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#HSonAir Podcast: Interview with Dan Greenberg of Twitter

DanGreenbergIn Episode 82, Dan Greenberg (@dangb), Sr. Account Executive and FinServ Lead at Twitter joins us to share how Twitter is being leveraged for growth and engagement in the financial services industry.  In our discussion we explore how the sharing of information leads to loyalty, how solving problems leads to marketing,  and how Twitter mirrors interactions and conversations in real life.  Join us in this enlightening exploration of my favorite social network and thoughts on what’s next.
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 OnAir@HearsayCorp.com.   We also invite you to “like” our podcast page on Facebook where we share posts about the podcast, our guests, and other fun stuff.
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#HSonAir Podcast: West Always West- Ronny Kerr Returns Home

IMG_1745In Episode 64, we celebrate the return of Ronny Kerr (@RonnyKerr) to San Francisco after his 7+ month walk across America.  Joining us in Studio 360, Ronny shares stories of what he and Natalie experienced and learned about themselves and the people of this country during their journey.
 To learn more about his experience, we recommend you read Ronny’s recent posts on Medium and the multiple tweets shared using hashtags #RonnyWalk and #WestAlwaysWest. Ronny also provided us with a special Spotify playlist entitled “Home”  with some of the songs played in this episode.
We invite you to be part of the conversation with @victorgaxiola and @elizelig on Twitter, use hashtag #HSonAir.  If you have a question, comment or suggestion, please send an e-mail to OnAir@HearsayCorp.com.   We also invite you to “like” our  page on Facebook where we share posts about the podcast, our guests, and other fun stuff.

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Twitter: A Powerful Social Media Tool Advisors Can’t Ignore

Facebook and LinkedIn have become powerful allies as more and more advisors take their businesses social, but as these numbers continue to rise it begs the question: What about Twitter?
Twitter is often included in conversations about the benefits of social networks for advisors, but it’s almost never the focus. When one advisor recently described it to me as the network non grata, I became intrigued.
With more than 288 million monthly users, why have advisors seemingly been turned off by Twitter as a sales channel in comparison to Facebook or LinkedIn?
After some probing, I heard loud and clear that Twitter is just too complicated for them to make it work in conjunction with other social efforts. Additionally, some corporate offices tend to worry more about compliance on Twitter. But, I would argue that it doesn’t have to be this way.
Facebook activity typically stays relatively true to the spirit of ‘social’ media, and LinkedIn has naturally evolved from a purely professional network of connections into an ecosystem where business-related information and articles are shared. But I view Twitter as just the right blend of both worlds, making it well worth an advisor’s consideration.
At the most basic level, simply listening on Twitter can increase one’s industry knowledge immensely. Approximately 40% of Twitter users just read tweets and do not send tweets on a regular basis. Those users recognize that Twitter is a valuable resource for obtaining industry knowledge from peers, community members, and especially thought leaders in the industry. This information leads me to two conclusions relevant to advisors:

  1. Twitter is an outstanding place for advisors to turn to keep themselves informed on general industry trends as well as about the key issues their clients face.
  2. Twitter serves up a large, engaged audience of people who are likely to see the content advisors ultimately post.

See the potential? When you’re ready to engage in the Twitter community and take listening to the next level, I would recommend the following:

  • Start by searching and following thought leaders and industry publications: To do this, simply apply a search such as “insurance’ or “#lifeinsurance’ and find recent tweets on that topic. Also, apply a search to find publications relevant to the industry.

Twitter screenshot
If you get stuck or a search isn’t providing ideal results, Twitter will lend a helping hand with this as well.
While on the homepage:

    • Notice the “Who to follow” section in the top right corner
    • Click “View all” in that section to see a list of suggested publications, organizations, people to follow based on who you already follow

Twitter screenshot

  • Take it a step further with Geo-targeted advanced search: By using the geo-targeting feature, you can get a sense of the conversations in your geographic area. This will allow you to glean insights and understand the interests/needs of those in your community and beyond. To do this:
    • Click “Advanced Search” on the left side when viewing your search results from a keyword like “#lifeinsurance’.
    • Type or paste “#lifeinsurance” in the “This exact phrase” field.
    • Under “Places” click “add a location” > “search”. When you click “add a location”, it will default to the city in your Twitter bio. You can also change that location to a different city if applicable.

