Banking on Digital Growth
Banking on Digital Growth

Episode · 1 year ago

80) #ExponentialInsights: Thought Leadership Is Earned Through Powerful Content ft. Doug Wilber

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

You can’t just call yourself a “thought leader.”

Thought leadership is earned.

And you earn it by having a powerful voice in your domain.

But how do you cultivate that voice?

To answer that question, I invited Doug Wilber, CEO at Denim Social, onto the latest episode to discuss how financial brands can create content worthy of the “thought leader” mantle.

We discussed:

- Why “people buy from people” is more important than ever

- How thought leadership is earned

- Why empowering your employees’ voices amplifies your brand’s

You can find this interview and many more by subscribing to Banking on Digital Growth on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or here.

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for Banking on Digital Growth in your favorite podcast player.
 

If you're only thinking about social media as an avenue to promote products and to say, hey, like, sign up for sign up today to get you know, an introductory rate on your next checking account right then you're no different than anyone else. Mm. You're listening to banking on Digital Growth with James Robert Lay, a podcast that empowers financial brand marketing, sales and leadership teams to maximize their digital growth potential by generating 10 times more loans and deposits. Today's episode is part of the Exponential Insight series, where James Robert interviews the industry's top marketing sales and fintech leaders sharing practical wisdom to exponentially elevate you and your team. Let's get into the show Greetings and hello, I am James Robert Ley and welcome to the 80th episode of the Banking on Digital Growth podcast. Today's episode is part of the Exponential Insight series, and I'm excited to welcome Doug Wilbur to the show. Doug is the CEO of denim social empowering financial brand marketers to build stronger customer relationships on social media with tools that manage organic content and paid advertising. And this is the key in one simple platform. Welcome to the show, Doug. Hey, James. Good to be here. Thank you. You know, as we get our conversation started, I always like to learn from those that I discuss and share insights with. What are you excited about right now? What's going well for you personally or professionally? Yeah. First of all, the thing to be most excited about is that it's spring, or at least usually spring. Um, so that's great. But I would say on the professional front, we're really excited about the year that we've had so far. When we set forth on our 2021 mission, we said some pretty big goals, not just from a revenue perspective, but from a product perspective and making sure that we were shipping product to market that would help our customers to be able to deliver against this value prop of social selling. And we're really excited that we're not only shipping product, we're doing it ahead of schedule, which is a really fun place to be. Think back. I mean, you were right about one year post pandemic or still, you know, I look at the world is either pre covid or or post covid and you know we're post covid even though we're still journeying through it, the world will never be the same. When you set out on on this journey of really doubling down on social selling, did you have any idea of what the world would look like back then? That's where we're at today. Absolutely not. I mean, I wouldn't wish the pandemic on any of us, but I think for us it's really been. It's created a lot of demand. The demand for our platform is, frankly, higher than it's ever been before, because when covid...

...happened and branches shut down and mortgage lenders couldn't take somebody out for a cup of coffee or your financial advisor couldn't meet you for lunch, your next best and frankly only alternative for staying connected to the community that you serve was through social. So you know all of the stories that we were sharing with our customers, about the value of social and how it's not just about promoting your brand on social, but it's really about transforming your employees in becoming advocates for your brand, that core tenet of social selling that we were evangelizing all of a sudden. The light bulb went off during Covid and it was our customers, like, Alright, Doug's right. It is all about our employees, and it is our employees ability to stay engaged with the communities that they serve, which really makes a difference. And we need to rethink our ability to go from a physical interaction to a digital interaction without losing the personal aspect of it. And that's where we come in. Yeah, and that's what I see as you know, what I call in this post covid world. The paradox of digital. Because before I started in May of 2019 writing banking on digital growth, it launched in May of 2020 right at the start of the pandemic and kind of like you, I I've just been grateful to be able to help in ways that I never thought possible. Through the book. It's It's Around the world, the podcast is in 90 countries and you look at this paradox of digital because Digital, in fact, could be taking a back seat to financial brands that doubled down on the human experience but not the human experience that's delivered through the traditional physical world. I e. The branches. I mean your examples of taking people off to lunch to coffee to play golf. But the human experience that's multiplied through social and one of the biggest opportunities that I see is to bring that human experience to the forefront of of the cells perspective. Before we go far into that, I'd like to start out with just a high level of Why does the human experience still matter in this post covid digital world, if not mattering, even more than ever before? Yeah, I mean, it's I mean, it's simple, really, in our industry, financial services and probably more so than any other industry on the planet. People buy from people or, like we like to say, people bank with people. That's why we have insurance agents and mortgage lenders and commercial lenders and wealth advisors. We have these individuals in our lives who help us to make very complicated and very important decisions. And so it's our relationship with these individuals who really make the difference. And now, in a digital environment, it matters even more right. Where are you going to interact with these individuals to make sure that you are making as a consumer making sound financial decisions, right? Yeah, people buy from people. And I like your perspective. People bank with people because the concern that I hear particularly the senior leadership...

