Archive for August, 2010

20th

So many insurance folks are asking, “If I get into Social Media, what do I say?  _____ insurance is so boring.  Plus people don’t really want to have it – it’s like going in for a physical or check-up….”  I don’t know about you, but to me that seems like a cop-out, an attempt to avoid having to learn something new, or just fear of the unknown.  But it’s worse than that, depending on how senior the person is in the organization, because it creates a drag on the SocialTech effectiveness of the organization.  But most of all, it’s untrue.  Here’s a terrific example from this week.

Yesterday, New York Life hit the Social Media nail on the head with a combo Facebook fan page update/blog post.  I’m tracking New York Life on my Facebook profile, not because I’m a customer, but because they got my attention somehow (I think through email), showed me a Facebook button, I clickedin on it, and hit the “Like” button.  I’m more interested in their social strategies than their insurance products right now, but you never know, right?  So now a few times a week I see what they are doing in my Facebook Newsfeed.

The Facebook feed said this, (in case you’re not on Facebook yet I’ll copy/paste)

As sad as I am to say it, summer is almost over and you know what that means… School is about to start and for some, college is vastly approaching, which brings us to the question: Are you ready to pay for it? Starting a college fund has been the solution for some families; however, what do you suggest? What have you done to save?

The link then said this,

Start a College Fund: 8 Strategies

www.newyorklife.com

Hmmm. Nice little segway from a reference to time-of-year to educational info without a sales pitch.  There were a few “Likes”, a few “Comments” – some action.  So I clicked through to see what the landing page looked like.  (By the way, New York Life has 2,700 Facebook Fans – not a whole lot for a company of it’s size, but enough to start a viral marketing process.  By this time next year, if they play their cards right, it could be 27,000… perhaps 270,000 in two years – FOR FREE and reaching fans who prefer Facebook for their news and information – AHA!.)

IMHO, the landing page is terrific.

What works well:

  1. Good branding, but not overwhelming.  I clicked through from a branded Facebook link, so I expect to see a brand reinforcement image. The new tab also has the brand thumbnail.  And the URL is newyorklife.  So I’m comfortable in seconds.
  2. It’s got a Facebook Like button right away, so I know I’m going to be able to Like it and Share it with my friends – useful.  By the way, I’m coming from Facebook, so if there WASN’T a Facebook Like, it would be counterintuitive.
  3. The orange “Get a Quote” buttons are good but not overwhelming.  OK, I know the company is trying to sell insurance.  But they are clearly trying to offer useful and timely advice along the way.  So I don’t mind being given the opportunity to take action if the article underscores a gap I have in my financial situation.  In fact, that’s why I clicked-through, right?  Let me check out these 8 Tips and see how my situation stacks up…
  4. They also have a phone icon on the left if you want to speak to someone right now.  Absolutely.  Channel of Choice.
  5. Love the Mom kissing the baby on the right.  Links to another page dealing with parents and that particular life event.  Good.  (Boy, what a great chance for a viral video right there about new parents and babies and life insurance.)
  6. Most of all, the content is good.  OK, it’s a little long, but that because of the compliance text.  And it’s 8 Tips, so that’s a lot of info.  But you need a lot of info on this particular subject, right?  Surely this content was scrubbed by NYLife compliance – but it’s still good, not too heavy with industry lingo, uses a lot of keywords, good stuff.

What do you like about it?  Thoughts on my Comments?  Please Comment below.

Issues: Mostly minor things.  The list is longer, but the issues don’t outweigh the good.

  1. I think they forgot to turn off the italicized font, perhaps right after the ‘compliance’ text in item #1, so right after the “Keep in mind…” paragraph.
  2. Not SmartPhone-friendly – same exact Web page…. should use a browser-sniffer and optimize the page for the tech environment.
  3. Not Search Engine Optimized – could do a lot more with title tags, alt tags, tag cloud, and page source.
  4. Links to resources do not open in a new Tab or Window – critically important and such a common mistake.  So if I click on a link, that doesn’t mean I’m done with the original page, I just want to follow that trail for a sec.  But if I’m done with that trail or get distracted, I might close that tab or window . Then I’ve lost the original page I was reading – and the brand has lost the sales op.  Make sense?
  5. Not enough linking to external resources on keywords like Section 529 – great resource on wikipedia for that.
  6. “Share this Article” on the right should just be a ShareThis button next to the Facebook Like at the top (similar to what I have below)
  7. The Comment box should already be open at the bottom.  You want to encourage Comments.  Remember that someone who engages with your content is far more likely to Share and return to the page – and THAT’S the Holy Grail.
  8. The “Consult an Agent” form is too heavy-handed on the page.  Perhaps they could have been satisfied with the repeat of the orange box from the top,  Btw, that’s a nice little widget (which should also open up in a new tab, right?) with a decent viral marketing and data collection Thank You page (could do a LOT more with that page).

That’s is for now – my hour’s up.  GTG.  Hope this was helpful.  Please Comment and Share.  Would be eternally grateful for the viral help.

*******

Awesome SocialTech Strategy by State Farm.  Also a form of Crowdsourcing – internal.  Brilliant.  I’m going to use the app.

*******

Picture from my recent family camping trip to the Adirondacks.  See all the pics here.  Olympic stuff, cliff jumping, YT cooking, scenic shots.  Epic trip.

