In episode 22 of Hearsay Social On the Air we introduce Sarah Pedersen (Director of Customer Success at Hearsay Social, @SarahCPedersen), and the role she and her team play in the implementation and adoption of social by our clients.
We also explore how the Customer Success team collaborates with clients to help them define and reach their goals, meet their challenges, and thrive in their use of social media.
Be a part of the conversation with @VictorGaxiola and @ronnykerr on Twitter using hashtag #HSonAir
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From Southwest Airlines to Asos, customer engagement has already been transformed by Twitter. Representatives not only respond to customer complaints and inquiries at breakneck speeds, but they share content which show off the company’s unique style and culture, appealing to their respective audiences. Retailers from Burberry to Starbucks (where I’m proud to serve on the board of directors) not only shine through creative campaigns and audience engagement, but they have also made cutting-edge social- and mobile-enabled technology their core business.
Even in financial services, an industry sometimes perceived as slow and sluggish due to the regulatory environment, I’m excited to share that Hearsay Social enables the world’s largest banks, insurers, and financial firms to “get social.” We now support over 100,000 financial professionals, allowing them to meaningfully connect with clients and prospects across multiple social networks and devices.
Whether it’s improved responsiveness to customer complaints, greater audience reach, more instantaneous market insight, or the opportunity to connect with a new lead, compelling business cases now abound on social media.
In most organizations, however, social media still sits in a silo by itself. And some companies are still investing in social just to say they are social. Therefore, my big idea for 2015 is that social media will cease to exist as an individual silo, but instead will become integrated into standard business practice.
With the initial business case proven out, it is time for the C-suite as well as functional leaders to institutionalize social as a core part of how business is done every day. Here’s how:
Define a customer-centered vision for transformation
We like to think we’ve come so far, but change comes from the top. And how much can be said when, in 2014, two in three CEOs still have no social presence on any major social network whatsoever? (Source: 2014 Social CEO Report, CEO.com.) Of those CEOs who do use social media, two in three are only on one platform. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the only Fortune 500 CEO on every major social network is Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who is arguably the best equipped to understand the power of social.
We need to change this next year. If you truly want to create a customer-centered organization–that is, a company dedicated to long-term success amid seismic shifts in consumer expectations and behavior–then executives at the top must articulate why the transformation needs to take place. The first step towards articulating this is leading by example: CEOs, functional and line-of-business heads, and first-line managers all need to be practicing what they preach so that they are not only more credible but are also better equipped to lead and influence from within their organizations.
Create a new methodology, process, and metrics
It’s no longer acceptable to be doing social media for the sake of doing it. Have a plan in place, no matter how simple. Document your plan and intended goals, train employees and managers on it, drive success by checking in regularly, and, of course, measure people on it.
Our customer success team at Hearsay Social, for example, has developed a four-step methodology for financial firms and their advisors who may initially feel overwhelmed when approaching social: First, establish a presence, which can be measured simply by seeing who has online social profiles. Second, grow your network by connecting with colleagues and clients where appropriate–yet another step that can be easily measured. Next, listen to your network for opportunities that could help you grow your business. Finally, share content and thought leadership to continually stay top of mind with your audience.
Having a methodology, process and metrics in place for the social program helps institutionalize social as part of a company’s DNA and standard operating procedure while ensuring repeatability and scale as the company brings on new employees.
Cut and consolidate
Regardless of the organization, resources are never unlimited. Employees can only get so much done in a day, and there’s only so much cash flowing to fuel projects.
With that in mind, even the largest companies in the world must start thinking like startups by adopting a mentality of ruthless focus. In other words, you need to decide what you’re not going to do in order to make room for social.
For example, many of the insurance agencies we power on social media have decided to stop advertising on park benches and in the Yellow Pages. Instead, they are using their funds to buy promoted posts on Facebook. Another company, a financial services firm, which previously provided two separate training programs for “inter-generational wealth transfer” and “social media” realized that there was actually an opportunity to combine the two because social media should be core to any effort to appeal to future generations of heirs.
Let your people teach and inspire one another
The first three steps are all top-down, but equally important, if not more so, is the groundswell of employee engagement and feeling of ownership. Companies more than ever need to have bottoms-up evangelism and peer-to-peer sharing to succeed in the digital era.
As partners of our client companies, we regularly attend national conferences hosted by our client organizations that bring together advisors across the country to share ideas about how they do business today. Time and time again, we hear anecdotes of social-savvy advisors sharing their success stories and ROI proof points, which serve to sway even the most skeptical advisors to become social media believers and practitioners. In the end, though executive buy-in is crucial, peer-to-peer evangelism will be much more credible than corporate departments pushing their initiatives down. You need both.