...level, is, you know, the fintech threat and, you know, the bank of Walmart and the Bank of Amazon. But I am always pushing back in, and maybe it's just because I'm a bit of a contrarian that have you ever tried to get ahold of someone at Amazon? You got a problem and I've had problems with Amazon, I think, probably more post covid than ever before. It's a very frustrating experience to where I almost see Micro has the potential to beat macro, you know, in this post covid world, and it's a different way to approach this idea of, of of growth, enough sales. How can financial brands and their cells teams create meaningful digital connections? And I think that's the key word. It's meaningful because there's a lot of financial brands. They historically have spent a tremendous amount of time effort money to build up social followings, but they lack meaningful connections. So what are some of those opportunities to do? Just that? Yeah, you know, it's interesting. I was I forget who the article was, but I was just reading the other day about somebody was pontificating on Twitter about its not how many followers you have. It's how many people actually want to engage with you, and this kind of gets back to this. People buy from people. Notion right is that the biggest opportunity that a financial services organization has is not to try and rack up what we call vanity metrics. It doesn't matter. At the end of the day, how many likes the Social media post gets? What really matters is your ability to tell a story and to share content that's relevant and actionable for the audiences that you're trying to serve. And so this is a lot of coaching happens when we get a new customer, and they signed onto the denim social platform, whether that's our organic content posting module or our social advertising and promoted content solution or landing page conversion platform, all these different platforms working in concert with each other, regardless of where a new customer comes into their journey with our brand. At the end of the day, we spend a lot of time at the outset talking about what are you going to say on social. And if you're only thinking about social media as an avenue to promote products, right and to say, hey, like, sign up for sign up today to get, you know, an introductory rate on your next checking account right then you're no different than anyone else. Where the difference happens is when you say, Hey, I know that my loan officers are hyper connected into the communities that we serve as an institution. I want to arm them with interesting and relevant and actionable content so that they can foster a dialogue but their communities, and we share our customers all the time. It's like, you know, when you're scrolling through your instagram right and we say this to the CMO or the CEO of the bank or whomever, and maybe they're not on instagram, but maybe they're on Facebook, right or whatever it is right, and they're scrolling through. And I say, What content do you...

...stop on when you're endlessly thumbing through your feet? You stop on content that comes from people you know, and you tend to gloss over. The content comes from brands, and it's that's that. And then you see the light bulb go off. It's like, All right, now I get it right. This is why employee advocacy matters for apprehended. Absolutely. And I think you're you're you're right. This idea of, you know, historically, socially speaking, relying on vanity metrics, the total number of followers which, you know, truth be told, you can go out and buy followers and really like, ramp up your vanity metrics. And that's why I think like this idea of the social influencer world, you know, has a lot of snake oil that, you know, you have to be very careful of the micro influencers, Really where I see the potential because I would rather have 100 solid followers for people that you know. No, me. They like me. They trust me, and I can pop in and out of their world whenever they're logging in or logging onto whatever social platform that that might be. Let me ask, and I think you're touching on some of this. I'd like to have a little bit deeper. When you think about social selling, what is? Maybe it's an idea or a belief the industry has. Maybe it's maybe it's at the executive level right now that you just passionately disagree with and think that they're wrong. Well, so you know, I don't know if I passionately disagree with anything. I mean, certainly being more active on social media is better than not being active at all. But one of the things that that we share with our customers quite frequently is that, you know, people toss around this idea of being a thought leader. Right? Man, we you know, we want to be thought leaders in this space, and I tend to remind folks that thought leadership is something that you don't just decide to be. You don't decide to be a thought leader. Thought leadership has earned right, And you earn it by being a contributor to the dialogue that you have a relevant voice in. Right. And so when we start working with one of our customers, for example, you know the number one thing that we hear all the time. It's like, all right, So we we get them through the contracting phase and they're going through the on boarding phase, and we get there. They're admits, trained and all their mortgage lenders or wealth managers linked to our platform and then they're like, Cool, What do we say? Right? And so that was in talking about the product that we're shipping, you know very quickly this year. One of the things that we released earlier on just a few weeks ago, in fact, was a content curation engine to help shorten that time between your technically a social seller on our platform. But you don't quite know what to say yet right and making it easier for you to be able to curate these libraries of content. They will make it easier for you to know...

