California’s Crescenta Valley Insurance Self-Brands With Social Media

By | March 18, 2010

“While young people continue to march toward almost universal adoption of social applications, the most rapid growth occurred among consumers 35 and older. This means the time to build social marketing applications is now. Interactive marketers should influence social network chatter, master social communication, and develop social assets — even if their customers are older,” according to Forrester Research.

Rick Dinger of Glendale-Calif.-based Crescenta Valley Insurance knows first-hand that those statistics are true. At age 43, he feels like he’s “behind the curve,” although he started marketing himself and his agency on Facebook and YouTube two years ago. But he said even his in-laws who are in their mid-60s have Facebook pages. And he found that just 10 minutes a day can pay off with promising results.

Family owned Crescenta Valley Insurance provides personal, commercial, life, health and group insurance, as well as retirement planning. With such a breadth of services, Dinger, the president of the company, said using YouTube and Facebook has helped to grow the business.

Dinger said he began using the tools about two years ago when a younger friend of his at an industry board meeting started talking about the networking tools. “I had no clue what it was, so I said, ‘I have to see that,'” Dinger said. He started by signing up for a Facebook page, then started getting friend requests. The numbers started to add up —and that’s when he realized the technology could be used as a self-branding tool.

Gradually, Dinger built a business Fan page and began advertising with a per click charge. He said this helped to get his name and face in front of people strictly in the cities he wanted to appear, and he immediately saw an influx of business.

“Twenty-five dollars per day is a great way to stay in front of people,” noting he only pays when people click on the ad.

“With search engine optimization [on a Web site], I always felt like I was flushing money down the toilet because I couldn’t see or feel the results.” Dinger said he spent thousands on SEO to improve the presence of his Web site, and saw little change in business. Whereas with pay per click advertising on Facebook, he only spent a few hundred dollars and saw immediate results.

“Social networking is a good way to stay in front of people; it’s a self-branding type of thing,” Dinger said. If you constantly update and grow your online community, you can generate business and get immediate gratification, he said.

Additionally, because friends use Facebook by entering their e-mail accounts, Dinger found the networking tool helps to build a database of people he wants to do business with and send a newsletter to. He said he has more than 700 Facebook friends. Of those numbers, he said about 150 are clients, and another 400 are good potential clients.

“I don’t have figures per se [on how much Facebook has contributed to my business], but I know I’ve written accounts for people who I haven’t seen where they write and say, “Hey, I have a problem,” Dinger said.

He said a friend he played football with in high school recently contacted him via Facebook. The friend bought a business and needed insurance coverage. Because the friend didn’t know what agent handled insurance for the business previously, he gave the business to Dinger.

Meanwhile, Dinger has created a commercial that he broadcast via YouTube that has received 6,000 to 7,000 hits. “How much business does it drive my way? I don’t know, but it can’t hurt, trying to be in front of as many people as possible,” he said.

Other agents are also involved in social media. The other profiles include:

New York’s Bryan Insurance Agency LLC

Texas’ Preferred Personal Insurance Agency

Insurance Journal Editors Stephanie Jones and Ken St. Onge contributed to this article.

Topics California

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