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


Technology and Regulation: A modern day tortoise and hare tale…with a twist!

Rtortoise and hareaise your hand if you have a mobile device.

Ok, good; you’re in the majority of business professionals today who are putting technology to good use.  [It’s very easy to figure out who the hare is in this tale is going to be; think of the “Energizer Bunny”.]

Now, raise your hand if you think compliance and regulation are able to keep up with technology today.

What?  I don’t see one hand raised out there in social media land.  What’s up with that?

What you’re experiencing is the modern-day story of the tortoise and the hare race, except the difference in today’s story is that the hare is winning…by a lot!

I’m not a compliance poo-pooer, not at all.  I believe in keeping consumers and advisors both safe.  Compliance has a definite place.  What I am is intolerant of is embracing practices that purposely hold an entire legion of financial services professionals back who are working to improve the financial landscape of those they serve.  It’s like the tortoise became cavalier with his win and when the hare actually dug into the race and sped out ahead, the tortoise had to pull out all the stops to “win” the race back.  Not entirely fair.

And this problem is not only specific to financial services though.  I recently watched an episode of #JayToday with Jay Baer of Convince & Convert.  [He’s one of my favorite social media strategist.]  In this YouTube, he talks about being on a flight and using software that allows you to text via WiFi and then being called out by a flight attendant. The flight attendant was so fixated on the regulation, she then become short-sighted and didn’t know the appropriate work around on this.   It makes those spewing regulation look old and crotchety.  You should watch the episode here:

After a recent SIFMA conference, ThinkAdvisor.com published an article telling the financial services community they were behind in social media use (duh, right?) and later confirmed by a PeopleLinx report discussing social selling trends that 73% of respondents saw value in social selling, yet only 26% overall felt they knew how to use social for selling.  When PeopleLinx dug into the report findings more, they uncovered when encouragement, training and measurement were provided, social increased dramatically.  

So why does regulation continue to be so far behind technology?  It’s a loaded question and not one we are going to answer in this blog, but one we need to continue to question every time an advisor is told “No” by someone in an officer role.  It’s ok to ask, “Why?” and really dig into the reason behind it.  It’s the only way we are going to push compliance to acknowledge the slow response to change and adjust accordingly.  Our ability to be nimble is imperative if we are to keep up with other industries of professionals who are gaining face time with our clients.

I really want the underdog to win, but not by undermining the race.  Play hard, yet play fair.

Be bigger, better and more BIONIC today!

Sheryl Brown / @BIONICsocialite

How do we win against @Google?

packersHow about that Packers game on Sunday?  I say “Packers” game because it was their game, but they made a critical error at the time of the fake field goal.  They weren’t paying attention and the Seahawks literally came in and took the game from them.  Boom – that’s how football games roll, right?

Don’t you think that same play could happen in our financial services world?  It already is.

Technology is ever pressing into our communities and because we aren’t paying attention, places like Google are setting us up for the fake field goal move and putting our profession at risk of being taken from us.  See the recent article by the New York Times on “Insurance via Internet is Squeezing Agents”.  With online insurance comparisons so user-friendly, we have to recognize that online property/casualty quoting is the gateway drug to life and health insurance sectors.

We gotta snap out of, ladies and gentlemen!

Google.  It may become our professional community version of David and Goliath.  After all, Google has an artillery of data in their pocket to draw on (their armor and shield).  We have a Client Relationship Management system (our staff and sling).  Google has analysts, developers, coders and technology architects.  We maybe have an assistant and a back office to help us navigate the choppy waters.

How do we win against Google?

The good news is we all know how the story line plays out, right?  We must become our own version of David and find our stone to sling.

That means you must have REAL conversations about your business, its practices and where it’s going this year:

  • Are you reaching into new markets through your own efforts or better yet, bringing a new person on board to help you map out that financial landscape?
  • When was the last time you called EVERY SINGLE CLIENT you have and talked to them?
  • If your clients were talking to their friends about you, what do you think they would say?

We have so much control over our business, but we get distracted with so many little things that we forget there are Goliaths in the world who want to come in and defeat our business.  Are we going to let that happen?  NO!

Get your slingshot out.  Set it on your desk to remind you that we are all working to defeat the giants and protect our turf!

Be bigger, better and more BIONIC today!

Sheryl Brown / @BIONICsocialite