Need More Content? Check this out!

FSP Gainfully
“Content is the reason search began in the first place.” 
Lee Odden said this and it’s truer than true. Financial service professionals struggle with content. It seems I hear on the daily:
  1. I can’t find content for my followers.
  2. I don’t have time to write my own content.
  3. I wish all the content was located in one place.
What if I told you this is possible today? What if I told you this was not only possible but also free to use as a financial service professional? Well, let me introduce you to Gainful.ly.

I can’t find content for my followers.

Content is truly king. Without it, you just have a blank webpage, an unfinished eBlast, or an empty blog. Content is what fills up the blank canvas. The problem is, you have to know where to go to find it and in a short amount of time, or you have to have it yourself. Yeesh!
With Gainful.ly – you literally have a one-stop shop for content. The platform is free to use for advisors. Financial professionals literally sign-up in a matter seconds, attach social media accounts and start looking for content to share. It’s really that simple.

I don’t have time to write my own content.

Look, I get it. I write a weekly blog column. This can take anywhere from an hour to three hours depending on how much research I need to do, editing, fact checking, etc. and I’m an experienced writer. What if you’re not? What if sitting down in front of a blank screen freaks you out? Well, look to Gainful.ly to provide you with the necessary content needs.
The platform reminds me of Pinterest. You have a dashboard where you pin articles to send out. I’ve never seen anything on the platform which took more than three clicks (most are two or less!).
Having a resource like Gainful.ly allows advisors to be mindful of their time, which is very important to the thousands I meet with each year. You can produce more content, but you can’t produce more time!

I wish all the content was located in one place.

Gainful.ly has been the easiest of the content platforms for advisors to use….period! The amount of content trusted providers are adding to Gainful.ly grows by the weeks. Since all of the content is searchable, you can find pretty much what you’re looking for all in one place.
Also, the platform has an application for both Android and Apple. This means you can be away from your computer and still find content to share on your social media accounts. So, no excuses, folks! You can do this!
At the very least, what will it hurt for you to sign-up for a free account and try it out? You have everything to GAIN!
If you’re part of a broker-dealer, let me know. I would be happy to introduce your compliance officer to the platform and schedule a demo with the Gainful.ly folks.

Just in case, you’re wondering too….

By the way, I receive ZERO COMPENSATION for making this recommendation, so for anyone out there who thinks I’m being paid to say any of this, nope – nothing – nada – zilch. This recommendation comes straight from my heart to yours to help you amplify your business…that’s just how I roll.
Let me know how it goes – take the platform for a whirl and share your thoughts!
Be bigger, better and more BIONIC today!
Sheryl Brown | @BIONICsocialite

Are you Rockin’ your Twitter content yet?

FSP Rockin Their Twitter Content

I’m saying the scary word…yep…financial service professionals will want to plug their ears while saying, “La la la la la la la la!!!” Are you ready? I’m going there today: TWITTER! Before you completely bow out of the conversation, what if I told you there’s a really cool place you can go to get your Twitter content and you don’t even have to post it – it will do it for you?

Now that I have your attention…

Tweet JukeboxI had heard Tim Fargo’s name for a very long time. If you worked in social media – you would too. He wrote an awesome book back in 2013 called “Alphabet Success“and while promoting the book he figured out what a lot of us already knew in financial services: it takes a long time to schedule tweets! It’s the number one reason I hear financial service professionals avoid Twitter – sheer time! Gah!!

Tim (along with a few others) developed an application out of a need to save time which would post tweets on your behalf. You simply go to http://www.tweetjukebox.com and sign-up for an account to connect your Twitter account, you then select your “jukebox” which plays the type of content you want your followers to see, and then…you kind of set it and forget it.

But wait, there’s more!

I started using this tool right at the end of 2015 and I have to say, it’s been some of the most engaging posts on my Twitter account. I chose their free Quote Jukebox and turned it on. I was not really sure it would make a difference, but it was free – so why not, right? It definitely couldn’t hurt.

I’m three months in to using this platform. My impressions on Twitter have increased, my mentions have increased, the quality of my connections have increased. Basically – my Twitter got better because I’m playing that funky content on my Twitter without spending one single minute of my time doing it. Now THAT is worth talking about!

Taming Twitter

Tim Fargo’s idea which was crafted out of a simple need has literally tamed my Twitter content conundrum. The quality of the TweetJukebox quotes plus the interaction I’m receiving on Twitter (and in case you are wondering, the sentiment has been 100% positive – not a single negative reaction to date) means this tool has value.

The free version includes two jukebox subscriptions, but the paid version is only $13 per month and you can have access to ten jukebox subscriptions – and there is a lot of stuff to choose from, plus – you can add your own jukebox and be a content producer, should you want to go that route.

