Along with the rest of the Hearsay Social team, I look forward to adding new Corporate-to-local Advertising features and efficiencies, as well as expanding it to new social media platforms. Look out for more news in the coming months!
For more information, check out our press release.

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.  
Connect with us on Facebook, or visit Hearsaysocial.com for more information.
 

Microsoft and LinkedIn Combination Will Revolutionize the Knowledge Worker

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Photo source: LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, Influencers blog post

Big news—this morning Microsoft announced its intention to acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 billion, as part of its Productivity and Business Processes division.
As the largest acquisition of a consumer internet company in history and largest acquisition Microsoft has ever done, this is a huge step for both companies and for the tech industry. I want to take this opportunity to congratulate our friends and partners at LinkedIn and Microsoft on this news. I believe their combination will revolutionize office productivity and how knowledge workers like you and me create, collaborate, and work.
As Microsoft’s Satya Nadella told the Wall Street Journal, this is “the coming together of the professional cloud [Microsoft Office] and the professional network [LinkedIn].” That this deal will pay $196 per LinkedIn share, a 50% premium to LinkedIn’s closing price on Friday is a great testament to LinkedIn’s value and opportunity it provides for the combined entity.
LinkedIn will continue to operate as an independent subsidiary under its current CEO Jeff Weiner, with minimal impact on day-to-day operations in the short term. Longer term, I believe that this acquisition could provide a powerful opportunity to extend LinkedIn’s impact on the daily life of LinkedIn members, as Jeff wrote in his blog post announcement this morning, by “massively scaling the reach and engagement of LinkedIn by using the network to power the social and identity layers of Microsoft’s ecosystem of over one billion customers. Think about things like LinkedIn’s graph interwoven throughout Outlook, Calendar, Active Directory, Office, Windows, Skype, Dynamics, Cortana, Bing and more.” Unquestionably, the addition of LinkedIn’s social and identity graph provides Microsoft with a highly strategic opportunity to continue owning the world’s office worker and productivity applications going forward.
Congratulations again to the LinkedIn and Microsoft teams on this announcement and on their joint mission to empower people and organizations. As a LinkedIn Certified Partner and former Microsoft employee, I look forward to our continued partnership and supporting the combined entity’s ambitious plans to revolutionize office productivity and the knowledge worker.

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Majority of Clients Want to Connect With You On Social Media, Says FPA / LinkedIn Study

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There’s no doubt that social media is a top priority for many financial services firms and advisors. Today, social media is a key way to connect and engage with clients and, by sharing education and thought leadership to help clients navigate their financial journeys, it can help grow business.
In a joint study by LinkedIn and the Financial Planning Association (FPA), nearly 70 percent of advisors said they saw a direct or indirect link between social media activity and new client acquisition, compared to 30 percent of advisors who saw no connection. Of those, eighty-three percent of advisors share content to build credibility, 76 percent share to raise awareness of their business, and 70 percent share content to deepen relationships with existing clients.
The report, entitled “Communication Evolution: Financial Professionals and the Future of Thought Leadership and Social Media”, explores how financial advisors are using social media to engage clients and prospects and how the most successful advisors are using thought leadership as a way to educate consumers.
Here are some key takeaways and slides from the report:

  • Client behavior is driving activity or advisors to provide on-going education and thought leadership delivered through social media
  • Client engagement drives referral growth, and there is an appetite for financial planning content
  • Prospects are doing more and more research on advisors before meeting with them, or to validate their decision afterwards
  • Younger prospects (those under the age of 44) are four times as likely to use LinkedIn before meeting with an advisor, compared to 33 percent of clients age 65 and older.
  • Three-fourths of advisors see the use of social media as an important way to target younger clients
  • While seventy percent of advisors share content with clients and prospects in order to build credibility, raise awareness and deepen relationships with existing clients, they still use mostly traditional methods of distributing that information (such as email)
  • Over half of the advisors in the survey who use social media said they added new clients directly as a result of the use, averaging five new clients and $3.5M in new assets in the past year
  • Advisors are more likely to measure the effectiveness of social media based on positive feedback from prospects and clients or the level of engagement from friends/followers than on the number of new client

