From Apps To Tweets  Insurance Agents and the Social Web 040310
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From Apps To Tweets Insurance Agents and the Social Web 040310

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An introduction to the Social Web for Independent Insurance Agents

An introduction to the Social Web for Independent Insurance Agents

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  • Today? NO 1997 in response to using email in an agency and 1980 in response to Agency Automation
  • The growing popularity of social networking has attracted the attention of agencies, brokers, and carriers that believe these platforms open up new business opportunities.
  • Insurance customers continue to migrate online and adopt social networking and a growing numbers customers turn to the Web to research and buy insurance.
  • Curiosity Marketing – creating a presence that leaves the customer wanting more Viral Marketing – on-line spider like distribution of your message Personal vs. Professional Brand – differentiation Transparency – building trusted relationships Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing
  • It is not about whom you know or who knows you but who “Feels” they know you
  • The business of being insurance agent or broker relies on building trusted relationships. The era of mass marketing was a threatening and scary time for insurance agents.   The impersonal era of mass everything, mass mailings, cold calling and blast email all had the effect of   disenfranchising the independent agent and broker.   They had a hard time standing out, differentiating themselves and competing in a marketing world filled with clutter. There has been a transformation and societal shift. Consumers have had it with the impersonal push marketing of yesterday.   Spam filters, do-not-call lists, DVRs, and the like give the public the power to say, I have had enough. Social networking is fostering fundamental changes to the way people communicate, gather information, form opinions, and build relationships. Social networking is all about listening, building community, engaging in a conversation, sharing an experience, being transparent, engaging, being interesting, and adding value. In short, Social networking is all about building and strengthening relationships. This is encouraging news for independent agents and brokers. The meteoric rise of tools like Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter are all telling us that customers want to do business with people who they feel like they know and trust. This should be reason enough for agents and brokers to get in the game and implement a social networking strategy. Further, support for the role social networking plays in facilitating trusted relationships and the importance of those relationships in consumer behavior can be found in the Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey . Social networks offer more substance and value than the familiar “w hat are you doing ?” status updates. Building and maintaining relationships is core to sales, promoting organic messages and m onitoring customer trends are part of an agencies overall marketing effort and s ocial networks serve a variety of public relations functions.
  • Where to begin? Often getting started – just jumping in – is the hardest part. There are an infinite number of online networks available. Listed below are a few that can assist you in getting started in your social networking journey. It ’ s not enough for a website to be a static brochure anymore. Your customers want to do things, find things, share things, and participate in things. Invest in making your website a resource and destination for people, and a conduit to information and interaction with you. Unlike traditional and typically static websites, a blog enriched or blog forward site can easily be kept current and relevant. A Blog can add a level of credibility and a sense of accessibility to an agency brand. They can be used to explain products and services, promote an agency sponsored team or event, as well as, offer opinion or topics of general interest. Blogs posted with valuable and relevant content is an essential aspect of a successful social networking strategy.
  • Where to begin? Often getting started – just jumping in – is the hardest part. There are an infinite number of online networks available. Listed below are a few that can assist you in getting started in your social networking journey. It ’ s not enough for a website to be a static brochure anymore. Your customers want to do things, find things, share things, and participate in things. Invest in making your website a resource and destination for people, and a conduit to information and interaction with you. Unlike traditional and typically static websites, a blog enriched or blog forward site can easily be kept current and relevant. A Blog can add a level of credibility and a sense of accessibility to an agency brand. They can be used to explain products and services, promote an agency sponsored team or event, as well as, offer opinion or topics of general interest. Blogs posted with valuable and relevant content is an essential aspect of a successful social networking strategy.
  • Linkedin - Members create detailed personal profiles much like a resume. LinkedIn also offers online groups for individuals who share common interests and goals. Participation in these groups through discussion forums can serve as a means to deliver news about your products and services.
  • Linkedin - Members create detailed personal profiles much like a resume. LinkedIn also offers online groups for individuals who share common interests and goals. Participation in these groups through discussion forums can serve as a means to deliver news about your products and services.
  • Linkedin - Members create detailed personal profiles much like a resume. LinkedIn also offers online groups for individuals who share common interests and goals. Participation in these groups through discussion forums can serve as a means to deliver news about your products and services.
  • There is growing acceptance that agents and brokers can benefit from effective use of the social web. Yet, the opportunity presented by the social web is not without risk. There are legitimate concerns surrounding such issues as privacy, errors and omissions, security, and protecting proprietary information. It is only good management to deploy a social web policy that clearly lays out what is and isn’t permissible when employees are presenting themselves as representatives of your organization.
  • Following the above framework, here is a sample policy: Company Philosophy – Our Company believes it is in the best interest of our company, as well as, our employees to both grant access and encourage participation in the social web. Definition - For our purposes the social web includes websites and medium (such as video) that allow users to interact with each other and share information, opinion, knowledge and interests Identify yourself – be transparent. In responding to a work related social web activity be clear about your role and/or position with the company. When appropriate use a disclaimer indicating the opinions expressed are yours and not those of the company. 4. Recommending others – Please refrain from recommending customers, employees, past employees or partners, as it might be misconstrued as an endorsement. Referring – Do not reference customers, employees or partners without their express consent. Confidentiality – Perhaps just reminding employees that participation on the social web needs to comply with existing confidentiality policies Terms of service – When participating in the social web we expect you to comply with the terms of service of the site or application. Most specifically please refrain from providing false names and or information. 8. Copyright – For our company’s protection, as well as your own, it is mandatory that you comply with all copyright laws. When referencing an article, blog or other material provide a link back to the source whenever possible. 9. Productivity – While we understand the benefit effective use of the social web can provide - please be mindful of its impact on your productivity. We expect the social web to improve your job performance not detract from it. 10.Disciplinary action – Here it is necessary to spell out the consequences for misconduct.
  • I talk a lot about beginning from a position of trust –While there are possible negatives involved in having employees on the social Web, most employees have common sense. Begin with a set of possibilities first.  These should be tied to business objectives (increasing awareness, improving customer service, gaining customer insight and so on) then draw up a list of worst-case scenarios (bad mouthing the company, inappropriate language, leaking IP, to name a few). Modify the guiding principles for your employees below to help mitigate the risks you’ve identified.    If you get everyone on board first imagining what is possible — you will enroll them in helping you move forward.   Often I find that IT / Legal (the people charged with lowering risk)  are not engaged in any planning — just given a program that scares the heck out of them — and they they do their job:  tear it down because it is risky.  Engage them early and often in your planning.
  • Agents should use their blogs, Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin to start and facilitate discussion to enable customers to engage in dialogues around important and relevant social and family issues. Agents can use social networks to respond and help customers involved in catastrophes like floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes with a wealth of helpful information.
  • Don't focus so much on you and your message. Put that farther down on your To Do List. Focus first on your customers. Hear what they are saying, see what they're up to. Once you've been able to connect, and figure them out, then see how you can help. You can't manage what you can't measure. Chief Marketing Officers are going to pay more attention to metrics and tie in social media more directly to overall business goals, not just web-related goals. When starting up new project agree on what the metrics should be and what goals are appropriate. 

