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


Pinterest – there’s a right way to use it and a lot of wrong ways

Pinterest for Financial Professionals

Starting the new year off with a little fun, but a big lesson. Pinterest is a social media platform which might be on your marketing list to consider, but only if you have an awesome LinkedIn profile set-up AND the platform fits your demographic group (so it’s perfect for those of you with a woman-based business focus).  Like everything in life, there is a right way to use this platform and many wrong ways. Unfortunately, I see a lot of the wrong ones.

What’s right?

Working in financial services, many of you who are registered reps will probably not be able to use this platform at all. The compliance to monitor Pinterest is not solid yet and if you post something, you all know it must be able to be monitored. For those who can use the platform, it’s a great way to share (or “pin” as they call it on this platform) interesting articles, motivational quotes and even a few pictures of fun things (…er, I might have an entire board devoted to bacon).

  1. Pin content interesting to your followers. If you sell Medicaid Supplement insurance, what does the majority of this group like talking about? This might not only include a board for the MedSupp articles you write or like, but also home improvement projects, tips on frugal shopping and even some recipes. Whatever your audience likes and knows, share content that talks directly to them.
  2. Pin content at least once a week. Your boards need to have consistent content like any other platform. Be sure to pin at least once a week to show up in newsfeeds.
  3. Share your pinned content on another platform. Once you pin an article, share it to your LinkedIn account as an update. Cross-promotion of content is encouraged!

So, what’s wrong?

Remember your boards are a reflection of you and your business. Perception is the reality; whether we like it or not.

  • Make sure your profile picture is appropriate. I recently visited an insurance consultant’s Pinterest board where they are taking a selfie, in the bathroom with bathroom types of things around (if you know what I mean). Yeah, I don’t think so. Try and use the same profile picture you did for LinkedIn instead. The synergy will be useful when you cross-promote your pins to other platforms.
  • Check your content before pinning. If you see another pin on Pinterest you feel would be great to share, be sure and open it and make sure it goes to an actual article. A lot of people are using click-baiting as a marketing tactic (basically posting about one thing and then make you click through to something else unrelated) and this will turn your followers off – big time.
  • Secret boards – learn to use them. I was visiting a financial professional’s Pinterest profile where they had boards about small business, motivational quotes and long-term care insurance. Not too shabby right? Except, they went into the “Creep Zone” when they also had boards titled exotic, her fantasy and dream girls. Pinterest has a feature called, “Secret Boards” – use them! You can pin without your followers seeing. For example, I have a secret board for my New Years Resolutions where I keep all the articles I want to review on getting my house in order, losing weight and cocktails I want to make by the pool this year. I then move pins from my secret boards to my open boards.

Pinterest can be a “pinteresting” platform to use in 2016; make sure you do it right though! If you have questions about this or any other social media need, feel free to contact me with your questions.

Be bigger, better and more BIONIC today!

Sheryl Brown | @BIONICsocialite

Beginner’s Guide to Messaging: We’re all doing it, right?

message in a bottleWhen I’m not on the road spreading the good word of social media and financial services, then you can find me sweating behind the handle bars of a fake bike listening to awesome music. I love to spin.  Fortunately, I work with several people who also enjoy spinning.

As I was walking to get some water, I stopped by a co-workers’s cube and asked her if she was going to spin on Saturday.  She wasn’t sure and said, “I will message you on Facebook and let you know.”  I nodded my headed, took a few steps to the water cooler and then thought, “How many people did this today?

Messaging has become a relevant verb in our daily lives.  Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and even Pinterest all have messaging features that allow people to communicate privately from the masses.  So why not just email someone?  Or text them?  And how many people are actually doing this?  So, let’s discuss.

Why not just email someone?  Let me ask you a question:  do you like receiving or sending email?  Didn’t think so.  Email has a lot of “baggage” that is just not attractive anymore. had a great article a year ago that talked about the different messaging apps and why people are attracted to them.  You can find that piece here.

Messaging apps clean it all up and force users to get to the point (many of them limit your character space), they make use other apps like Dropbox for attachments and you can do it all within your favorite social networking platform so you don’t have to leave one to go to another.  Efficient!

It’s important that financial service organizations recognize this trend and adapt.  Many of the archiving and retention platforms like Smarsh, Actiance and Hearsay have already started and allow you to track these conversations compliantly by registering your accounts through their dashboard.

Why not text someone?  Well, you could but that’s a separate application on your phone.  People want to stay in the app that they are currently in and really do see email, text, message, unified communication methods that transcend one another.  Compliance officers though…not so much that they agree with this thinking!  They want everything SEPARATED!

Appending to my last point about email, archiving and retention platforms cannot track text messages.  For that reason, many registered reps will see in their communication guidelines that text messaging is not allowed for business.  This is where messaging apps could be  more helpful. By keeping your messages on a monitored and controlled social networking platform like LinkedIn connected to Smarsh (or any variation of this) could serve you very well and even replace a large part of your texting.

How many people are messaging?  In a word…LOTS!  MarketingProfs just shared an article on the topic where Ayaz Nanji wrote about the data compiled by Flurry.  These apps are being used more often than any other on the smartphone and their retention is supreme.  [In other words, we think messaging apps are awesome and are going to keep using them!]