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Clearly, social media use and thought leadership among advisors is here to stay, especially for those who want to attract and retain clients, deepen relationships, and grow their business. Perhaps the best strategy for increasing engagement is to be present (and active) on a full range of social networks, and tailoring your activity based on your and your client’s particular needs.
Download the full report for more insights. 
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Clara Shih Discusses Need to Digitally Enable Loan Officers at Chase Mortgage Summit

Clara fireside chat CMP JPMorganToday, our CEO Clara Shih had the exciting opportunity to speak at the 2016 Mortgage Banking Executive Summit in New York City hosted by JPMorgan Chase to discuss the big changes taking place within the mortgage industry. The two-day event was attended by top executives and thought leaders across mortgage banking and financial services.

Clara was interviewed in a fireside chat by JPMorgan Chase & Co. CMO Kristin Lemkau. Other speakers included Mike Weinbach, CEO of Chase Morgan, Jennifer Piepszak, Chase Business Banking CEO, Bill Emerson, CEO of Quicken Loans, and Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase.
Clara provided insight on the importance of social media use by the mortgage industry in order to compete, remain viable, and transform the customer experience. Today, companies of all sizes can positively benefit from the visibility and usability that social media provides, and the mortgage industry is no exception.

Mike Weinbach, CEO Chase Mortgage (left) and Bill Emerson, CEO Quicken Loans (right).
Clara Shih with Mike Weinbach, CEO Chase Mortgage (left) and Bill Emerson, CEO Quicken Loans (right).

Just like financial advisors and insurance agents, mortgage lenders and loan officers must leverage social media in order to be findable and responsive, as well as reinforce their value in an online world.
However, the fundamental difference, she says, is their primary targets are COIs—much like real estate agents and home builders—who are key referral sources compared to infrequent homebuyers who only engage for short periods of time based on an immediate need for a mortgage that may not arise again for decades. Companies that have a clear business purpose will empower their lenders and loan officers to leverage social media to connect with clients and prospects—both now and in the years to come.
View slides from the presentation below:

For additional insights, read how Hearsay Social is empowering mortgage lenders and loan officers to thrive in the digital era.

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RBC Wealth Management's John Taft Makes a Case for the Social Media Revolution

shutterstock_262230557When Hearsay Social first launched in 2009, the idea of allowing advisors and agents to have a social media presence for business was considered a huge risk for most financial services firms. But over the next seven years, we’ve witnessed a steady transformation in how the industry views social media and the opportunities, not just the risks, that social and digital present – especially as they face increasing pressure from the emergence of automated robo-advisor technology and regulatory changes.
John Taft, CEO of RBC Wealth Management U.S., makes a powerful statement about the social media mandate in his recent LinkedIn post, “Social Media: Friend or Foe?” In the article, he argues that the advisor-client relationship has changed radically thanks to social media, and that advisors who “keep their heads in the social media sand” will be threatened while those who embrace the “social media revolution” will see incredible opportunity.
John also provides his perspective on the recent SIFMA Social Media Seminar that took place here in San Francisco, where our CEO and founder, Clara Shih, hosted a fireside chat with him. Among other topics, they discussed the path of today’s customer journey and the role that technology plays, as well as why and how advisors must respond to the commoditization of the industry.
Read John’s full article here.
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The Rise of the Social Employee: SXSW 2016 Session Recap

sxsw pederson photo 1Last week, I had the pleasure of presenting at SXSW on the topic of the Rise of the Social Employee: Rewards and Risks.  With my background in social media analytics and helping brands structure for social success, I was excited to share some of the learnings I have gathered over time watching brands struggle to find their social voices, at both a corporate and employee level.
Today, it seems that brands are even more focused on empowering their employees with social access, but many are confused about how to do this in a way that mitigates key risks.  This session, with 100+ participants, was a perfect venue to discuss ways brands can reap the rewards of their social employee base, and protect their reputations at the same time.
Here are my key recommendations for leveraging your social employees in a thoughtful way: 

Have guardrails and a disaster plan in place

You cannot control everything that is put into the social sphere.  That means that things can and will go wrong.  Show your employees how to leverage social channels appropriately through your social media policy (using specific scenarios and examples), evolve your policy to match technology and know your brand values and voice when responding to a disaster.  Remember that you can often show more about who you are as a company during times of crisis, rather than throughout the course of business as usual.  

