With nearly everyone in the modern age on social media platforms, it is no surprise that businesses have begun utilizing them to reel in customers and build brand recognition. It’s important, however, for any company that plans to share posts and engage with customers online to first understand what benefits and disadvantages may come its way.
As an insurance agent or agency, social media can boost success — or break it. Be sure you consider the following factors before jumping in too soon.
Pros of Social Media for Insurers
Great advantages of using social media for insurance agencies include:
1. Speed and efficiency: Posting images and messages is immediate (unless scheduled in advance). You can also see other people and business’s posts in real time and without the wait.
2. Price: Nearly every social media network is free to sign up with and use. Even the mobile apps for social media platforms are free to download.
3. Ease of use: Although some platforms are a little more tricky and complex than others, generally most social media networks were made to be extremely easy and simple to use, even for older generations.
4. Portability: Take your networks with you anywhere, since they can be accessed on laptops, tablets and cellphones. Have a customer message you about a concern after hours? If you or someone at your agency is available (and willing), you could resolve the issue faster or on the go even when no one is in the office.
5. Accessible audiences: One of the greatest advantages, especially for industries like insurance, is the accessibility to a wide range of audiences. Some platforms even allow you to tailor whom your posts get sent to and whom you want to target through online marketing ads.
Cons of Social Media for Insurers
As great as modern apps and virtual networks are, it’s important to keep a few of the more negative aspects of social media in mind, such as:
1. Employee-employer relationship issues: From former employees bashing the company to management seeing personal information on employee pages, there are several potential issues that can stem from social media access for agencies.
2. Public feedback: Although rave reviews can be a huge benefit, damaging reviews can hurt your brand and prevent people from wanting to purchase insurance with your agents. For instance, if a customer had problems with how a claim was handled and posted their complaints on your profile, others who saw the negative feedback may consider wanting to do business elsewhere or be concerned about how you do business.
3. Cyber risk: Especially with an industry like insurance, cyber hacks can cause legal and privacy issues that are hard to resolve.
4. Pace and turnover: A hard part about social media usage is keeping up with the fast pace of trends and stories. It can also be overwhelming to keep up with the latest network additions, technology advances and new social media apps, not to mention trying to keep up with what other agencies and insurers are doing on their profiles.
How to Prevent Disadvantages from Affecting Your Agency
Overall, the benefits of utilizing social media in a variety of ways can far outweigh the disadvantages — if done correctly, with strategy and with caution. Before engaging on every social media platform out there, first decide which apps or networks work best for you and come up with a marketing strategy centered around who you want to reach and how.
When it comes to limiting cyber risk, keep an eye on your privacy settings and change your password on a regular basis to ensure the utmost security. You should also watch out for negative feedback and address it whenever you can by providing information on who to contact for problem resolutions or by writing a unique and genuine apology. As you engage and post your own status updates and images, it’s important to always have a strong understanding of how your audience may interpret information.
Learn More About ASI
ASI is one of the largest homeowners insurance carriers in the United States. Through a network of independent agents, the company offers home, condo, renters, dwelling, fire and flood insurance in over half the country, with plans to cover the rest by 2017. Find out more at americanstrategic.com.