My PR agency works with insurance carriers, MGAs, wholesale brokers and other insurance entities that need to reach agents and brokers to be successful. So when I read a recent article (http://bit.ly/6sBxSO) reporting that less than a quarter of insurance agents and brokers use social media, I was reminded of why it can be a challenge to convince our clients – and any business-to-business company – to implement social media strategies.
Some think it will be a waste of time and resources. Others wonder just how it can help their business. And many just don’t understand it and are reluctant to dedicate time and effort to get up to speed. But to such reluctance, I would cite another statistic from the same magazine article – 20 percent of agents and brokers are considering using social media in 2010.
The plain fact is that social media/networking will continue to grow so it should be part of the marketing and communications strategies for any B2B company. It can supplement your print advertising and email blasts – both of which are declining in effectiveness, by the way. And on the PR side, you probably send press releases, write articles for trade magazines and attend events to network, exhibit or speak. Social media is another tool at your disposal.
Here are a couple of examples:
Social media can help with networking. For example, LinkedIn is an easy, natural way to network. It’s all about relationships and social networking is another way to build and maintain relationships. One marketing pro I know got a new account the same day he set up his LinkedIn account.
Social media is a great way to connect with your audience and share your insights and expertise. If you are in the insurance industry, for example, Twitter is a way to share information that agents and brokers find helpful in doing business. Don’t try to sell yourself. Use the same reasoning as if you were speaking at an industry event or writing an article for one of the trade magazines. Speak about issues of interest to agents and brokers.
Remember, approach social media like any marketing decision – start with a strategy and turn to experts. Your PR and/or ad agency are a logical choice, but there are also Internet marketing firms that specialize in this. Or read up on it first and do it yourself. It is very easy.
Just don’t let news about slow adoption rates slow you down. Whatever your business, as more and more people adopt social media strategies, you want to be there.