LinkedIn Networking and Getting Real Results

LinkedIn networking is a big, broad topic. It is also critical in your networking recipe as business has forever been transformed by new communication channels incorporating social media. David J.P. Fisher joins The Digital Well podcast in this episode (see below) and explores just how it works with LinkedIn – and more importantly how this social channel weaves into your traditional networking offline as well as pairing up with other digital networking and marketing efforts.

LinkedIn Networking Advice Live at Morningstar

I was able to see this in action, not only through David’s latest book, Networking in the 21st Century on LinkedIn, but also as he joined me in the Social Media Center at the Morningstar Investment Conference in in June 2015. David was advising asset managers and financial advisors dropping in for guidance on being digital in financial services.

David has been laying the groundwork on networking for some time. What appeals to me is his focus on getting you to take the principles and skills cultivated in analog (offline) marketing – and apply them to how we engage online. He noted this in an article last year:

[quote]How can you compete if you can’t set yourself apart by your access to information? You get back to basics: You build your business the traditional way…you build relationships. You become not only a trusted advisor, but a valuable one – an advisor that helps your clients make the best decisions possible. You work to understand their specific needs so well that you become indispensable. You know what they need more than they do…and then you let them know that you know more than they do (in a nice way). Ironically, one of the best ways to do that is by using the same technology that leavened the playing field… social media. Tools like LinkedIn, blogs, and your website become the platforms where you can share your unique perspective. It’s where you demonstrate your brand – who you help and how you help them.[/quote]

We consider how this works in the real world right from the exhibit hall floor at the conference. Don’t forget if you have questions you’d like answered on the podcast you can submit them here.



Excellent Example of Twitter Working for Customer Service

There are a multitude of ways to use Twitter and plenty of examples of both good and bad uses. There is plenty of evidence that 140 characters is plenty of room for engaging with your peers, clients and the brands you do business with. While we grow tired of the irresponsible yelling from time to time – the good examples do clearly illustrate how effective this channel really is for efficient and real time interactions.

I came across this from Bill Winterberg in my morning reading and thought it was an ideal illustration of both customer and provider. Especially that AWeber (and I am not a user of their platform – I use, ahem, the solution that gives me banana breaks) was prompt and communicative in responding and reminded everyone, not just Bill, that they have a AWeber live status dashboard for checking on performance and issues.

Twitter and Customer Service

Twitter Working Properly on

Between Sessions: Sorry, There is a Tornado, I Have to Go

Streamed live on Jul 22, 2015

Join +Blane Warrene and +Jay Palter on Between Sessions. Jay came up with a great name to represent the discussions and topics that come up so often at events and meetings in “between sessions” of this agendas. At the core Between Sessions is an exploration of the digital business model in financial services. We consider the technology, marketing, compliance and more in investigating how our industry is evolving in this new digital era.

Today’s Between Sessions Rundown

Today’s (abbreviated) conversation stems from the concept of being digital in financial services. That is a moniker I bring to the episodes from The Digital Well podcast – whose tagline is “being digital in financial services means many things to many people and I explore that”.
[quote]By abbreviated we mean that Jay was faced with a serious tornado warning at the outset of the episode and had to drop – so I sought to bring some of his perspective on the shortened edition.[/quote]

Blane’s Elevator Pitch Rant

We kickoff today with a mild rant from me – as part of research I was immersed in last week – I reviewed 150 technology provider web sites to identify (above the fold) if I could determine in a sentence or two what they do. This was successful on 23 of 150 web sites. The remainder I had to click around a few pages to get to a block of text (again – only looking for 25 words or less) that said – “this is what we do and who we do that for”.

Bad news – that widgets and parallax and cute icons have become so prolific that apparently some marketing departments have forgotten the audience they serve is busy. Have at least one sentence above the fold that states that.

Being Digital in Financial Services

McKinsey in a timely manner released a brief on that same topic of being digital this week and we explore it.…

Jay notes that it starts from your perspective and thinking about your business before you implement the first change or new technology.

I bring in the thought that while it may start on the perimeter with marketing and communications (or even HR) – that the core of your business, operations and service delivery, also need to embrace digital and what that means.