...what to talk about on social media, and that's highly shareable content that we've scraped for share ability, etcetera. But that is, like quite possibly the hardest thing, and it's the most important thing is really thinking about what content do I need to be sharing with my community that is going to be relevant for them. That is actionable for them, and it's something that is going to foster a dialogue, not rack up a thumbs up as a like. But to foster a dialogue on social media that keeps my advisor relevant and gives them an opportunity to engage. That's the most important like strategy above all else. One of the things that you noted earlier and I want to come back to because I think it's it's an important part of a financial brands social selling success. You mentioned coaching. Can you dive deeper into this mechanism because we spend a lot of time coaching as well? But I love to. I love to get into your mind about why. Why is coaching so critical when it comes to social selling for these these lenders and loan officers? Because it's not natural for them. It's not organic for them, right? I mean, most lenders or wealth advisors or insurance agents? What are they not? They're not marketers by trade. They don't focus every day and think every day about editorial schedules and content positioning. And you know all these other things that that we as marketers do think about. And so the way that we built our platform is very specifically designed around This concept of we believe and we know through the results that we're showing for our customers is that when you empower your customer facing employees to be active on social media, they will get new business from it. The challenge will be you don't want them a wasting their time right, because they're not going to be super efficient doing it. You also have concerns over compliance, right? What do they say if they don't have the right guard rails put up and then you've got Brandon Reputational Risk. So for all of these reasons, you want to suction that control away from the customer facing employee, and you want to put the power in the hands of the people who are, frankly the experts, which is your marketing team. So giving the marketing team the ability to create schedule and post content, whether it's organic content publishing promoted content, etcetera but giving the marketing team's ability to create schedule and published on behalf of their customer facing employees and giving them that kickstart they need because at the end of the day, what do you really want them doing? You want them talking to a customer. You want them engaging with your customers, not spending, you know, an over exuberant amount of time. With their social publishing schedules, technology has transformed our world, and digital has changed the way consumers shop for and buy financial services forever. Now consumers make purchase decisions long...

...before they walk into a branch if they walk into a branch at all. But your financial brand still wants to grow loans and deposits. We get it. Digital growth can feel confusing, frustrating and overwhelming for any financial brand marketing and sales leader. But it doesn't have to because James Robert wrote the book that guides you every step of the way along your digital growth journey. Visit www dot digital growth dot com to get a preview of his best selling book, Banking on Digital Growth, or order a copy right Now for you and your team from Amazon. Inside you'll find a strategic marketing manifesto that was written to transform financial brands, and it is packed full of practical and proven insights You can start using today to confidently generate 10 times more loans and deposits. Now back to the show. Mm. That's a big, strong key for growth right there because, you know, historically, when I think about social, you see a lot of production effort being made production effort being spent. But if a tree falls in the woods, doesn't make a sound, and if you produce a piece of content but failed to promote it and bring it to the marketplace. Doesn't create any value. And so I'm gonna hop to the other side of the table. I'm a CEO. This sounds great in theory, but I'm a little scared. I'm a little scared of, of giving this control over to my team. How can financial brands breakthrough the fear that holds so many back from, really, I think two. Fold number one. Encouraging Because, like you said, this is not natural and the number two empowering their employees to be not the producers but the promoters to amplify their message through their own personal social profiles. I think of one institution that has been in a program of virus. They have 26,000 employees. My question was 26,000. Imagine if they just each had 100 followers on social media. It's an exponential multiplier. Quick math. I think it's 26. I don't No, no, no, no. I'm not gonna do math. It's a big, big, big, big number. It's a big number, but they're like, Well, we would never give them the control to do that. And I'm like you're telling me. You trust them to deal with people's money, but you don't trust them to do the right thing in social. How can we help others overcome some of that fear so that you and your analogy was spot on? So in Lincoln has done a lot of research on this. And so LinkedIn, through their research, will tell you that employees on average have about 10 x, the following the brains they work for. And every time they post on social, they're going to get about two xd engagement. Then the brand would, if they posted the exact same content again, getting back to this whole thing people buy from people. We go on social to engage...