 As your social media strategy matures, you'll add in more rules and guidelines. However, you can't have a rule for every situation. You need to trust your team. Lead by example, don't manage with rulebook. Social media is definitely one of those areas in life where more money doesn't always win. Two of the most powerful ingredients in social media are creativity and personality. They are the key to having a viral message and to being a trusted resource. They are also essential to discovering useful strategies and tactics. You can't be afraid to try something new or go against the grain.


  • Social networking is quickly evolving. The landscape changes constantly and the issues which seem most pressing today will most likely be replaced by new ones in the near future. It is important to remember that it is the sociology not the technology that is key. Therefore, while the technology will change, it is the societal transformations that represent the hard trends and the challenges for our profession. Yes, today’s business environment presents many challenges but also offers many opportunities. There are a myriad conversations taking place on the web and our industry and even your agency is more than likely being discussed. Social networking provides agencies and brokers with an opportunity to be an active and trusted participant in that dialogue. Being a company that people trust and want to interact with is undeniably good for business There are no hard and fast rules for organizations wishing to use social networking. and Yet, openness and transparency are key elements with the end goal of building and strengthening trusted relationships. Social networking isn’t about you - it’s about your on-line community of friends, fans and followers and connecting with them so that when they have a need for insurance, they remember they have an agent friend on the social web who specializes in that.
  • Social networking is quickly evolving. The landscape changes constantly and the issues which seem most pressing today will most likely be replaced by new ones in the near future. It is important to remember that it is the sociology not the technology that is key. Therefore, while the technology will change, it is the societal transformations that represent the hard trends and the challenges for our profession. Yes, today’s business environment presents many challenges but also offers many opportunities. There are a myriad conversations taking place on the web and our industry and even your agency is more than likely being discussed. Social networking provides agencies and brokers with an opportunity to be an active and trusted participant in that dialogue. Being a company that people trust and want to interact with is undeniably good for business There are no hard and fast rules for organizations wishing to use social networking. and Yet, openness and transparency are key elements with the end goal of building and strengthening trusted relationships. Social networking isn’t about you - it’s about your on-line community of friends, fans and followers and connecting with them so that when they have a need for insurance, they remember they have an agent friend on the social web who specializes in that.

From Apps To Tweets Insurance Agents and the Social Web 040310 Presentation Transcript

