Industry Trends

Random Thoughts: Digging Deep


I fashion myself an athlete (although some might add the "ex" prefix) having enjoyed sports my entire life. Like many people, I started off playing team sports at a young age. From age 5 though my high school years, it seemed every weekend of every season was taken up by a baseball, basketball or football game. 

Much of what I am today came from learning how to be a good teammate, understanding the value of physical and mental preparation, striving to win but learning to handle loss, and testing my abilities against others. I was lucky enough to continue my football and baseball careers through college but, as they say, "All good things must come to an end."

After college, I transitioned to tennis as a way to keep competing. Growing up, tennis consisted of watching Wimbledon on TV then running to the local courts with my brother to try and duplicate the exploits of Connors, McEnroe or Borg. I never took playing seriously until I decided to join a local USTA team. 

I found the "mano y mano" nature of singles tennis fascinating. Testing yourself against the guy across the net is a test of skill and will. (And does anyone else find it curious that this is the only sport where you help warm up your opponent?) Your body and your mind are constantly working to see if you win and move on. For me, a typical match would last three sets and run for two hours. It was a great workout and a test of my ability to take a shot and keep getting up. It definitely made me dig deep. 

Back in 2012, I can still recall watching DIG DEEP taken to another level at the Australian Open Men's Singles Final. Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal played five sets for 5 hours and 53 minutes before Novak was able to win the last set 7-5. It was the longest Grand Slam final in history and ended up finishing at 1:30 a.m. 

During the match, especially in the last two sets, there were times when it looked like both players were done. While they are physical marvels, it was their ability to stay mentally connected and competitive that made this an amazing event to watch. At one point the announcer said these two men were, “Redefining what is supposed to be humanly possible.” 

Isn’t it amazing how our minds and bodies can do more than we thought possible? We’re not all going to be professional tennis players, but we can find a way to dig deep and finish the game strong. 


About the Author
As executive vice president of life sales distribution, Bob Klein is responsible for all of Ash Brokerage’s life, long-term care and disability income insurance sales. He is driven by his desire to help others get the most out of their natural gifts, and he gets the most satisfaction from seeing others grow and succeed.

Random Thoughts

5 Tips to Organize your Social Media for 2016


So you’ve decided to add social media to your marketing arsenal for 2016 – woohoo!  I’m so happy to hear this. You might be wondering, “What are some best practices for organizing my social media efforts for 2016?” I have some great tips for you!  


1- Calendar Your Efforts

Seems simple enough – get a calendar and start to look at all the dates you could talk about financial planning, wealth management and insurance in the coming year. If you calendar your efforts, you will be much more organized with your thoughts, and it won’t seem like social media marketing is this overwhelming task. 

For example, have you considered …?

  • Monthly Themes. February is American Heart Month. You could go to the American Heart Association website and find LOTS of material to talk about this topic with your audience. What about October with Breast Cancer Awareness month? The National Breast Cancer Foundation has a wonderful website with lots of material you could share. This is a great way to repurpose someone else’s content (be sure and give them credit) and provide valuable information and resources about a particular topic.

  • Events. What about Super Bowl 50, which is coming up on Feb. 7? The 88th Academy Awards is coming on Feb. 28, 2016. You could talk with your audience about their favorite team or ask them about the movies they’ve watched – are any of them ones you should see? Starting a real conversation with your audience is a way to engage them and learn more about them as clients.


2 – Graphics

You want to use as many graphics as you can in your social media marketing. When you use pictures, your potential engagement increases. However, many people do not know where they can get free graphics to use.

I can tell you using Google as a resource for graphics is a BAD IDEA!  Many of them are copyright protected, and we don’t want you to get in any trouble! My social media buddy, Amy Vernon, recently published an awesome article in Inc. magazine on “7 of the Best Sites for High Quality, Free Stock Photos.”

I can tell you I personally use Flickr Creative Commons a lot. Most of the graphics you see in my blogs are from there. I was excited when Amy published this article (and I shared this with my LinkedIn followers) as she pointed the way to new places I didn’t know about! Pretty much everything you need, you can find on one of these seven sites.


3 – Time 

When are you gonna do this stuff? Make the time on your calendar to make sure it gets done. Seems like a no-brainer, I know. Also, who is going to do this stuff too? I suggest taking 20-30 minutes each week and working on the next week’s material. If you feel REALLY eager, then work a couple of weeks in advance.

As you do more of this, you will naturally start thinking about more themes, events and ways you can be creative – this may take more time, too. Time is an important consideration in doing social media well. You don’t want to be rushed, but I’m also quick to remind you don’t want to spend too much time doing this either.

Find a good balance, but start with at least 20 minutes each week.


4 – Project Management Tool

You really do need a project management tool to organize everything for a variety of reasons. My favorite for this is Trello.  My top reasons are:

  • It’s free. I love free – don’t you?
  • It’s collaborative. You can assign (and rescind) as many people as you need to work on a project.
  • It’s accessible. You can use this from a desktop as easily as you can from a mobile device.
  • It's adaptable. As their website says, it’s “Infinitely flexible. Incredibly easy to use. Great mobile apps. It’s free.”  What more can you ask for, right?


5 – Social Media Management Tool

You need to manage social networks and schedule messaging because you can’t do it all in real time. The best tools for this are Buffer and Hootsuite.

I’m particularly fond of Buffer as it’s incredibly easy to use for most financial services professionals. However, you will need to pay to schedule more than 10 things out. I’m on the Awesome Plan and pay $102 per year – it works great! Hootsuite has a free version that will be enough for what you need, but its interface is not as user-friendly. Pick your poison. It’s not a matter of Buffer and Hootsuite arm wrestling for your business – each has their own functionality, but I would still pick Buffer each time to make it easier for you.

Using these five tips to organize your social media will give you a great start for 2016.  If you have any questions, I welcome you to contact me for some help.


Sheryl Brown knows firsthand that social media can amplify your value proposition — and she wants to show you how. As manager of Advisor Engagement Services at Ash Brokerage, she assists advisors and employees with their own social media strategies, and she has been influential in developing a strategic online presence for Ash Brokerage — one that connects to both clients and advisors, positively impacts practices and creates communities aimed at improving the industry. 


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