TweetJukebox allows you a new, funky and fresh way to reach out to your audience without a lot of time and effort on your part. This is very attractive to many of us in financial services and I challenge you to try this tool and let me know how it goes!

Be bigger, better and more BIONIC today!

Sheryl Brown | @BIONICsocialite

Client Attraction: Is it part of your everyday activity?

Financial Professionals Client Attraction

Clients do not arrive at anyone’s door without us attracting them. They don’t. So what do you think attracts clients to work with you and is it an intentional part of your everyday activity? [The operative word being “intentional” in the question.] If you hesitated to answer, then check this out.

First, let’s define the subtle differences in Push Marketing vs. Pull Marketing:

  • Push Marketing is a strategy intended to sell you something outright. You set-up a direct-selling environment to be face-to-face in sales with a client.
  • Pull Marketing is a strategy which involves motivating a client to seek you out of the crowd. You get the client to come to you.

Both push and pull marketing strategies are an important part of a marketing plan for any business. Push marketing, however, seems to be more natural for many of us in financial services to do and today, I’m will share three ways you can be  more intentional in implementing push marketing tactics for client attraction:

Giving Away Value

Free. Zilch. Zip. You simply give value away. Sounds crazy, right? I know some of you are thinking, “Sheryl, giving away my craft doesn’t pay my bills.” Think about it this way though. You’re at the cash register paying for your groceries and your favorite baseball team has a pocket takeaway for you to have a list of all their games right in your wallet. You grab it and go.

…that was pull marketing through giving away value.

What can you give away which would attract people to your business? Could you:

  • …give a class at the local library on debt reduction?
  • …become a JA teacher for a local school and teach kids about finances?
  • …write a weekly column for your local paper about money?

Be intentional about what you plan to give away and make it something of real value to someone. Don’t go into this thinking you’re going to only give half of something away and make them work for the other half, it doesn’t work like this and you’ll be perceived as a jerk. Give away value and you will attract clients to your practice. If you give value away every day, people will have even more reason to do business with you.

Social Media Amplification

You know I have to get social media in this! Salesforce reported 70 percent of brands are increasing their social media spending in 2015. (I’m sure it’s more for 2016!) Today, it’s easier to connect with our clients via social media and make better purchasing decisions.

Any pull strategy requires a highly visible brand and social media helps amplify it. Your clients expect you to entertain and inform them. As mentioned above about giving away value, this is no longer considered “courtesy”, it’s an expectation. Clients also expect to find this value through social media.

Using the local library class as an example, you could:

  • …invite clients to attend the class and bring someone else would benefit from the material by posting this on Facebook and Twitter.
  • …with your class outline create a small graphic with some key points by using a cool tool called Pablo (found at http://www.buffer.com/pablo) and talk about the material with your followers.
  • …connect on LinkedIn to the program director at the library and ask them to share your invite with their community.

Have social media do the legwork for you. It has the ability to amplify far past what you can do by one-by-one. Social media is one-to-many. Leveraging social media is a smart marketing strategy with any push or pull marketing plans and it should be a part of your everyday activity.

Word of Mouth Referrals

This is the holy grail of pull marketing and some of the most effective ways to grow your business. Too often we wait until after the sale to ask for the referral. Instead, when the relationship is full steam ahead and clients are happy, why not ask during the process? You must have a specific process in place too. It might be filling out a form or sending them a question in a survey.

Going back to the giveaway, what if you gave your current client a 30-minute consultation to give to a friend who would benefit from similar services? My trainer, Chris Meier, recently gave me five business cards with one free workout to give to friends. It took me less than 2 hours to give those away. Doing something unexpected goes a long way with clients referring you!

How are you handling birthdays and thank you notes? I tried for one year to send out handwritten notes – I couldn’t do it. I have more than 3,000 connections and it was not feasible. However, I had time to send a thoughtful email or order a Starbucks gift card with a note and send it out. I had a much higher return on those than the handwritten note, which I still send out about 400 per year. When advisors have been referred to me, many have come with the set-up that I’m thoughtful and incredibly thankful for business, which I truly am. I’m intentional in making time for this every single day too.

So what are you willing to do TODAY to attract clients to your business? What new habit are you going to begin working on TODAY to invite new people to learn about your practice? Client attraction must be an intentional part of your day-to-day duties.

Write back and share with me. Any questions, I would love those too!

Be bigger, better and more BIONIC today!

Sheryl Brown | @BIONICsocialite

 

 

 

 

A sweet treat: Cool way to show love through your content

Financial Services Professionals Why We Need More Content Like Encore

Grab a cup of coffee and let’s have a quick chat.

In any given week I am asked the same question over-and-over again, “Sheryl, how do you find all this content to write about?” Content is something all of us in financial services need more help with and I have found a sweet secret to share with you today: it’s called Encore.

