News & Commentary

10:32 AM
Kelly Sheridan
Kelly Sheridan
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Is Your Business Maximizing Its Social Presence?

Hearsay Social CEO discusses how insurance professionals can better leverage social media for their success.

Most insurers are aware of social media’s importance but not all are using these platforms to their full potential. Some businesses, such as Ingenie, have leveraged social media to grow their consumer base while others struggle to maximize its effectiveness.

Social media is rapidly growing in the financial services space, explained Clara Shih, CEO of Hearsay Social, in a meeting with I&T. These projects are no longer driven by concerns about compliance and confined to social media teams. The popularity of social media among consumers has made it critical to strategic business growth, said Shih.

Now that social media has become an integral component of proactive business strategy, it is also a responsibility for each employee. Executives, managers and agents must have active social accounts in order to drive consumer engagement and business success.

[ Tapping Big Data Analytics to Acquire, Engage and Retain Customers. ]

Unfortunately for insurers and agents, developing a strong social presence isn’t always easy. Hearsay Social, which recently expanded its partnership with LinkedIn, has developed four steps to help agents and others involved in insurance distribution better navigate the sometimes-tricky waters of social media.

When developing a social presence, it’s not enough for agents to simply create a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn account and start posting content. “You have to get on and you have to be active,” Shih explained. The steps are embedded into Hearsay Social’s platform – which is typically used by insurance companies to facilitate their agents’ use of social media – so that clients have to complete one step before moving on to the next one.

First and foremost, agents and distributors must become findable by fully developing their social profiles so they are more frequently suggested in search queries. The more details a profile has, the more likely a beneficial social connection can be made.

Connections are the foundation of social success, which is why network growth is the second step on Hearsay Social’s list. Agents can expand their connections pool by following other industry leaders or joining groups relevant to their company mission or professional interests.

Once a strong group of connections has been established, agents must listen to them. People more often go to Facebook to share significant life news such as a wedding, birth or death. Insurers spend a lot of time looking for such information, Shih explained, and Hearsay Social uses an algorithm to narrow down the relevant content and present it to them.

Thought leadership is Hearsay Social’s final step to social media success, as this can only be done after the account holder has developed an audience. By sharing content, agents and distributors can engage their followers and gain more over time. Insurers can share content with their agents, which they can then share with policyholders.

“We’re teaching them to create habits,” said Shih of Hearsay Social’s four-step strategy. Every agent opts into Hearsay Social, and the company can monitor whether they have a profile, the strength of the profile, how other agents are performing and the number of connections they have. While its primary focus is marketing and distribution, agents can also route certain posts to customer service if a policyholder has a complaint.

Kelly Sheridan is an associate editor for Insurance & Technology. Prior to joining InformationWeek Financial Services, she was a staff writer for InformationWeek and InformationWeek Education. Kelly has also written for trade publication Promo Marketing and a number of ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Kelly22
50%
50%
Kelly22,
User Rank: Author
4/28/2014 | 9:34:39 PM
re: Is Your Business Maximizing Its Social Presence?
True, even negative attention highlights the fact that a company is active on social media. Chances are, those fiascos resulted in more followers per brand.
Jonathan_Camhi
50%
50%
Jonathan_Camhi,
User Rank: Author
4/28/2014 | 9:22:11 PM
re: Is Your Business Maximizing Its Social Presence?
Yeah organizations need to learn how to tailor messages to each social platform for success.
Jonathan_Camhi
50%
50%
Jonathan_Camhi,
User Rank: Author
4/28/2014 | 9:15:51 PM
re: Is Your Business Maximizing Its Social Presence?
Or the NYPD Twitter campaign last week. See banks aren't the only institutions still learning to use social media.
KBurger
50%
50%
KBurger,
User Rank: Author
4/28/2014 | 6:01:01 PM
re: Is Your Business Maximizing Its Social Presence?
A lot of that is likely to play out in insurance, where information, photos, etc. displayed on social media platforms could be used to deny a claim or even coverage.
Becca Lipman
50%
50%
Becca Lipman,
User Rank: Author
4/28/2014 | 4:51:42 PM
re: Is Your Business Maximizing Its Social Presence?
A witty campaign can really grab headlines and engage users - I expect we'll see a lot more focus on this. Even the campaigns that backfire in spectacular fashion (remember the Morgan Stanley Q&A Twitter fail?) draw attention to a company's social services.
Kelly22
50%
50%
Kelly22,
User Rank: Author
4/28/2014 | 2:27:48 PM
re: Is Your Business Maximizing Its Social Presence?
That's a good point. Even companies with strong social profiles will need to think outside the box to really stand out to consumers. I suppose that's where things like hashtags and promotional tweets can come into play.
Becca Lipman
50%
50%
Becca Lipman,
User Rank: Author
4/27/2014 | 8:36:50 PM
re: Is Your Business Maximizing Its Social Presence?
The great, but also scary, thing about social media is that it's a level playing field. Every facebook page has the same format, every twitter is confined to 140 characters. So I would add creativity, not just activity, to the list of things a business can do to maximize its social presence.
Becca Lipman
50%
50%
Becca Lipman,
User Rank: Author
4/27/2014 | 8:35:16 PM
re: Is Your Business Maximizing Its Social Presence?
Some of these legal issues are crazy, too. Something the average person would never consider an issue - like the complications around "endorsements" on LinkedIn, that's a total no-no because in the eye of regulators they are seen as an endorsement by the company. To Kathy's point, this space is still evolving.
Kelly22
50%
50%
Kelly22,
User Rank: Author
4/25/2014 | 2:59:50 PM
re: Is Your Business Maximizing Its Social Presence?
True, companies need to be careful to avoid legal troubles until the complications surrounding social media and business are cleared up.
Jonathan_Camhi
50%
50%
Jonathan_Camhi,
User Rank: Author
4/23/2014 | 9:06:16 PM
re: Is Your Business Maximizing Its Social Presence?
Another reason that rules in social media business interactions should be treated more as "guidelines" is that there are still a lot of legal aspects of social media use by businesses that still needs to be work out by the courts. There are a lot of cases winding their way through the judicial system right now that could impact how businesses can interact with customers (and employees too) through social media. So it's best to be flexible.
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Register for Insurance & Technology Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Slideshows
Video