...with people first and foremost, right. And so when we start talking and we you know, we talked to the bank CEO and we're like, Hey, this is what we do and why it's valuable, like that same amount that the same storyline that you just shared comes up quite frequently. Okay, Philosophically, I understand this, but I'm terrified of what happens right? And so that's where our compliance engine comes in and as a ton of value, right? Everything from keyword filtration, archiving of content, moderation of posts, approved content residing in content, libraries, all of the control that you want to put in place as tightly as you want to wind it to say, I am going to give the keys to this to my marketing team, who, frankly, they know our brand. They know our tone. They know our voice. They have an appreciation for our compliance obligations. We want to give them the control to create schedule and post on behalf of our employees, Right? And then the employees can become the evangelists and the promoters of the content, you know much more easily right is actually really interesting. One of our one of our customers is an iMac of large mortgage provider, and we did. We actually did a webinar with them a couple weeks ago. And what Graham who is there who runs their marketing, had said was the interesting thing that's happened with them on our platform in the last year and a half or so is that the way that they've built the controls has given their lending officers a greater appreciation for compliance. So it used to be that the marketing teams and the sales guys would butt heads against compliance and by using our platform and them actually understanding why compliance matters, they now have a much more symbiotic relationship. He calls it compliance by osmosis. You're just you're just getting into that cadence of why compliance matters and the compliance officers who are on this webinar were like, Hallelujah. Finally, somebody understands why my job is difficult. Can appreciate the nature of my job, right to keep the bank safe from compliance. Exposure. Yeah, and and I think that's the opportunity because there's the compliance side and that reduces exposure and risk. There's the production side, and then I want to come back because we've I've played the role of the CEO and some of those concerns you've addressed them. Now that makes a lot of sense. But let's say I'm an M l o commercial officer. I'm on the Internet side, maybe a branch manager. My schedule is already overwhelmed, and I even had someone shared this there in our program, and they shared that and they're not marketing. And she said this in private. She said She's just not big. She's just not big on social media, and she is struggling. She's really struggling with the idea of building relationships through a digital platform through a digital world. How do we address that? Because I understand, because they've they've cut their teeth. They built...

...their experience and their career, their portfolio through interpersonal real world relationships. How do we leverage that? And it is knowledge that expertise And maybe put some of those concerns that he's saying that you know what? You can do this. Yeah, well, so the one thing that I would say is that if you're not willing to do it, your competitor is. So while they're your customer today, they may not be your customer tomorrow if you're not willing to engage them digitally, which is now increasingly the customer expectation. Right? So that's one thing. But I think the other thing, like for for us when it comes to specifically the lenders and I think about there was a story that the American banker just ran on us a few weeks ago and they highlighted one of our customers, which was People's Bank of Washington. And so what People's Bank of Washington shared in an interview was that when and I'll I'll sort of paraphrase this. But when When there lenders go dark on social, they see a measurable decrease in referral business from real estate agents, house flippers, contractors, etcetera. All those people that may not be a direct customer, but they're certainly contributing to driving a referral right, And that's at the end of the day. That's another reason why Social media is so important is to be stay connected with not just your end users but also where your referral business comes from. And so they see a measurable drop in referral business when they're ellos go dark on social and then they come back active on social and those referrals go right back up. It was fascinating to me because we actually hadn't heard that story from them directly. We heard at the same time as everybody else did when it came out in the American Banker story. But to me, that's why it really matters for an L O is recognizing that it's not just about promoting yourself to a potential borrower, but it's making sure that you're contributing to the conversation with your where your deals come from, your all your referral partners and also recognizes that if you're not willing to do it. Somebody else's. Yeah, it comes down to people super important. Yeah, and that's and that's how you know this idea of people need to like you before they know you know you before they can trust you, trust you before they tell the world how great you are. And these relationships And I think that's like this stuff takes time just like it takes time to build a relationship. In the in the real world, it takes time to build a digital relationship. So another concern that I hear a lot is okay, Fine. I'm gonna buy in. I see the opportunity. But something else is now holding me back at the executive level. It's like, Okay, so we're going to empower our employees because you talk about lenders going dark now I'm worried. Well, what if What if they get poached? What if they go somewhere else? You know, how can I maybe calm my mind and say, You know what? It's fear and fear. Just false evidence. Appearing real. That's probably not going to yeah, me not doing this because of that fear is actually creating more of a cost in the long run. Yeah, so we were actually seeing the opposite. We're seeing our customers invest in platforms like...

