I should have written this post back in May but… I am taking some time off from writing my blog. This summer JoAnne and I are volunteering as camp hosts in Ridgway State Park. You can follow us at http://rjrvtravels.blogspot.com. We also have a Facebook page at http://facebook.com/rjrvtravels. Finally, I will continue to blog on the Aartrijk blog at http://aartrijk.com. My best wishes for you all to have a great summer and I will catch up with you this fall.
I ran across this post this morning Is Facebook for Business Overrated which got me thinking… It certainly is if you expect your Facebook page to replace your website and/or expect that just because you have a Facebook page you will attract a large number of “likes” which will in turn translate into all kinds of new business sales. It is worth remembering that the social and cultural transformations taking place are far more significant than any specific technology.
Yet, many agents have found that Facebook when viewed and implemented as part of an overall “social” strategy can be very effective on many levels.
Trust is a key component in the consumer-agent relationship and increasingly consumers are using Facebook and other social media to determine who they trust and who they want to do business with. These tools can also be an effective way to connect with customers and maintain a presence between insurance transactions.
Facebook is not all about you. As a listening post, it is also an effective resource to use to keep tabs on your current customers, as well as, track other consumer needs.
Each “social” tool has its place in a well-conceived and properly implemented marketing plan. Failure, more often than not, comes from not fully appreciating the role of each and not leveraging the synergy that evolves from using many tools (even traditional media) in a comprehensive marketing effort.
What has been your experience? Is Facebook working for you?
In a post back in January, I asked you for your thoughts on what would be the Key Technology trends that would have an impact on the insurance industry in 2011. I was headed to the Agents Council for Technology (ACT) meeting in Tampa and wanted your input. Many of your comments centered on the impact mobile technology and computing would have on our industry. Not surprisingly, mobile technology was also the most discussed trend in the strategic future issues break-out sessions held during the ACT meeting. Mobile computing as distinguished from desktop Internet is much more significant than just phones. It also includes tablets (iPad), readers (Kindle), MP3 players (iPod), Car electronics (GPS), home entertainment (Wii) and wireless home appliances (Internet TV).
We have been talking about mobile for a couple of years. Yet, in 2011 for the first time, sales of smartphones will surpass the combined sales of PC desktops and laptops. It is important to note that it is estimated that almost 60% of time spent on mobile phones is spent on activity other than call, texting and mail. It impact of mobile becomes even more significant when you consider the success of the iPad.
Mobile users will demand better browsing experiences from brand sites. They are going to expect platform neutral and real time access to information and services at anytime from anywhere. Ok… so, we all agree that mobile is going to be transformative. Yet, what does that really mean for insurance agents & brokers and how are they going to rise to the challenge to meet the expectations of the mobile consumer?
At a very basic level, most websites need to be optimized for mobile devices. The future is about much more than building a iPhone App that links back to an agency website and offers claim advice. As good as that is, it is not enough. We need to begin to think about how to offer mobile transaction capability. Stuff like providing policy delivery to tablets and creative ways to process insurance payments and other forms of self-service. For example, allowing customer’s to use smartphones to snap a “scan” of a vin number of a new car purchase and launch notification to the agent or broker and start of the endorsement process. Creating mobile Apps that make it possible to access and process certificates of insurance or request auto id cards. Clearly, there are major challenges around validation, security and privacy. Yet, we have no choice but to find solutions to these concerns if we are to succeed.
What is your take? How do you see the industry being effected by mobile trends and what action must it take to meet this challenge?
Typically, I don’t write book reviews. Yet, I found The Now Revolution so relevant and filled full of actionable information that I felt compelled to let you know about it. I first “met” Amber Naslund on Twitter (@ambercadabra) about 3 years ago. Early on, Amber was a great help to me as I started my blog and began my “social” journey. I am a regular reader of her Brass Tack Thinking blog and last year Peter van Aartrijk and I interviewed her for our Insurance Journal “On Point” podcast. What I appreciate about Amber is her ability to link a new technology or social trend back to a relevant business strategy or tactic. When I heard that she had partnered with Jay Baer (@jaybaer) and was writing a book I could hardly wait to get my hands on it. A couple of weeks ago, I downloaded the Kindle version and finished it on a flight back from Vegas.
The Now Revolution provides readers with the business context that is missing from so many social discussions. It is a handbook of sorts – maybe even a survival guide for anyone who is navigating the social landscape. It does a great job identifying and underscoring the cultural shift being fueled by “social” and its impact on business.
Technology by itself is not magic. If magic is to happen it requires a business to do “new work” in “new ways”. That is, reinventing or creating new strategies, processes, and procedures, as well as, transforming the culture is mandatory in order to fully leverage and benefit from the promise and opportunity presented by new technology. Amber and Jay understand this and explore “7 shifts that can make your company faster, smarter, and more social.” They are the shits needed to position your company to compete and thrive in today’s digitally connected real time world.
As an example, the second shift “Find Talent You Can Trust” covers topics such as how to build and manage a purposeful team. how to hire, needed skill sets, organizational structure, education, and the need to motivate are discussed in the context of finding, developing, and keeping talent you can trust. Besides outlining the process and providing strategic guidelines, the book is filled with “Now Hear This” notices that offer all kinds of actionable and tactical suggestions. As an added bonus, the book is enhanced with Microsoft Tag Technology. Thus, using your smart phone you can gain access to bonus content including videos, tips, discussions and various other resources.
I couldn’t agree more with Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs who in her testimonial stated, “Jay and Amber have penned a book that truly isn’t a social media book. In other words, this isn’t the book you pick up when you want to create a blog or Twitter feed or Facebook group; rather, this is the book to read when you need to understand how our newly social and connected world has disrupted business as usual, and why you need to bother thinking about that.”
Yes, I highly recommend The Now Revolution. If you have already read it , please comment and let us know what you think.