  • 1. From Apps to Tweets: Social Media and Insurance By Rick Morgan Using Social Media to build trusted relationships and increase sales
  • 2. Crescenta Valley Insurance Rick Dinger
  • 3. Familiar with the Social Web?
  • 4.
    • A virtual community where people with common interests can gather and connect, to share stories, ideas, thoughts, and opinions .
    Flickr: superaleja
  • 5.
    • You have done it most of your life. So did you parents and grandparents.
    flickr: cynthiacloskey's
  • 6.
    • Have you ever:
    • asked or given advice?
    • given or received a recommendation?
    • shared an experience?
    • collaborated on a project?
    • interacted with a group?
  • 7.
    • It’s a Fad.
    • I don’t have time.
    • It’s not for business.
    • What is the ROI?
    • I don’t want my staff wasting company time on this.
    • What about E&0?
  • 8.
    • Opening Up New Opportunities
    • Essential tool for communication
    • Customer engagement
    • Lead generation
    • Immediate customer contact
    • Customer service
    • Customer interaction
    • Relationship building
  • 9.
    • Rapid rise in the popularity of social networking
    • “ Main Street” acceptance of social networking
    • Social Media Revolution
  • 10. Consumers Increasingly Rely on the Internet for Auto Insurance, with 73% of Consumers Researching the Topic Online Last Year Compared to 67% in 2008.
    • Source: 2009 comScore Online Auto Insurance Report
  • 11. Of Those Online Shoppers Who Don’t Bind Online, 73% Purchase Offline After Quoting Online.
    • The most common way of purchasing offline after quoting online is through a local agent in person .
    • Source: 2009 comScore Online Auto Insurance Report
  • 12.
    • Curiosity Marketing
    • Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing
  • 13. Diagram Curtesy of David Armano http://darmano.typepad.com/logic_emotion/2009/04/why-marketing-in-a-post-consumer-era-wont-look-like-marketing.html
  • 14.
    • “ A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or organization.”
    • - Matty Neumeier
    Flickr: jimsk
  • 15.
    • “ Soon, being the loudest and broadest messenger in a medium consumers don't trust simply won't count as much as being the most authentic, available, and accessible brand in the media consumers do trust”. - Experience: The Blog by Augie Ray
  • 16.
    • Blogs - A Blog, is a website with regular entries of commentary, news, opinion or other material such as links, photographs or video.
    • Create an editorial calendar
    • OK to have multiple authors
    • Consistency is more important the frequency
    • Keep posts short
    • Let personality show through - speak in first person
    • A mix of personal and professional
    Tools for Getting Started
  • 17.
    • Facebook - Facebook’s popularity means that many of your prospects and customers already use to keep in touch not only with family and friends but also companies .
    • Fan Pages
    • Ads
    • The Rey Insurance Agency Agency Fan Pages
    Tools for Getting Started
  • 18.
    • LinkedIn - LinkedIn is a social network for business professionals.
    • Groups
    • Q&A
    • http://www. linkedin .com
    Tools for Getting Started
  • 19.
    • Twitter - Twitter asks the question, "What are you doing?” Agencies can tweet company announcements, ask for feedback, answer customer questions or share relevant website page links.
    • Real-Time
    • Search
    • Lists
    • Manage with tools like TweetDeck and Hootsuite
    • http://business.twitter.com/twitter101
    • Insurance people on Twitter
    Tools for Getting Started
  • 20.
    • YouTube - Video can be a very effective way for an agency to deliver its message and strengthen its on-line brand.
    • Flip Video
    • Creative
    Tools for Getting Started
