Archive for August, 2012
Hello all. I just got back from the 2012 LIMRA/LOMA Social Media for Financial Services conference in Boston and I can sum it up in one word- progress. Celebrate it. It’s encouraging to see the ongoing progress that is propelling the adoption of social media in financial services forward. Less and less are we asking “WHY” and starting to ask “HOW” or even better “WHAT’S NEXT?” I am happy that Actiance is part of the process enabling financial professionals with solutions to access and leverage the power of social. As your partner, we’ll join you on the ride and show you the way.
I’d like to thank Stephen Selbey and the entire LIMRA/LOMA team for putting together an agenda chock full of great speakers and educational sessions including: Erik Qualman, Jennifer Grazel, Glen Reardon and Curtis Hougland, among others.
At Erik’s presentation we learned that social is no longer an option and has become an embedded part of the marketing, communications and customer service solution. Those that embrace it are finding new ways to connect and engage with customers that is fun, light and effective. My favorite part of his presentation was the video he shared of the way Wheat Thins is rewarding its customers, see video below.
“Technology does not move backward” – Tina Fey
It’s time to decide: are you in or are you out?
You may not want to be first, but you certainly don’t want to be last. What are you waiting for?
At the LinkedIn feature presentation with Jennifer Grazel we learned that the mass affluent IS online and wants to connect with financial professionals online. According to Jennifer there are now over 175 Million people on LinkedIn and being connected is the #1 attribute to professional success. Are you Linked-In?
At a “Voice of the Field” session I attended, I heard how current financial professionals are leveraging social and building their business using new technology. I was especially impressed with Ted Jenkin of oXYGen Financial in Atlanta who is shunning printed materials and brochures and is using social and electronic means to get his message across. According to Ted, if you provide quality content that drives engagement, opportunities for lead generation will present themselves. Be consistent, be relevant and share. Ted doesn’t carry business cards, instead he demonstrated how he connects with new contacts via text. He had the entire audience text him at a special number and within minutes we received his contact information. How cool is that? It was like a magic trick. [By the way, it’s Ted’s birthday today. How do I know? I looked him up on LinkedIn]. Leverage the tools.
At an informative Google session led by Glen Reardon we learned that search is in the fabric of social, and as social evolves, the lines between people and brands blur. We cannot dismiss the power of what it means to be found via social and how engagement online leads to improved relationships. In fact, 92% of consumers trust peer recommendations, and only 14% trust advertisements. This is huge- especially when you consider that today 60% of social media users create product and service reviews. What are they saying about you?
According to Reardon I also hope you are camera ready. With expectations that video content will make up close to 90% of shared content in the next 3-5 years, you’ll need to get your game face on because it’s lights, camera, ACTION! On a side note, Glen has an uncanny resemblance to actor and comedian Steve Carell, so if his gig at Google doesn’t work out, he can probably do stand in or stunt work for Carell in Hollywood.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see Curtis Hougland’s presentation in person. However, I did follow along and you can too by going to the Twitter hashtag #llsmc that was used throughout the conference. From the tweeters in attendance we learned that companies that listen and talk to customers run better and more profitable businesses especially if they socialize on every step of the customer journey. We need to approach social media not as a challenge, but an opportunity. An opportunity that works best when it’s part of an integrated multi-channel marketing strategy and not an single independent silo. Are you doing this already?
The best part of any conference is the opportunity to meet people and do some old school social networking. I had the good fortune to meet up with Amy McIllwain of Financial Social Media, Paul Tyler of Fidelity & Guaranty Life, Mike Byrnes of Byrnes Consulting, and Hannah Lee and Mimi Reed of the Principal Financial Group. These are the ones to follow, the trend setters and thought leaders that are raising the bar in financial social media.
Finally, I’d like to thank all of the Actiance customers that came by to say hello and let us know how we are doing. I appreciated learning how your financial professionals are using our platform and leveraging social to connect and engage with customers. Thank you also for sharing positive feedback on our process and team support. It’s what we do, and we strive to do it better and better every day.
Speaking of getting better. We are currently working on developing a new thought leadership webinar series that will introduce you to some of the best minds in the business of social in financial services. Stay tuned as we work out the details. Given Glen Reardon’s presentation we may have a few Google+ hangouts in the works.
Well, it’s great to get out, and even better to come home.
Thank you Boston…you are wicked awesome!
Today’s post comes from Joanna Belbey, Social Media and Compliance Specialist at Actiance.
