The 5th annual Limra LOMA 2014 Social Media Conference for Financial Services, which brought in over 200 attendees to Boston, put the spotlight on Facebook, LinkedIn and other financial service companies that creatively use social media.

Foster New Ideas
Randi Zuckerberg, a New York Times best-selling author, the founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media and sister of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, spoke about her experience in leaving a large agency to work for her brother’s “small project” (which got some laughs).

Among the best practices she saw at Facebook were "hack-a-thons"—contests where employees spent 12 hours working through the night on ideas that fell outside the scope of their day jobs. 

“At every hack-a-thon there were always one or two ideas that were great. It was never the senior people. It was the person coming in with fresh perspective,” she said. This approach created a company culture that allowed anyone to have a great idea and act on it, rather than wait for their boss to approve it.

It was in one of these contests that she came up with the idea for a communication method that would not rely on the TV networks. She used Facebook to promote the world tour of her first big client, Katy Perry. Zuckerberg later got a call from the White House asking for a similar service, and the list grew from there. Eventually, Zuckerberg she saw the need to not be limited by just Facebook services.

In her advice to the attendees, she suggested this is “the age of entre-ployee.” This is where employees are encouraged to be more entrepreneurial. 

“Millennials want to be very entrepreneurial inside a big company,” she said. She said positions such as social media manager and brand evangelist are innovations in a world where all organizations should think of themselves as media companies.

Google’s "20 percent time," where employees are encouraged to use part of the day to work on their pet projects, was also highlighted as a best practice to foster creativity.

“You can find a hack-a-thon in every industry,” Zuckerberg said, adding it does not have to be all tech related.

Are You Missing Opportunities On LinkedIn?
Dan Swift, a director in LinkedIn Sales Solutions for financial services, and Nate Isaacson, manager of social media at Guardian Life Insurance Company, gave a presentation on “advanced concepts in social selling.”

Isaacson shared stats supporting the value of LinkedIn, stating that 90 percent of decision makers say they never respond to cold outreach. Also, 75 percent of buyers now use social media to conduct research.