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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!

#HSonAir Podcast: Preview of the LIMRA/LOMA Social Business Conference for Financial Services

erikqualman.blogIn Episode 84, Carolyn Clement (@singingcarolyn) and Norah Denley (@ndenley) preview the upcoming LIMRA/LOMA Social Business Conference for Financial Services, and join me in a special interview with Technology and Social Media Expert, author, and speaker Erik Qualman (@equalman).  As a pioneer on the use of social media for business, Erik shares insights from his presentation entitled  “Disruptive Innovation,” and the evolving changes our industry has experienced in its adoption of social and digital technology.
There is still time to register for the Social Business Conference (#LLSBC) in Boston on August 17-19th and it is not to be missed.  This year Hearsay Social On the Air will record an all new episode in front of a LIVE audience as well as participate in the annual presentation of the Silverbowl Awards. On Friday, our CEO and co-founder Clara Shih (@clarashih) kick off the final day with a presentation on the Omnichannel Advisor and Client.  We hope you will join us in Boston for this always popular event.
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 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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Photo Recap: Highlights from Hearsay Innovation Summit 2016

Hearsay Innovation Summit (#hearsaysummit) may be over, but the inspiration and conversations that took place in San Francisco live on. From the networking to inspiring presentations, this year’s event delivered on its many promises. See below for a photo recap of some of Hearsay Innovation Summit’s most memorable moments.

1. An inviting entrance and a behind-the-scene look…


Hearsay-IS2016-00042. Guest arrive at the Terra Gallery in San Francisco.


3. Early in the morning, attendees were treated to a tasty breakfast buffet and smoothie bar.

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4. Lots of networking and mingling took place at Thursday’s event, which included just under two hundred attendees.


5. An inviting and warm welcome by Hearsay Social co-founder and COO Steve Garrity.

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6. After the welcome and opening remarks, the audience was treated to a stellar lineup of presenters which represented both traditional brokerage and fintech ‘disruptors’, including a presentation on the omnichannel customer journey by Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih.


7. After the break, we heard from Hearsay Social’s VP of Product Mark Gilbert and Barry Nelson as they shared Hearsay Social’s product roadmap and vision, followed by a fireside chat with Braintree’s Amit Jhawar and an engaging, fact-driven presentation by Chip Roame of Tiburon Advisors.


8. Guests mingled and engaged in inspiring conversation during lunch.


9. After lunch, a panel consisting of representatives from leading fintech companies and a large brokerage firm took center stage.


10. Goldieblox CEO Debbi Sterling moved the audience with her story of how she turned a concept to empower girls to explore STEM fields into a booming toy company.

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11. Jon Sakoda, general partner at NEA, presented the closing remarks and shared a dynamic presentation on Silicon Valley Perspectives.


12. A captive audience and an insightful Q&A.


13. And finally, a group photo of Hearsay Social senior leaders and industry C-suite executives, customers and partners.

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14.  The day concluded with a book signing of The Social Business Imperative by Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih (on sale now) in which everyone received a complimentary copy.

That’s a wrap!
On behalf of our founders, senior leaders, and employees of Hearsay Social, we want to send a heartfelt “thanks” to everyone who came out to make this the best Summit yet! We’re already looking forward to next year!

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#HSonAir Podcast: A Review of the Hearsay Innovation Summit 2016

SummitVisual-03In Episode 80, Victor and Alissa are joined by Sarah Pederson (@sarahcpedersen)  of the Customer Success team and Dan Tucker (@1danieltucker) of the Product team to review and discuss the highlights and themes from this year’s Innovation Summit (#HearsaySummit) in our hometown of San Francisco.  
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 Social Ranks Again on Bay Area's "Best Place to Work" List in 2016

Hearsay Social has been chosen as one of the BPTW plaqueBay Area’s best places to work for the second year in row, and we are honored for the award! The San Francisco Business Times and the Silicon Valley Business Journal revealed the “Best Places to Work” list last week, and Hearsay Social was ranked 7th of all companies in the mid-sized company category–up from 8th last year.
Companies on the “Best Places to Work” 2016 list are ranked based solely on employee satisfaction surveys in areas such as employee engagement, work satisfaction, employee recognition, professional development, organizational leadership and management practices.
“We’re thrilled to receive this recognition; it’s a wonderful validation of our commitment to our team at Hearsay Social,” said Patty Buckley, VP of Operations, People and Culture. For one, “we’ve put in a lot of work in our professional development program, giving people a strong sense of ownership and supporting them in their endeavors to grow at Hearsay. We’ve also launched some great programs that highlight our team’s skills beyond their day-to-day work. For example, Hearsay Talks gives folks the chance to share their expertise on any subject that’s important to them. It connects us as people, not just co-workers, while also showcasing people’s individual talents and interests.” 
So, what makes Hearsay Social such a great place to work?

Great Leadership Team

BPTW cupcakes2Hailing from all points on the globe, the Hearsay Social leadership team embodies the innovation and agility that defines Silicon Valley, and do an excellent job at creating a work environment that fosters creativity, productivity, and collaboration. Senior leaders work to establish an environment where employees feel valued by the company, helping employees to stay motivated to share ideas, try new things, and have fun.

Engaged Employees

BPTW people photoAt Hearsay Social, one of our primary missions is to engage our employees by making sure they’re excited about the problems we’re solving for our customers and the team that they’re partnering with to a build great company. We’re a place where we want our team to make mistakes and encourage them to do so, so that we’re all learning and getting better every day. And Hearsay Social employees are engaged employees who values a work-friendly environment, customer-first mentality, effective team building, and getting stuff done (GSD).

