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Cracking the social media nut

At a glance

  • Seen as a traditional industry, many insurance brokers have still yet to take the social media plunge
  • But take-up is growing with nearly half of all brokers now claiming to use social media
  • Online offers vast potential for brokers to win new business

The question now is not whether to use social media, but instead how to leverage it to best help your business.

In the personal realm, the rapid rise of social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook show little sign of abating.

Broker ‘Dos and Don’ts’ with social media

  • Do target specific sites of interest and engage with the audience
  • Do write useful content and insight
  • Do engage with your audience
  • Don’t take a scattergun approach to social media
  • Don’t fall foul of the regulator with an errant tweet
  • Don’t use it as a medium to merely advertise promotions

More than a billion tweets are now sent on Twitter every two or three days, while Facebook announced last year that it now has over one billion users logging on to its site every month.

But take-up of this social media revolution has been slower among the financial services fraternity.

This has been due, in part, to steering clear of the regulator as an errant tweet could quite easily land a broker in hot water.

And it is also because broking has, in the past, been seen as a more traditional industry with little overlap with the PlayStation generation.

But things are changing.

A growing market

Insurance Times recently reported that 48% of brokers now use social media, and brokers are finally beginning to wake up to the potential of the medium.

Some ‘old-school’ insurance brokers may argue that social media is just good old-fashioned relationship building, but this may be missing the point as there are new audiences online that brokers may not even know exist.

The value of social media lies in sharing useful insights with others, not in talking about yourself.

Jeremy Spiller, White Hat Media

However, social media can be a daunting arena and merely adopting a scattergun approach as a foray into the space is probably not best advised.

A broker should think hard about what sites they want to target and how to then engage with the audience. Messages on social media should be engaging, not merely advertising promotions.

A starting point could be to write a blog about, say, a newsworthy topic with an insurance twist, and then publicise it through a Twitter account.

“The value of social media lies in sharing useful insights with others, not in talking about yourself,” says Jeremy Spiller of White Hat Media, a specialist web marketing agency. “It’s a two-way thing. You need to listen, too.”

But there are downsides to social media. Any post may leave a lasting footprint, and then there are the regulators to satisfy who demand clear, fair and not misleading information to be published at all times. So responding in haste to your blog posting may, indeed, inadvertently land you in hot water with the Financial Conduct Authority further down the line.

If used right, though, social media can be particularly effective for brokers.

“Social media affords an opportunity to earn access to audiences over an extended period of time by using content, commentary and insight to build a following, and when the time is right, start a conversation,” says Jasper Bell, who writes a blog on Econsultancy, which provides social media and digital marketing services.

So, while there may be no shortcuts to establishing a good online presence, there are real benefits to be had in doing it the right way.

Image © Getty

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