How are insurers using social media today? Consider the results from the 2014 Accenture Insurance North America Social Media Benchmark Study, which identified the types of social media posts mentioning a specific insurance brand. The clear majority of blog posts relate either to marketing/sales or an aspect of customer experience:

Figure 1. Types of social media posts that mention a specific insurance brand, November 2013
View the image.

Surveying the landscape, insurers are using social media to:

  • Build trust and rejuvenate brands. Users of Facebook’s Farmville game can opt to buy virtual insurance from Farmers Insurance, creating brand awareness among young consumers.
  • Design and execute marketing campaigns. Progressive, Allstate and New York Life have all used social media for highly effective campaigns that keep target audiences engaged.
  • Extend their brand through social communities. New York Life hosts childhood bereavement chats and USAA has an online community for military spouses—providing value to customers that go beyond traditional insurance.
  • Generate leads. Insurers that use social media listening tools and analytics can identify emerging needs for both prospects and existing customers, and present relevant offers.
  • Protect brands through sentiment analysis. By monitoring social media, insurers address damaging comments or unhappy customers in a timely manner—and similarly, respond to or share positive comments.

Insurers have clearly embraced social media channels as an integral part of their media mix and use these channels extensively to listen to and engage with customers and prospects. But there are broader applications that would drive even greater business value. Next week I’ll examine how social media might be applied in different ways across the entire insurance value chain.

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