Thursday, 11 October 2012

Social Media and Auto Insurance

Social media is a tool that people use to share and learn more about each other. In doing so, you get to know people better and build relationships.

Even if you wanted to, it is impossible to ignore the phenomena of social media.  Social media platforms are now part of mainstream business life.  Insurers now have Facebook pages, Twitter handles and YouTube videos.

Many people think it is about e-commerce.  E-commerce has nothing to do with social media; in fact a great way to fail at social media is to spend your time using it to “sell”. Just because you have a sales-enabled web site does not mean you are social.

Social media sites allow users to create, distribute and receive specialized content and to interact with communities of people.  But the extent to which insurer have adapted to, and embracing social media varies considerably, despite the opportunities available.

Social media first benefits the consumer and that in turn benefits the company. Here’s how that works: The company has the greatest opportunity now, with the advent of the social networks and the number of people now using the social web, to provide value added services via social channels. In addition to providing value added content and resources for clients, the company as a result also creates content that increases audience reach (via search engines, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+). Increased reach can then lead to new business development.

The company is also in a position to learn more from our clients about what they care about – as they share on a personal level, ask questions in the public eye, or dialogue with us. Companies used to have to conduct research, surveys and focus groups to get this kind of valuable information in the past. Now you have very real and immediate access. Social media is a win- win. Customers have a very distinct voice which drive services in to meet their needs, and companies who listen and engage stand to benefit.

Smartphone Apps
The Help I Crashed My Car Blackberry cell phone app allows you to contact your car insurance company, a body shop and up to 3 family members if you’ve been in an accident. This is very useful if you’ve been injured as well because this free Blackberry app links up with your phone’s GPS system to help you find police, hospitals and rental facilities in the area that you’ve had the accident.

We all know that drinking and driving is a very dangerous habit and should never be practiced. Not only does it threaten the safety of everyone on the road, it could increase your auto insurance rates. This is why theR-U-Buzzed iPhone app was released. By entering your weight and what you drank into the application, you will receive a fairly-accurate estimate of your blood-alcohol content and a recommendation of whether or not you should drive.

Geico Auto Insurance offers an iPhone app called the GeicoGlove Box. It offers a lot of great features to Geico customers, including offering account access and claims assistance. Also, you can take advantage of videos, how-tos and roadside assistance.

For insurers, it is important to engage people who refer others to your company.  One of the best examples is Facebook Commerce, which allows customers to share their purchases (or purchase intent) through their Facebook page.  In other words, advertising it to the broader online community.  A credible social media presence not only builds trust with customers, it keeps brands at front of mind.


Some companies have embraced Twitter to keep in touch with customers.  A growing number of consumers have shown a preference to Twitter as opposed to a call centre at the end of an 800 number.  Tweets range from job opportunities to weather advisories.  Here are examples of tweets recently sent out by Geico in the U.S.:

Save $10 on tickets to the GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway with coupon code GEICO2012.

Check out the  homepage today to see some of our new commercials, including one that isn't on TV.

An important message about Hurricane Isaac:

GEICO is hiring all across the country! For more watch this … and see our jobs site at


Some successful campaigns have focused on reducing risk through education and safety tips.  A wide range of online tools have been utilized including blogs, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.  YouTube very much is adept at communicating to customers.  The IBC has created quite a number of YouTube videos including a series on fraudand tips from an insurance perspective on how you can help make it easier to get your life back together after any natural disaster or weather emergency.

Social media should be seen as a tool that complements the business and marketing strategies. It is important to monitor social media activity to learn what consumers and the public comment about you.  And how will you use the feedback to develop new brands and strategies?

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