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The rise of the customer and social business in financial services

03.04.2014
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The financial services industry is complex but it plays a crucial role in society.

So said Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih (@clarashih) alongside RBC Wealth Management CEO John Taft and Audrey Hendle (Senior Vice President and General Manager, Prospect Engagement and New Member Acquisition, American Express) during a session at LinkedIn FinanceConnect moderated by CBS News Business Analyst Jill Schlesinger (@jillonmoney).

Clara’s statement set the stage for an inspiring discussion on how financial firms and their representatives must continually commit themselves to helping real people in the real world. In our age of proliferating social networks and mobile devices, industry leaders are increasingly turning to social business programs to help them deliver on this commitment. Not long ago, it was easy for financial organizations to dismiss social media or block it for compliance reasons. Today, that tide has turned and social business has gone from an optional tool to standard issue for advisors and agents.

“Three or four years ago, the misconception was compliance,” said Clara. “Today, it’s about grappling with all the different ways you use social media sites. From the company level to the business level to the relationship managers, including advisors, investment bankers, retirement consultants, and asset managers.”

Clara inFC14 panel

Executive panel at LinkedIn FinanceConnect, from left to right: Audrey Hendley (Senior Vice President and General Manager, Prospect Engagement and New Member Acquisition, American Express), RBC Wealth Management CEO John Taft, Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih, and CBS News Business Analyst Jill Schlesinger.

Staying compliant on social media used to be a main concern. But now that compliance teams can “check the box” to approve a post, the question becomes how can organizations best support their relationship managers to drive business through the use of social media. At Hearsay Social, we’ve discovered there are four keys to social business success:

1. Get found: Clients want to communicate with you via social media. Be there to provide the level of service they’re seeking.

2. Grow your network: Tell your clients you’re on social media. Start sharing content relevant to your business and build up your connections.

3. Research and act on social signals: Listen for important life events, like buying a new home or having a baby, that contacts in your network share on social media. This is information you can use at your next meeting to offer that person the right services or products.

4. Build credibility: Don’t fall silent on social media. Regularly update your networks with the best, most relevant articles and trends that your audience will find helpful, and establish yourself as a leader in your business and on social media.

In the end, authenticity is key. By taking traditional business best practices and applying them to social media, the transformational value of social media will become apparent.

“Let your real people do the talking,” said Clara. “Real people will need training, they’ll need guidelines, they’ll need to be compliant. Ultimately, it doesn’t get more authentic than the man or woman on the ground giving that small business owner a loan or helping you buy your first home through that mortgage.”

Mohamed-on-stage

PIMCO CEO Mohamed El-Erian in conversation with Jill Schlesinger at LinkedIn FinanceConnect. Photo courtesy of LinkedIn.

Proud to partner with LinkedIn in financial services

Overall, FinanceConnect proved to be a fantastic event filled with great takeaways for anyone steeped in the world of financial services.

Throughout the day, we heard from PIMCO CEO Mohamed El-Erian on the importance of listening to your social audience and from Paul Butcher (Head of Digital Communications for Citi) on the importance of experimenting with social media. More takeaways from the event can be found in this blog post published by Jennifer Grazel (Global Head of Category Development – Financial Services, LinkedIn, @jgrazel).

Additionally, on the day of the event we formally unveiled our expanded partnership with LinkedIn and new all-in-one solution, Hearsay Social for LinkedIn, making it easier than ever for financial firms to empower their brand, business unit, and relationship manager presences on social media. Read more about that announcement here and watch Clara’s session below.

Published at DZone with permission of Hearsay Social, author and DZone MVB.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)