Let your social employees’ voices be heard

Encourage your employees to speak up, to share their experiences and welcome others to the company through internal and external social channels.  When you encounter negative feedback, try to get to the root of the issues before just deleting the comment and moving on.  Listen to your employees’ ideas — your next best product might come from your newest employee!

Social championship starts at the top

Executives should lead by example when it comes to leveraging social.  Not only do employees think that C-suite participation in social media leads directly to better leadership, but they will also learn to follow the good example of the managers above them.  Show them how to listen to and serve prospects and encourage fellow employees through social channels.  
It was clear that while many audience members were excited about “the social employee”, many were still wondering whether it made sense for their own brand, from an ROI perspective.  
To capture the power of social, I shared this paraphrased analogy from Mark & Cheryl Burgess, authors of The Social Employee to inspire:

Think of your corporate social media presence like a baseball, and your social employees like a bag of marbles.  They may weigh the same and be roughly the same shape, but there is one big difference: surface area.  The marbles — your social employees — have roughly 300x the surface area compared to the baseball.  In social speak, this means that they have roughly 300x the first degree connections of your corporate social media assets.  Rolling out a new campaign?  What better way than to allow your social employees to share your brand messages with a touch of their own voice directly to their massive, and personal, networks.

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After talking tech, look who I bump into–actor Rami Malek who plays a ‘techie’ on USA Network’s “Mr. Robot”.

While my time in Austin was short, it was both inspiring and eye-opening.  Not only did I get to speak with dozens of other conference-goers who were passionate about content marketing, social recruiting and expanding digital access to employees of all types, but I also got to see social bring together individuals from around the globe…in person.

Thank you to all who attended for helping to make this 2016 presentation a success!
Sarah Pedersen (@sarahcpedersen) is Director, Customer Success at Hearsay Social. 
To learn more, visit www.hearsaysocial.com.

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5 Themes from SIFMA's 2016 Social Media Seminar

Social media is transforming the advisor-client relationship in very significant ways, from enhancing client services to enabling advisors to authentically communicate with clients and prospects. This year’s SIFMA Social Media Seminar, which aptly took place in the heart of San Francisco’s financial services district on February 25, brought together over a hundred professionals and thought leaders in wealth management, marketing, compliance, and social media to explore how to maximize the use of social platforms amidst an ever-changing regulatory framework. Here’s a look at some of the key themes that emerged throughout the day. 
Regulations and the future of wealth management are top of mind
Our own Founder and CEO Clara Shih (@clarashih) kicked things off during a fireside chat with John Taft, CEO of RBC Wealth Management-US (@RBC), to discuss the role of social media and digital technology and what that means for the wealth management industry. At the onset, they discussed the impact the Department of Labor’s proposed fiduciary rule might have on advisors and brokers, emphasizing that advisors must continue to add value by embracing technologies and delivering information when, where, and how consumers want. 


Clara shared an engaging slide that illustrated the ways today’s clients want to engage with advisors–both online and offline–setting the tone and thought leadership that became an integral part of the discussions throughout the rest of the day.

Social business is everybody’s business

In a lively panel presentation on the importance of integrating social media into corporate and financial advisor communications, Sunayna Tuteja (@sunaynat), Director of Social Media and Online Communities at TD Ameritrade, gave everyone a stark reminder that social business is everybody’s business, and social media can no longer be disassociated from a company’s overall marketing strategy. As we’ve often said before, instead of relegating social media to a social media marketing intern, for example, companies must “move social media out of silos and into total integration,” as explained by Dan Greenberg (@dangb), Sr. Account Executive of Financial Services at Twitter, during another panel discussion. 

