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!