During a breakout session at LIMRA's annual conference in New York today, speakers told attendees that getting results surrounding social media takes time. It's not an overnight phenomenon.
Todd Silverhart, corporate vice president and director, technology in marketing and distribution research and markets research, for LIMRA, said that insurance firms as well as individual agents and brokers should look at social media with a long-term perspective. You're not just going to immediately generate sales the minute you set up a Facebook profile. You need to establish a reason for those connected with you to engage with you. Long term, this will lead to business, he said. Work on building a brand for the company and for the individual.
Gregg Weiss, assistant vice president of social media strategy at New York Life, said social media sites should not just be used as a billboard for a company to get their message out. This is a narrow-minded approach, he said. It can be used to create conversations about your brand, get ideas for how to improve the business, or directly address customer complaints. "If someone's got an issue, we're all over it."
According to Weiss, 81 percent of people surveyed in 2010 said they have received a recommendation for a product via social networking. And 47 percent of those said the recommendation (via social networking) was highly influential in their decision to purchase.
Our own Registered Rep. survey of about 1,500 advisors found that insurance brokers are most likely to use social media for business purposes and most likely to have landed clients through social media. This is probably because of the nature of the conversations they're having, which tend to be less regulated.
Technology and social media was a hot topic at the LIMRA conference today. In fact, LIMRA president and CEO Robert Kerzner opened the conference this morning by encouraging the 500 or so attendees "to better leverage the power of social media, mobile devices and other technological advances to grow life insurance and investment sales in the future."
The changes in available technology are happening at a staggering pace. Do you think there is any way iPhones, iPads, Droids and other mobile devices are not going to materially change our business model? Is it realistic to think that this type of device-to-device communication won’t change how people buy our products?
How are you using social media?