Paywalls (and millennials)

Finally we wrapped with a discussion on paywalls (see…) and how they may not work all the time (that is me being somewhat optimistic).
I find that a paywall for the WSJ or New York Times works as I value and need that news – but I cannot continue paying paywall after paywall for everything I need online.

In Jay’s voice – that is where real world curation comes in – and why it is worth paying for. Finding the 10-20 important things for you or your clients that add value out of the thousands of pieces coming out every week.

FPPad Tech Tour 2015 – Some B Roll from Week One

Some fun segments captured by Bill Winterberg and FPPad on Week One of the FPPad Tech Tour 2015 from North Carolina to Virginia to Washington D.C.

Behind the Scenes #FPPadTechTour
Bill Winterberg and Steve Biermann behind the scenes between video shoots

It was a treat to spend time talking technology and financial services. Yet the real reward has been getting to know each other better. Being an audio content creator, I was thrilled with the behind the scenes look at how they produce the tour video and audio content. Likewise, I believe Bill was excited to tap my hobby as a musician to have some fun.

The American Tobacco campus was an amazing scenic backdrop for the afternoon. It also had great resources for iced coffee, lemonade and a cold beer to close out the session.

FPPad Tech Tour B Roll

FPPadTechTour 2015 Stopped by Durham, NC

It was a wonderful treat to have the FPPad and Bill Winterberg crew visit Durham, NC for the FPPadTechTour 2015. We spent the afternoon at the American Tobacco campus, with a rich background for the camera. I snapped a few behind the scenes photos – and will be sure to share the final tour video from the visit upon its release. The Twitter hashtag is #fppadtechtour (or you can Google FPPadTechTour).

Don’t forget this also is an opportunity to donate to the Financial Planning Association’s funds toward Pro Bono financial planning. I am a member and hope you will support that effort to extend financial planning beyond those who can easily afford access.


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Event Follow Up – Networking Tips

A lot of questions come in to The Digital Well podcast around networking – both via social media as well as traditional networking – for me I consider that follow up. I address many of those questions in this episode of the podcast. It is timely as I just returned from the Morningstar Investment Conference in Chicago – where I spoke about mobile technology as well as serving as a subject matter expert in the Social Media Center and the Morningstar booth.

Three Segments of Follow Up

  • Pre-event activities (I realize “follow up” is a bit of a misnomer pre-event, yet it sets the stage post-event activities)
  • During the event
  • After returning home from an event (and don’t wait too long – maybe 5-7 days at most)

It is essential to bridge the analog-digital divide when thinking about follow up and networking. Social media is now a critical communications channel, as email has been. However, there is nothing like a traditional handwritten note or a direct phone call where it is appropriate. Balance the mix to insure those you are seeking to follow up with do not just feel like entries in an attendee list being sent an email blast.

You can tune your follow up to match your preferences as well as the types of contacts you are making. I.e. some may require a phone call due to a strong engagement at an event where nothing less will be appropriate. Yet, some very brief introductions at an event may warrant a LinkedIn InMail or direct email and other steps prior to shifting to phone call or traditional written correspondence.

How do you build that follow up plan? Tune into The Digital Well podcast below and in just 10 minutes you can outline your next steps for event follow up.


You Like Windows Phone, What?

Yes, I said it. The technology advisor who has used Macs since 1999 and the first release of OS X. Yes, he who has had multiple Macs, all iPad models and iPhones 4 through 6. The Nokia Lumia 1020, its Windows 8 operating system and the Surface Pro 3 from Microsoft are changing my tune about productivity and the toolset I need at the office, home and on the road.

I’ve been looking at the balance of apps on the app stores (not just quantity – but what I actually need on phone versus on tablet or laptop) as well as what is my best productivity workflow. Thus, while I maybe can work on my iPhone with there being an app for just about everything – is it the best place to work or the best use of time?

Game changers for me include:

  • Cortana outperforming Siri and Google Now where I need it most – in the car
  • The balance of the right critical apps on Windows phone plus the ability to use the Surface Pro 3 as both tablet and lapotop

Tune in to the latest episode of The Digital Well podcast and hear about my now nearly two-year experiment with multiple smart phones, tablets and operating systems.