It’s the heat of the summer and you are being besieged by requests to vote for presentations at South by Southwest, a digital conference held this year from March 8-12 in Austin, Texas. Why are we so passionate about SXSW? Everyone’s experience is unique. For me, my first impulse is to map out a plan of carefully selected educational programs to explore obscure topics and bone up on industry trends. Then after a day or two, I get overwhelmed and just want to hang around the Blogger Lounge at the Convention Center. Or maybe have brunch at the spooky Driskill Hotel. Or walk around outside (if it isn’t pouring!), to watch folks play Foursquare and try to pick up as many t-shirts as possible. Plus indulge in BBQ, iced tea, and that great white bread you can’t find in New York City. And then there are the parties. As I’m pretty much an early bird, I drop by one or two, and then head back to Hotel Austin for room service and watch the tweets unfold.
For me, random conversations are the essence of SXSW. I’ve met the most amazing people: interns just getting started in their careers (in the hallway of the Convention Center), a thought leader I follow on Twitter (sitting next to me at an event), a journalist from The New York Times (in a taxi at 5:30am on the way to the airport), to world renown filmmakers (Starbucks). It really doesn’t matter what you do, or where you go, if you look up from your smart phone and smile, you will meet passionate, fascinating people from all walks of life. You’ll learn something new and start relationships that deepen over time. I think of it as summer camp for adults.
So, help us out. Please review each of the five submissions below, and if you like what you see, click through to vote “Thumbs Up”. Thank you in advance. Hope to see you there!
Joanna Belbey (Actiance)
Social Media Security & Compliance
Security and compliance are at the center of the conversation regarding using social media for regulated industries such as financial services, energy and healthcare. This workshop will break down security and compliance issues including: an overview of the regulatory and eDiscovery landscape (SEC, FINRA, IIROC, HIPAA, PCI, FSA, FRCP, FERC, NERC); the dangers of data leakage (personal information, intellectual property, credit card/SSN, client records); incoming threats (malware, spyware, viruses, trojans, inappropriate content); user behavior (employee productivity, bandwidth explosion, every employee being a face of the business) and 9 Steps you take to mitigate the risks of using social media. @actiance @belbey
Joanna Belbey (Actiance), Greg Gunn (HootSuite) and James Graham (CMP.LY)
How Financial Firms Can Move from Spam to Social
The attraction of social media is that it is the most informal and instantaneous of modern communications. Ironically, the standard operating procedure for most financial services firms is to pre-approve every post before it goes out, despite the fact that FINRA makes allowances for much greater flexibility based upon post review in many cases. We will host a discussion of where and how post review can be employed as an effective compliance tool to enable FinServ companies to use social media as it was intended. @actiance @belbey @gunnr @hootsuite @JamesGraham @CMPLY
Sarah Carter (Actiance)
Social: Leveraging the swords of a thousand men..
Those organizations that enable social media will be in the top 20% of their industry when it comes to revenue growth. Enabling individuals to use their own authentic voice yet, ensure that corporate branding and governance guidelines are met is imperative to the success of the enablement of social within any organization.The growth of the personal brand, the engagement of the individual in matters that concern the organization will see the true growth and benefit of social media. @actiance @sarahactiance
Victor Gaxiola (Actiance)
The Legal Issues of Social Media
This workshop is designed to help you understand some of the key legal issues arising from social media and what it means to you and your organization. Includes an overview of the key legal issues arising from social media such as privacy, content ownership, intellectual property infringement and unauthorized activities; legal statutes for operators and users of social networking sites; industry-specific legislation and regulatory bodies; recent court cases and best practices. @actiance @victorgaxiola
And our Financial Services Rockstar:
Joyce Sullivan (SocMediaFin)
Career Reinvention: Social Media and New Work
Thousands of jobs have been eliminated or outsourced to other cities and countries. Second wave / industrial revolution era industries have been shrinking and disappearing. Years of preparation, higher education degrees and work experience doesn’t count much anymore for ensuring career success. What’s a ‘second waver’ to do? My story is about career reinvention and my decision to leave my traditional corporate job to start my own company. ‘Second wavers’ who are reinventing their careers and themselves are shaping the future now. My session will take participants through the steps I created and followed to leave my corporate VP job, start my own firm, and how they too can reinvent themselves and own their career destiny. @joycemsullivan @socmediafin
Today’s post comes from Norv Leong, Director of Product Marketing at Actiance.
Reading the smart-ass comments to online articles, blogs, Facebook posts, and the like is often more enjoyable than reading the actual article, blog, or Facebook post itself. Everyone wants to be a David Letterman or Rush Limbaugh, quick with the wit or politically charged rant. Tempers flare, folks get offended, or others just plain embarrassed. At the end of the day though, most all of what’s “out there” is deemed free speech.
