The insurance industry is finally warming up to social media. Many agencies, companies, and insurance professionals have already established a presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. They are engaging their target markets while growing their follower, fan, and connection counts.
Facebook seems to be the favorite for many major insurance carriers. According to the Customer Respect Group's SocialEyes report, USAA has more than 137,000 Facebook fans. Farmers Insurance is the runner-up with 129,000 fans, and Geico has just under 100,000 fans. Additionally, New York Life recently expanded its networks on both Twitter and Facebook after focusing expressly on social media marketing.
Furthermore, social media and its uses are evolving. It's no longer just about marketing, it's now also used within underwriting and claims processes. Underwriters use social media to learn more about prospective policyholders. Claims professionals check social networking sites to monitor claimant social activity and uncover potential fraud. And for companies with local branches, there's Hearsay Social - a new social media platform that is helping big brands such as Farmers Insurance manage and monitor customer communications on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Despite the insurance industry warm-up, some insurance organizations have yet to integrate social media into their marketing mix. Some don't have the time or budget for it and others don't believe posting or tweeting will boost their insurance business.
Should you take the social media plunge?
I believe you should get your feet wet because social media is too big of a trend to ignore any longer. However, you probably won't see measurable ROI for a while, so don't divert insurance marketing dollars from proven lead generation activities. Fortunately, you can test the waters without spending a lot of money. If you're an agency serving local clients, Facebook is a great medium for promoting community events and sponsorships. All types of insurance organizations should consider LinkedIn. With more than 100 million users, LinkedIn is a great way to build business and branding through connections.
Get started by joining LinkedIn and setting up your profile, making sure to complete as many fields as possible. If you're not sure what to say, browse other profiles of like-minded professionals or use the services of an insurance copywriter. Then, start joining LinkedIn Insurance Groups to initiate and participate in discussions. You can even create a LinkedIn company page to showcase your insurance products, services, and associated recommendations.