The Social Media Trend for 2012 – the End of Social Media Groups?


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Two trends stand out – first, agents will undoubtedly use social media more to reach consumers and second, industry executives will demand more measurement, metrics and proof of success. The biggest trend however might be a move to end social media as a discipline. Social media is a communication tool not unlike e-mail or even the mobile phone – the rationale for using any tool is to bring value to the core business of the organization.

Marketing departments in carriers now see social media is a key channel to reach consumers. Facebook is big – they get it! Is it now wise to leave this channel in the hands of a small, unconnected team to run separate programs and campaigns blissfully unaware of company strategy? All those internal presentation about social media worked, thank you and goodbye.

What intrigues marketers is social media is not a traditional channel; it adds a new dimension to campaigns – interactivity. Campaigns can reach out and engage with consumers, even being able to extend the campaign to people never targeted in the original plan – the viral effect. Even the rap for social media – how do you measure it – actually is a strength. Social media with engagement gathers valuable information about how much consumers like, are prepared to share, or even hate messages and products. Sure, you still cannot measure ROI but marketing folks are much better at deflecting that question unlike their social media counterparts.

Looking at recent examples, Esurance is running ads highlighting trust and as proof, they feature the company’s Facebook page and customer comments. MassMutual created a series of videos promoting life insurance but selected Facebook and YouTube to host, thereby leveraging brand ambassadors to spread the message.

So is the role of the social media strategist and community manager under fire? Are these the shortest careers ever created?

Not entirely, the range and potential for social media is too broad to restrict to marketing. Customers are starting to communicate with insurers through social media, journalists and bloggers now use social media to follow news, HR is able to find and research job candidates. Agents see social dialogue as a valuable sales process and even underwriters and claims see value with juicy additional personal information.

Social media has a role to play in every department; companies need social strategists to ensure it is not limited to a single role and free to reach across traditional internal boundaries.

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.


  1. Terry, nice post and thanks for writing it. To expand on the concept here a bit, the role of community or content manager is beginning to shift into customer service more, with marketing as only one of the components. SO, in my opinion, the role of community manager is critically important from that perspective and as a mechanism to continuing brand engagement and fostering positive interactions.

    While Esurance may not be guilty of this, comments/complaints and posts on brand pages on Facebook go unanswered by a vast majority of companies. According to a Socialbakers study, in reviewing "a couple hundred thousand direct questions in separate wall posts” on Facebook, 95% of wall posts go unanswered. Shame on the guilty companies!

    As industry execs will demand more measurement and proof of success from social channels, marketers must engage in the social conversation with their customers (not their colleagues) first if they are to attempt to define success. Otherwise ANY attempt at leveraging social channels in a marketing strategy will fail. Additionally, I recommend that these same executives participate in the social conversations to develop a first-hand viewpoint. If customers are using Facebook, Twitter and other channels for “social customer service”, it surely wouldn’t hurt for an executive to provide a comment, tip, or resolution to an issue. Embed it into strategy. They might then begin to see how a brand is impacted by social media.

  2. I totally agree with ‘Drake’. As a consumer, it is extremely annoying when companies invite responses or feedback – whether by email, post, telephone or social media – and then do not reply or at best give some bland standard response that doesn’t go near what you actually said.

    I think some are actually using automated answer systems that identify a few words and then use a standard reply. Occasionally a response appears months after the original comment.

    Conversely, thos who rise to the challenge and take time to give a satsifactory response go a long way to ensuring my continued custom and even my endorsement to others.

    All this is well known, so why so many companies enable feedback or responses and then ignore what they get is a mystery to me.

  3. Drake, you are correct. The challenge is to stop marketing seeing social purely as a channel to sell and it is very enticing. Beyond customer service, a key goal is to identify brand advocates who will defend and recommend the brand. Identification of ambassadors is only possible by creating dialogue and seeing who comes back on regular occasion.

  4. The lack of response will become a bigger issue as we move thru 2012. Up to now, social responses have been regarded by customers as a pleasant surprise but that is changing. Consumers now expect a response. Companies have opened the channel, now they must respond. Companies struggled with this in the past 10 years online with email. They provide an email address in “contact us” but 70% of emails are never were responded to. Social is 10 times the problem for them.

  5. Have you been to esurance’s page? There are tons of negative wall posts. It seems to me that touting your positive wall posts in an ad only serves as a challenge to trolls and bored high school kids to leave nasty comments on the page, even if they are not customers…

  6. The new ads touting Facebook posts as positive certainty bounced up comments. About half (53%) were negative in the first month (I actually counted them as I also was intrigued) , prompted presumably by some indignation that people loved them, when in fact their experience was less positive. Since that time, the level of negative comments has waned, did all the people with negative experience have their say?

    There is certainly a downside in touting your positive customer ratings but on the good side activity levels were through the roof compared to prior to the ads. I think Esurance in the first month could have been a little more active on the page, most negative comments were left to hang.


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