If you show me your opinion, I’ll show you mine

By | January 26, 2011

Come along for the ride as we take a look at how different generations value (or don’t value) other’s opinions on social media and what this means to the insurance industry.

How would you respond to the following:
When using social media, I prefer to listen to others share their opinions rather than give my own?
I value the opinions other people share on social media.

Now think about how co-workers, children or parents – people of different generations than your own – would answer that same question.

Harris Interactive did just that in a study in October 2010 and their results may surprise you.

The study looked at whether or not people felt more or less connected with the advent of social media. But what I found interesting was how respondents felt towards other’s opinions on social media and whether or not the answers differed by generation.

Take the first statement: When using social media, I prefer to listen to others share their opinions rather than give my own?

The percentage of adults 55 and older who either agreed or strongly agreed with this statement was 50%. No shock there, right? The Boomer and Veteran will take in information and analyze the information. They want to hear what others have to say and are not known to be the most technoliterate of the generations. But interestingly enough, in the Millennial Gen Y category of 18-34 year olds there were about the same percentage who agreed (55%)!

Looking at the second statement from the Harris study the numbers were a little farther apart but still high. The 55 and over group was split at 50% and the 18-34 year olds had 68% in agreement with the statement “I value the opinions other people share on social media”.

So what does this mean for the insurance industry? What does this mean for your agency or company?

It means we have to take another look at relationships, but not just for the younger generations – everyone.

If you are not involved in social media, you are missing the boat. Your clients (at least 50% of them anyway and no matter how old they are) listen to what people say in the world of social media. They listen to comments made about brands and stores and professionals. They take friends and strangers advice! Are you taking advantage of this? How?

Second, while testimonials are from people who love us, we should still use them. We should also always be asking for referrals. Yes, we should ask when we see a client of course, but we should ask for social media referrals! Retweet someone and I am sure they will eventually retweet you! Like someone’s page and ask them to like your agency or company page – invite them to your page! It is not as hard as it seems. Ask your clients if they are involved with social media and visit their pages as well. Let them know how important risk management is when they are bidding for a large commercial job – or just how wonderful their page looks! Let them know you care.

Never lose sight of the fact that we are a relationship business. But the definition of relationship is constantly changing. We cannot define relationship through our eyes. We must look at what how our client defines relationship. Do they want to see you in person? Phone? Email? Text? Fax?

No matter how you look at it the independent agent provides an invaluable service – and the relationship with our clients is what keeps us strong.

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