Archive for category Google
Today we bring you the first of a new series on the Actiance blog: Thursday’s are “Thought Leader Thursdays” (or #TLTActiance). I’ll preface this by saying that the content is entirely that of our thought leaders, who come from all over the world, the industry and from different areas of business.
Our inaugural blog comes from our good friend and colleague in the industry, April Rudin, who you may know from @TheRudinGroup. April writes and blogs extensively, in and around the financial services space. She’s well known for her blogging on @huffingtonpost and you’ll see her at most of the financial services events especially on the East Coast of the USA.
Enjoy the blog! Sarah Carter
One of the most frequent financial advisor/wealth manager miscues in social/digital marketing is the lack of a content calendar or a basic marketing plan. It amazes me how the “planners have no plan” when it comes to new client acquisition or retention. Many people approach it almost impulsively, like opening up a Twitter account, without any clue about how to use it, what their messaging should be, or even an avatar/photo! What’s more, this “play” or experimentation is happening on the most visible amplified platform possible: the internet.
Ugh! How can you avoid embarrassing “Social Media Hall of Shame?” In this blog, I will discuss one aspect which is importance of on-going consistent and constant content. While there are plenty of mistakes and faux pas to make, the easiest to avoid is the “content vacation.” To me, this is the most egregious “offense” and it discredits the firm/advisor to existing/potential clients in the worst way: not following through with a plan. Here are a few examples. An advisor opens a Twitter account, begins following friends, or anyone, and has one solo tweet, something like “I am on Twitter now”. That was last January. The Twitter account has sat vacant since. Isn’t it suggesting that the advisor may behave that way with my assets? Another example is the blog which is posted inconsistently, i.e. January, February, March August, November, (you get the idea!). The “Hall of Shame” blog topics are without any thread linking the blog to the firm or to each other, and, perhaps the blogs were part of a one-time newsletter which has never been repeated again.
Ugh! Ugh! Developing a compelling content calendar can be very helpful in staying on track and on-time. To create an actionable, content calendar, you need to determine: What is the content? Who is the audience? Which platforms will be used? And who is responsible for what? Accountability is the key to creating a system, process for the positioning of your personal and firm’s brand on a regular basis in a way which leads back to you, your firm and new/more AUM.
I asked Kathleen Pritchard, Director and Head of Advisor Development for Legg-Mason about the importance of good, consistent content. Kathleen remarked, “While financial advisors may have limited time and resources, it’s the differentiated content which will attract and engage with your audience.”
Kathleen and I both agree that one way to create a compelling content process to include curating content from guest bloggers such as other trusted advisors is one way to “pepper” your blog with interesting stories tied to the calendar. An example would be to calendar a tax attorney to write a “year-end” blog. Inviting other third-party experts will also assist in your outreach as the contributor is likely to send your blog out within their own network as well. Repurposing the same content is another way to help and using evergreen content which is not time-sensitive can be useful in your calendar.
The brevity of this blog and the complexity of this important messaging are at odds. I have so much more to say but limited to 500 characters. Contact me.
You can always tell the forward thinking companies that take the concept of collaboration and social business – and think not just ” what can this technology concept do for my business”, but also “what can it do for my customers?”
We’ve seen a great example of that launch this week – and as a Brit abroad I’m proud to say its out of the UK. That’s right the folks at the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Natwest have as we start 2013 given us BizCrowd. Aiming to provide collaboration between British SME’s, to help them build their online profile and ultimately generate business leads, as well as improve their supply chain, BizCrowd lets users pitch for service requirements posted by other businesses – or post their own, while a feedback mechanism lets customers in the community rate registered suppliers.
I love it. And I’ve been excited about this concept since it was first mentioned to me more than 18 months ago. That RBS and Natwest are going out to publicly assist not just their customers, but British SME’s generally is superb. That they’ve also connected the site up with those great drivers of traffic, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube equally recognises how we consume and share information these days. It’s also great to see the team using Twitter to drive customer service responses as well! (check out @RBSBusiness and @NatwestBusiness)
RBS and Natwest are embracing the concept of “Bank Manager 2.0″ – as Chris Sullivan, CEO, corporate banking, RBS & NatWest, says: “It has always been the role of the bank manager to connect British businesses to one another, now we’re extending that support online. We hope BizCrowd helps as many SMEs as possible raise their profile and win new business.”
Congratulations to the BizCrowd team – we love what you’ve done and we’re delighted to be associated with you!
There’s nothing like a good healthy debate I say. So I was interested to see Jae Kim discussing right here on the Actiance Blog yesterday about the world turning Facebook Blue. As ever Jae and I like to discuss and we truly come at our discussion from differing points of view. Much like any team of stakeholders in an organization, my view is colored by my outlook, my responsibilities and my requirements, as is Jae’s.
Our view of the social world is also colored by the industry in which we live, eat and breathe. Take for instance Actiance’s markets for social media engagement and compliance – Financial Services, Wealth Management, Banking and Insurance – the world that our end users tend to exist in, is very definitely still blue, it’s just a different hue. That’s right folks, the primary network of choice that we’re seeing being used by these industries is LinkedIn and LinkedIn have done some pretty cool research on this recently..
