At our recent Customer Roundtable, Peter Tartaro, Manager for Practice Development at Securian Financial, and Katie Pfleddeder, Sr. Manager & Social Media Coach at Charles Schwab, shared how a unified content strategy helps their firms use social content, encourage field adoption and use and drive engagement in their social selling programs.
Create a rich library of content
Since 2015, Securian has used the Hearsay Social platform to help their financial professionals get started with social selling. One of the ways they’ve ensured success is by offering a variety of content options, with monthly campaigns created by Securian’s marketing team, social media posting templates for pre-approved events, as well as third-party content. A diverse content mix allows new program participants to hit the ground running with minimal effort, since they can share posts on their social media channels multiple times per week, with the option to customize invitations for client education events or seminars.
The team at Charles Schwab takes a similar approach with their content library. Program participants may feel nervous about staying compliant on social media, so having pre-approved posts and templates in the content library means they’ll be more likely to share the content, particularly when they’re centered on timely and relevant topics in the financial space, like market volatility or ETFs.
Start small to win big
Despite the training and education provided by marketing, the team at Charles Schwab didn't see a lot of traction from their field when the social selling program first launched. They quickly identified a few roadblocks, namely: 1) they weren’t taking the right approach to communicate program value, and 2) finding the time to use social media was a challenge for many participants, who were balancing busy schedules.
To address this, Katie’s team focused on positioning the program as a value-add for their field agent’s day-to-day work flows, and also made the training sessions and materials more incremental in nature.
“Rather than trying to teach them everything in the first two calls, [we took] a step back to look for those small victories, understand their specific pain points, and then [see] how we could plug social media into that,” she said.
Peter at Securian agreed that offering easy steps for users to integrate social selling into their workflow is key. “We coach them in very small behaviors that we know they can do,” said Peter, who shared three daily habits he encouraged to ensure advisor adoption:
- Spend five minutes scrolling social media to read what's going on in their network.
- Spend another five minutes adding a few new connections into their networks, whether people they know or are looking to connect with.
- Spend a few minutes preparing for the week’s upcoming calls and appointments on their calendars by looking up those clients on social media to see if anything sticks out, whether a new job or similar update that they can engage with.
Play the long game when it comes to measuring success
At Charles Schwab, when participants didn’t see the engagements, comments or likes they were expecting after sharing a post, they often grew discouraged. And while this can be challenging, Katie strives to promote the long-term impact and effect of social media, beyond the immediate success metrics associated with each post.
According to Katie, social media needs to be viewed holistically over time. Her team encourages users to think about how social content can help with their specific objectives, who they’re trying to reach on social media, or how they want to convey themselves to their networks.
“If you have somebody who is considering moving their assets to a new firm and working with a new advisor, and they're looking at your page, what are they going to take away from that page? Even if the article you shared about ETFs didn't get a lot of engagement in that day or week, you never know at what point somebody is going to be scoping out your profile,” she said.
With the help of Hearsay’s platform, both firms have not only grown their programs but have also elevated social selling to become a valued part of their agents and advisors’ workstreams. While the shares, posts, and actions taken in their social selling programs help to build trust and drive client and prospect engagement, these actions also serve to build positive brand equity, creating a halo effect around the companies themselves.
Thanks again to Katie and Peter for sharing their experience with us, and special thanks to Hearsayers, Christine Meginness, Program Director for Hearsay Sites, and Tim Rickards, Director of Social and Content Strategy, for leading this session!
Watch this session—as well as the other sessions from our customer roundtable—here.