Are Push Notifications Pushing You Away?

FSP Push Notifications

Ding, ding, ding went the bell…but it’s more likely your smartphone. Judy Garland was talking about your heart in the Trolley Song, but today’s phones are clanging, dinging and zinging and nobody’s actually talking. So what’s all the noise about? Push notifications.

 

I wanted to talk about the pros and cons of push notifications as it relates to financial service professionals. Should I have them turned on? Should I have them go away? And a few things in between. Let’s first start with…

What is a Push Notification?

Those are the little messages you receive from your smartphone applications. The apps are monitoring incoming data and when it arrives, the provider sends you a push notification to make you aware of something you should see.

That doesn’t sound too bad, right? I mean,  you download applications so you can work more efficiently, but what happens when a good thing is overused and abused? I also know peanut butter is a healthy fat, but if I eat a jar of it, it’s not really great for me anymore.

The Pros of Push Notifications

The obvious answer is you learn about something more immediately. The application is doing the work for you to tap you on the arm and say, “Hey, pay attention to this!” My personal examples include:

  • I want to know about a text message coming through.
  • I want to know when my best clients are emailing me.
  • I want to know if my bank account was accessed.

These push notifications help me work efficiently throughout the day. I can put my energy and brain power into things which are important and matter. I can then react on items of importance. This is a good form of disruption.

The Cons of Push Notifications

I know this is going to sound completely crazy as a social media strategist, but I took a one-month hiatus from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest push notifications. Yep, I went to my phone and turned all my push notifications off for these platforms (as well as all other ancillary applications I have such as games, note taking, etc.) All of those notifications were no longer clanging, dinging and zinging at me throughout the days. Guess what I learned?

  • I turned LinkedIn back on immediately – I needed those notifications.
  • I’ve left all the other social media notifications turned off permanently.
  • I reclaimed my day without chronic disruption of the notifications.

There was no need for 98% of my phone applications to interrupt my day and rob me of valuable focus time. I understand developers are trying to use these notifications for marketing too, but it was a real pain in the ass to keep my attention focused on a money-making activity.

There is a myriad of other ways push notifications can really suck too. I’ve seen every one of these examples below. When developers of the applications do not take into account:

  • Is the information being shared an ad, irrelevant, trivial or downright spam?
  • Is the push coming at an inappropriate time of day (or night – I hate those!)?
  • Is the messaging appropriate to the audience?

For these reasons alone, I’ve become a huge believer now in turning all your notifications off, except for the ones which make/break your business, of course.

How have push notifications helped or hindered you? Inquiring minds would like to know! Any tricks you’ve found to help tame the notification beast? Let’s hear about them!

Be bigger, better and more BIONIC today!

Sheryl Brown | @BIONICsocialite

Say “Hello” to my little friend…

Financial Services Professionals LinkedIn Mobile App Update

I thought one of the greatest acquisitions by LinkedIn was in 2014 when they brought Connected into their suite of products. Since then, I’ve been reminding every financial services professional I encounter to download the separate Connected app to their iPhone/Android as a quick and easy way to stay in touch with their LinkedIn connections. Why would I do this when there was already a main LinkedIn mobile app? Well, to be honest, it kind of sucked…and this separate app was great for us in the relationship business.

Then they heard our cries…

Well, LinkedIn heard our battle cries and redesigned their mobile app. When you have million of users wanting something, you listen! So effective March 21, 2016, they will be retiring the standalone LinkedIn Connected app. Everything you need will be found in the newly redesigned LinkedIn app. Go ahead and delete it today because the new and improved LinkedIn mobile app is pretty freaking awesome!

Download LI appDownload LI app 2

 

 

So, Sheryl, where are my contacts now?

With the new LinkedIn mobile app, you’ll find all of your contacts under “My Network”. Here, you’ll see work anniversaries, new positions, birthdays, etc. With a tap of your finger, you’ll be able to reach out quickly and congratulate your connections on any changes going on in their professional lives. And yes, you can customize those messages, which you couldn’t do previously on the old app.

While in there, you’ll also be able to add people and search for current connections; all within one application versus several standalone products. The LinkedIn Help Center is a click away for any specific questions too. Simply go to https://help.linkedin.com and look for anything which might be eating at you!

Change is good for everyone even if it’s a little uncomfortable at first. The social media networks do listen to our needs and build/rebuild products to more closely answer the challenges we face. This application change is an example of crowd-sourcing requests at its finest.

If you have any questions about this or any other social media-related needs, feel free to reach out and ask. We are all in this together!

