Over the next couple weeks, let’s consider Social Networks and insurance marketing. I could be way out in left field, but from an affinity marketing point of view, as I’ve said in the past, I think Social Networks show promise as insurance direct mail response rates decline. There’s a lot to cover, so I’m going to break it up into a few parts.

  • Part One: General Ideas
  • Part Two: Public Networks
  • Part Three: Private Networks
  • Part Four: Viral Marketing and Referrals

Part One: I’m catching a similarity to Affinity Groups and Associations. The concept first caught my attention when I saw my son’s Facebook page. As a graduating senior from High School, he had joined a group for his high school class year — CVCA2007. He had then joined a group for his college class year – before he had even started!!! (By the way, this was at the promotion of the college orientation team.) So apparently while the school will continue to support the traditional Alumni Association, his class has an informal Alumni Association that might have even more relevance over time. Then there’s the phenomenon of Classmates.com…

Next… We all know the power of search engines like Google, but what about networking? However, keyword inflation is rampant, it’s impossible to compete against mega-branding budgets, and rising in the natural listing for competitive keywords like health insurance is played out, literally. And yet Networking has been around forever and will always be around as long as we continue to do business the way we do. no doubt Affinity groups are a significant force in networking – trusted sources of information to help overcome “stranger danger” (something that is programmed deep into our cultural make-up). I go to conferences every year to connect with peers, share ideas, find experts in areas I’m not, etc. Works great!

Now it seems that online networks are forming not to replace but to add value, to keep the conversation going between events, etc… But we still want face time –- reunions, gatherings, meetings, conferences, symposiums. And once we are embedded in the conversation, as insurance marketers, the point is to be at the right place with the right message at the right time. The concepts in play seem to be:

  • Pull versus Push
  • Engaging in the conversation
  • Real-time current contact with on-the-scene subject matter experts (SME’s)
  • Helping educate on more topics then just the main thing
  • Sponsorship of conversations and tools, new thoughts and approaches
  • Branding

Here’s a novel idea perhaps: What about leveraging home office employees, creating informal advocates, generating and directing subsequent leads, perhaps sharing commissions and bonuses — call ‘em TIPS, and staying in touch with new clients more locally. hmmmm.

Some pictures from vacation (click to enlarge): Click here to see more…

Pictures from a business trip this week: Click here to see more….

Life is good!