There is a lot of rhetoric out there about insurance and social media. Most say it doesn’t work. I say it depends on how you use it. It can be one of our most potent forms of marketing, or it can be a total time suck.

Personally, I look to other industries that have had transformative effects by way of social media to create my strategies and social media marketing plans and I incorporate what they’re doing into my daily or weekly activities. Social media is about engagement not pontification. It’s about listening more than talking, something us producers sometimes struggle with. It’s also about blending it with your other marketing efforts in a cohesive way that makes them all work together.

Another way to look at it is as an alternative to your walking run-ins. In many cities today, we don’t have the “walk-in business” communities we used to. When you do, you have inadvertent opportunities to run into people in your network you’d hope would remember you when they think of insurance.

Today, much of these run-ins can happen on the Internet. And they do, if you have a presence. There are applications designed to help you track the Internet mentions of your network, allowing you to receive messages when your company is in the news or post something you’d like to recognize.

So, on both sides of this conversation — being trackable and tracking others — you have tools available to you. Many of them are free or of little expense. I’ve heard people say it many times, “If you don’t create your Internet presence, it will be created for you.”

I’d prefer to create my own, thank you.

The Insurist began as an Internet project. I saw the term life market moving to the Internet à la the Accuquotes and Selectquotes of the world and saw a space for a niche player to speak directly to the younger market with imaging and branding specifically designed for them: So etching lighter, less generic and a little bit edgy.

I felt that if my brand offended those in other markets, I was doing it right because they weren’t my target client anyways (I mention this because, ironically, no one seems to be off put by our message and it has become one of our greatest strengths). Much of our message is promoted on the Internet through social media.

social media

A few examples of social media success

One of our group insurance clients is an example of how social media can work for you. I ran into the social media coordinator of a technology company on Twitter. He asked if I’d like to start blogging about life insurance for them. After reading a few of my blogs, the president of the company reached out to me on LinkedIn. We got to talking and, sooner than later, they became a client.

Another example is Facebook. If you’re a semi-active Facebook user, you likely have a network of people there from all phases of your life. Most people are more into the personal aspect of Facebook when it comes to their “friends.”

I engage that very network by asking people’s opinion of things like website changes, marketing material color schemes and other aspects of my business besides forcible selling. It’s my way of reminding my network of the business I’m in without looking like that cheesy, pushy insurance agent everyone rolls their eyes at. And it works. When people connected with me on Facebook have an insurance question or need, they come to me, and 90 percent of the time we get the business.

I’ll wrap this up with some kudos to LifeHealthPro.com. Blogging here is a fantastic way to expose yourself to the industry and show up to the external world (i.e. prospects) as an expert in your field. It has been time well spent for me, as I’ve heard from both recruiting prospects and potential clients as a result.