An interview with Danielle Guzman, Global Head of Social Media & Distributed Content at Mercer
Social Media has been a way for consumer product companies and a whole host of others to extend their brand, messaging and content. That said, you don’t really think about social media as a way for an institutional consultant to engage with their clients. You don’t think of pension plans looking to social media for news and information. And yet, a little over a year ago, Danielle Guzman left a long career at AIG to take on the challenge of extending Mercer’s brand through social media. She’s a well-known #FinTech influencer on Twitter and has a personal passion for building a community and a brand people trust. I had the opportunity to ask Danielle about this endeavor and get her views on how fintech is growing and changing in the industry.
Tell me about your work with Mercer and what brought you there from AIG.
I have been at Mercer now for over one year, and it has been an incredible experience thus far. The culture here is such that everyone truly has a voice and the opportunity to be a difference maker every single day. My move to Mercer was triggered by two things: the desire to immerse myself in the digital world, primarily social media, and to be at the forefront of transforming how we drive market presence and engage with our audiences.
At Mercer, we see social media as a vital digital channel that gives Mercer a voice and identity, enabling us to interact with customers, prospects, peers, influencers, the media and employees. Social media enables us to deliver our brand value to audiences where they are, rather than relying solely on driving them to our website.
Ultimately, done well, it lays the foundation for showing up in a relevant way when our audience is looking for the value that Mercer can uniquely deliver. Reflecting back over the years, I see my career much like an incredible journey, and I look to each step of the way as an opportunity to growth hack my learning curve and my ability to contribute and impact in a positive way. There’s nothing more powerful and rewarding than loving what you do and being able to do that with incredible people. I had an amazing time at AIG, it’s an incredible organization. Over my ten years at AIG I worked with three incredibly amazing teams across the globe. Having left, I’m still very passionate about insurance, that’s just a part of my DNA now, and I’m personally invested in being a part of that dynamic conversation.
In your LinkedIn summary you say you are relentless. What is your philosophy of work?
I’m a pretty passionate person, I love to sink my teeth into something and truly immerse myself. Regardless of what hurdles come along, I find ways to get around them. I’m a self-starter and I always demand excellence from myself before I ever demand excellence from anyone else. I believe in living what you preach. Regardless of the hat I’m wearing, in all that I do, I lead by example. If someone’s role is to community manage a channel, I’m there hand in hand rolling up my sleeves to do the same thing. If someone on the team is spending hours writing messaging, or proofreading content, I do the same. Working on a PowerPoint presentation? I’ll bring my skills (gasp!) to the table and collaborate. At the end of the day, be who you say you are, do what you say you are going to do and care like you say you care.
You’re very passionate about driving impact on social media. Why is that?
Great question! As an individual or an organization, building a social media presence has become key. You can build far reaching networks faster, with virtually no geographical boundaries, and you have access to incredible content, best practices and resources at your fingertips. From an employer perspective, the power of employee advocacy is huge. People relate to, engage with and trust their friends, family and peer groups much more than corporate brands. We now trust people like ourselves over corporate messaging. As such, helping employees to drive impact through social media is an authentic way for brands to start making that connection, and humanizing themselves.
Here a few great stats I recently read:
- Brand messages are re-shared 24x more frequently when posted by an employee, compared to the brand’s social media channels.
- Brand messages see 561% more reach when shared by employees on social media, compared to the same messages when shared by the brand’s social media channels.
- Companies with engaged employees on social media outperform those without by up to 202%.
Pretty compelling, I think.
Now in 2018, I think tackling employee advocacy is one of the big trends in social media and empower and train employees to be successful is key.
How do you keep up with the rapidly changing fintech landscape?
Fintech is so vast, I think that you need to zoom in to the areas that interest you and are more relevant to your role in the industry. Financial companies everywhere are trying to leverage how they can benefit from the rise of digital and the new “connected” reality. Personally, I look through the lens of marketing, and to keep pace I look to events, influencers, and digital media as my primary sources. Together those three sources provide you with trends, successes and challenges amongst traditional and digital-first organizations, married with experiential insights via peer-to-peer conversations and case studies, best practices and forward-looking points of view from media sources.
What are some of the biggest digital pain points you’re seeing in financial services?
I’ll answer that from the context I work in, social media, and through the lens of opportunities for organizations. A few things come to mind. First and foremost is the important role of compliance, and the requirement that many companies must capture and store business records that appear on social media. Before embarking on any social media program, I always ask myself three simple questions:
- Can we capture it?
- Can we archive it?
- Can we supervise it?
Second, is to have processes in place that ensure that content posted is centered on your company’s strategic objectives. And third, look to platforms like Dynamic Signal that allow you to modernize and streamline while also balancing the needed governance that will allow you to build a digital strategy.
Where do you do most of your reading?
That’s a great question as I spend 3-4 hours reading a day – so I’d love to also turn that question back over to your readers and gain new sources of insight to continue building on my own sources! Most of my reading is done online, however every evening I do sit down with a magazine – a real one – not digital. Recognizing that I spend the majority of my time on digital channels, there’s a sense of calm that comes from relaxing offline. My current digital go-to sources include:
- Twitter – there’s so much incredible content shared. Curate the people you follow, and you’ll be served up great content daily. Then focus on following people who share great content, and those who create great content.
- LinkedIn and Facebook groups – depending on the topic you’re interested in, some of these groups are well moderated and have a lot of incredible content.
- Flipbook – take the time to set up your profile and you may find this is a nice timely feed of content across your preferred topics.
- Quora – you can get lost amidst incredible insights here. It’s a great way to meet thought leaders and hear from brands through a more authentic voice.
- Newsletters – when you find a newsletter that is curated by a group or brand that you follow, this can be a great source of content. For example, I look forward to receiving the newsletter from InsurTechNews, my Medium Daily Digest and Reddit to name a few.
- Curation tools – these are a time saver and well worth aligning yourself with a few of them. It will save you hours of time sifting through websites and hunting content. Invest in the time to set them up well from the start and relevant content will be delivered to you!
Lists can be somewhat personal as you want to go where the people sharing and discussing content that is of interest to YOU are. I recommend finding out where your audiences are spending their time and go there to start.
What advice do you have for other women interested in making financial services a career?
My advice is the same regardless of the industry you’re in, and these six points come to mind:
- You’re building a career, it’s not just a job.
- Find a mentor and be a mentor.
- Follow your passion.
- Focus on work-life-integration.
- Take risks.
You must stretch and experiment. Always try new things, take on a fresh challenge. Don’t adhere to the notion, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” because over time, expectations change, and new approaches must be tried to remain current.
Thank you, Danielle.
Danielle Guzman is the Global Head of Social Media & Distributed Content at Mercer, an organization that delivers advice and technology-driven solutions that help organizations meet the health, wealth and career needs of a changing workforce. Previously at AIG for ten years, Danielle was the Global Head of Product Development and most recently the Global Head of Customer Insight for their Consumer Insurance business. Danielle is a passionate champion of continuous learning, which is essential in the fast-moving social space, with more than 15 years of marketing experience in financial services and insurance.
Danielle was most recently listed as the number one female #Insurtech influencer by Onalytica, seen in the Top 100 Fintech and Influencer lists globally, and a Top 10 Women in the Finance Power 100. Be sure to follow her on Twitter.