...ourselves because they want to do a better job of recruiting top talent. And the expectation is that if you're not willing to invest in platforms like ourselves and empower your ellos or your wealth advisors tools, then you're not going to get the top of your talent. And frankly, your top producers are probably going to leave for organizations that offer them tools like ourselves. And so you know that it's been a really interesting ride for us, especially as a lot of our customers have crossed the chasm towards digital over the past year. How much they see having a platform like denim social embedded in their Martek stack quote unquote as a mechanism not just for delivering business results, but also to make sure that they're able to recruit top talent. Yes, that's a great way to flip that fear and look at it as these are the opportunities, and I'm starting to see slowly more financial brands invest in these employee experiences because when you think about advocacy, I think so much has been talked about on the side of the C X, the customer experience. But now post covid. I think, you know, we have to be really paying attention to the ex, the employee experience, because they have the and they should be our biggest advocates in influencers within the communities that we serve. And when you look out at the social selling landscape specifically for for financial brands. We've talked about a lot already. But what might be some of the other roadblocks to be aware of? Whether that be on the marketing side, the cells of the lending side, the leadership side that could just hold some of us back from moving forward and making progress on this journey? Yeah, so, you know, I think we hit on the big ones, right? So compliance control, giving the marketing teams the ability to source relevant and shareable content. Those are two possibly the biggest hurdles we face that we're solving for right now, I would say the other thing. That and this is sort of part of where we're going as an organization is realizing that from a data perspective, we want to start to drive more attribution from social media efforts, right, and we've got the anecdotal evidence right. We've got the people think of Washington saying that they see a decline in referral business. We've got another customer who, on on another webinar that we did a while ago said that their loan officers who are active on social media clothes on average an extra loan amount and their average producer was doing at the time about four or five loans a month. This is pre fish in a barrel re five season that we're in right now. And so where we're going as an organization is to say, How do we actually get closer to that source of truth of where the deal where the deal is managed to, Whether that's the the L O s, the pos, the CRM you're going to see from us over the course of this year and increasingly number growing number of integrations with CRM providers point of sale providers, L O.

