Insurance agencies are increasingly using social media for marketing, but a new survey shows that most of its respondents say they aren’t measuring results.
Nearly 60% of 193 agencies surveyed nationwide say they’re not tracking their efforts in nontraditional marketing, including online and social media platforms, and traditional marketing, such as the Yellow Pages, direct mailings and newspapers, according to the 2012 B.H. Burke & Co. Social Media and Online Marketing Survey. In addition, two-thirds of agencies say they don’t measure the return on investment of their marketing.
Jason Hoeppner of independent agency consultant B.H. Burke & Co. in Westbrook, Conn., says agents often know what works for them by instinct, given the social nature of their roles.
“They don’t understand or they’re not accustomed to tracking for the purpose of understanding what’s working and what not working,” says Hoeppner, a member of the Agents Council for Technology Social Media Work Group. “They’re just doing.”
ACT Chairman Jim Armitage says it’s imperative for agencies to develop a sales plan with marketing objectives and monitor it periodically.
“How are we going to know what works [and] how we’re performing, if we don’t track it?” he adds.
Armitage, whose committee has hosted a webinar on measuring social media efforts and has published an article on tracking metrics, suggests that agencies get started by using Google Analytics to analyze website traffic, or develop a script for asking people how they found out about the agency and track their answers.
Still, only 4.8% of agencies report they generated fewer leads or revenue from social media in 2012, compared to the previous year, according to the survey. In addition, 12% of agencies say they’re not using social media.
With more than half of surveyed agencies reporting that they generated at least same number of leads or revenue—if not more—from social media, Hoeppner says that “anecdotally, they feel they are getting results out of it.”
This is the second year that B.H. Burke & Co. has done the survey, and 2012 results show that online and social media marketing efforts has increased among agencies over the past year. In addition, two-thirds of agencies that weren’t using social media report that they plan to do so.
Websites are the most widely used type of nontraditional marketing platform, according to survey results. Facebook pages, free LinkedIn accounts and Twitter are the most-used social media platforms. And among social media, agencies’ use of Facebook, Google+, Twitter and YouTube grew the most last year, compared to 2011 results.
Meanwhile, agencies report their biggest goal for nontraditional marketing is to build their organization’s image, while they primarily use online and social media marketing to obtain new leads, increase brand recognition and build relationships, according to the survey.
“Social media gives you the ability to increase your brand recognition, but I think more importantly, it allows you to build relationships if you do it right,” Armitage says.
He also notes that people often use social media to communicate events, such births, college graduations and new car purchases—all of which present insurance needs.
“If we have ways that we can tap into that information, those are opportunities for us to make contact with customers,” he says.
Victoria Goff is IA online editor.