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Video Broke Through the Noise for Advisors in 2020: Hearsay Systems

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What You Need to Know

  • In 2020, 53% of Hearsay customers published over 247,000 videos on its client engagement platform.
  • Original content continued to drive the highest levels of advisor engagement with clients.
  • The percentage of original content posted to social channels grew 6% from 2019.

In a challenging year, advisors became more strategic and sophisticated in 2020, leveraging new mediums to convey their messages, and video content proved an especially “effective means of capturing eyeballs,” according to Hearsay Systems.

In 2020, 53% of Hearsay’s global customers across all lines of business published more than 247,000 videos on the company’s client engagement platform, it said Thursday in announcing its 2021 Social Selling Content Study.

The fourth annual study examined data from more than 200,000 advisors and agents from more than 100 global financial services firms who used the Hearsay platform last year.

The study analyzed more than 3 million texts and 12.3 million published social media posts that garnered over 4.8 million engagements across Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, Hearsay says.

“During the pandemic, financial firms quickly pivoted to embrace different approaches, mediums and tools,” according to Leslie Leach, vice president of marketing at Hearsay.

“In particular, video was a way to ‘slow the scroll’ and deepen client connection by displaying human faces and emotions,” she told ThinkAdvisor. “In line with our finding that purpose-driven brands are winning hearts and minds, we found that the most viral and engaging videos shared across the Hearsay platform were those that promoted community and humanitarian efforts.”

The pandemic “abruptly and forcefully shifted the social selling landscape,” Hearsay says in the study. “Digital marketers, compliance teams, advisors, and agents quickly pivoted from tried-and-true approaches to test new strategies for the new normal — whether it was an expanded online presence through individual websites, or targeted campaigns based on audience segments.”

Advisors “found ways to break through the noise, optimize content to meet new needs, and to maintain a productive presence across the networks that mattered,” the study says. “Core to that approach was advancing to the next phase of content maturity, with a diversified content mix, and a scalable framework for automating the delivery and execution of the right media on the right channels.”

It was original content that “continued to drive the highest levels of engagement, but content topic was also a key influencer,” according to Hearsay. Principle-based content focused on diversity and inclusion, women, and sustainability “inspired significantly more likes, comments, and shares this past year,” it says.

Without the ability to have in-person communication, social media “shouldered more of the burden of driving business growth and surfaced opportunities to deliver engaging thought leadership, in addition to sustaining existing relationships,” the study says.

Advisors used in-app messaging and texting “to cut through the clutter and speed responses, and also adopted previously unexploited features,” including LinkedIn’s second- and third-degree connections, InMail and Sales Navigator, “to expand prospecting efforts and garner new business,” according to Hearsay.

Early in the pandemic, client engagement on social media “spiked, yielding 350,000 more interactions in April 2020 vs. April 2019, but what followed was quite different,” Hearsay notes. “As digital noise increased during the pandemic, there was a prolonged decrease in engagement rates.”

By September, advisors made necessary adjustments to reach clients and potential clients through greater personalization and targeting, a better mix of content and expanded use of technology, according to Hearsay.

In 2020, advisors also took a more active role in the content they posted. The percentage of original content posted to social channels grew 6% from 2019, with an engagement rate nine times that of unmodified content supplied by corporate, Hearsay says.

The percentage of corporate-suggested posts that advisors modified to suit their needs grew 14%, yielding three times the engagement of unmodified posts, according to Hearsay.

Pictured: Leslie Leach, vice president of marketing at Hearsay