Cool Perks and Benefits

Hearsay Social continues to add employee benefits as the company grows and evolves. We offer competitive salaries, full health benefits (medical, dental, vision, life), equity so that employees share ownership in what we’re building, unlimited vacation, a 401k plan, free daily lunches, and more.
BPTW dog photoWhile these are fabulous benefits and perks, the best part of our culture is our employees who voice what matters most to them and share it with all of us. Teammates lead Hearsay Makes sessions on crafting, coordinate climbing, basketball, tennis and soccer clubs, host regular game and movie nights at our headquarters. Our Hearsay Helps team has partnered with the Family House, a local non-profit in San Francisco, and hosts year-rounds volunteering and fundraising events for all of us.

Company Culture and Collaborative Workspace

When asked “what word best describes your work culture,” employees responded with the word “Fun”! “Our culture’s such an important part of who we are and how we approach our business and learn together, said Patty. “As we grow, our recruiting team and hiring managers work really hard to ensure we’re hiring people who, in addition to being smart, proactive, and talented in their craft, genuinely care about their teammates and customers.”
Interested In Working at Hearsay Social? We’re hiring! Check out our Careers page for open positions.

#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.


#HSonAir Podcast: The Rise of the Omnichannel Advisor

Screenshot 2016-02-12 11.32.25In Episode 75 we invite Gary Liu (@garycliu), VP of Marketing at Hearsay Social to talk about the rise of the Omnichannel Advisor and the impact that it will have on the financial services industry.  We discuss how the convergence of social, mobile, and digital technologies are rapidly changing consumer behaviors, preferences and expectations and what financial services professionals need to do today to stay competitive in our evolving digital world.
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.


Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih: The Vertical Cloud and Regulations Will Have a Profound Impact on Business in 2016

shutterstock_293401085In 2015, the exponential changes taking place within the technology industry was a recurring theme in the business world. Change was no longer just ubiquitous; it was accelerating. Today, this message has become even clearer as technological advancements continue at a rapid pace and are revolutionizing every aspect of our daily lives.
I wrote how this is fundamentally changing the consumer experience in a recent article published by Fast Company entitled “The Rise of Millennials, Crowdsourcing, And Automation.” But what about the enterprise? Here are two massive trends that business leaders need to watch in 2016:

The vertical cloud comes of age

For some years now, many cloud vendors have sold their products to multiple industries – an approach that has worked exceptionally well for companies like Workday and Salesforce. In 2016 and beyond, thanks to key technology developments across the public and private arena including low cost web hosting services and no-cost open-source programming languages, we will see the vertical cloud come of age, particularly in highly regulated industries such as healthcare, government, and financial services – industries that have largely been neglected by Silicon Valley due to the unique complexities involved. According to Frost & Sullivan, the opportunity in healthcare cloud will grow from $903 million in 2013 to $3.5 billion in 2020, while TechNavio predicts cloud financial services will grow 25% per year through 2018.
With the privilege of focus, vertical cloud solutions will be game-changing with obvious benefits. It offers more tailored offerings to address specific needs and solve unique industry challenges; it offers rapid ease of deployment, eliminating the need for lengthy implementations to customize and “verticalize” a “one-size-fits-all” product; and it allows those vendors to develop true industry expertise and deeper customer relationships such that customer feedback can rapidly evolve into newer and better solutions over time.
Ultimately, this enables those vertical cloud solutions to grow faster and establish dominant market share than traditional software vendors. Gartner estimates that the 2015 vertical spend of $113 billion will grow at 7 percent per year, something that Salesforce took note of last year (following Infor’s lead at their Dreamforce event) by doubling down on their vertical-focused strategy.

Regulators will aggressively play ‘catch-up’ to keep up with the impending regulatory tsunami

In 2016, there will be a growing number of regulators and regulations from the SEC, FINRA, DoL, CFPB, IRS, CFTC, OCC, state regulators, and others. The rapid and revolutionary shifts enabled by technology in recent years have caught regulators off-guard in everything from hospitality and transportation to healthcare and cybersecurity. But in 2016, I expect regulators across industries and countries to aggressively play catch-up and apply new levels of pressure on many disruptive companies.
We’re seeing this start now, with regulators across the globe poking holes in Uber’s business model. Right here in San Francisco, Prop F, aimed at regulating AirBnB’s impact on the tight housing market, failed to pass but still garnered 45 percent of the popular vote.
Not surprisingly, this game of regulatory catch-up is even more pronounced in highly regulated industries such as financial services. For example, the Department of Labor has proposed new rules requiring financial advisors to disclose any potential conflicts of interest with funds they recommend, while leaders at the SEC consider if and how to regulate robo-advisor firms, perhaps holding them to a fiduciary standard for offering (automated) advice.
Hearsay Social, for one, is helping firms and advisors navigate the impending tailwinds by keeping them abreast of these changes and offering solutions to remain successful.
As regulators continue to keep up with these massive changes, 2016 will be a year where businesses across industries will need to prepare for the shifting regulatory landscape while still delivering value to their customers. To overcome the overhead costs and time required to manage to regulatory guidelines and policies, companies will need to find ways to drive efficiency and growth by leveraging technology that enables their workforce to be more productive and compliant.
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#HSonAir Podcast: What's Changing in Websites and What To Do About It

IMG_0489In Episode 74 we invite Greg Kroleski (@gregkroleski), Product Manager at Hearsay Social and resident website expert, to discuss how mobile, personalization, and the rapid rate and change of acceleration is justifying a different approach to websites today. We also talk about the five things every Agent/Advisor website should have to be most effective. 
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.