Encore is a platform which turns social media “noise” into insights. The Encore Weekly Sidekick is my biggest secret cheat for fun content. Head over to http://info.encorealert.com/sidekick and sign up for their weekly email where you will have daily ideas provided to help you deliver something new and interesting to talk about on your social channels.

Now, you might be thinking, “I’m a professional financial services provider – why would I talk about the first day Trivial Pursuit was sold?” The answer is simple – financial services, as a whole, is pretty boring stuff. Yep – it’s true. I have never seen one person jump onto their Facebook and say, “I bought an annuity yesterday!” and that’s because we are pretty boring overall, but content, like Encore’s, helps us be more relatable and interesting.

Who remembers Gangnam Style?

gangnam

A Korean rapper has one viral song and today it still holds the title of YouTube’s most viewed video at more than 2.2 BILLION views! I think the dance, everything about it, is so creepy and dumb – but 2.2 BILLION views equals crazy good content. There’s not even a good takeaway on this content because unless you speak Korean, you can’t really sing along with it. In fact, every person I’ve asked what the song is about says they have no clue. [Which crazy enough – Business Insider translated for us and the song is just as dumb as the dance!]

Then, I was thumbing through Visual.ly one day, I was stunned to see this infographic – so you can learn how to do the dance. [I’m particularly fond of Step 5.]

gangnam infographic

So, how would I use the Encore Weekly Sidekick?

In this sample sidekick report, you see you will receive a monthly theme as well as a daily list of all things to celebrate.

sidekick

Monthly

You might use the Thanksgiving theme to talk about all the things you and your clients are grateful for and tie them back to financial services. For example, a daily #GratitudeJournal from the principal of your firm talking about the things they are grateful for (plus, it makes your brand human). Then, turn it around and ask your clients what are they grateful for this month?

For diabetes month, you could feature articles about how to control diabetes or talk about how insurable diabetes is today and to give you a call to talk about it.

Daily

If November 8 is Cappuccino Day, you could put a picture on Facebook and tell your clients you would love to have a cup of cappuccino and catch up with them. You could do a stock photo of coffee or – you can be really crazy – and have someone take a picture of you at the local coffee house enjoying a cup of coffee…be different! You could do a little spin on the X-Ray Day and send out a picture of an x-ray and say you would love to take a deeper look at their insurance policies and examine ways to help them save money.

To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.

Joseph Chilton Pearce said this and I firmly believe it was directed at financial service professionals. We must lose the fear of being wrong in our clients’ eyes. Yes, we are professional people, but we are also human beings, and we need to talk about things which appeal to our clients.

Encore provides this list free of charge. They did not pay me to write this; in fact, they will find out I wrote this the same time you are. Bottom-line: I simply like their stuff! I encourage you to consider adding this newsletter to your marketing arsenal. Be sure and tag me when you post so I can cheer you on for being different this year!

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

What can #FinServ expect in social media marketing for 2016?

Predictions for 2016 Social Media Marketing for Financial Services Professionals

I’m not a fortune-teller and I haven’t met anyone yet who can accurately predict the future.  However, I do watch trends in social media marketing and feel it’s important that I share this information with the financial services markets so we aren’t so far behind!

Social media has been a tough place for our industry.  Whether you want to say it is compliance or the overwhelming nature of data itself, as a community of professionals we must pick a few areas and really go for it…especially in 2016.  You see, it’s getting to the point where catching up is extremely difficult.

I believe 2016 is a make it or break it year for us.

This is the year where we play or get played.

So why not try concentrating on one [or all three] of these areas as part of your business plan for 2016?  If you need help or have questions, please contact me!  I want to see you be successful!

Here are my three big predictions for 2016:

Video Killed the Radio Star in 1979 and still today in 2016.1.  Video Killed the Radio Star in 1979 – – and still is.  You can’t go anywhere online without a video playing.  When Buggles sang the song “Video Killed the Radio Star” they could not have possibly been able to predict how true that would be in 2016.  Some 37 years later and we are using video for damn near everything.

Video has lead to live streaming with tools such as Meerkat and Periscope, but I don’t see the financial services market jumping on that bandwagon quickly (compliance!!) but these tools are invading our everyday space.  Did you see the story of the police who caught the woman who live streamed her drunk driving?  The police (a lot like financial services) didn’t even know what Periscope was and after people called in to report the young woman, they had to figure out how to download the app and find her.  Video is powerful, folks.

Who would have thought YouTube would be considered a dinosaur of video…but it is.  When is the last time you went on Facebook without seeing a video auto-playing? Realize you are competing with videos from big brands too – so make ’em count!

One company in Indiana is doing it right for financial service professionals too.  Covideo in Indianapolis, Indiana has figured out how to make video for email easy and affordable.  You can turn your emails into a tool for face-to-face and just-in-time interactions with your clients.  If you’re a financial services professional and want to use video in 2016, I have an affordable arrangement set-up with Covideo to have access to their Enterprise account at the Premium account price.  Contact me for more information and to get started.

