How to Power Your Insurance Agency with Social Media
Reaching your customers and prospects at the right moment and through the right channel is key to any business. And social media is proving to fulfill this role for businesses across all industries. The insurance industry is certainly no exception. Research by LIMRA, the world’s largest association of life insurance and financial services companies, discovered that 93% of life insurance companies had social media programs in place.
Historically, insurance isn’t known as being an industry that emotionally connects and interacts with consumers. Yet, insurance covers very emotional events in a person’s life. Social media is a powerful tool to create these customer connections and to engage with consumers on a more personal level. When done correctly, social media can establish your brand’s reputation as being customer focused, reputable, and trustworthy – all important factors for consumers when deciding which competitor will win their policy.
Consumers also turn to social media when looking for information to help them make a decision about which insurance carrier or broker to do business with. A study by Accenture found that 48% of consumers would consider comments on social media when making insurance-buying decisions. Additional research by Celent showed that insurers stated marketing as being the top benefit of social media, followed by customer service and new sales leads.
Social Content Marketing Drives Results
Content marketing is used in virtually every industry, and it is especially important for insurance agents. When it comes to insurance, many consumers are confused on the terms, details, or what they are even buying. According to a survey by Nationwide Insurance, when asked to describe their insurance policy, consumers said their policy was too long (53%), complicated (43%), overwhelming (31%) and confusing (29%). The poll, which polled nearly 1,600 people who own property and casualty insurance, also discovered:
- Less than half of those polled (40%) have read their current insurance policy in its entirety (in the past 12 months)
- Only one in five consumers believe they completely understand the details in the insurance policy they purchased
- Half of all consumers say they don’t understand how to file a claim with their insurance company after an incident
Sharing informative content on social media to better educate consumers can go a long way in policy retention and gaining word of mouth referrals. Consumers are looking for insurers to not only sell them a policy, but as experts who they can trust to protect their most valuable possessions. Allstate is one example of a carrier who has gone the extra mile to share informative content on its blog and social sites, such as “Info you may be asked to provide when getting an online auto quote”, “Tips for emergency preparedness”, “Things to consider before purchasing your fist house”.
Other types of important educational social content to share should include explanatory videos on what a policy covers, instructional pamphlets on how to file a claim, interactive worksheets and calculators, and other resources to continually educate your audience.
Consumers Head to Social Channels for Customer Service
Consumers are increasingly turning to social channels for customer service. Social in this regard is increasingly playing a key role in servicing customers in the insurance industry. Consumers expect service when and where they want it and through the channels they prefer. Edison Research found that 32% of respondents who have sought social customer service expect a company to reply within 30 minutes and that 42% expect a response within 60 minutes. Celent reports that 90% of insurers believe their customer service operations can benefit from using social media.
Several important precautions however should be considered when utilizing social media to respond to customer inquiries or complaints. In an industry that handles personal PII and other sensitive information, a paper by Hootsuite recommends the following:
- Work with Compliance and Public Relations to determine which messages should not be responded to over public channels or responded to at all, or to identify any individuals that should be blocked.
- Protect your customers’ privacy by educating your team about when to take conversations off public social media networks and into other channels of communication.
- Respond quickly to customers but avoid stock responses when possible. It’s useful to have a library of legally approved content from your marketing department. If possible, respond individually, which carries greater influence and results in stronger customer affinity.
Social Media Generates Leads
Consumers talk about life events on social media. They may share on Facebook news about a new baby or new move. They post pictures on Instagram of a graduation or wedding. And they turn to Twitter to get recommendations on which car they should purchase. A study performed by IBM Impact that looked at 100 million social profiles discovered that more than 150,000 people shared information about a job loss or gain, 23,000 shared news about a business start-up or expansion, 20,000 shared their graduation details, and more than 2 million shared travel events. Insurers can use social listening platforms or a third party data vendor who has aggregated life event data to market to these consumers at the right time and with the right message.
Social media leads can be a highly valuable resource for insurers. Research by LeadSift shows some pretty impressive statistics regarding the social media landscape for the insurance industry. According to the research:
- The value dollar of the opportunities for insurance companies to drive results through social media is over $15 million a month.
- In one month, there were 3.7 million tweets about insurance and 23,401 social leads with purchase intent.
- Only 1% of these social leads received a response.
- 11,666 of social leads specifically talked about car insurance.
Insurers who can harness the power of social media and use it to inform their marketing strategies can access a world of opportunities. Whether it is providing customer service, targeting consumers based on life events, or educating and informing current and potential policy holders, insurers can use social media to stay more connected and engaged with digitally connected and social consumers.
To learn how insurers are using data-driven techniques to empower their marketing campaigns, download this free Insurance marketing guide.