Tag Archives: engagement

Social Media Is Not Just About Communications

Some insurance executives still question whether social media represents a threat, an opportunity, or just another discretionary communications strategy. At the Insurance Marketing & Communications Association annual meeting in Toronto last week, Sam Friedman of Deloitte listed the six major threats/challenges facing the insurance industry. Social media plays a role in all of them.

The principal take-away: Insurers who believe they can wait or take half-measures until the economy improves or when policyholders and prospects demand social media engagement make a serious miscalculation.

Consider:

  1. Struggling Economy: Every insurer is trying to find ways to cut costs and increase sales. Traditional mass advertising can be costly so savvy insurers are using lower-cost social media tactics to reach new markets and strengthen old ones.
  2. Regulatory Reform: State regulators are starting to focus on not just how insurers are communicating but also how they are mining and using social media data.
  3. Virtual Consumer: Social media is an indispensable bridge to those consumers who rely primarily on technology to obtain goods and services.
  4. Carrier-Producer Relations: Insurers are rapidly discovering the necessity and benefit of empowering and supporting their agents on the productive use of social media.
  5. Data/ERM Demands: Insurers’ appetite for reliable data is seemingly insatiable and social media delivers a treasure trove.
  6. Tech as a Game-Changer: Smartphone commerce and communications is a wave that is a becoming a tsunami that will overwhelm insurers which do not embrace it in all its forms, including social media.

The principal take-away: Insurers who believe they can wait or take half-measures until the economy improves or when policyholders and prospects demand social media engagement make a serious miscalculation. The soft market, lean marketing budgets, growing data needs, aging producer population, and tectonic tech shifts demand a new marketing paradigm. Younger insurance buyers won’t demand social media engagement from any carrier — they will just move to one that does. A portion of older, less tech-savvy buyers may be content for now with not using social media — but a growing percentage will also be lured away by competitors which demonstrate how social media delivers more value.

 

The principal take-away: Insurers who believe they can wait or take half-measures until the economy improves or when policyholders and prospects demand social media engagement make a serious miscalculation.

They’re Not There? Think Again!

“Social media just isn’t there with their customers — at least not yet.”

Think Again!Columnist Ara Trembly wrote recently that several insurance executives at this year’s ACORD LOMA Insurance Systems Forum expressed this same idea.  I have heard similar statements as well, and though I do not question their sincerity, I do question their reasoning.

The social media adopters such as GEICO, USAA, Progressive, Liberty Mutual, Westfield and PEMCO are not just going after those younger  insurance buyers who would not be caught without their smartphones and Facebook pages.  These companies are also creating new prospects among older buyers by using social media in imaginative, useful ways to reach them.    They are enabling their agents to expand their reach and engaging buyers with entertaining, educational content and mobile applications that set them apart from their competition.

Insurers who believe they can wait until their policyholders and prospects ask for social media engagement are in for a surprise.  The younger buyers won’t demand engagement from a company — they will just move to a company that does.  Some older, less tech-savvy buyers may be content for now without using social media — but some will also be lured away when they discover how an insurer can deliver more value by using it.  In this soft market, no insurer can afford to ignore such a powerful tool.