In a room filled with the biggest cupcakes you’ve ever seen, all our Valentine’s Day wishes came true as we met some of the people we have been not-so-secretly admiring for a while. We were joined in our Xuber demo room by insurance professionals from Hiscox, Intelligent Insurer, MySlipcase, Miles Smith Group, Cooper Gay, Moore Stephens and more. All were seen excitedly speaking about a topic close to our hearts. Social media.
It’s the reason why we hosted our “Learn to Love Social Media” event. Apart from sharing some social media tips and advice, we wanted to hear from those who are already socially-active to listen to their thoughts. They had a lot to say and you can see some of their top tips they left behind on our SmartBoard image.
“Insurers, likely will be the first to admit, were never at the forefront of social media” says Adrian Tapping, Sponsorship & Events Manager, Intelligent Insurer. Lack of online activity at events and difficulty engaging insurers, reinsurers, MGAs and brokers in LinkedIn groups and stringent legal departments were popular concerns raised. We understand it’s a struggle. In fact, in a recent Tower’s Watson survey, insurers cited social media as one of the trends they felt the LEAST prepared for but at the same time, the one which would have a large impact on their business in the next 5 years.
So can social media provide the subsistence the industry demands? Or is it just a quick snack in the selection of trendy tech junk food? Will those who adopt just be on a sugar high while the real content is still delivered via traditional channels? Or can they share their cravings for delicious bite-size information via Twitter, LinkedIn, Google + or even Facebook with their colleagues?
“Insurers are now increasingly spending the time, effort and financial resources required to take full advantage of these vital customer facing networking sites,” says Tapping. Indeed, our other guests explained how much success they had have and how they were seeing change happen.
“There is no doubt that the use social media in the commercial insurance and reinsurance space has developed significantly over the past 2 years or so,” Alex Hearn, Managing Partner of MySlipcase, a social content distribution platform for the insurance and reinsurance industry says. “However, the pioneers of social in the industry are predominantly made up of Marketing, PR and Journalism pro's.” While all the marketing magic is going on, the ultimate audience are familiarising themselves with the consumption of social content but are hesitant to interact, explains Alex.
There might not be a huge amount of engagement or conversations being had openly online but insurers who are on social media are seeing growing numbers of followers and referrals from social platforms to their website.
Ah ha! So the appetite is there!
The behaviour of people in the market can be described as what is commonly known as social media “lurking”; reading and consuming the content without getting involved in the conversation.
But in my opinion, the industry is doing itself a disservice. Without adding thoughts, opinions and engaging, it has the risk of resulting is marketing teams talking to other marketing teams while the target audience is missing out on receiving the nutritious content!
But this is not a global issue. While the London market still seems hesitant, the US market has devoured social media at a much quicker pace. Events in the states are powered by a hashtag, apps are common place and the conversation is two or three years ahead when it comes to mobile technology.
When the risk of losing out on business to other markets becomes a very real and current reality, social media isn’t a choice anymore. From the many conversations, it is clear. Many are nibbling, some are feasting, most are starving. Our advice? Go on, take a big bite. It’s delicious.