3rd

Starbucks | Foursquare | Droid Incredible | Tweetdeck | Popularity growing 2.0 | Tips and Tricks | K.C. in October | B2B Case Studies Advisen

Gotta tell ya… Really stoked that Starbucks has free wifi. What do you think?  Traveler?  Web power user?  UGC Elite?  If so, you totally get the magnitude.  One’s thing Fo Sho – the joints are hoppin again.  And how much did it cost?  What’s the ROI?  Curious on your take… Btw, as I type up this post at the Starbucks at Union Square in NYC, as he hands out every creation, the barista whimsically says “___name___, thank you.  If it’s not perfect, let me know.  Have a great day…”

I started using Foursquare on this trip.  Hoping to get the hang of it in the next few months.  Any comments or suggestions?

Took delivery of a Droid Incredible last week.  I’m running so hard right now, it’s hard to get up to speed on how to leverage it.  But I’ll be taking time.  So far, I’ve gotten some glimpes of why it’s called a SmartPhone.  I’ve taken an intuitive guess on a couple things, and Bang! – that’s how it worked.  Example: I got a text message and wanted to call the sender – Yup.  I needed to call a contact but didn’t have his cell #.  Found him on Facebook.  Went to his Info.  Called his cell.  Got him.  Closed the loop on something.  Added him to Google Contacts.  Good to go.  Took a 8 megapixel photo in low light and uploaded it to Facebook.  I know this is going to rock.  And only $99.  Cool.  Oh yeah – and it’s light.

Tweetdeck is my favorite tool right now.  So easy to use.  On demand, like a helicopter, it drops me right into the middle of any conversation I desire.  Such a fantastic research and listening tool – to all my networks in one interface – not to mention easy updating the networks from spot.  If you’re frustrated with Twitter or not using it at all, really encourage you to reach out to me.  Happy to teach you how to get in the conversation, or at a bare minimum use it for research.  Twitter will tie you into a whole new world – one of transparency, innovation, and freshness.  Try this: for 3 months, dump 90% of your mainstream media consumption – retain the top 10%, cut the rest.  Take some of that time and “listen” to Twitter via Tweetdeck.  Pick up how it works, how people are communicating, what they’re sharing, hashtags, links, retweets, follow fridays, integration with blogs and linkedin.  Promise you – You’ll thank me for it.

Yep, the popularity is growing for Web 2.0 in insurance.  I’ll go further than that.  With the onset of Smartphones and iPads, I say it’s hit critical mass and is exploding.  And for VERY good reasons.  Man, if you’re a marketer or sales guy, help me understand why you are NOT focused on Web 2.0?  Know this – every day that goes by that you are not generating some kind of content or footprint in the space is a day lost that you will not get back.  “I know I should…” or “I shoulda…” are words that will haunt relative to Web 2.0 and SocialTech.  I’m happy to help.  It’s not time consuming or expensive – IF you do it right and have someone coaching you.

Tips and Tricks?  Everyone always wants one or two when they talk with me.  Here’s one: Use Mozilla for your browser.  Dump IE like the plague.  If you have Favorites to transfer, no problem.  Why?  Speed, efficiency, nimbility, user interface, passwords, remembering data for common forms like name and address fields.  SO much better.  Oh yeah – and virus security, pop-ups, flash block, etc.  What do you think?  One other thing – When your browser opens up, what pages automatically load?  Do you have several tabs load at once so you can quickly check in across your social networks?  You can set that up in your browser preferences – save you gobs of time.

Looking forward to speaking at the KAIA Meeting in K.C. in October.  They are giving me 2 hours to download SocialTech to an audience of about 200 KS, MO, and NE agents.  I guess they liked me last year.  So much has happened in the meantime.  I hope the folks come ready for an avalanche of information.  In fact, I think I’ll start with that move clip from Vertical Limit where the guys turns to the camera and yells “AVALANCHE!!!!!”

B2B Case Studies re SocialTech, Sales and Marketing, and ROI.  But here’s the real question: This stuff is practically free.  And if you know what you are doing, extremely efficient.  I’m here to help you.  And there’s plenty of people like me more than happy to help.  Curious on your rationale for NOT doing Social and sales.  Socially Facilitated Selling – it’s where it’s at.  Move.

Some of my favorite case studies….
http://www.fastcompany.com/1665075/the-definitive-case-for-b2b-social-media-marketing
http://www.hubspot.com/marketingsherpa-top-7-B2B-Case-Studies-for-2010/
http://www.toprankblog.com/2010/05/case-study-email-crm-social/
http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/it-pays-to-listen-avayas-250k-twitter-sale/
http://sonofgeektalk.wordpress.com/2010/02/03/social-media-in-pharma/
http://adamchristensen.com/2009/01/23/the-impact-of-corporate-culture-on-social-media-ibms-case-study/
http://businessesgrow.com/2010/06/20/a-fascinating-hardcore-b2b-social-media-success/
http://www.jeffbullas.com/2010/01/16/new-case-study-shows-social-media-is-the-major-contributor-to-lead-generation/

Useful related articles:
http://mashable.com/2010/06/24/b2b-sales-productivity/
http://mashable.com/2010/04/08/b2b-marketing-tools/
http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/4815/How-to-Turn-a-Blog-into-a-B2B-Lead-Generation-Machine.aspx

Comments?  Lurking is Lame.  If nothing else, add a comment and drop a link back to your site….

Pictures from Starbucks at Union Square due shortly….

Post time: Two hour, 12 minutes (including pictures) – Worth the time?

Archives to 2005