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

 

 

 

 

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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

 

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

What @PennHolderness and @KimJDean are teaching us about creativity through #JammieTime

I admit when I’m wrong – and here I am…eating crow about the Holderness family.

Last year, I was a little turned off by the #JammieTime YouTube video where this very creative family with Penn Holderness and Kim Holderness featured their kids, where the lived, etc. in a Christmas video that went viral.  Truly, I approached my concern from a space of worry about their kids and any weirdos out there….but that worry has now turned into marketing jealousy on how such the simple idea (notice I didn’t say “easy” because there is nothing easy about making a video, I know this!) of changing up a well-known R.E.M. song to provide a glance back into their lives has once again gone crazy well.  Well done, Holderness family!

What #JammieTime taught me was to stop worrying so much and let my creativity flow…yes, even in the conservative world of financial services.  I write differently a year later because of folks like the Holdernesses who empowered me to be real and tell the stories as I would when speaking on stage.  If someone is a naysayer, who cares?

Watch the video – relish in the fun this family is having – clap for their successes and then apply their lessons to your practice.  How will you be different this year?  Is fear holding you back from being a little more creative?  Where can you make some tweaks and keep true to your message?

I’m Holderness-ing your feet to the flame in 2015!

Sheryl Brown / @BIONICsocialite