    Twitter screenshot
    Once you get the type of results you are seeking, follow interesting users based on those search results. Follow other financial professionals, your competitors, industry publications, local government agencies, community leaders and industry thought leaders.
    BONUS POINTS – Search for your current clients on Twitter and follow them. If you are connected to them on LinkedIn, their LinkedIn profiles may contain a Twitter handle to make the identification process easier.
    Using these Twitter listening tips will help you better understand your industry, clients and prospects, giving you a leg up on the competition.
    Once your comfort level with Twitter increases, you can go from one of the 40% who just listen to one of the 60% who also post regularly on Twitter.
    In doing so, you can become a Twitter thought leader yourself by sharing insights and deepening the relationships within your now established network. More thoughts on how to write eye-catching, yet compliant, tweets in a future post.
    Until then, go forth and listen!

This article originally appeared in ThinkAdvisor.

3 strategies to overcome social media challenges in wealth management

Article first appeared on thewealthnet on Tue, Dec 9, 2014.

logoThe wealth management industry has been slow to embrace and understand how to harness the power of social networks in their organizations. However, with a billion people on Facebook and 200 million on Twitter and LinkedIn each, there’s no question that your customers – both young and old – are already there. Clients today expect their advisors to interact more often, to offer them more personalized service and to communicate when and where they want.
A recent 2014 survey by PAM Insight of financial advisors shows that, compared to last year where only 67.9% used Linkedin, this year that number has increased to 83%. The other network that was mentioned was Twitter with 54% having corporate Twitter accounts. The future also seems bright for social media initiatives with over 72% planning to increase spend in the next year.
Hearsay Social recently had the opportunity to dig behind these numbers when it partnered with Financial Services Forum to host a meeting with heads of marketing from some of the largest wealth management firms in UK. A roundtable discussion on the state of social media and the challenges facing this industry brought to light three key challenges and strategies to overcome perceived barriers:

Risk

When it comes to the biggest barriers in adopting social, compliance and risk took center stage. PAM Insight reports that “as with previous year’s survey, 66.7% of advisors stated compliance as the main concern.” But the problem here was less about specific requirements and more about the fact that there is no clarity on what the rules are, which has paralyzed many companies into taking no action.
Recent guidelines from FCA were applauded by the group to be a move in the right direction but there were still a lot of questions on what FCA will and will not accept. There was agreement that the industry can’t wait indefinitely for the rules to be clear, so companies should start by implementing some basic social media strategies:

  • Provide advisors with a pre-approved library of content
  • Enable a workflow to automate content approval
  • Adopt a third-party system to capture social conversations and archive it.

Content

Another area that sparked a lot of conversation amongst the group was content. How do you differentiate your content from your competitors? How do you ensure that your content is not “spam” for your customers? And, more importantly, how do you shape the conversation on social media?
This concern was consistent with PAM Insight’s finding that showed 64.3% of respondents were concerned about lack of control on what content is communicated. After much discussion on this topic, attendees agreed that the best strategy to overcome content issues is education. Education on how to represent yourself online in a manner that is true, trustworthy and personal. Education on the right type of content for the right audience. And education on regulatory risk and social media policies of the company.

Timeliness

Most participants feel that social media moves too fast. If you want to be on social media channels, you need to be prepared to respond in time. Many people spoke about the compliance process and the length of time it takes, often making social conversations less relevant by the time they are ready.
Since introducing any change takes time, it is imperative that companies start now to understand what social media can do for them and take incremental steps to help their people build relationships online. Creating cross-functional teams with marketing, sales and compliance and educating themselves on how social media works are a couple strategies that can help with timeliness and embracing these new channels of communication.
Overall the impact and benefits of social media dominated the conversation. This is again in line with the survey results of PAM Insight. The survey showed that 61% of advisors believed “building industry presence and credibility” was the biggest benefit. While 44% said attracting clients and retention of existing clients (80%) were important benefits of social media.
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Research: Financial advisors improve client retention and increase AUM with digital and social tools

Digital Wealth Management researchAt Hearsay Social, one of the most frequent questions we hear from the financial services industry is this: “What is the ROI of social media?”
Depending on who you ask, there are a few answers. What we’ve seen is that social media ROI is largely qualitative, with a social media presence alone resulting in new business or better relationships with existing clients. Additionally, the ROI for each firm will depend on the goals associated with that firm’s particular social strategy. For many firms, the first measure was growth, connectivity, and having a compliant social presence with little to no infractions.
Beyond that, however, we’ve heard countless anecdotes directly from financial advisors attributing increased business to their use of social media. Backing up these anecdotes, Accenture recently published a report entitled Reimagining Wealth Management for the Digital Age, which explores not only how digital technologies and social media are changing the wealth management industry, but also what results have been seen.
Here are a few of the best results:

  • Over half of financial advisors have found and/or converted clients via digital channels
  • 77% of financial advisors have improved client retention via digital/social tools
  • 74% of financial advisors have increased assets under management (AUM) via digital/social tools

