Insurance in Plain English

Reaching the next generation of insurance consumers

Posts Tagged ‘social media

Social media and public relations: BF4E?

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A number of bloggers recently have addressed the connection between an organization’s social media efforts and public relations pros. PR departments are being given control of the purse strings more often than marketing, allowing communications professionals to essentially dominate the social media landscape.

While some believe that no one department can really own social media, it’s clear that PR professionals seem to leading the charge when it comes to these campaigns across the board.

So why the heck is this happening? Why are a bunch of grammar-loving flacks also heading up the dive into the Twitterverse and such?

Same goals, different mediums

The bottom line is that both public relations and social media have the same end goal: relationship management. In fact, I’d argue that you can’t really separate social media from public relations; social media is simply a tool that helps augment results in PR. To take a line from Christina Warren’s Mashable post,

PR professionals are using social media in a lot of ways to either supplement or add on to existing PR strategies. The most successful PR pros focus on creating active relationships and truly engaging with their customers (or constituents) to have a real conversation.

Social media, just like PR, is about building relationships, not generating sales (at least not directly). Both are about boosting your reputation and helping your organization to stay top-of-mind.

Do you think PR should head up social media efforts?

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Written by melissa

June 7, 2010 at 8:00 am

Insurance agents: Make the most of social media

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Today’s (first ever!) guest post is from Ben Jamieson at Astonish Results, beating the drum on an issue that speaks to many of my readers.

I have spoken with so many insurance agents in the past year who have whined to me about their Facebook and Twitter campaigns as being a complete waste of time. Their approach to social media goes something like this – create a business account, upload a profile photo (usually the company logo), invite the wife and office employees to be friends or followers – then they ask, “why haven’t insurance consumers started flocking to my agency?”

If you want to take advantage of the opportunities social media can bring to your business or insurance agency, you must not assume it will happen without an effort. And it certainly will not happen overnight.

If I had to give three points of advice for improving a social media campaign it would go as follows:

  1. Create a page that is eye catching, unique, and speaks to your business brand. Ninety-nine percent (unofficial stat) of business pages on Facebook and Twitter come in the form of blandness and monotony. Make your pages stand out and sing to visitors.
  2. Interact directly with your visitors and encourage participation. Hold a contest, take a poll, offer a discount, give them useful information, etc. Keep people coming back with interesting tidbits and personal incentives.
  3. Track your metrics. Metrics are a vital aspect to a successful web and social media presence. Understanding your company’s metrics will keep you informed of what works and what doesn’t. There are several programs for social media analytics management, or you can handle it on your own.

I’m calling out to all insurance agents! Get with it! Use social media to your advantage or don’t use it at all. Social media is not a fad and the hype is very real. Get on board or get out of the way.

Written by melissa

June 3, 2010 at 9:00 am

Why bother measuring?

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My last post generated a lot of interest, and a lot of agreement that some kind of measurement needs to be in play when talking about the less quantifiable fields of social media and public relations. Nick Brown from InsuranceHQ made a great point noting that,

ROI will always be relevant as long as the social media/PR practitioners are NOT the bosses.

Yup. ROI to justify our very existence. It’s a cold, hard fact, but it is up to the PR and social media professionals to translate their value to management. A practitioner’s intuitive “sixth sense” is not enough.

It provides justification for the very existence of such a department. Communication is often the first area to get cut from the budget, simply because there are no immediately observable effects on sales or profit.

One noted communication scholar, Dr. Geduldig, paints the picture,

A hard-nosed manager would have a tough job evaluating a function that cannot be defined and can do well when it does nothing … Don’t expect others to buy public relations on faith. If public relations doesn’t set standards of measurement that are both objective and meaningful, management will apply its own, and the value of public relations will ultimately be measured against the bottom line.

Proving your worth is no longer as simple as showing evidence of volume or claiming public relations, social media and reputation evaluation to be intangible and not subject to measure—managers are demanding quantifiable results of practitioners

Ah, but measurement does actually have a greater, nobler purpose than securing our paychecks (though that in itself isn’t too bad). It helps determine whether or not we are meeting the objectives we’ve set for our communicative efforts. Is social media helping our agency? Is our public relations campaign effective? How can we do better? You can’t attack these questions without having some sort of measurement and evaluation program in place.

So what do you think—why should we be measuring our public relations and social media efforts?

Written by melissa

June 1, 2010 at 9:00 am

Why social media in financial services?

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Wondering why a financial services professional should get involved in social media? Well, you’re in luck: my guest post over at Financially Digital will shine some light on this subject.

And while you’re there, check out the rest of the Financially Digital blog, from my very own “blog mentor,” Nunzio. Yup. He’s pretty awesome.

Written by melissa

May 19, 2010 at 8:28 am