My Thoughts After Presenting on Social Media to Young Insurance Agents

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On Saturday, September 25th Chris Jordan (Who I finally got to meet in person about an hour before we went on stage) and I gave a presentation on Social Media for Insurance Professionals to the Big “I” Leadership Institute Young Agents.

You can Download the PowerPoint Presentation Here: [download id="2"]

San Francisco Treat… Ding Ding!

Chris and I shared our views on Social Media and the communication medium’s impact on the Insurance Industry in a more Theoretical sense than I feel is usually presented.  This means our presentation did not answer any of the following questions:

  • What is a Tweet?
  • Is Social Media Important?
  • How many people join FaceBook everyday?
  • Is LinkedIn a good prospecting tool?
  • Should your Agency have a Blog?
  • What is the Internet?

We did NOT not questions these because Chris and I sit on some ethereal Social Media throne and feel these questions are beneath us.  On the contrary, we actually started our presentation by explaining that neither of us is a “Social Media” expert, because frankly, neither of us believe that a Social Media expert is a real thing.

Seriously, take Chris Brogan.  If there was such a thing as a Social Media expert Chris Brogan would be one, right? I mean when it comes to Inter-Web, Chris is legendary.  But when you look at his bio what does it say:

“Chris Brogan consults and speaks professionally with Fortune 100 and 500 companies like PepsiCo, General Motors, Microsoft, and more, on the future of business communications, and social software technologies. He is a New York Times bestselling co-author of Trust Agents.”

He speaks on BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS!!!!

The reason we didn’t answer any of these questions is that they are not important to the Social Media discussion.

The Internet and subsequently Social Media,  is all about Community and Communication… The important Social Media discussion should be on how to communicate.  Once you’ve figured out how to communicate your message, the rest just falls into place.

6 Things that Concern Me After Presenting on Social Media to Young Insurance Agents

  1. Too many Agencies use Errors and Omissions as a reason not to engage in Social Media
  2. Agents are worried about showing personality in Social Media for fear of offending potential customers
  3. Too many Agencies use “Wasting Time” on the Internet as a reason not to engage in Social Media
  4. Too many Agency Principles are holding back their Younger Talent from harnessing the power of Social Media
  5. Insurance Carriers are not providing Agencies with adequate technology integration
  6. There are too many Agencies that feel overwhelmed by Social Media

In the coming weeks leading up to Brand Camp 2010, I am going to address each one of these concerns and how I would address the problem.

The Rub

I think the group of Young and Young-at-Heart Agents that attended our presentation was absolutely fantastic.  The discussion we had brought up many different questions, ideas, concerns, and in some cases the beginnings of solutions. We could have gone on for another couple hours, easily.  The theme that resonated throughout our discussion was consistently the same:

Social Media = Communication

It’s that simple… Seriously.

Social Media is just another way to Communicate.

If you weren’t good at Communication before Social Media, you are not going to be good at Communication with Social Media.

If you’d like a live presentation on insurance, social media and digital marketing you can hire me to speak to your organization.

You can Download the PowerPoint Presentation Here: [download id="2"]

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Comments

  1. Pat Alexander says

    Ryan, great post. I have heard each one of these reasons for avoiding social media. The only valid one is #6. After all they are insurance people. Many of them are stilled overwhelmed by technology. I love addressing the E&O one. I tell them I can find more E&O possibilities in the emails that go out of their office each day than in good use of social media. I am so interested in your thoughts on these issues. Wow, wish I had been there to hear you and Chris.

  2. Tim Barnes, CLU says

    While I think your thinking is correct there appears to be on bit of knowledge that you do not have. Insurance is a licensed industry and highly regulated by each state’s departments of insurance. With the consumer protection adjustments of the late 80s, many states implemented guidelines on what can and cannot be said on line. An agent is allowed to express his/her personal opinion through a blog, provided there is absolutely no reference to anything related to insurance. In many states he/she is allowed to only say they are licensed to do insurance and how to contact them. Without prior approval of anything else by their insurance company’s legal department, they risk penalties and suspension of their license and loss of their contract with their insurance company.

    I understand why they are fearful. Rather than just tell them to embrace social media, teach them how to do that in light of the restrictions their state governments have imposed on them. We are not allowed to act like just any sales person. There are things that are illegal for us to do.

    • says

      Thanks for thoughts Tim. You do a good job with the Insurance Barn.

      I think you are missing the point of this article. I didn’t say that E&O wasn’t a concern, I said that Agencies and Agents use E&O as an excuse not to engage. If you click on the link for #1 you’ll see that I state in that article many times that E&O is a big concern, but should not be a road block. I also do give some advice on how to handle E&O.

      Thanks!

  3. says

    Ryan, the E&O aspect doesn’t surprise me, but I’m surprised the rest of the tried-and-true excuses still apply to a younger generation. My opinion is that with staffs stretched to the max, many businesses, agencies or otherwise, just don’t have the time to engage in social media. And so back to the original discussion of who will do it….which goes back to recruitment….which goes back to budget…ad nauseum. If/when the economy turns, jobs centering around social media are gonna explode!

    • says

      Laura,

      I completely agree with you. Independent Agencies cannot take CSR or Producers off of their normal work functions to communicate on Social Media. Should be interesting to see how this things evolves…

      Thanks!

  4. Katie Herbst says

    Ryan, Thank you for sharing this! I’m finding the same things when talking with agents of all ages. Often some in the agency “get it” but are held back by the management team’s fear. I think breaking it down to simply another way to communicate is a great approach, while recognizing there are some risks that should be addressed – for any type of communication but especially the social web. Kudos to you and Chris on a great presentation! I’m looking forward to your more detailed take on each of these 6 concerns.

    • says

      Katie,

      Thank you for your comments. Social Media is just another way to communicate. Take the message you use in every other medium and apply to Social Media. That’s a great place to start.

      Ryan H

  5. Katie Herbst says

    Ryan, Thank you for sharing this! I’m finding the same things when talking with agents of all ages. Often some in the agency “get it” but are held back by the management team’s fear. I think breaking it down to simply another way to communicate is a great approach, while recognizing there are some risks that should be addressed – for any type of communication but especially the social web. Kudos to you and Chris on a great presentation! I’m looking forward to your more detailed take on each of these 6 concerns.

  6. John Vercellino says

    4.Too many Agency Principles are holding back their Younger Talent from harnessing the power of Social Media. “Principles” or “Principals?”

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