Besides these and other eye-opening statistics, Accenture’s 20-page report analyzes how digital technologies and the new “digital generation” have disrupted traditional ways of doing business in the wealth management industry. Near the report’s conclusion, the consulting firm offers three essential components that will help financial firms, advisors, and their clients find success in the new digital era:

  1. Empowerment: of both client and advisor, building trust by making clients better informed
  2. Engagement: to enable a more collaborative relationship between client and advisor
  3. Agility: of both mindset and business model, to adjust rapidly to the speed of change

To learn more, download the full Accenture report here.
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Advisor use of social media matures, regulatory requirements are still a challenge: Recap from #SIFMAsocial

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Last week we attended the sold out SIFMA Social Media Seminar in New York City, a one-day event in the heart of Wall Street that brings together experts from a variety of business roles including marketing, business, compliance, and legal, as well as financial advisors, to discuss the expanding use of social media for financial services.

Major themes from the conference included:

  • The financial services industry has greatly advanced its use of social media in recent years, but there is still a lot of opportunity for social media to impact the business.

  • Interpreting regulatory and compliance requirements continues to be a challenge for firms and financial professionals.

  • Social media can be a truly valuable tool for advisors and branches to build their business, especially if they leverage it to expand their client base in a target niche.

Michael Lock (President & COO at Hearsay Social, @michaelhlock) kicked off the seminar with a lively perspective on technology trends and how consumer expectations are changing. In his session, Michael shared some ways in which financial professionals are using social media to build customer relationships. Harking back to a lesson familiar for every good salesperson, he reminded us that social media is about listening first. OnWallStreet author Andrew Welsch (@AndrewWelsch) published a great recap of Michael’s session here.

Here are more key takeaways from the event:

Updates from the social networks

The next session was a panel moderated by Mike White (CMO at Raymond James, @MikeRJF) with financial services industry leaders from LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Mike set the stage with learnings from a roundtable conversation that a group of SIFMA members had shared the day before: “We’ve come a long way over the past few years, but there is still a lot of opportunity,” he said, however, noting “the importance of not looking to social media as a standalone panacea. […] The most successful advisors and firms are looking at it as a piece of an overall marketing program.”

The following conversations from the respective social networks followed these same themes. Some of their insights included:

  • Brad Murphy (Client Partner, Financial Services Vertical at Facebook) described how the Facebook platform has evolved over the past 18 months. Although many business owners have seen a decrease in the organic reach of their pages, Facebook has greatly expanded its targeting ability with its evolving advertising program. Brad specifically referenced new data partnerships, such as with Acxiom, that help financial professionals reach exactly the audience they’re targeting.

  • Jennifer Grazel (Head of Category Development, Financial Services at LinkedIn, @jgrazel) provided insight into the core pillars of focus for LinkedIn: “identity, network and knowledge.” She also explained how the network’s continued push into content publishing and sharing is intended to support the “knowledge” pillar. In addition, she said that LinkedIn’s acquisition of Bizo will support the company’s plans to enable marketers to run nurture programs.

  • Michael Wong (Head of Financial Services at Twitter, @mw145) said that when it comes to content, timing and quality is more important than frequency and volume, citing Vanguard and Motley Fool as two organizations that excel at sharing good content during volatile times. He also predicted that, going forward, the focus will be on developing a mobile experience for end users as well as better analytics to measure effectiveness of campaigns and activity.

Static vs. dynamic content and other regulatory requirements

In the second panel, “Navigating The Web of Social Media Regulation,” Rick Apicella (Morgan Stanley Wealth Management), Thomas Selman (FINRA), Doug Preston (Bank of America Merrill Lynch), and Melissa Callison (Charles Scwhab) discussed the regulatory requirements that govern social media use.

Selman, who is responsible for advertising policy at FINRA, summarized how the regulatory authority thought about social media. They “took a principles-based view of social media,” he said, in order to write regulation that would not have to be changed every time the technology changed. And they “tried to leverage existing rules and terminology” wherever possible instead of introducing new terms. This approach lead to FINRA Regulatory Notices 10-06 and 11-39, which directly address social media.

Supervision and review requirements for social media address two key content categories: “static” content and “dynamic” content. FINRA requires that all static content be pre-reviewed before it is published, and therefore what is categorized as dynamic or static is often a hot topic in conversation amongst legal and compliance professionals.

At this event, Thomas Selman notably commented that “a case can be made for why a tweet is considered dynamic content.” Somebody from the audience even asked him to repeat this because this opinion was in contrast to other interpretations of the regulation that we’ve heard.

