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Building a social selling program: personalizing content at scale

In my 12+ years at Guardian Life, one of the largest life insurance companies in the U.S., I developed and ran a social selling program for nearly 2,500 financial advisors. I learned a lot during my journey to build the program from scratch and see it mature. This is the fourth blog in a five-part series (read part 1, part 2, and part 3) where I’ll share findings from my experience that I hope will help your organization launch, scale, sustain, and, ultimately, win on social media. 

Content supply didn’t meet demand

When I launched my program in late 2010, sourcing content was time consuming and we eventually reached a point where it was impossible to keep up with the demands of our financial advisors. This took a toll on the program.

When we formally launched our social media program, we had roughly 500 pieces of content in our publishing tool and, at the time, we felt good about it. For a while, we were able to keep a steady supply of “fresh” content that was delayed by compliance reviews. But there became a point when early adopters ran out of content. And, as more Financial Advisors began to understand the importance of content, we ran into an even bigger challenge: meeting the unique content needs of each individual advisor.

Admitting we had a content problem

So, we set out on a journey to solve our content problem. First, we attempted to source more content for our in-house library, which worked for a while. But it soon became clear that it wasn’t the best use of internal resources, and we began to explore new options.

By early 2012, new businesses were forming to help companies like ours create or source content. I explored both avenues with mixed results. First, I brought in a content provider to source high-quality pay-walled content (WSJ.com, New York Times, etc…), but I still needed a dedicated team member to spend nearly 20 hours a week combing through content supplied by the content provider. Once we found the content and got compliance approval, oftentimes, the content was no longer relevant and financial advisors didn’t want to share it.

We later decided to outsource our content creation to a third-party vendor. But, even though the content was well received, compliance concerns continued to cause delays for our financial advisors who needed to publish timely and relevant content. 

Finding a better path forward

In mid-2015, artificial intelligence (AI) was no longer something out of a sci-fi movie—it was real. Our current social publishing and compliance vendor began talking with me about the potential to deliver personalized content to each financial advisor based on their unique interests, which I thought was crazy. By February 2017, I had introduced my senior leadership team to the idea of using AI to personalize content and enhance our compliance capabilities.

The benefits of AI-driven content

I launched Grapevine6 (now Seismic LiveSocial) in late January 2018, and by June 2018, we had filled every license we purchased. The demand was so high that we purchased an additional 500 licenses. For the first time in six years, my team had the resources to meet each of our advisors’ unique content demands, almost overnight, we solved the supply problem, as LiveSocial adds more than 100,000 new articles daily. And, on top of that, we instantly eased the burden on the compliance team. With an AI-based compliance platform, they no longer needed to manually review the third-party content we wanted to add into the content library.

Highly effective social engagement programs run on fresh content. Although it was six years in the making, our team finally found success when our financial advisors could access personalized, compliant content to share with their audience.

Want to learn more? See how Seismic LiveSocial can help you enable content personalization at scale.

Nate Isaacson
Nate Isaacson
Nate Isaacson works in customer success where he designs pre-sales strategy for LiveSocial implementations and helps customers drive adoption. Prior to joining Seismic, he built and ran one of the most successful Financial Services social selling programs, and is passionate about helping the industry leverage LiveSocial.

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