Five Guidelines to Kickstart your Social Media Strategy
By Arjun Somanchi, Marketing Manager at @VUESoftware
Living in a technology savvy world, the majority of the population knows how social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, etc. can be used. We could agree that it’s mostly to interact with society such as adding friends, commenting on profiles, joining groups, and sometimes, if the time is right, having meaningful discussions. But using social media for business purposes takes a little more than this. Social media has a huge amount of relevance for insurance carriers and agents when you consider how they interact with their clients and prospects. Social media has significant implications for all segments of the insurance industry as you look at how prospective clients choose to interact with their insurance company or agent. Social media delivers information that is actionable, important to the customer, and helps to make the agent and insurance company relevant.
Many insurance leaders consider social media to be a nice tool to use in working with insureds and prospective clients in a Business to Consumer environment. And, agents have gravitated to understanding social media works with their personal lines and financial service customers. What is often forgotten is how social media works in a Business to Business dynamic. B2B is just as important as B2C.
Consider that the business owner has created a Facebook page for his business. That page can contain a lot of information that is of value to the insurance agent. Businesses use Facebook to tell their network about new products, expansion plans, mergers and acquisitions, personnel changes, and so on. An agent can use that information, say about a new product, and connect with the business to sell some additional insurance protection for new equipment that is being added, or providing insurance to a new location, and so on.
Social media isn’t only relevant to personal lines or B2C, but for all business and commercial insurance as well. Insurance organizations should have authorized guidelines for employees to adhere to while representing the company in matters of sales, marketing and customer service. Utilizing Social media along with social news can be very effective business tools. Having processes in place to reflect your business and uphold its image and credibility will generate prospects, keep policy holders well informed, and provide a feeling of connection. In other words, the more an insurance carrier and the agents know about their policy holders, the better they can provide customer service along with selling more to them.
There’s no hiding today as so many potential customers and competitors are hooked to the web and subconsciously or consciously sizing up providers in the insurance space. Before moving on to our proposals consider these statistics collected from The Social Habit from Edison Research in their trend analysis giving you an inside view on how critical social media is becoming and emerging technologies tactfully could be to your advantage.
Half of the American population has one or another social media profile
Approx. 58 million use social networking sites several times per day
92% of users assess social media on desktop/ computer
66% post status updates to social networking websites
Facebook is the dominant platform for brand –following behavior with 79% using to connect brands or products
In addition to customer service or sales initiatives, you could consider in part of your business strategy the following:
Be focused: Considering these statistics and the impact of social media, focus on accuracy. No bluffs. Keep the interest of your business in mind more than anything when engaging with your followers.
Listen Attentively: Listen to the topic of discussion that your followers are addressing and use to your advantage. Take this opportunity to build healthy relationships and position your company as an emerging market leader.
Outperform your competitors: Bear in mind what your competitors are saying. Distinguish what makes your company different and how you are the leader in the industry.
Flip the script: This is a great customer service tool. If your customers chose these channels to post their grievances on this open-to-all space, address them immediately responding on the same channel. The reputation as a sincere customer service provider goes a long way in changing the marketplace scenario in your favor. You can also fix any cracks on your side that may have caused the grievance.
Sharing is Caring: Show your value to your circles as profound advisors. Share and comment on relevancy of current situations that your company could potentially contribute to. Suggest interesting websites, articles, or information that will add value to your social media posts. This benefits the online community and could open the door for a new consumer.