I think messaging apps are going to be the way of communication more often chosen by financial service professionals in the coming months.  They are easy-to-use and we just need to get more monitoring around them so compliance feels comfortable about those isolated conversations.  The apps themselves are definitely not going away though.

What are your favorite apps?  Do you enjoy messaging?  What do you like or not like about it?  I encourage you to share in the comments below or reach out on social media and let us know.

Be bigger, better and more BIONIC today!

Sheryl Brown / @BIONICsocialite

Have you ever wanted to know what it’s like to be Harry Potter? H/T to @RebekahRadice

magicVernon Dursley was the Muggle uncle of Harry Potter.  In the Sorcerer’s Stone, Uncle Vernon emphatically yells at Harry Potter, “There’s no such thing as magic!” yet we know he’s wrong…he’s so wrong.  Magic can exist!

Have you ever wanted to know what it’s like to be Harry Potter?  I think we might be able to help you get pretty close to experiencing that with some social media trickery.

Rebekah Radice has an older blog article from November 2013 titled, “52 Unique Ways to Create Social Media Magic”.  I almost completely dismissed it because of the title.  I’m human and I’m picky about titles.  I’m turned off when I see two things in article titles:

  • Buzzfeed methods of grabbing attention (13 ways to do this, 17 ways to do that…ugh)
  • Sensationalizing words (magical, powerful, ridiculously…double ugh)

But…I also admit when I’m wrong!  Although the list might be old, much of what she is sharing is very helpful.  I encourage you to read the full article but I want to zero in on her first point as it has a lot to do with financial advisors and optimizing your social media bio’s and using keywords.

Please, please please!   Make the very best use of your social media bio on each platform.  For example:

  • LinkedIn:  The four areas that absolutely are critical to be completed are the Professional Headline (that area under your name), a Summary written in first person,  your Experience written in first person and How to Contact You.  I see many errors being made in these spaces and they are keeping you from getting the best return.  If you want to look at my profile, feel free to see how I’ve set mine up.  You can also come out to and watch playbacks of webinars where we’ve talked about filling out your profile completely.  This was solid advice Rebekah provides in her blog.


  • Twitter:  The enter platform is built on brevity – so get to the point!  Use your bio in a way that allows you to have fun, yet tells the story of who you are.  I’m in financial services, but I’m also really into writing, speaking and dogs.  It’s ok to tell that part of the story too!


  • Instagram:  You’ve got a little more space to tell your story, but make the story interesting and fun!  Use the space – that’s what it’s there for!


  • Facebook:  It’s another place for you to tell people what you do!  Pull all your positions in because you never know who you’re going to connect with that might want your services.  Use your profiles!


  • Pinterest:  You want to connect all your social media profiles and tell some fun stuff about yourself, while using all of the space. Pinterest has been a remarkable way for me to meet others, yes – even in the financial services area, through pictures!  Try it out!



You’re given ample space in each platform – use it!  Find the words that best describe what you do and make those keywords part of your content, littering your profiles with them every where you go.

If you have questions, let me know.  I want to see you be successful with this very important part of your social media marketing though.  Optimize!!  And a round of applause for Rebekah’s great blog!

Be bigger, better and more BIONIC today!

Sheryl Brown / @BIONICsocialite

Guess what day it is…for posting on #SocialMedia?

camelOh Mike…

See what happens when you know the right day to post something?  Does that type of information seem elusive to you?  When do I post on Facebook?  Does Twitter have a better time for retweeting?  The answers are out there, but the target is always changing.  So you need a good rule of thumb, right?

I don’t care what anyone says – there is no way to predict what time in the future someone will read someone.  If so, please let me invest in some lottery tickets with you.  Having said that, predictive analytics are being used to help bring the bulls-eye a little more into focus and attainable.

great pin on the Ash Brokerage Pinterest page called “What are the best times to post on social media?”  provides some insight on posting.  The breakdown is:

  • Facebook:  Thursday and Fridays.  We have definitely found if there is something REALLY important we want our followers to know, we post it on Friday around lunch.  Start calling it Facebook Friday instead and you’ll remember!
  • Twitter:  Saturday and Sunday.  So you can see where posting something on Friday on Facebook, you really want to wait until the weekend to post it on Twitter then.  This means turn off the automatic posting from Facebook to Twitter!
  • LinkedIn:  Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  Posting during business hours, especially Tuesdays from 10am to 11am are optimum.  If you have business owner clients, be sure you’re posting here for sure!
  • Pinterest:  Saturdays from 8pm to 11pm.  If you’ve not ventured into Pinterest, heavily consider using this platform if you work mostly with women.
  • Instagram:  Mondays.  Putting photos on Instagram during business hours, posts have a tendency to spike between 3pm and 4pm ET.
  • Google+:  Monday through Friday.  There seems to be a peak on Wednesdays at 9am.  [Guess what time I’m posting this today!?] Does anyone use Google+ yet?  The number one reason which is search engine optimization says you should be!

Hopefully, this will help you narrow in on what days you can do better marketing for your business, start up new conversations and experience better traction with your content.  As always, if you ever have ANY questions, reach out and ask me.   We want to see you be successful!

Be bigger, better and more BIONIC with your posting now!

Sheryl Brown / @BIONICsocialite