I agree wholeheartedly with Jae that Facebook won’t replace other forms of communications, but I do have to say “tosh”* (* for those non Brit’s in the audience, that means I disagree with him) to his comment that Facebook is used primarily as a personal social network. Why? Well there’s a number of reasons (and bear in mind my opinion is more than likely based on my role and what colors me..).
1) It might be personal, but look at all the brands I engage with. Brands like the ones I’m engaging with aren’t people. It’s not personal to the brand. My engagement in the last two weeks has been with Amtrak (and I’m delighted that they re-used my photo of Donner Lake following my trip on the California Zephyr recently); Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, New York Life Insurance, .. the list goes on.
Actually though it looks like I’m in the minority. Only 1% of Facebook users engage with brands according to Adage
2) the HUGE growth that we’re seeing in engagement is about the rise of the personal brand. Take a look at @FrankEliason – orginally the character behind the 140 at Comcast, now the walking, talking, tweeting face of @Citi and the author of a superb read on customer service and Social. This is where the major growth of social usage will come from – I expect lots of this in 2013.
3) There is no difference for me between personal and professional. When I look at my Facebook account, I have well, what I’d call my personal profile (that’s me http://www.facebook.com/sarahcarterdockerty ). I have a SarahActiance business person page, but you know, there is no difference between Sarah the professional person and Sarah the individual. I live Social, so if we’re friends, if you follow, or if you’re a connection – depending on which network and what terminology you use, then what you see is what you get. I’m friends on Facebook with customers, compliance officers, journalists, analysts, as well as friends, family and colleagues. Does that help me in business? Absolutely. Only this morning, an ex colleague who I’ve remained in contact with on Facebook with since she left the company, reached out and asked if we were recruiting again; I’ve now got a “movie critics R US” session at the upcoming @IBM Connect because I’m buddies with @jakewengroff on Foursquare and we’re going to compare notes on Les Mis and Anna Karenina.
4) Is Facebook at it’s peak? Well who’s to say. There are two ways in which social networks grow – first the number of users they add, then its about the saturation of the individual users. So there will come a peak for the number of users.. but then you know this world in which we live had population growth too… but what about the way in which we use social. Has my usage of Facebook gone up over the last 12 months? Certainly. Oh most certainly. but so to has my use of Pinterest, Twitter, Foursquare and Google+. Growth for the networks themselves comes in the minutes we spend on the network and the locations we access those networks from.
5) And that’s kind of vaguely a nice segue into Google+ because it appears despite many folks best efforts to ignore Google’s n’th attempt to break down the Facebook Blue, there’s going to be no avoiding Google+ according to the Wall Street Journal’s Amit Efrati.
Well, I think 5 is just enough bullet points to invite debate. I’ll leave you with a question. What’s your most relevant social network? And Why?
Today’s post comes from Norv Leong, Director of Product Marketing at Actiance.
Google is back at it again with the introduction of more business-oriented features for Google+. This is significant because it places the tech giant squarely in the social business sea with the likes of Jive, Yammer/Microsoft, and Salesforce Chatter, just to name some of the biggest fish.
Undaunted by the failure of the short-lived Google Wave, G+ on Roids (btw, there seems to be no official name for this enhanced offering, so this is what I’m calling it for the time being) seems to have a better chance at surviving. Why? Well, presumably, the smart folks at Google learned some lessons from their Wave experiment, and also, the value proposition of social business is much clearer than in 2009-10 when Wave was slip-sliding along.
With G+ on Roids, Google Apps users can leverage the social and business aspects of Google+ and Wave, respectively, much more seamlessly. For instance, sharing of posts on Google+ can be limited to specific individuals, and video meetings can be integrated with Gmail, Calendar, and Docs. However, Google’s emergence in the social business landscape once again highlights the potential dangers around compliance and security.
Businesses and their employees play by a different set of rules. They’re held to higher standards and expectations. For instance, public companies have to answer to Sarbanes-Oxley requirements. Regulated companies have to be mindful of whatever rules and statutes apply to them (e.g., SEC, HIPAA, FDA). And finally, just about any business can be sued these days, so litigation and other legal issues are always in the back of executives’ minds.
It’s all well and good to be chatting with your Facebook friends or tweeting sophomoric jokes to your buddies while you’re at home, but it’s a different ballgame when business-related conversations are happening over social media-type channels. Concerns over data privacy and the leakage of confidential information take center stage. That’s why we’re beginning to see a viable technology space flourish, addressing the compliance issues created by the adoption of social business platforms within the workplace.
Requirements around recordkeeping, supervision, and monitoring have brought more uncertainty and hesitation to the waters. Without the right gear, organizations stand to lose more than just the fish that got away: you could lose your boat, your customers, and your reputation. Companies are thus turning to Actiance to help navigate these murky waters. Actiance provides the visibility and clarity that enable organizations to effectively use these social business platforms, making for a more virtuous cycle in the sea.
It has already been close to a month since the launch of Google+, and I feel obliged to express my thoughts around Google+ on this blog. After all it’s only fair that I give a due time and attention to what Google created, the company that changed the way I use the web. Especially how Google fumbled earlier social attempts with Google Buzz, Wave and Orkut, they must have learned from those lessons.
