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Social Media And Insurance Brokerages – Part 1

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I recently viewed the 2013 version of Erik Qualman’s SM Revolution.  The numbers cited in this video are impressive:

  • 1 billion strong on Facebook
  • SM has become the #1 activity on the Web
  • 1 in 5 couples meet online
  • 92% of children under the age of 2 have a digital shadow
  • Every second, 2 new members join LinkedIn
  • YouTube is the 2nd largest engine in the world
  • Every minute, 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube
  • 93% of marketers use social media for business

Statistics indicate that worldwide the number of people with a SM presence is growing.

We’re bombarded with online invitations to attend seminars from “experts” who want to convince us, as businesspeople, that we need to be active on SM, or else!  In fact, Erik Qualman, the author of Socialnomics, claims that “The ROI of Social Media is your business will still exist in 5 years.”

Insurance brokers in Ontario need not look further than the last IBAO conference. SM was the theme (or part of the theme) of numerous discussions and workshops.

Let’s take a step back and objectively think about all the facts, including those that are not as well publicized.

Canadian SM profile & trends

The fact is that the large majority of Canadians who have a SM presence are not “active.”  They tend to be NO-SHOWS, passive NEWCOMERS or ONLOOKERS who “lurk” on SM networks to keep up on the lives of others but who share little content.

Some more Canadian facts to consider (source: AskingCanadians, 2012):

  • 44% of SM users “are less enthusiastic today than they were 12 months ago”. The reasons: lack of novelty, privacy issues, and realization that online friends are not “real friends”.
  • 51% trust a brand’s website over their SM site.

 SM as a source of insurance-related information

A study undertaken in 2012 by Secor & Opinion Search among Canadians in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta, reveals that only a small minority of Canadians turn to SM as a source of information when purchasing automobile insurance.  Insurance professionals, friends and family and the Internet are, by far, the most important sources consulted.

Moving forward, an increasing number of Canadians will become “active” on SM.  They may increasingly use the various SM platforms to guide their insurance-related decisions. It is therefore in the brokerage interest to …

(1) understand SM

(2) determine if having a SM presence is right for the brokerage

(3) and if so, to implement a SM strategy.

What’s Coming Next?

Part 2 of this blog post will provide the brokerage with a better understanding of SM, its pros and its cons, to help management decide if this tool should be used as part of the brokerage’s overall marketing strategy.

Editor’s Note: 

What do you think?

Is the use of social media maturing? Do brokers need to pay attention? Or is social the 8-track of the 21st century? (If you don’t know what an 8-track is, find a boomer!)

Catherine Kargas is Vice President at MARCON, a Canadian management-consulting firm.  In her consulting practice, she focuses on insurance, transportation and energy, with an emphasis on sustainability. For more information: [email protected] 

Catherine is also a member of the Insurance-Canada.ca Insurance 2023 Group.

Ed.

One Comment

Michael Kanters

This is a great article but I think it would be very helpful to add one more statistic: what percentage of people first heard about their newest insurer on social media? Whether they went to friends or websites for advice on who to get insurance from were they asking questions about company ‘x’ because of the social media presence?
Does a social media presence change the question from ‘Who do you recommend?’ to ‘What do you think of this company?’

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