Be bigger, better and more BIONIC today!

Sheryl Brown | @BIONICsocialite

Clients should use their phone to sign more documents

Financial Professionals docusign

I bought my house while shopping in a Gordman’s on December 14, 2015. It’s true. I was walking down an aisle with my husband looking at a resin cardinal statue and my realtor sent me to a DocuSign link which I clicked, signed the screen of my iPhone, pressed ‘sign here’ and then put the cardinal in my shopping cart. I remember it vividly because the next aisle I stopped and said to my husband, “Why can’t life insurance purchases always be this simple?”

So I started doing my homework. Sure enough, I now see that Banner Life Insurance (Legal & General America) partnered with DocuSign and I did an imaginary fist bump to them for their innovation. I realize there are eDocument services out there, but the proliferation of accessibility was out of my scope when I see the monster amounts of applications our firm receives each day. It got me to thinking, “How many advisors even know this is offered out there?” According to DocuSign’s blog, they have this service available for more than 400 insurance companies – so why aren’t we using this more often? Good gravy!

Operating Costs

When we can reduce operating costs, everyone wins. If I can stand at the store and buy a house, why can’t a client stand in line at the supermarket and buy life insurance? It saves everyone time. Advisors, we all need to do a better job of asking for this important resource to be offered wherever we submit business.

Missed Signatures

The absolute WORST thing about taking applications is missing a signature. Anything which remotely can cause a hesitation in the buying cycle is considered unacceptable. With a service like DocuSign, we don’t miss signatures and it keeps our clients in the buying funnel. Again, don’t you want to have access to this type of resource wherever you’re processing business?

Less Headache

Let’s get to the bottom-line – this service creates a lot less headache. Clients are satisfied to know they are signing documents in a convenient, yet secure, manner and using a device of their choice. In my home purchase example, I signed documents via my iPhone as easily as my desktop email. At all times, I was in the buying funnel and I can’t remember a moment of questioning, “Do I really want this house?” Instead, it was, “I love buying my house, it’s so convenient today!” <- That’s where we need to be as an industry.

This is not a promotional piece for DocuSign – they did not ask me to write this. Nope. Instead, I’m concerned we are not paying attention to innovative methods to answer the challenges we face as an industry. Ask for these types of services – they are there to help us be better financial services practitioners. If someone doesn’t offer these types of services, ask them, “Why?” or find another partner to work with who does.

Be bigger, better and more BIONIC today!

Sheryl Brown | @BIONICsocialite

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey Financial Advisors, do you have any #graduates in the family? Then listen up!

graduating classMy youngest child will turn 17 next week. She is ready to be a senior and even more ready for college. She wants to go to a private university and we had a conversation about the angst she was experiencing regarding the admission process. One of the questions she posed was, “Will my social media accounts help me or hurt me when I apply, Mom?” Talk about long-term planning!

The question is not only extremely relevant with the college application process going on all over the United States, but truly long term as children think about getting “real” jobs after they graduate. Can they clean up their profiles? Is it simply a process of improving privacy parameters? What about deleting unsavory photos? Let’s discuss.

Cleaning Up Your Profile

According to the Kaplan Test Prep Survey (Nov 2014) over a third (35%) of college admissions officers have visited an applicant’s social media page to learn more about them. This is higher than I thought it would be and lends one to heavily consider cleaning up their profile. Many colleges today want a more well-rounded culture of students and that means stalking students’ profiles to make sure they fit the “feel” of the school not only when on campus, but especially when off.

One’s character may be in question when looking at comments and photos. This is why it’s important to think about what you do reply to…and maybe reply a lot less publicly on things. Especially when there are heated discussions, name calling or fighting; they can be seen as an aggressive behavior and a school may think – yeah, this one’s gonna cause a raucous at school, no thanks.

Something else you may not be considering is grammar and spelling. Jobvite held a survey and 66% of hiring managers said they held this against candidates looking for a job. Imagine a teen headed to school for journalism or video production. Spelling matters!

I’m not one who believes in censoring others. If you’ve got something to say, feel free to say it. Just understand owning those words, pictures, etc. may come with consequences. I’m also not saying it’s right to judge someone by certain comments possibly taken out of context, but know the practice of profile reviews exists and make an educated decision as a family on what these admissions officers will see and the impact it could have on a pending application.

Beefing Up Privacy Parameters

There’s a lot to be said for the “world wide web” and any button that says “publish” or “post”. Once you do, imagine whatever you just shared on a highway billboard for Grandma Mary to see. If you feel good about her seeing it and reading it, then you probably have a good thing there. If you would rather die than have her see something, then there’s your sign that you shouldn’t. Too easy, right?

