Look at what your competitors are doing, see what has worked for them, or gather ideas and get inspired.

Social media might not be “new-new,” but sometimes we have to adjust to a learning curve and technology acceptance, or popularity, for it to trickle down to different markets. In our industry, we are restricted by compliance laws and other limiting factors in using, testing and trying out social media platforms. That’s why some people are hesitant when it comes to opening their agency’s profile on Facebook, for example.

But, there are times when you just have to venture out of your comfort zone, use the compliance laws as your flotation device, and surf the wild ocean that is the Internet. Once a pioneer carves a trail, wagons of pioneers will follow.

And that’s what we can do about tackling social media: look at what your competitors are doing, see what has worked for them, or gather ideas and get inspired. For example, look at past LIMRA Silver Bowl Awards winners. These awards seek to recognize excellence in social media by financial companies and “showcase successful social media programs, providing other companies a blueprint for how to effectively use social media in their businesses,” says LIMRA in a press release.

Even though these awards are currently focused on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube (I know what you’re thinking, where’s Pinterest?!), you can get a lot of cool ideas for your own social media plan.

For example, look at 2013’s winners:

  • Make social media work for YOUR agency: Instead of having the usual company page profile, with their job posts and company news, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management used LinkedIn to launch an engaging platform for their financial advisors.
  • Emotional engagement is the core of the insurance industry: And Transamerica knows it. That’s why they decided to engage directly with their customers by making personal connections using different social media platforms with their “It’s real now” campaign, which would highlight life events such as the birth of a baby, retirement, etc.
  • Seek out events that are meaningful to you and your community: John Hancock’s Twitter strategy for their @jhBoston26 handle supports their Boston Marathon principal sponsorship.  In 2013, their Twitter followers increased by 137 percent in April alone. By doing something that gives back to your community, you are making your company a living part of it, and Tweeting about the event helps to get your name out there too.

See also:

How to find and connect with influencers
Why smartphones could be a game changer for sales