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Insurance and Social Media

Recently I was asked:

“How can social media through NetVU benefit you and why should others participate?”

NetVU is the new AMSUG. For those unfamiliar, it is a users group for insurance software, an organization built by users to help other users. What better way to get these users connected than by leveraging social media! Unfortunately, without participation there is no power. How can it be helpful if no one is using it?

How can social media benefit me in a NetVU sense?  Let’s take a look at the world that could be. Say two years down the road after we have a decent presence on Twitter, Facebook, Linked-In or any of the other billion sites that connect us, I run into an issue. Now that I have a solid base of peers, the first resource I’d use would be Twitter. Maybe do a little tweet “Arggg word proposal is crashing with xxx.dll, any advice? #netvu_now”. So now the problem is out there. Anyone that is looking for #netvu_now hashtag sees my problem. That means, developers, managers, support personnel, agency staff, csrs and IT folk, etc can all collaborate on my problem. This provides the power of a real time community, reduces support calls, aids in innovation, builds loyalty, allows instant feedback and a plethora of other benefits. What is lost by not starting down this path? Maybe nothing, but I know one thing to be certain. Social Networking is not going away! Having answers, support and feedback instantly will be the reality. Companies that successfully use this technology to provide those services and use this new way to connect to people (the main ingredient for any organization) will stand apart.

Why should others participate? The same reasons I stated above apply to this question with additional bonuses. Individuals can become a resource. Most people in a users group want to contribute to the betterment of the whole. Social Media facilitates this very well. Some are motivated by the potential of becoming renown for their expertise, others to promote their company, a few may desire more hands on service. Quicker enhancement requests and feedback on new enhancements would easily be accomplished, building brand loyalty while engaging the NetVU community.  The way social media can be used is only limited by the imagination of the organization. Twitter is dynamic crowd sourcing once a community is built.

The problem of adoption initially is a catch 22. Currently in the insurance industry the sentiment is: No one else in the industry is using it, so it must not be effective for our business model… And because no one really utilizes it, social media is not advertised or promoted. Thus, users continue to be unaware of its massive potential. The hard part for an organization is going out on a limb and wrangling this beast into their business. It is a daunting task and unfortunately, too many C-level people think of short term ROI only.

One of the key issues down the road for organizations that haven’t learned how to use this medium is that they will be forced to play catch up and try to wrestle market share away from those who have learned how to engage clients, prospects, and users. Right now it is a fairly nascent technology in the business market, but I believe that if NetVU taps into the potential of social networking, we will see a huge increase in value to the whole community.

This is a small smattering of what this discussion could be. I hope it provides you with fodder to have interesting dialog about the wonder and majesty of social networking in the insurance industry.

A few amazing companies/people on Twitter.

@barbranixon – PR PHD that teaches classes on social media and is just really great person to follow

@sweetLeafApril – Sweet Leaf Tea evangelist

@Moosejawmadness – MooseJaw Clothing

@sanukfootwear – Super cool shoe company

@unmarketing – the social marketing consultant that I feel is right on track

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  1. July 2, 2010 at 2:31 pm

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