Windows 10 is Coming (and it looks interesting)

Pre-Windows Background

Many listeners to The Digital Well know I have been experimenting heavily with operating systems the last 24 months from phones to tablets and laptops. Briefly, I started on computers with DOS and on to Windows 3, 98 and XP before discovering Mac OS X at its launch in 1999. I have also dabbled with Linux since 1996.

I have embraced the Apple ecosystem quite loyally through the past 16 years, though I am always trying new devices and platforms to stay current on the wide range of tech in our lives. The past two years have seen Android devices (on AT&T and Sprint), respectively the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 4. Also on AT&T I have been seriously using a Nokia Lumia 1020 running Windows 8 Mobile for the past 15 months. Finally I have worked through an iPhone 4, 4s and now have an iPhone 6 Plus in hand from Sprint.

Likewise with laptops, I have my trusted 2013 Macbook Air 13″ (working fine but showing the cosmetic punishment of being on the road with me) and an iPad Mini Retina.

The Surface Pro 3 Discovery (and Nokia Phone)

Interestingly, when I picked up a Microsoft Surface Pro 3, I found the first hardware that allowed me to feel natural using Windows 8. Likewise, its dual use as laptop (the snap on keyboard is quite good) and tablet (the screen works nicely watching Netflix or working with Buffer for social media publishing or Basecamp for projects). Moreover, when paired with the Windows phone, I discovered two outcomes:

  1. I could go on road with a lighter bag – only two devices instead of three
  2. The reduced number of apps on the Microsoft app store did not disrupt me as I can access full featured apps on the Surface Pro 3 in both laptop and tablet mode – eliminating the need for the app on the phone.

While that discussion is for another day – it does beg to question how much I was spending on apps on the iPhone and iPad when I did not need them when using the Microsoft combo of devices. Hmm. Nearly heresy from an Apple adopter eh?

Windows 10 Has Some Intriguing Capabilities

Tune in as I discuss some key capabilities of the forthcoming Windows 10 on July 29.

  • How do you reserve your free copy?
  • Cortana – who? (a virtual personal assistant that seriously challenges Siri and Google Now)
  • Microsoft Edge – the new browser meant to compete against Chrome and Firefox and Safari
  • A new multi window tool that looks very intriguing (and productive)

Have questions or comments for The Digital Well podcast? Get in touch!

Between Sessions – You’re NOT Using LinkedIn Publishing?

Join +Blane Warrene & +Jay Palter on Between Sessions as they discuss the digital business model in financial services.

Our May episode kicks off with a discussion that continues to surface – and while simple – still serves an an obstacle to many professionals wanting to use social media. Simply – how exactly do I use LinkedIn beyond just as a profile or bio destination beyond a web site?

Well – Jay and I discuss many options. Jay also captured the core five key steps in a great blog post – see it at….

This led us to an additional question that came up during my talks at the recent SEI Investments conference in Tucson, AZ. What if I am being asked to join a social network I had not planned on using?

My answer is – it depends. Jay’s was “go where your clients are!”. Tune in for the conversation.

Finally – we walked through some articles Jay found in his weekly curation activities, that include:

7 truths about the encounter economy…
I (Jay) love this post because it captures some essential changes that are brought about by so-lo-mo technology. Last time on BS we talked to Julie about creating value in partnership with our clients. This notion of the encounter economy is sending a similar message: we need to create love-like engagement experiences with our clients. We need to recognize that we can create value that is NOT about our core business (see truth #5) and we need to think broadly about who our competitors are. Transactional business models will be targeted by digital systems for disruption, so focusing on the most human aspects of our business relationships is an important strategy.

What Hollywood can teach us about the future of work…

“Our economy is in the midst of a grand shift toward the Hollywood model. More of us will see our working lives structured around short-­term, project-­based teams rather than long-­term, open­-ended jobs.” This is how you and I (Jay) already work. And we are about to be joined by many more people. This is why social media literacy and constant social networking and audience-building is an essential survival strategy of the early 21st century.

I (Blane) also mention Brian Grazer’s new book on curiosity – which is or should be required reading.

Why we share things online…

Understanding why people share online can only help you succeed in your content marketing efforts. So, why do people share? Because it expresses their identity. Because they want to help others. And because they are entertained and want to entertain. “People want to share entertaining, informative, and relevant content. Give them that, and they’ll share your content enthusiastically to reinforce who they are and what they find valuable.”