S s because we want to make sure that we're feeding that data. So yeah, and and you know, we are proving the value every day, right? We're doing anecdotally, and our customers, you know quite frequently will speak up on our behalf and say, Oh yeah, like we couldn't run a social selling program without a platform like denim social. The next step for us as an organization to say, I know that I am. I'm directly attributing to call it 25% of your loans right and building that measurable intangible result. And we were chatting before about, you know, you don't want to get too deep on the numbers, but at the end of the day, the number of matter and that's what we're building as the next phase of our growth as an organization is getting embedded into where those analytics are being calculated. Yeah, Then it becomes performance marketing. It becomes performance cells, and then you can tie this down to the individual and really the influence and the impact that they're having all on the bottom line. I love where you're going speaking about the future, you know, as we look ahead into this post covid world and we're all looking, I think, for just some type of of clarity. What is one specific recommendation? What is one action item that you could recommend to transform the thinking of whether it's a marketing cells or leadership team to help them let go of the past, move beyond the present and really overcome their fears to to guide their financial brand forward into the future with courage in confidence. What is something small? Maybe we'll just call it a micro wind. Someone can start doing Maybe today Maybe it's tomorrow. Yeah. I mean, I'll go back to what we were chatting about earlier, which is just fundamentally understanding, appreciating and empowering this notion of people bank with people. Right? And I and I won't disclose the brand that I was talking to, but it was it was a very large wealth management firm and we were having a conversation with them. And I said, You know, at the end of the day, do you think that your customers really care if your advisors represent you for another wealth advisor and you know, it was a little nervous to question this out there, but I wanted I wanted to know the answer right. I either knew he was going to hang up the phone and tell me never to call him again, or we're going to have a spirited discussion around, and he kind of leans back in his chair and gives me this Cheshire grin, and he says, No, it doesn't matter. What really matters is our advisors ability to make a connection, and so that to me I was like, Okay, we are We at Denham Social are on the right track by making it easier for those advisers to stay connected and for them to matter, for their portfolio of clients. Right and so to me. Like if I if I had one thing to share with any bank CEO, it is recognizing that very fact that your customers and it's not necessarily true for checking and savings accounts and...

...more retail based products. But for retirement planning, wealth management, mortgage lending, commercial lending, right, all these relationship based sales activities, you've got to put your you got to arm your advisors and your lenders with tools to stay connected and because ultimately that's what your customers care about the most. What you're talking about, the patterns that I see from wealth management, investment, mortgage, commercial, small business These are all very complex products, very difficult to buy alone, like you mentioned on the retail. Checking, you know, is that it's more of a easier product I think make that buying decision. But when you're buying a home getting lending for your business, investing into the future, there's there's some fear that that's really baked into tons of fear, tons of consumer fear. And I would actually argue that, for the most part, even outside of checking and savings account. But for the most part, 30 year fixed, the rate is the rate if you want. If you want to make it not about the rate right and really differentiate, it's got to be about the yellow and their ability to understand where that consumer is in their journey. Is this their first home? Is this a vacation property? Is this a second home? Have they done this three or four times already? Are they just upgrading to a bigger house because they're having another child? And what are the considerations? You know, you've got four. I've got a couple when you have another child, that's a lot of stress. Financial. It's not so much. The stress isn't necessarily ultimately that big of a deal, but it's like the fear of the unknown, right? Oh my gosh. You get another mouth to feed. How do I plan for this. I need to get a bigger house, but can I afford it right? And so that's where that relationship with your lender comes in is super important. There was an article. I think it was from Sloan that just recently came out that talked about that. Fear of the unknown is such a It's a more powerful driver than just even the fear of change itself and anything that we can do to remove, resolved. Take away those fears, even if it's not in the context. Maybe someone's not even reaching out and connecting with me directly. But they're consuming my content, and I'm giving them. I'm giving them help. I'm giving them hope. You've given Yeah, and you've given me a lot of help and hope today as well as the dear listener. This has been such a great conversation, Doug. If anyone wants to follow up, continue the conversation, the discussion with you, what's the best way for them to reach out and say hello? Yeah, man, You know, of course we love it. If somebody would drop right in there on social dot com, We've got plenty of ways to engage with us. There as you can imagine being part of the social media community. I'm pretty active on LinkedIn and Twitter and all the other social handles, so you can find me there as well. Just look for Doug Wilbur. Alright, once again, Doug, thank you for joining me for another episode of banking on Digital Growth has been a fantastic conversation. Yeah, it was wonderful. Thank you. As always,...

...until next time be well, do good and wash your hands. Thank you for listening to another episode of banking on Digital Growth with James Robert Ley. Like what you hear. Tell a friend about the podcast and leave us a review on apple podcasts, Google podcasts or Spotify and subscribe while you're there. To get even more practical improvement insights, visit www dot digital growth dot com to grab a preview of James Roberts. Best selling book Banking on Digital Growth or order a copy right now for you and your team from Amazon. Inside, you'll find a strategic marketing and sales blueprint framed around 12 key areas of focus that empower you to confidently generate 10 times more loans and deposits until next time, be well and do good.

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