I’m happy to report that they have. Let me talk about those few points that I think make Google+ shine on this blog post. In following blog post I will talk about some challenges that might slow down Google+ adoption.
One very clever and elegant solution to organize people that you subscribe to is Google+ Circle. It is clever because it extends from multiple UI paradigms that are already familiar to most users: Drag-and-drop and semantics of the word “circle”. By combining the two, it created deceptively simple user experience in organizing subscription sources into manageable lists. It reminds me of how Apple approached their UI by borrowing heavily from physical metaphors such as multi-touch screen navigation and finger swiping gesture. Perhaps this is not a surprise because Andy Hertzfeld was one of the key designers who created the UI.
Hangout is a video chat client. But to describe Hangout as yet another video chat is missing the bigger picture. What Google+ is after is creating a tele-presence experience with people who might be miles away. One way Google does this today is by allowing people to share YouTube video and watch it simultaneously as if they were sitting next to you looking at the same screen. By providing chat window and be able to inject your own commentaries while video is playing, Google wants users to not only share content using status updates and comments, but share them in real time when you and the participants are both available to “hangout”.
One application of Hangout is a public conferencing forum. In fact tinychat.com has been meeting that need for public video chat forum, much like how IRC was in early 1990′s. Hangout has all building blocks to become the next IRC with video conferencing capability. What will be interesting is to see how Google+ users will evolve Hangout feature.
A possible use case might be celebrity hosting a Hangout session to endorse the movie as it’s shown in below YouTube clip of Ashton Kutcher hanging out with his fans on tinychat (btw, he’s also the investor of tinychat).
Google+ Mobile: Nearby
Another cool feature that I want to underline is found in Google+ mobile application. It’s Google’s interpretation of location meeting social network application, and it has great potential to change the way Google+ mobile users think about location. It’s called Nearby.
Although Google+ doesn’t make a hoopla about Nearby on its overview page, it has great potential to change the way we think about Google+ and extend the way we interact with it.
The idea is simple. As a Google+ mobile user, you not only get the updates from people that you follow, but also can get updates from people who happened to be nearby from your current location. It doesn’t sound like much on the surface, but when you think about Google’s focus on Places and how it’s investing heavily to reclaim the lost ground on local businesses away from Groupon, it starts to make sense.
By having user’s location information and controlling how users can consume the data, Google can play an important role serving relevant local contents to users, such as nearby restaurants with good user review or local business deals that are on now.
In the next blog post I will touch on a few challenges that might slow down Google+ adoption.
What do you guys think of Google+? Do you believe Google+ will be a long-term success in becoming relevant among Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter? Please share your comments.
Its only 3 months, since I sat on a panel at the Finextra Social Media Day at the Reuters building in New York, ruminating on the future of financial services and social along with Daniel Marovitz of Deutsche Bank and Frank Eliason, SVP Social Media of Citi. Not content with discussing the future of financial services, social and mobile, we also talked about how social might impinge on the traditional bricks and mortar business of financial services.
Not far off, I said, referencing how Tesco (for those none UK folks in the room, that’s one of the largest supermarket chains in the UK) expanded out of groceries into clothing, household goods, furniture, electrical goods, AND financial services products – from banking to insurance, credit cards to travel products. Tesco’s model of gaining my loyalty through my grocery shopping and its Club Card – and yes I’m a sucker for coupons – and then using my fixation with the money off vouchers and the loyalty scheme to convince me to place my financial services business (more points and points mean prizes..) with them worked exceedingly well. Not just for me but for millions of others. The initial partnership that Tesco had with the Royal Bank of Scotland – latterly morphed into Tesco Bank – and really proved that the loyalty network that this grocery store built up, the trust they created gained thousands and thousands of account holders for the organization.
Tesco Bank now accounts for 7% of the Tesco Group 62.5billion pound sterling revenues.
And my “not far off” came about this week, with a new launch from Google.
No no no, I’m not talking about Google + - that so last week.
I’m talking about the Google credit card. The AdWords Business credit card promises a competitive interest rate of 8.99% and no annual fee with the sole proviso that it can only be used for spending on Internet advertising over the search engine, according to a report from Finextra. Google’s treasurer , Brent Callinicos says that the card will be offered to a statistically significant number of people as Google investigates how the card affects spending. With more than a million users of the Adwords network – they’ve got a large enough audience to go after!
Hundreds of millions of people use Google every day to search through many petabytes of the world’s knowledge, in 146 different languages. It goes without saying that Google has become a threat to the bricks and mortar business of our traditional financial services organizations. They’ve built a loyal following (where would we be without Google maps these days?), a dependency ingrained within us (a colleagues 5 years old upon finding that her father couldn’t answer a questions retorted with an exclamation – “What do you mean you don’t know, why don’t you Google it?”) and that loyalty, that dependency is one small step for consumers, one giant leap for Google’s increasing domination.
We are in interesting times folks, interesting and exciting. Now what remains to be seen is how the financial services market will take the fight to the social network What’s your prediction?
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