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Friday, December 26, 2014

Social media key to future business: communications expert

“Australian insurers lag far behind other organisations in Australia,” according to the digital communications manager of the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF).

Dr Amy Gibbs, who earned her PhD in communications with a focus on social media, has warned that insurers and brokers need to act quickly when it comes to their social media presence or risk losing business.

“It won’t be your current competitors that you’ll have to compete with in 5 years’ time; it will be companies that insurers have never heard of and they won’t necessarily have come from the industry.

“As the insurance industry stands right now in terms of social, those disrupters will have all the advantages.”

Gibbs noted that it is not just the big players in the industry that need to buck up their ideas but smaller brokers can use social media to their advantage over the coming years.

“Social presents enormous opportunities for small businesses and challenger brands.

“It isn’t about adding a Twitter account or getting on Facebook; it’s a cultural and mental shift in how insurers interact with customers, and that’s much harder for a larger company to buy into and takes a lot longer.

“Larger companies need longer to affect that change, and they’re running out of time. Small companies who embrace digital now will be well placed to take market share from the bigger players who don’t adapt.”

Tim Allan, an AR of Insurance Advisor Net, is an avid social media user and believes that even though he is a “small cog in the wheel” of social media, it can pay dividends but warned that it does take time.

“It’s the way of the world and you’re not paying for advertising space or anything like that so your utilising a free platform to spread the good word.”

“It’s not an overnight success or overnight fix, it’s something that you have to work at and I’ve probably been doing it for a couple of years now and I’m only just starting to see some rewards at the end of the day where I’m getting some traction.”

The online space offers a changing world for insurers and brokers alike and new, younger consumers will begin to look for a social profile before they decide to do business with an insurer or broker and Gibbs warns that the risk of being off social media far out-weighs the risk of being on social media.

“The insurance industry is very focused on the risk of being on social media – mainly the risk to reputation and exposure to disgruntled customers, but the risk of not being on social media is far greater.

“A company’s interactions on social are a trust indicator, particularly to younger generations, and staying away from social is sending the message they are untrustworthy or have something to hide.

“In much the same way that 30 years ago you wouldn't trust someone not in the phone book, or without a physical shopfront, customers expect a genuine company to have a website and to have social channels. And not just a place holder with a few followers, but an active and genuine presence.

“As the recent E&Y survey and various other research shows, the insurance industry’s reputation is already dire in the eyes of consumers. Social actually provides the means to improve that trust with customers, if done with the right intentions and transparency. It allows insurers to create touchpoints with customers outside the sales cycle, to show the good that insurance professionals genuinely know they are doing and to be human.”

Allan also believes that social media can play a big part in consumer trust and sees the benefit for insurers, brokers and consumers.

“I think it’s paramount and the more people can see what your message is and what you’re trying to say, you’re putting your brand in front of them constantly, and as far as the trust factor - eventually after seeing all your posts and things like that they’ll begin to trust you.”

Insurance Broker in Perth W.A. has their bases coveredCentral Insurance Brokers facebook fan page, with more than 30,000 fans...  They're doing it well and worth following, like they say, if you want success then get a pen and paper and listen to the experts; experts means those that have a proven record.

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