Can you really expect anything you post on the internet to be “private”? I say absolutely not. If you put it out there, it’s a free for all. Snapchat is an easy target where people think something they published will disappear in 15 seconds. Are your crazy? Just screenshot that snap and it’s marked in history forever.

I strongly suggest setting personal profiles such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat to the highest privacy parameters. It’s just a safe thing to do for a child anyway, but this will make it a little more difficult to permeate their accounts. Someone may be deterred in trying to get around the privacy settings. Every graduating teen should have a LinkedIn profile with a strong profile picture and filled out reasonably well and heavily edited.

But First, Let Me Take a Selfie

Photos in and of themselves are not the issue. Teens can take selfies with their friends, post about a great football game and share pics of their meals. It’s when the pictures and videos show risque behavior, violent tendencies and shaming others that schools begin to think twice about entry to their campus.

Colleges want to avoid potential problems and lawsuits. Taking a quick peek at an applicant’s YouTube channel, Snapchat account and Twitter feed may tell a lot about someone. I recently visited a friend’s child’s Twitter profile that had a reference to marijuana in it. The parents had no idea it was there and when brought to their attention were mortified.

Be gentle with the kids when you have these conversations too. The pressure to be cool, fashionable and carefree is extremely high for them. Children’s lives are on display for the whole world to see and pass judgment. Helping them understand you have their best interest at heart and their long-term plans in mind may help them realize how important our social presence is in important decisions like a college acceptance.

Be Bigger, Better and more BIONIC!

Sheryl Brown – @BIONICsocialite

Wearable Technology – hats off to @JohnHancockUSA and #MayThe4thBeWithYou

jawboneI’m sitting at The Homestead in Hot Springs, Colorado today writing this post.  I’ll be speaking at a broker-dealer conference to some awesome people about the power of social in their business practice.  As I walked around this gorgeous property earlier today, I noticed something.  Everywhere I looked I saw them, including me.  You know who you are…the folks embracing wearable technology.

Wearable technology is not a fad, my friends.  We are tracking everything in life from our heartbeat to steps to our sleep.  Whether you are loyal to Fitbit, Garmin or Jawbone (my preference at the moment) – – these devices are changing the way we look at fitness and tracking.  I have no idea how they work and I don’t care – I just love to see people embracing the concept of taking technology everywhere with them.  I love it more when I see companies in the financial services sector step-up and say, “We want to be different too.”  Can I get a witness?

John Hancock recently launched a new product feature called Vitality – and it’s very special.  When I read the product folder and it claimed to be “an innovative life insurance solution that rewards healthy living” I immediately thought it was just another credit program.  I mean, what would be different about that?  So many insurance companies have health credits where they offer a kickback to help insureds get a better rating at issue.  Yeah, that’s nice, but who gives premium credits? Yep, you heard me right:  the healthier you live, the more you can save on your insurance premium.

When I went to the John Hancock with Vitality website, I read about all the ways they help.  After you purchase your life insurance you will receive a free Fitbit device.  You start tracking and logging all your steps.  In addition, you receive a free health check annually.  Depending on the amount of life insurance you purchase, you could even receive additional discounts on health gear, hotels, cruises and shopping.  But I’m really intrigued with the idea of the wearable technology helping a client receive discounted insurance premiums.

The program is available up to age 70; that covers a lot of folks.  Depending on the client’s level of engagement with the program (and right now about 70M people are wearing some type of fitness device) a client could save between 5-10% on premiums each year.  Think about that…if your annual premium was $1,000 – what normal client wouldn’t want a $100 back?  I would!  If you get into the larger cases where the annual premium is $10,000 – I’m pretty sure even a wealthy client would love to get $1,000 back if all they had to do was walk and do their annual physician directed wellness exams.

One of the eye-openers I got was the Vitality Age calculator.  I always think I’m pretty funky and fresh at 44, but Vitality said my current lifestyle puts me at age 51.  Kerplunk!  Take the test by going here:  https://www.johnhancockinsurance.com/life/Vitality-Age.aspx – -It seems I have some work to do! Do you?

My point is that wearable technology is going to continue to change and companies like John Hancock were very smart to realize this early on, make adjustments to their product to include this valuable data and offer clients a new way to engage with their insurance purchases.  If you would like more information on this, go to http://www.jhrewardslife.com/

…sorry to run off, I have some exercise to go log!

Be bigger, better and more BIONIC!

Sheryl Brown @BIONICsocialite