Consumption shifts will expand into mobile and video platforms

LinkedIn’s Head of North America Financial Services Marketing, Menaka Thillaiampalam (@menakathill), along with Twitter’s Sr. Account Executive of Financial Services, Dan Greenberg, and DoubleDutch CEO and Co-founder, Lawrence Coburn (@lawrencecoburn), discussed some of the key trends facing the financial services industry, mainly centered around the consumer consumption shifts that are currently taking place. One major consumer trend is that the high-net worth market is growing and the way consumers process money will change. Menaka calls it a “societal shift, more so than a generational shift.”
Case in point: “71% of millennials would rather go to the dentist than listen to what their banks are saying,” says Menaka, according to a recent LinkedIn study on the mindset of affluent millennial investors. In reaching out to millennial investors, Twitter’s Greenberg advised the audience to make mobile–and even video–part of their marketing plans, stating that “mobile has doubled the time we spend online.” Moreover, the use of social media has boomed from 7% of individuals in 2010 to 65% today, he says. “And with those that have more than $75,000 of investable assets, the use is very high.”


The discussion moved to the topic of content and the need to focus on communications around social media and educational content. “75% of investors want their financial advisors to give them educational content online, and 35% of prospective clients turn to social media and other online platforms for advice,” says Menaka. “They are using social media to validate their choices, so thought leadership should be seen as a tactical or strategic step,” she said.

The power of the authentic voice (Hint: Create content that makes you seem human)

According to the presenters on the financial advisor panel, authenticity remains a critical means for communicating and engaging with today’s clients and prospects. The group discussed some of their most successful social media strategies for enhancing communication via social media platforms and highlighted how content that resonates is content that wins the day. For example, Karen Goodwin (@karenjgoodwin), a financial advisor at Ameriprise Financial, talked about her successful use of Facebook to promote a Mother’s Day event. Chris Norton (@RogersNortonWM) of Raymond James spoke about how social media allowed him to garner community support for an employee’s child who was participating in an important Little League series.  


Overall, social media allows advisors to grow their customer base with the right type of people.

Evaluate social media compliance in context

Last, but not least, our own VP of Legal and Compliance, Yasmin Zarabi (@yasminzarabi), along with Marc Gilman, Executive Director of Enterprise Legal at Morgan Stanley, and Michael Lisi, Director of Litigation Support at Fidelity Investments, ended on a strong note on a social media compliance panel moderated by Hardy Calicott, Partner at Sidley Austin. Yasmin reinforced to the audience and fellow panelists that compliance is still a large component of any digital strategy, but the rules are really not so black and white. In other words, context really matters. When you look and evaluate whether someone is doing something wrong, you have to look at the totality of the circumstances, she added. 


For information on how to boost social business across your organization, download our latest Hearsay Social Adoption Guide.
Check out our events page for upcoming event information, and please join us as we continue the conversation at #OmnichannelAdvisor.

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Hearsay Social Receives Two Patents for Technology that Advances Social Media Compliance and Security

shutterstock_149720036We’re  excited to announce today that Hearsay Social has been granted two new patents that empower firms to manage social media risk and ensure regulatory compliance.
Our innovative, market-leading product team has developed unique solutions that address the challenges of social media for the regulated industries that we serve.
We’re thrilled that the patent office recognizes the propriety, best-in-class solutions that the Hearsay Social team has brought to market.
U.S. Patent No. 9,070,110 and U.S. Patent No. 8,914,454 pertain to “Identification of unknown social media assets” and “verification of social media” respectively.
The now patented Rogue Social Account Finder is offered by Hearsay Social as a part of the industry’s first Predictive Omnichannel Suite for advisors. The Rogue Social Account Finder makes it possible for companies to identify social media accounts, such as Facebook Pages, Twitter handles and LinkedIn profiles, that are representing the company but not approved by the company’s policy or process. With this latest functionality, companies can efficiently identify financial professionals who are doing business on social media out of compliance with industry regulations or company policy.
The second patent, for verification of social media data, has been granted to Hearsay Social for innovative work in the area of verification of data accessed via social network APIs. In order to increase the accuracy of the data Hearsay Social uses for compliance and analytics purposes, we’ve invested in technology and processes to create checks and balances. 
We are excited to provide these proprietary technology solutions to our clients and partners.
For more details, check out our press announcement.
Read more about our recent product innovations below: