Putting Your Insurance Agency Toe in the Social Media Water

4thJul. × ’09

Social media marketing is work; it takes time, it is a game played by different rules than most agents are used to.  Results will probably come slowly, and be difficult to measure.  With all my skepticism, I still believe that insurance agents should be taking measured, disciplined forays into blogging, Facebook, YouTube…and yes, I suppose even Twitter.  The Ten Commandents of Social Media, posted by Lon Safko on the Fast Company blog, is a great place for most insurance agents to start, although I wouldn’t recommend following every commandment (I like to think of them as suggestions anyway).  Below are the commandments reproduced, along with my opinions of whether they are elective or mandatory.

Commandments 1. Thou Shalt Blog (like crazy)

Elective. Blogging takes time.  Having said that, it wouldn’t hurt to start a blog, even a personal one that you share with only a few people.  At least you will become familiar with the medium.

Commandments 2. Thou Shalt Create Profiles (everywhere)

Mandatory. This isn’t hard or time consuming and has the defensive benefit of securing your business user name on the different social networks (this is different than claiming your insurance agency domain name).

Commandments 3. Thou Shalt Upload Photos (lots of them)

Mandatory. There are lots of places where you can do this:  Facebook comes to mind immediately, and don’t overlook photo sharing services like Picasa and Flickr.

Commandments 4. Thou Shalt Upload Videos (all you can find)

Mandatory. And leave the commercials out (remember those things you FF past using TIVO).  Nobody wants to see them.  Be educational, tell a story, feature your staff in the community.  There is no excuse for not taking advantage, this is maybe the lowest hanging fruit in social media because video upload is free (see YouTube, Viddler, and a bunch of others), and the video can be embeded all over the place once it has been created and uploaded.

Commandments 5. Thou Shalt Podcast (often)

Elective. You should really be doing video anyway.

Commandments 6. Thou Shalt Set Alerts (immediately)

Mandatory. Facebook and other social network services will send text messages to you, and other services provide similar options.  You should be using Google Alerts, or another service to keep tabs on where your business name pops up.  You need to monitor what people are saying about you for obvious reasons.

Commandments 7. Thou Shalt Comment (on a multitude of blogs)

Elective.  Or Mandatory. I can’t decide.  Monitoring blogs can take up more time than you might be willing to commit, but commenting on the right blogs and social media can raise you profile and establish you and your insurance agency as an expert – there can be real brand value in this, and your time expenditure can be managed.

Commandments 8. Thou Shalt Get Connected (with everyone)

Mandatory. If you want to build a social network, this is how you get started.  That is, once you have established your profile.

Commandments 9. Thou Shalt Explore Social Media (30 minutes per week)

The most Mandatory of all. At least that’s what I think.  Thirty minutes a week isn’t too onerous a time commitment to explore and become familiar with a phenomena that has the potential to shape how business is done.

Commandments 10. Thou Shalt Be Creative (go forth and create creatively)

Mandatory. I’m going to cheat on this one by including the rest of the Fast Company blog post on this commandment.  I’m reading between the lines:  don’t do product commercials.

And the most important commandment is creativity. That’s all. It’s just creativity and having fun. But you know what, that’s what your customers want. They want to see transparency. They want to see authenticity. They want to see you having fun. They want to be able to relate and communicate.



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