Email - it's not just a fad, I promise!2.  Email – – it’s not just a fad, I promise.  There was a smidge of sarcasm in my lead-in as I remember the days of people who said email would never stick around.  How many of you remember getting your first email address?  AOL?  NetZero?  Yahoo?  Yep – those were the days!

Today, though, email has taken on a different look and feel.  You want your email to be more original, incorporate video (see #1 above) and provide value to the person it’s bugging (and that’s all email is – a disruptor, stop trying to make it something more than it is).  Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media is quoted as reminding that quality projects are a must!  He’s right – we have to up our game!

Send me a sample of an email campaign that you’ve done – I will critique it. You want to build influence with your email, provide help to challenging situations, all the while funneling your audience back to a site where you can convert them.  It’s not an easy task.  If you’re trying to do this as a financial service professional, you might need some help…I’m just saying!

For example, are your emails visually appealing?  Do your emails look different on a desktop vs. a mobile device?  Are you using a quality (yet affordable) email provider to build campaigns that are trackable and provide feedback?  If you want, I can help you dig deeper and better understand this.  Emails should help build the Know-Like-Trust factor.  They shouldn’t be something self-serving and bothersome to your readership.

Content and Context - it's not for the faint of heart!3.  Guess what – content AND context are king!  Content with context is not for the faint of heart.  I recommend those who want to move the needle in 2016 as a thought leader to get real with their audience.  Stop being polite and get to the point of what you want them to know, learn, experience, feel and share.

Content with context lets you take your relationship-building to the next level.  My friend, Neal Schaffer, of Maximize Social Business, says it best, “I am going to be investing more in technology to help me expand relationships that I have created online.”  You can only have the right conversations with the right people when you stop being a robot and start being a human being.

Financial service professionals have mastered the business persona.  We know all the right answers for asset management, wealth creation, income protection, legacy planning, etc.  Those are very important issues, but I guarantee Grumpy Cat is going beat you out every time because the stuff we talk about isn’t fun or funny.  So, how do we change this?  For one, we start being more like Brittney Castro of Financially Wise Women.  She’s not afraid to be as silly as she is serious about money and financial planning.  She has the content WITH the context – – that’s the secret sauce, folks.  (Go follow her too – she’s pretty cool!)

Understanding that consumers are in control now is vitally important.  They pick what they want to see (to a large degree, at least).  They pick what they want to talk about.  They pick what will be shared.  Their expectation is about a relationship, some recognition, and a conversation.  The question you need to ask yourself is, “Am I providing this to my clients?”  If you have to think for more than one second how to answer this, then you’re not doing your job right in marketing your business correctly.  That’s 100% your fault, but in your defense, you’ve never had to spend so much time thinking about this question.  That’s why there are marketing folks out there you need to work with to help you out.

Any questions – let me know how I can help.  Make 2016 your year!  Stop being behind and get out in front of the pack!  You got this!

Be Bigger, Better and more BIONIC today!

Sheryl Brown @BIONICsocialite

 

Yeah, I want to be on social media but I don’t want to use it

cakeI was recently talking to a financial services advisor about social media. He gave me his card and said, “Yeah, I want to be on social media, but I don’t want to use it.”  I looked at the card he put in my hand and then looked up and asked him, “Why?” He shrugged and said, “…because everyone else is on it.”  He walked away at that point.  Do you think I’m motivated by this conversation to help him?

Do you think he’s the type of person who:

  • …doesn’t want to do a push-up, but complains about their weight?
  • …doesn’t want to prioritize their work, but complains about being too busy?
  • …wants to have his cake and eat it too?

Why would I spend my time building something that he has no intention of using?  Why does this thought pattern even seem remotely OK with someone?  Can I get a witness?

Please do not have any active social profiles if you do not want to use them.  Just STOP IT!  You don’t need to be on a social networking site unless you plan to…I don’t know…network.  That’s truly the operative word in the sentence.  And if someone offers to help build a profile, do them the courtesy of using the tool or resource they helped craft on your behalf…especially if they do it pro bono!! It’s ludicrous that this exchange went on in the first place.  It made me wonder how many of us go around in life wanting things just because someone else has it.  Is that a strategy or mere jealousy?

I firmly believe in telling business professionals to just walk away from social media if they have no intention of doing anything with it.  Seriously, just walk away.  There is no good that will come of it for them and it will just be frustrating to those around them who don’t understand why they’re not using the tool.  It’s better to just ignore it and go on than to ask someone to spend their time building them something they have no intention of ever using.

Be bigger, better and more BIONIC today.

Sheryl Brown, the @BIONICsocialite