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


Operation Full Disclosure: The @FTC’s version of The Full Monty

montyWhile we are busy talking about products and promises with clients, were you aware the Federal Trade Commission was putting on a modern day performance of the movie The Full Monty as it relates to media and advertising?  We are like Gaz in the movie saying, “I need an audience!” and the FTC is like Dave in the movie yelling back, “You need a doctor!”  Yep – they want you to bare it all, my friends; are you ready?

I don’t have anything negative to say about the Federal Trade Commission as a whole.  After all, their mission is to protect consumers.  I get that, but I do think they are going a little steep on their latest move starting with the militant title of “Operation Full Disclosure”.  That alone doesn’t sound real user-friendly, right?  Uh, no.

Back in October 2014, Neal Schaffer of Maximize Your Social provided an article written by Kyle-Beth Hilfer about why Operation Full Disclosure matters (and she included the proper disclaimers at the bottom of the article which I’m sure the FTC will love).  Hilfer likely has provided some of the very best advice I’ve read out there, “…make sure that your marketing and legal advisors have an open line of communication…”  Simple, but not always easy.  Always make sure you’re compliant!

The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) provided a webinar featuring the FTC (playback can be found here) which really gets into the nuts and bolts of advertising.  It can be a bit of yawner to watch at 1 hour, but the bottom-line again is always make sure you’re compliant!  [See a pattern here?]

In December 2014, CorporateCounsel added some hot and spicy sauce that came as a real punch to social media marketing, “Should Facebook likes and Twitter hashtags be considered endorsements?”  As for now, the FTC is still fixated on print ads, but social media is on borrowed time.  Mark my words!

I can’t talk about this topic without wondering where in the world does picture doctoring come into play then?  Between Target’s disaster last year or the more recent high school photo retouching to make a girl thinner – where do we draw the graphic honesty line – literally?  Where do we put a note on the photo that says “Photoshopped” so people can stop feeling bad that they aren’t tan enough, thin enough, have less freckles or have a bigger rump?  Do brands have to send the photos out Twitter with the hashtag #photoshopped on it?  The answer is NO.

Trust me, when the FTC comes knocking on social media marketing’s door and freaking out financial advisors about advertising correctly on the networks, I will be right there with my sh-load of photos demanding the truth in advertising claims will start with Justin Bieber admitting his photo with Calvin Klein was a sham.

I will keep you up-to-date as this develops.  Just keeping being bigger, better and more BIONIC this week.

Sheryl Brown / @BIONICsocialite