Back in 1999, Homer Simpson’s daughter Lisa told her father that she could show him how to order pizza over the Internet. Homer replied: “The internet? Is that thing still around?” The Internet had gone beyond the initial hyper enthusiasm into a steady state presence that fell below Homer’s radar. We’re increasingly seeing anecdotal information that Social Media is approaching this same level of maturity, which allows more intelligent planning and utilization for insurers and brokers.
We’d like your thoughts.
Social can be an end in itself, but is this business?
As with the early Internet, insurers and brokers are attracted to any medium that seems to be attractive to consumers. Many of the early social media initiatives were designed to get new prospects by seeking ‘likes’ on Facebook pages. Back in May, we posted on this approach and quoted an agent who reported results from his efforts: “Likes went up 50% … but quote activity died.” Clearly ‘Likes’ and ‘Income’ are not perfectly correlated.
We also saw (and continue to see) a number of insurers looking to use social tools for internal communications. There have been a number of success stories initially. However, some reality has set in there as well. As reported in Insurance Networking News, a recent Towers Watson survey of firms found that 40% if those using social internally found the social tools to be cost effective and only 30-40% of respondents rated the social tools as highly effective. These percentages are not bad, but not perfect. Social is only one tool in the communications arsenal.
The lessons here are that business-oriented, data driven discrimination is required to select effective external and internal uses for social.
As with the early Internet days, senior business (and technology) managers have been feeling overwhelmed with the onslaught of socially related pressures, requirements, etc. Some have responded by hiring social media ‘subject matter experts’ to be the resident go-to guru on all matters social.
Others have taken a slightly different tack, by adding social media expertise to the list of position requirements. So, for example, a new marketing analyst might be expected to bring expertise in designing campaigns using both traditional and new media.
In a recent Information Week article, Nathan Freitas, marketing director, engagement, at Salesforce.com was quoted saying, “In the future, I see jobs moving away from including ‘social’ in the title as it becomes more ingrained into our jobs.”
What do you think?
Do you think that social applications should continue to be new and handled in a unique fashion in your organization, or should they being assimilated into the mainstream? Are you in favour of bringing in employees with specific social skills, or are you looking for your employees to bring these as one facet of their profile?
We’d ‘Like’ to get your feedback.