That’s the beauty of the First Amendment. You can say what you want (most of the time) without reprisal. The US government – author, guardian, and object of the First Amendment – knows it’s in a pickle. Loads of federal agencies have their own Facebook pages and they’re very wary of the fact that the public can and will use these pages as a sounding board for all kinds of commentary and preaching.
Exactly when those comments cross the line and become, say, threats to national security, that’s when things get murky. Where does that line get drawn? When is a comment “libelous”? When does a comment lose its First Amendment protection? I think you get the idea.
Having a comment policy in place is a good start. Making it very clear what is acceptable behavior for comments sets boundaries that apply to anyone and everyone. There’s no singling out one person over another. Doesn’t matter what color skin you’ve got; what your sexual preference is; what religion you practice; what football team you follow. The policy applies to everyone. If you violate it, your comment will be removed. Simple as that.
Even better is utilizing technology to assist in the enforcement of these types of policies. I’m not saying to take down every comment that drops an f-bomb or some other derogatory comment, but you can use technology as the helping hand in flagging potentially libelous or incendiary material and, if need be, remove it from the system.
I mean, c’mon, I’m sure our Founding Fathers bickered amongst themselves when they were laying the groundwork for the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Just think what it would’ve been like had they had Facebook at their disposal!?!? One of their Facebook conversations might’ve gone like this:
George Washington (GW): What do you think fellas… just make me the emperor and call it a day. No term limits. I’ll just pass the torch when I’m dead.
Benjamin Franklin (BF): Georgie baby, methinks you’ve been hittin’ the herbal remedy a bit too hard. How bout a ten-year max limit so you can spend some time with Martha and work on your garden?
James Madison (JM): Nah, I think George would get bored of ten years of emperor-ing. The guy’s got too many side interests. I think four years is just the right amount of time. Any longer than that and we’ll have another riot, like what happened in Boston a few years back….over tea fer crissakes!
BF: Yeah, good point. This land seems to have a bunch of rabble rousers. Which brings up another point. We better come up with a system that deals with these hooligan punks should they act up. Maybe some kind of judicial or trial system where we can put the hammer down on them, if they do something bad.
GW: Y’all crack me up. I was just kidding about the emperor bit. Let’s go with four years and call ‘em President. Well, I’m spent, fellas. Anyone fancy a beer….or 5?
And a country was born…
Today’s post comes from Norv Leong, Director of Product Marketing at Actiance.
Star Trek’s popularity has spanned several generations. The captains’ names have changed (Kirk, Picard, Archer) through the years, but the fans’ devotion and passion have continued to chug along. The show was premised on federations and how many beings of different colors, shapes, and beliefs could still get along (save for the Klingons).
The same concept holds for federation when it comes to real-time communications. Gone are the days of closed networks where you can only talk or IM with folks in your own network (remember AOL back in the day?). Now, Yahoo! Messenger users can IM with Windows Live Messenger (WLM) users, and unified communications platforms like Microsoft Lync can federate with public IM networks, such as the aforementioned Yahoo.
This is great news for inter-planetary “keeping in touch,” but it also raises issues about security. Safely connecting to these public IM networks is of paramount concern for folks in charge of IT security. The old adage, “you never know who’s lurking out there,” couldn’t be more true. Tasked with ensuring that the security of their enterprise communications and collaboration platforms are airtight, great pains have to be taken to make sure that opening up to public IM networks doesn’t flood the corporate network with malware, worms, viruses, and the like.
This is where granular federation controls come into play. Being able to control which external parties can communicate with a given organization’s employees, groups, or networks is huge. Furthermore, it could very well be that a large enterprise has a regulatory duty to separate its business functions or divisions. Actiance Vantage enables organizations to control communications such that employees are blocked from contacting anyone (including external users) who might be on a blacklist.
This reduces the chances of malware infection, data leakage, and the potential to interact with another person outside of an ethical or regulatory boundary. It also means that you won’t be at the mercy of another organization’s security policy. Freedom to federate is great, but as Captain Kirk and his crew could attest to, you gotta be careful who you interact with because not everyone comes in peace.
“Get us out of here, Sulu! Warp factor 8!”
If you aren’t listening to your customers, how do you plan to engage?
During a recent visit to Chicago I had the pleasant experience of engaging with a brand that is effectively using social listening to increase brand equity and in turn brand loyalty. In two tweets, they not only made me feel welcomed, they also provided me an example of how a brand can leverage a social tool to and share this experience with others- likely their long term motive.
