October 31, 2012 – It’s no surprise that insurers are using social media to help define, build and integrate their brands against the myriad platforms available to them, and some are clearly farther along the path than others. This was made evident this week at LIMRA’s 2012 annual conference in Chicago, where MassMutual shared with attendees nuances of its sophisticated and successful social media plan.
Session presenter Kathleen Mayko, digital community manager at MassMutual Financial Group, sees social networking as an ever-expanding landscape. “In terms of technology evolution, it’s become an ecosystem of its own,” she told the group.
As a result, the insurer established areas of expertise that focus separately on its corporate and field social networking presence. Both areas adhere to an agreed-upon set of social media building blocks, and both areas are part of the firm’s online experience team, headed by MassMutual’s VP of Online Experience.
Mayko presented the firm’s corporate presence, which includes the build-out of MassMutual’s website, landing pages, online advertising and marketing, and now social platforms.
“Facebook is the hub of our presence in social media,” explained Mayko, “because it’s here we can have conversations with customers and potential customers about a variety of topics.” The insurer uses the site to survey “fans,” share educational videos and more. “Our goal is to provide rewarding and relevant content that increases brand reputation and at the same time inspires action, ultimately growing our online communities.”
For its corporate presence, the insurer follows the tenets of five social media building blocks: content, tactics, campaign, metrics and partnerships with other entities that aid in the further development of the sites.
“We listen to each site’s communities and learn from them to ensure we connect in a meaningful way,” Mayko said. “We want our content to confirm that we are the trusted advisor rather than just another voice in the crowd.” To do this, MassMutual uses staffing and software to monitor each social media site 24/7.
The firm’s corporate presence tactics are designed to enforce existing channels with perennial features, cultivate brand advocates to increase exposure and expand its social presence based on ongoing evaluation of what’s working. Mayko offered MassMutual’s “Financial Curveballs” campaign as an example of an interactive survey launched during the baseball season that enabled the company to offer fun facts on the sport and on financial services. Another campaign used cartoon characters that explained long-term disability options.
In addition, agents can key into regional news and features that will enhance their visibility.
MassMutual’s corporate presence efforts are part of a larger focus that includes pushing regional news and features to its entire distribution network, noted Corina Roy, MassMutual’s director of online experience. “We view our producers, brokerage directors, agencies and more, not just as an extension of our brand but also the foundation of our brand,” said Roy.
The insurer provides its channel with assistance in setting up customized Facebook pages, monitoring results and linking back to the corporate site’s various campaigns. MassMutual also incorporates a social recruiting element into its field presence plan with a microsite that includes a career website.
MassMutual’s field presence also adheres to five social media building blocks, but rather than content as its primary focus, the principal focus is on education, compliance, content, integration and metrics.
“We initially thought we should extend internal corporate content out to the field,” says Roy, “but now we give them options to choose the content most relevant to them.” Thanks to various software tools available to them, agents can monitor and evaluate the content that is most and least engaging, added Roy. “Feedback from the field is very important to us,” she said.
Aside from the content made available from MassMutual to its agents, any additional content uploaded by field personnel falls under the control of further technology support that helps keep the field’s social media sites compliant with federal and state regulations.
Although the presenters did not elaborate on pull technology efforts to uncover intelligence about its social media followers, the idea that following the comments made by followers is paramount, and confirmed that managing and responding to consumer beliefs about the brand carries with it some risk. Yet Mayko sees the negative feedback derived from social media comments as an opportunity to correct and engage the consumer one-on-one in a public space. “We do have a digital defense plan and are prepared through a number of steps and processes to respond swiftly to potential negative comments,” she told the group. The insurer plans to conduct a practice “crisis run” in the coming weeks to work through real-time scenarios to determine where gaps exist in the plan.
This story originally appeared at Insurance Networking News.