The Benefits of Social Media Dialogue is not all Talk


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Social media is a new way of thinking because it is less about one-way marketing and more about two-way conversations with customers. However, let’s be realistic, who really wants to

hold a conversation with their insurer; the majority of products just don’t lend themselves to casual chat. Adding to the problem, social media, conducted in public as it is, is a poor forum to discuss individual cases or promote products.

So why bother, maybe better to pump out soft sell messages, which a few people will read, maybe take note sometime in the future and even pass along a good word. Indeed, many insurers have this business plan.

Neglecting social media dialogue reduces the benefit and not just because customers dialogue is inherently a good thing. Facebook is a good example. Facebook seeks to improve the “quality of life” of their users applying an algorithm to place the most relevant information on message walls. Unfortunately, insurance news all too often falls into the irrelevancy bucket. The dialogue between poster and reader in part, influences relevancy. Unless you create dialogue, your stuff is headed straight for the ‘e-bin’.

Another reason to create dialogue is to expand reach. A fan comment or ‘like’ of one of your messages, provides a glimpse into the conversation to all of the fans friends, which is intriguing. The majority of Facebook clicks on insurers’ content come not from visiting the insurers Facebook page, but from a post appearing on a message wall.

How do you improve engagement? Wednesday and Thursday are best for financial services, short posts are better than long, messages ending with a question increases comments and getting fans to comment is worth more than a ‘like’. One of the most obvious techniques is to ask; request the fan to “like” a message to show support or to add their opinion, this does work.

What type of content? There is a big variety but common topics include general financial education, natural disaster news, favored charities, sweepstakes, topical events and the trivia. Developing topical and fresh campaigns is critical to developing regular interaction. In April, we saw industry-wide posts on April Fools, Poetry Month, Earth Day, Autism Awareness, tornadoes and “Insure your Love” campaign.

There is an inherent issue with content; engagement is often greatest with trivial messages. This does make you question the quality of some people lives but focus on the big picture; dialogue keeps the channel open so play the game. Flo from Progressive recently queried, “I love my mom because she still cuts the crusts off my PB&J. How about you?” What is most sad is that 4,000 people responded. Assuming an average friend network, this reached over a half a million people beyond Progressives’ network.

Social media is about dialogue but there are definite techniques to employ and data to trawl; maybe we should add actuaries to the social team.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Terry Golesworthy
As the president of The Customer Respect Group for 7 years, I focus on the online experience of consumers. Online experience has always been bigger than the company website, from the response to email to integration to other offline channels. It has now grown to include social media.


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