“Content is king, and context is queen”

After spending the first half of the day discussing mostly advisor use of social media, the panel “Social Media Strategy & Use at the Corporate Level” specifically zeroed in on corporate and brand use of social media.

Ruth Papazian (HD Vest Financial Services) moderated a discussion with Joe Corriero (Bank of America Merrill Lynch), Kraleigh Woodford (UBS Wealth Management Americas), Jon Pauley (Ameriprise Financial), and Melissa Socci (LPL Financial). This conversation kept coming back to the importance of content, with each team member describing how their respective organization sources, develops and distributes content.

It was especially interesting to hear how firms of different sizes deal with the challenges of creating social content. Joe Corriero, for example, said that Bank of America Merrill Lynch created a “social media newsroom,” which is a regular meeting bringing together all the disciplines (including research, marketing, legal and compliance) to brainstorm and plan their content timelines. And sometimes internal teams aren’t enough. For example, Melissa Socci explained that they occasionally turn to contractors to create additional content pieces like infographics for social media because their traditional, print-first content team doesn’t have quite the right skillset for that. With a much leaner team, Ruth Papazian and her team rely upon the integration of Trapit and Hearsay Social to curate a regular stream of social media content.

Kraleigh Woodford from UBS Wealth Management Americas pointed out that, in additional to the common adage “content is king,” “context is queen.” Kraliegh argued that “it’s the ‘why do I care’ factor” that leads to successful social content. Companies don’t have a shortage of content but they have to be thinking about what people want to consume through social media; feeding them the wrong content, like “linking to a 60-page report,” might not be the be the most effective strategy.

When it comes to a corporate presence and approach to social media in financial services, Melissa Socci said it best: “We are not social media marketing, we are marketing in a social media age.”

Social media strategies for financial advisors and client communication

In the second panel moderated by Mike White (CMO at Raymond James, @MikeRJF), five financial advisors representing Raymond James Financial, Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, Ameriprise Financial, LPL Financial, and Robert W. Baird & Co. shared some of their most successful social media strategies for enhancing communication with clients and prospects.

One theme that stood out? Each of the panelists has found success using social media a little bit differently–depending on their target clients, location, and team structure.

Evan Shear (Branch Manager with Raymond James Financial) uses social media to stay up with what is happening in the lives of his client. One anecdote he shared: he saw via social media that his client had lost a family pet, and so he sent a thoughtful sympathy card and gift. Fueled by what he learns through social media, according to Evan, this type of activity strengthens client relationships and builds deep client loyalty.

Charles Camilleri (Financial Advisor with Ameriprise Financial Services) uses social media to stay top of mind and to get the word out to his extended network that he is a financial advisor. Within a week of using social media for business, Charles got a new client referral from a friend of a friend, simply due to the fact that they learned Camilleri’s profession after connecting on LinkedIn.

In addition to the financial advisors on the panel, Dan Swift (Director of Financial Services at LinkedIn, (@danjswift) shared insights into social selling and some of the exciting functionality that LinkedIn Sales Solution provides to help financial professionals. Dan described how LinkedIn Sales Navigator solves for the “now what?” feeling that often accompanies users who are new to social media. He recently spent three months on the road training 160 advisors on social selling with LinkedIn, and they saw some amazing success. Within that same time period, a subset of those financial professionals won over $100 million in new investable assets–impressive ROI for a program that was just getting started!

With the various success stories that can be correlated to a social presence, we think financial professionals would do well to take advice from one other participant on the panel, Jamie Cox (LPL Financial): “You don’t have time to not be on social media.” We would agree.

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Congratulations to the 2014 LIMRA LOMA Silver Bowl for Social Media award winners!

It’s hard to believe a whole month has passed since we joined customers, partners, and friends at the 2014 LIMRA LOMA Social Media Conference for Financial Services in Boston. 
Before more time passes, we want to take a moment to congratulate the handful of financial firms recognized in the Social Media Silver Bowl Awards, an annual contest recognizing innovation and business success across firms’ and agents’ use of social media campaigns and programs.

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As James Kerley, chief membership officer for LIMRA and LOMA, explains: “LIMRA research shows that 93 percent of life insurance companies now have social media programs in place. With broad adoption like this, now the question becomes how to define social media excellence in financial services. That’s why we created the Silver Bowl awards.”
The quantity and quality of Silver Bowl Award entries this year demonstrated how quickly the financial services industry has innovated in its use of social media. And with over 90,000 financial professionals using Hearsay Social today, it’s clear that firms are moving their social media programs from being optional to now being a critical way to engage clients in a compliant manner. 
Without further ado, here were the winners:

  • John Hancock Financial Services — “Best Use of Twitter” and “Best of the Best”
  • Transamerica — “Best Use of Other Social Network”
  • Sun Life Financial Asia — “Best Use of Facebook”
  • Popular Bank (Puerto Rico) — “Best Use of Social Media for Social Good”
  • Guardian Life Insurance — “Best Use of LinkedIn”
  • Prudential — “Best Use of YouTube”
  • Thrivent Financial Agent Natalie Kratzer — “Best Use of Social Media by an Agent/Advisor.”