After a heavy meal at one of our favorite restaurants, we decided to visit the Peninsula Hotel for an evening drink to finish the night. As a regular user of foursquare I checked in on my arrival to the lounge. Within seconds of my check-in I received a tweet welcome from the Peninsula Chicago (@ThePenisulaChi) that included an open ended question inviting me to a conversation. The entire exchange is below:
I proceeded to answer the question, and instead of being sold a product or service I was thanked for including the Peninsula Hotel as part of my Chicago experience.
What stood out to me about this exchange was the following:
1. The Peninsula Hotel is listening and engaging with people who check-in using foursquare, leveraging the location sharing application.
2. I felt welcomed and thanked for the visit.
3. In two tweets they have differentiated themselves from every other business that I check-in to that does not acknowledge my presence at all.
From a brand equity standpoint, I left feeling better about my experience at the hotel and was quick to share my exchange with my entire party and am writing about it now, which is yet another boost to their brand. All from two tweets!
Social listening does not mean that you have to give anything away but at the very least acknowledge your audience, especially when they are providing you with the information about their location and interactions with your people or your brand. It also provides you insight about who your customers are and how the engage with your people and products. How would knowing this differentiate you from your competitors?
There are hundreds, maybe thousands of places to get a drink in Chicago that I could choose to visit, however, during my next visit I will likely go back to the Peninsula. All from 2 tweets!
Today’s post comes from Norv Leong, Director of Product Marketing at Actiance.
As social software becomes entrenched on the enterprise scene, now would be a good time to put to rest some common misperceptions and myths that have hung ominously over the space. The Jive IPO and Microsoft’s acquisition of Yammer speak to the validation and adoption of social software as a viable means to enhance productivity and foster engagement.
So, with that as a backdrop, let’s take a look at some common misperceptions and see how we can’t allay these concerns:
Myth #1: Social software isn’t subject to regulatory guidelines
Social media and social software may be new forms of communication, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be logged and archived for regulatory compliance purposes. In the eyes of the regulatory bodies (think SEC, FINRA, FERC, and similar), social software is just another form of electronic communication to be treated no differently than email. That means that content posted to social software platforms needs to be supervised, logged, and archived to ensure compliance with applicable recordkeeping and monitoring provisions. Since social software greatly facilitates collaboration, it’s very easy for individuals to bounce ideas (sometimes sensitive or unauthorized information) off each other and exchange files. That’s why the regulators are interested.
Myth #2: No one cares about social software eDiscovery
Anyone who’s lived in the US for any length of time will quickly and vigorously nod their head when asked, “Do you think the US is a litigious society?” That’s like asking the Pope if he’s religious. People do care about social software eDiscovery, and over the last few years, we’ve begun to see several cases emerge involving social. Lester v Allied and Crispin v Audigier come to mind as particularly relevant cases involving social media eDiscovery.
In fact, Duke University conducted a comprehensive study and found that the number of eDiscovery cases jumped from 7 in 2003 to 111 in 2009. The study cited that the #1 reason for courts issuing sanctions was a failure to produce electronic evidence (social software included). And, like litigation in general, there seems to be no end in sight.
Myth #3: Corporate governance has nothing to do with social software
Au contraire. Social software has everything to do with corporate governance, especially in an era where news travels lightning fast via social channels. You needn’t look further than the Arab Spring to see the speed and power of social in action.
Good corporate governance entails having the appropriate policies and procedures in place for records retention, information governance, and conflict management. It’s wide-ranging with the objective of instilling a sense of accountability throughout the company. And this includes social software communications. People use social software to brainstorm, debate, and even vent. Say or write the wrong thing, and all of a sudden, it becomes a corporate governance issue.
Myth #4: Plain ol’ capture is sufficient
Well, not exactly. Following on from the discussion above, responding in a timely fashion to discovery requests sounds easy but comes with some challenges. When you think about the volume of data floating around out there (emails, social software content, Facebook posts, Skype IMs, etc.), you’ll get a headache right quick. Those headaches are compounded by the manner in which this content is logged and archived.
Many of today’s archiving systems just capture the content without regard to context. We all know that people like to respond to blogs or other posts on social media. When you’ve got a couple dozen people chiming in with their thoughts, feedback, even deleted comments, it’s easy to see the importance of capturing conversations in context. There are just too many regulatory, legal, and corporate governance issues at stake to risk a substantial sanction or fine.
Off my soapbox now…
So there you have it – this author’s version of Mythbusters. Like with most things social, it’s all quite fluid and dynamic. What I just wrote today may be old hat tomorrow. But, given that old-school concepts such as law and compliance still hold valid today, I gotta believe that the myths debunked above has some legs.
What kinds of myths are you seeing in your enterprise?
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