Business Benefits of Social Media Don’t Come Easy for Insurance Agents

13thJan. × ’10

A new blog can be set up in a snap.  You can add a Facebook page for your insurance agency in just a few minutes.  Your insurance agency can prove it is in the know by setting up a Twitter profile.  Starting a social media account is easy.  Keeping up your shiny new blog or Facebook profile takes time, so much time, that most blogs quickly fall silent; in 2008 Technorati – the blog devoted to blogs – found that of the over 130 million blogs they tracked, only 5% had been updated in the last five months.

Deriving real business benefit from social media takes even more effort, and likely some cost, despite all the pundits who extol the virtues of this fee medium.  There is no doubt that blogging and Tweeting can add first stage SEO benefits for your insurance agency if you put the time and effort into these communication tools.  But what about the benefit of attracting a legion of loyal friends and fans to your social media space?  This may be most difficult of all for an insurance agency.

This week, Marketing Sherpa published a chart showing why consumers become fans of businesses.  While all of the reasons people friend businesses can be leveraged by insurance agencies, the top two, “Learn about new products and features” and “Learn about specials and sales” can probably be ruled out.

Why Consumers Become Fans of Businesses

( Note:  Max Connectors are defined as people with over 500 ‘connections’)

Insurance regulation prohibits discounts and sales, so unless you can be really creative, you are going to be hard pressed to post any content in this category that will attract a consumer following.  There is plenty of product innovation taking place in the insurance industry, as those of us working in the business know, but new product features and services tend to hold interest only to industry insiders.  That new coverage provision just can’t mesmerize the populace the way the newest iPhone, Windows operating system, or hybrid sports car can.

The remaining two content categories – “Company Culture” and “Entertainment” are probably rich enough to provide a thematic basis for your insurance agency social media content, but regularly posting this type of compelling content isn’t something most of us have been prepared to do.

I’m not suggesting that leveraging social media for the business benefit of your agency isn’t a strategy you should consider.  But I am saying that Facebook and blogging are not money-for-nothing, get-rich-quick schemes.  Social media takes as much time, effort, and expense as other business development options, so weigh your expectations and commitment accordingly.

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