Expect continual iteration
To succeed as a company in 2015 and beyond, it is imperative to accept that change is ubiquitous and accelerating. There’s new tech coming out every day–from mobile payments to virtual reality, connected cars and homes to the Internet of Everything–destined to challenge and upend every established sector. In turn, each of these disruptions will cause even newer technologies like social media to evolve, and there will always be new use cases. Perhaps your company may pave the way to the next innovation in social media case studies.
In 2015, social will be disrupted by going mainstream across the enterprise. Soon, we will no longer call it out separately. Social as a silo is going away. A decade ago, we spent a lot of breath talking about “online” experiences, but today we assume every customer is always online. Social will be the same.
“You can use social media to turn strangers into friends, friends into customers, and customers into salespeople.” — Seth Godin, author, entrepreneur, marketer, and public speaker
Earlier this month, Hearsay Social and our associate partner Efma organised a roundtable breakfast event, bringing together leading professionals from the banking and insurance sectors to discuss the latest successes and growing stakes in social media.
With digitalisation becoming a top priority for businesses, the meeting’s aim was to discuss the best ways to assist brokers, salespeople and advisers in optimizing and developing their networks and social network activities.
In a welcoming and original venue, the Atelier du France on the bank of the river Seine, guests exchanged ideas on the digitalisation stakes in their sectors, whilst enjoying a sun-filled view over the water.
The participants, who were grouped around tables named after the most popular social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, etc.), started by discussing a couple open questions: “How can social media help your organization increase their activity and what are the potential challenges?”
Here were some of the best answers:
Organisations need to understand the behavioural changes brought about by social media if they are going to take advantage of these platforms. For example, they must be more transparent, prepared to engage with other social users, ready to accept they will have less control than they are used to with other marketing channels and willing to understand how to utilise big data.
There is a necessity to train advisers and brokers in the use of social networks.
Marketing teams also need to expand their skillsets, particularly when it comes to content marketing.
Assessments must be made to fully understand the long-term investment requirements and potential ROI of any social media project.
Olivier Maire (Sales Director France, Hearsay Social, @olivier_maire) also introduced representatives from two of our client companies, BNP Paribas Wealth Management and Allianz France: Thierry Derungs (Chief Digital Officer of Monde chez BNP Paribas Wealth Management, @ThierryDerungs) presented on his organisation’s digital strategy. He explained how it was first undertaken two years ago and how it has since been integrated into the organisation’s core strategy:
Key takeaway: studies show that 68% of clients which leave do so because they feel that they are not looked after; social networks are therefore essential to strengthen relationships.
– Fostering ‘management change’ inside the company, and convincing the board of importance of social networks.
– Adapting digital communication to international markets in a coherent way.
Putting the plan into practice:
– Creation of a ‘Lab’ that gives employees the chance to experiment with new channels.
– Setting up an information sharing network between countries, to avoid content duplication and to ensure local production according to local expertise.
– Common charters and instruction kits for every country.
– Launch of a Relationship Manager pilot scheme with individual presence on networks.
Karine Lazimi (Digital Experiments Manager at Allianz France, @karinelazimi) presented the origins of digital client relations at Allianz: how the firm had developed alongside its clients by adapting its network of brokers and advisers to the use of social networks:
Key takeaway: the client forms a relationship with a broker/adviser, with whom he/she is likely to connect on networks.
– Making brokers/advisers and managers aware of today’s transformation in client relationships, and educating them in the use of social networks.
– Necessity to ensure brand integrity on social networks, whilst accepting less than full control.
– Time taken to train brokers, assessors, etc.
Putting the plan into practice:
– October/November 2013: kick-off with a few brokers
– December 2013: training of assessors
– April 2014: acceleration of plan and more voluntary brokers
– June 2014: training of a group of extra brokers
– September 2014: LinkedIn launch with financial advisers
– October 2014: Allianz strengthen their presence on social networks: increasing the number of agents on Facebook thanks to the support of Hearsay Social solution
Next, Olivier Maire explained the four key stages to success for sales platforms on social media:
Grow your network
Do your research
Establish your credibility
Olivier underlined the fact that a presence on social networks should not alter the relationship manager’s role, which has always been to build up a loyal client base that will provide positive recommendations to others. The networks are simply a means of operating on a large scale, in an ‘industrial’ way. This approach has three benefits:
More client contact: advisers multiply the number of people they can keep in contact with
More recommendations: a satisfied client shares his/her opinions with friends, family and personal contacts
More leads: 10-20% increase in new business
The session finished with a Q&A session linked to the participants’ debates on the importance of social networks for boosting their sales. Also discussed were the benefits for clients in being voluntarily connected to his/her adviser and the privacy issues around networks such as Facebook.
All participants expressed a real interest in the digitalisation of their organisations. At the same time, they voiced their doubts and queries, whilst confirming the obvious benefits of social network tools. To make the event more fun, prizes were presented to the person who had most tweeted using hashtag #HSParis2014 during the session, to the first to ask a question, and to a lucky winner whose business card was drawn out of a hat.
The morning in tweets: