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

Advertisements

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

 

 

 

 

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

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.  Lifehacker.com 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, etc.as 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

…and the standing ovation goes to @FMGSuite!

social
Financial service professionals: If you’re tired of me telling you to do social media, then maybe you’ll listen to Craig Faulkner of FMG Suite!

I had the good fortune to visit with Craig Faulkner last fall at his office in San Diego – wow!  I was blown away!  Craig has an AMAZING staff that really care about financial professionals and their social image.

Recently, an article written by Craig was published by InvestmentNews.com about the advisors who are still not using social media.  I still don’t get that – say what?

Craig addresses 5 major theories on those who are not using social and I want to reiterate and support his thoughts because I run into these every single day at Ash Brokerage:

  1. Huh?  Advisors just don’t get it.  Gary Vaynerchuk of Vayner Media reminds us that we didn’t come out of the womb driving a car, we learned how to do it.  Well, social media is no different.  Pick something and go!
  2. Compliance.  I think Craig was kind when he said advisors ‘explain’ their fear of compliance.  I’m just going to say it’s an excuse.  Compliance has become a crutch for some advisors to create an excuse not do something / anything.  Find out from your compliance officer what is allowed.  If you can’t decipher the mumbo-jumbo legal jargon they send you, partner with someone (or contact us at Ash Brokerage) to help you with this.
  3. NOW!  One thing some advisors do is try to put me on the spot about how they haven’t gotten any traction on social media, yet they’ve had a LinkedIn account for 6 months or have a Twitter account they’ve never tweeted from.  Just like anything, social media takes time.  I remind often that the ROI of social media is Return on Impact…if you’re not putting fair impact into your social, then you’re not going to get a fair return on it either.
  4. Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That!  C’mon!  Anything good takes time.  You nurtured a relationship to become a marriage.  You nurtured a child to become an adult.  You nurtured your education to graduate from college.  Marketing is the same thing – you must put time into it to get something out of it. Make the time!
  5. Ch-Ching!  Most social media platforms are free.  There are costs associated with keeping them compliant.  Put the cost in perspective of keeping your content compliant and meeting new clients though.  Craig is right when he points out these are a fraction of your marketing budget.

So what are you waiting for?  Join others – stop being social media averse and embrace learning a new skill.  There are lots of us that want to help you succeed!

I can’t let Craig one up me though!  Ha!  I did a video with Craig where I offered 5 social media marketing tips and we would love for you to watch it!  Just click here:  http://www.fmgsuite.com/market-in-motion/five-social-media-secrets-with-sheryl-brown/ 

Let’s get social – feel free to connect with me, Craig and others online!

Be bigger, better and more BIONIC today!

Sheryl Brown / @BIONICsocialite

Sticky…no sticky. But no sticky…STICKY!

dadI have to give a shout-out to my daddy, Daymon Brown.  He recently celebrated his 76th birthday last week and he’s been on my mind!  Happy Birthday, Dad!

When I was a kid, I really thought he was not all that smart (sorry, Dad if you’re reading this!)  My dad was a little more ‘at one’ with nature than most and admittedly by him, my father is pretty “country”.  Just the way he likes it!  (Don’t get him going about catalpa trees!)

You can ask my dad all kind of questions that have to do with the land, wildlife and especially the weather and patterns…and he will have a country answer for them.  (And yes, the Farmer’s Almanac takes up permanent residence in the Brown house!)  But, I bet my dad didn’t realize he knew the answer to good social media strategy though.  Let me explain.

Growing up just outside of St. Louis, we lived in an unincorporated area that received its fair amount of snow.  We couldn’t depend on snowplows to come save us. Understanding if the snow was going to stick around was critical to our getting around on the streets and he knew how to tell.  My dad always reminded, “Sticky…no sticky.  But no sticky…STICKY!”  I will translate:  Sticky snow is not sticking around.  It’s heavy, filled with water and will melt pretty quickly…so don’t worry about it.  But that light, flouncy snow that comes down and seems to blow around and isn’t sticky at all…you’re warned:  that stuff is sticking around!

Well guess what?  Your social media strategy should be the same way.

People think if they go on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. and dump shloads (<–that’s not misspelled!)  of what they think is sticky stuff on you in the social space like:

  • Posting too much about their business
  • Telling you all about what they know
  • Making sure you know all the people they work with

…well that’s just not sticky for business.  It’s a turn off and people won’t want to do business with you.  Sticky…no sticky.

However, if you go in with a no sticky attitude and do things like:

  • Give away some help, just because it’s the right thing to do
  • Share an article that has nothing to do with your business, but warms your client’s hearts and minds
  • Reach out and ask how you can participate in something without trying to get something in return

…now that’s the sticky stuff right there!  You engage people in way that is kind and not about business.  No sticky…sticky!

I recently read an article on WealthManagement.com that talked about the sticky factor…except they went into this whole thing about demographics, which is way above the marketing levels of most to understand, but they said something very key:  “Relevant dialogue and education are the primary ingredients of “sticky” relationships, and delivering them requires understanding clients’ needs, wants and worries.  How novel is that?  Be relevant and relatable and provide education and value to a client.  Is that really new though?   We just have to get back to basics, folks.

I promise you, remembering the Sticky..No Sticky. No Sticky…STICKY rule works.  Ask yourself in the moment if what you’re doing is being overly sticky?  If so, you’re not sticking in your client’s mind.  However, if what you’re doing is not sticky to you, watch out – those clients will get stuck like glue to you and that’s a problem you want to have.

Be bigger, better and more BIONIC today!

Sheryl Brown / @BIONICsocialite