Find out how each of these firms won their awards on the LIMRA website and learn more about social business for financial services below:
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FCA proposes new social media rules

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In new guidance consultation issued August 6 2014, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) aims to clarify the regulator’s approach to social media (prior guidance was published in 2013) and provide guidance for how firms should handle financial promotions through social media communications.

“Our overall approach is that financial promotions, whether on social media or traditional media, should be fair, clear and not misleading,” said Clive Adamson, Director of Supervision at the FCA said. “We have had extensive industry engagement on this issue and we believe our guidance is a sensible approach that doesn’t affect industry’s ability to innovate using new forms of media.”

“We recognise social media are constantly evolving,” said Adamson, “We, therefore, welcome feedback to today’s consultation and look forward to continuing the discussion with industry.”

Standalone compliance is also highlighted in the guidance. Each communication should be reviewed and comply on its own. For example, legal disclaimers should be given for each statement that is a financial promotion. These rules apply to all members of the financial firm that communicate “in the course of the business” and not just advisors or agents.

According to the proposed guidance, firms need to have adequate systems in place to review, approve and supervise financial promotions. In addition, firms should be keeping a record of communications on social media, and they cannot rely on digital media channels (the social networks) to maintain the records because they do not maintain complete records and are often subject to change. To assure compliance, firms can leverage third-party tools, such as a solution like Hearsay Social, to keep records of social media communications.

The guidance addresses challenges with the limited characters (140) available on Twitter, but indicates that the limited space provides no excuse for firms to not make it clear when something is a promotion. In fact, the FCA suggests one way that firms might indicate promotional content is by simply including the hashtag “#ad” in any promotional tweets. The guidance also suggests that firms consider image advertising, however, it advises that firms should not rely on just the image to indicate whether a tweet or message is promotional.
Firms can also address requirements by just tweeting a link to a website with a financial promotion clearly indicated. For example, “To see our current mortgage offers, go to www.fakemortgages.co.uk.”
Overall, it is good to see the regulator addressing the unique nature of social media communications, as it requires different regulatory requirements than more traditional online media. The proposed guidance, “GC14/6 Social media and customer communications: The FCA’s supervisory approach to financial promotions in social media” can be found here.
Comments on to the proposed guidance can be submitted before November 6, 2014 via email to Richard.Lawes@fca.org.uk.
Disclaimer: The material available in this article is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. We make no guarantees on the accuracy of information provided herein.
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Live on Bloomberg #WIREDBizCon: Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih talks social business

WIRED BizConEarlier today, Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih (@clarashih) took the stage with Jill Schlesinger (@jillonmoney) to discuss social business at the 2014 WIRED Business Conference, joining several thought leaders in the business and technology world, including David Karp (founder and CEO, Tumblr, @davidkarp), Nolan Bushnell (founder, Atari, @NolanBushnell), Lawrence Lessig (professor at Harvard Law School and founder of Creative Commons, @lessig) and Andrew McAfee (principal research scientist at MIT and cofounder of the Initiative on the Digital Economy at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, @amcafee).
Before taking the stage, Clara spent a few minutes with Bloomberg West to discuss the four steps to social business success, how the various social networks differ from each other, and new developments in the technology world, including Facebook’s new mobile ad network and Pinterest Promoted Pins. Watch the segment here:

Have a question about the future? Ask Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih and Google X founder Sebastian Thrun on today's NYTimes Facebook chat

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 10.12.17Last week the New York Times published an engaging infographic exploring the toughest, most fascinating questions about the future: What far-off technology will be commonplace in a decade? Which technology will seem antiquated in a decade? What is tech’s role in reducing income inequality?
The graphic featured the best answers from seven of Silicon Valley’s most accomplished visionaries–including LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, Hearsay Social CEO and founder Clara Shih, Google X founder Sebastian Thrun, and Twitter co-founder Ev Williams.
Today the New York Times is continuing their coverage of these impressive topics with a live Facebook chat where you can ask Clara and Sebastian any of the biggest questions on your mind. At 11:30am PT / 2:30pm ET today, head overhead to The Upshot’s Facebook page to join the chat!