  • 21.
    • Building a Team
    • Why a Team
    • Members
    • Roles and Responsibilities
      •   Community Manager
    • Getting Everyone in the Game
    Flickr Seattle Municipal Archives
  • 22.
        • Creating Objectives
    • Goal
    • Objectives
    • Strategy
    • Tactics
    flickr amber-rae
  • 23.
    • Creating a Social Web Policy Guide
    • Company culture and management philosophy
    •   avoid the social web altogether
    •   ac t intelligently
    • Transparency
    • Personal vs. company brand
    • There is no one size fits all
    Flickr racatumba
  • 24.
    • 10 things you should cover in your social networking policy
    • - Debra Littlejohn Shinder
    • A clear company philosophy
    • The definition of so cial networking
    • 3. Identifying oneself as a employee of the company
    • 4. Recommending others
    • 5. Referring to client, customers, or partners
    • 6. Proprietary of confidential information
    • 7. Terms of service
    • 8. Copyright and other legal issues
    • 9. Productivity impact
    • 10. Disciplinary action
    • http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/10things/?p=875
  • 25.
    • Common themes
    • Speak in the first person and be yourself
    • Be thoughtful and respectful of employees and others – respond to ideas not people.
    • Add value – be interesting, innovative and informative.
    • Listen – listen to what others are saying, what they mean and what they like and dislike
    • Design for Possibility – Then Design for Risk
    • July 30th 2009 - Joshua- Michele So cial Media Guidelines – The Sequel
    • http://www.opposableplanets.com/method/2009/07/social-media-guidelines-the-sequel/
  • 26.
        • Measure
    • ROI
    • Google Analytics
    • Google Alerts
    Flickr biking nikon pdx
  • 27.
    • 1. Provide the forum for discussion of social, business and family issues
    • Founders Group Insurance uses their Blog and Twitter to engage their followers in both cultural and insurance-related topics.
    • http: //foundersgrp . wordpress .com/
    • 2. Help customers through with disaster preparedness and disaster recovery
    • Nibby Priest, an agent in Henderson, KY used Facebook and Twitter to communicate with customers during an ice storm. Claims were actually submitted over Facebook.
    • http://blog. govaughn .com/
  • 28.
    • 3. Educate customers on insurance and allow them to share feedback
    • Agent Chris Jordan, uses his Atlanta Insurance Live site and use of video to help customers and prospects understand the world of insurance. http://www. atlantainsurancelive .com
    • 4. Develop communities for targeting customer segments
    • Irwin Siegel Agency, Inc. Irwin Siegel Agency, Inc. uses social networking to help generate interest with target customer segments. http://www. siegelagency .com/default. htm
    • Enhance your brand and marketing message.
    • Rick Dinger of Crescenta Valley Insurance has used YouTube and Facebook to attract a new audience.
    • Cresenta Valley Insurance
    • The Rey Insurance Agency
  • 29.  
  • 30.
    • Listen Listen Listen
    • Pay Attention to the Metrics

    • Have Rules, But Trust People
    • Creativity & Personality Trump Big Budget
    • Source SlideShare 5 Social Media Secrets for 2010
    Photo MacAllenBrothers
  • 31.
    • Be Ubiquitous
    • Be Social
    • Be Interesting
    • Be Remarkable
    • Be Yourself
  • 32.
    • Agents Council on Technology - ACT
    • Misc. Articles and Links - Delicious
    • Amber Naslund - Altitude
    • Chris Brogan
    • David Armano - Logic + Emotion
    • This Presentation - www.Slideshare.net/rickjmiv
    Resources
  • 33.
      • Google Voice: 720.255.1645
    • Visit me at: Web Site | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | FriendFeed | Blog