Social media marketing and service implementations are producing impressive results with modest investment for US insurance companies and independent insurance agents, a panel at the recent ACORD Implementation Forum reported. Being transparent with genuine personality seems to be a common denominator for success.
Angelyn Truetel, president of SouthGroup Insurance Gulf Coast in Florida has been actively using social media in her agency for less than a year, but has found that an investment of 15 minutes per day per staff member can result in impressive results when there is an opportunity to offer services. For example, Truetel reported a 90% conversion rate for quote requests on LinkedIn.
The key, according to Truetel, is to be consistent and offer ‘interesting and helpful’ suggestions at the community level. “You have to be where the customer is, and show your personality,” Truetel said.
Arron Lamp, vice-president – market management at Foremost Insurance Company, noted that his approach is to be a bit skeptical, but focus on helping agents. Lamp believes that video is becoming the “crushing app” in social media, and points to the success the company has had with The Foremost Insurance Guy and the short video clips that mix information with self-deprecating humour. The Foremost Insurance Guy is is actually Jeff Blair, a member of Lamp’s team.
Lamp concurred with Truetel that a genuine personality is required, and advised that an attitude of “complete, selfless attention and promotion” is the magic ingredient. Lamp said that the company’s investment in social media is ‘peanuts’ in comparison with traditional advertising.
The panelists agreed that it is still early days for social media, and the landscape is continually changing, however metrics are available from the social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter), and from other sources (e.g., Google Analytics) to help guide strategies and focus. For example, Truetel says her experience suggests that Facebook is helpful for lead generation and Twitter is helpful for retention.
The panel, chaired by Mark Westin, Manager of Communications and Interactive Media for ACORD, noted that the social media space is very cluttered and requires creativity to attract mindshare. Again, showing genuine personality is key, in Westin’s mind. In two words, Westin’s advice was, “Get Naked.”