Blending content and compliance for social selling success

Blending content and compliance for social selling success

Hearsay’s Director of Compliance, Bill Simpson, and Sr. Director of Content & Strategy, Tim Rickards, explain how to use a social maturity model to set up your financial professionals for success. Understand how and why encouraging the right social behaviors and posting high-engagement, low-risk content will lessen the burden on your compliance team. Watch the webinar replay here.

In the dynamic landscape of financial services, three transformative trends are at play: 

  • The shift in wealth from Boomers to Gen X and Millennials to Gen Z—coupled with economic uncertainties—is leading a new generation of investors to rely on digital platforms for financial advice. At a fundamental level, that means it’s vital for firms and advisors to cultivate a strong social presence. 
  • More compliance rules are being proposed now than at any other time in history. The SEC is leading the charge by intensifying its pursuit of Marketing Rule non-compliance. As a result, firms are under immense pressure, and compliance teams that are already stretched thin face significant burdens. 
  • Today’s customers prefer to communicate through digital channels and are turning to social media for advice. Additionally, millennials are nearly twice as likely to research potential insurers on a mobile device, underscoring the value of digital engagement in today's financial world. 

These evolving trends highlight the importance of blending content and compliance for successful social selling in the financial services industry. Advisors taking advantage of this shift are reaping benefits. A staggering 74% have even used social media to convert prospects and earn customers. So how can you equip your field to do this well without overloading your compliance teams?

Mitigating risk and fine-tuning  social programs for success

At Hearsay, we’ve done a ton of research on this topic. Above all else, we’ve learned that personalization is key to engaging your audience. Research from our annual Content Study shows that while 90% of social posts are not modified, 43% of engagement comes from modified posts; the tremendous upside is clear. The most successful campaigns also tend to cater to specific needs, such as focused onboarding and time-based topics.

To prioritize personalization, we encourage advisors to post three types of content:

  • Personal (authentic, ‘real life’ content and interests; use this to drive high engagement) to build rapport and help prospects ‘get to know’ agents and advisors.
  • Professional (news and events related to the advisor’s professional life and their firm) to build trust and credibility.
  • Industry (financial education and subject matter expertise) to serve as a helpful resource and add value. 

By prioritizing high-engagement, low-risk personalized content, your firm can embrace the benefits of social selling without elevating risk. It’s also critical to maintain a good frequency of posts, be consistent with your publishing schedule, and offer a mix of content types. Authentic posts also help boost the algorithmic value of all your content.

How social maturity maps to compliance

Our data shows that mature users are significantly more compliant than immature users.

Here's how it breaks down, on average:

  • Immature user content has a 17% rejection rate, meaning 17% of all posts these users create are found to be problematic.
  • In contrast, only 2% of the content mature users create is flagged for compliance review. Of that 2%, 99.3% is ultimately found to be fully compliant.

That means only .7% of all content created by mature users required the time and attention of the compliance team. So, how do you know where your advisors rank?

When we work with customers to evaluate advisors’ social maturity, we examine social behaviors and assign a score to each individual.

Scores correlate to one of three types of social media users.

The least mature social media user is referred to as a potential. These individuals have no active social presence or social selling program and don't plan to put effort into social outreach. Next, we have overlookers, which are users who took the time to set up social profiles but who only post automated campaign content with no modification. The most mature social media users are called creators. This refers to users who create their own content with their authentic voice, who consistently participate in social conversations 

The higher a social user climbs on the maturity scale, the better they become at driving connections, increasing reach, and earning trust. The good news is—creator behaviors are teachable. Our value consulting team provides guidance on moving lower-ranking users to a higher tier through the right social behavior to minimize compliance burdens, and maximize social selling success.

A well-structured social selling program provides ample field team training, rewards consistency,  focuses scarce compliance resources on high-risk users and helps increase overall user maturity.

Final thoughts

Firms that empower agents and advisors to express their unique voices and use social channels to build meaningful connections have a lot to gain. However, since the effectiveness of your program mirrors the effectiveness of your users, it’s critical to implement a systematic approach to teaching valuable social behaviors. This starts with understanding the relationship between user maturity and compliance and ranking your team.

Ultimately, advisors’ social selling success comes from consistent long-term effort. For compliance teams, regular and consistent review processes are key to enhancing performance. When you put those two things together, you’ve got the formula for social selling success. Want to see the full webinar? Watch the replay here.

Jessica Cates
Jessica is a content creator and strategist dedicated to publishing engaging content across Hearsay's corporate channels. The Gilbert, Arizona-based mom of two loves to tackle a blinking cursor on a blank page – and as a former Nebraskan, is totally down with the southwest's interpretation of winter.

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