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Over 9 in 10 life insurance companies have adopted social business

In 2013, LIMRA selected Hearsay Social as its Elite Strategic Partner.
In 2013, LIMRA selected Hearsay Social as its Elite Strategic Partner.

LIMRA, the world’s largest association of life insurance and financial services companies, published new survey data this week revealing that 93% of life insurance companies had social media programs in place last year. That’s up 55% from the 60% of companies that were managing social media in 2010.
Additionally, 7 in 10 survey respondents reported that their programs support financial professionals’ use of social media, with more planning to launch such programs this year.
As provider of the leading social business platform for the financial services industry and LIMRA’s Elite Strategic Partner, Hearsay Social is delighted to see such impressive figures. Over the past few years, we’ve worked closely with our customers to elevate the social media conversation from social compliance to social business. Compliance was still cited by the top challenge among 68% of LIMRA’s survey respondents, but that figure has dropped considerably from the 90% that said it was the biggest concern in 2010.
Resulting from our work with customers and partners, social media is today seen less as a liability and more as a real revenue driver, hence why the majority of life insurance companies now support their producers’ use of social media.
Drilling down into companies’ use of social media, LIMRA also found that LinkedIn and Facebook are the most widely used social media platforms, as evidenced in the chart below. Twitter and YouTube are also fairly popular, with usage across more than three-fourths of life insurance companies. Other social networks have seen substantial growth as well.

Companies-Increase_ExpandUse-SocialMedia

LIMRA members are welcome to see more of the survey data in the full report, Where Are We Now? Leveraging Social Media With the Public (2014). And with LIMRA’s 2014 Social Media Conference for Financial Services taking place in Boston next month, Hearsay Social is looking forward to discussing these findings and other social business trends at the conference.
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Looking forward to the LIMRA Distribution Conference for Financial Services

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LIMRA has selected Hearsay Social as its Elite Strategic Partner and endorsed social media solution for LIMRA members to learn about and be successful on social media.

Once again, we’re proud to be in Florida for LIMRA’s annual Distribution Conference, where our CEO Clara Shih will be sharing the stage with Mark Hug (EVP, Product and Marketing, Individual Life Insurance, Prudential), Patrick T. Leary (MBA, Assistant Vice President, Distribution Research, LIMRA), business experts Daniel Pink and Ryan Estis, and many other industry leaders.

On Friday, Clara will be joined by business leaders from Pacific Life, Thrivent Financial, and New York Life to discuss how social media affects the future of agency distribution. Most executives recognize that the financial industry is in flux, so we are likewise seeing a challenge to the traditional distribution models. Driving agent success through social business will be essential to compete in today’s market. (See full session details below.)

Tonight and for the rest of the week, conference attendees will also hear executives from Prudential, Sun Life, and Thrivent Financial discuss how to adapt field reps to the new age of marketing and sales. It’s sure to be a very informative week!

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Social Media and the Future of Agency Distribution

WHEN: 9:30 am on Friday, February 21

WHO: Clara Shih (CEO of Hearsay Social and Board Director, Starbucks Corporation) will be joined by Greg Bailey (VP, Marketing, Pacific Life Insurance Company), Knut A. Olson (CLU, FIC, Chief Distribution Officer, Thrivent Financial), and Maurice B. Springer (CLF, CVP Manage Development, New York Life Insurance Company).

WHAT: The financial industry is in the midst of seismic change. Shifting customer demographics and buyer expectations, paired with an aging advisor population and the unprecedented pace of technological change, are challenging the effectiveness of traditional distribution models.  The solution, however, isn’t to bet everything on direct channels.  Rather, the agency distribution leaders of today and tomorrow must empower their field organizations with the latest social media, digital, and mobile technologies to stay relevant, stay competitive, and appeal to younger generations of advisors and customers alike.  Silicon Valley innovation leader Clara Shih will share her insights on how social business is transforming how agents sell. Distribution leaders from two leading firms will join Ms. Shih to discuss how they are driving these programs at their respective organizations and the key role that field management must play to ensure the success of Agent Social Business initiatives.

See you there, or check back on our blog to see live notes and tweets from the event at #distconf!

Also, read our updates from the 2013 LIMRA Distribution Conference.

Timeless business lessons revived in the social media era: Facebook and Hearsay Social at #LLSMC

For more #LLSMC updates, see our recap of day one, recap of day two, or learn why LIMRA selected Hearsay Social as its Elite Strategic Partner for social media.

Mandy Wilson (Senior Manager, Channel Strategy for Emerging Channels, RBC Insurance), Clara Shih (CEO, Hearsay Social), and Michelle Smyth (Director, Social Media, at Sun Life Financial). Photo courtesy of Michelle (@michelle_smyth).

1,150,000,000.
That’s how many people around the world today are using Facebook to network with each other, according to Neil Hiltz, Head of Global Vertical Marketing for Financial Services, Facebook. And yet, as he explained at day three of LIMRA’s Social Media Conference in Boston, a billion people won’t drive your business forward. What really matters is connecting to the people that matter to you.
“I’m not advocating for a Facebook-only solution,” said Neil. “You have traditional media, so Facebook is a great complementary channel and a great challenger.”
He spoke to many insightful case studies, highlighting how insurance companies can look for social signals that lead to sales. For example, people regularly announce to their networks that they’re getting married or having kids–that’s an excellent signal that you should reach out and offer your expertise.
These points provided a perfect segue into Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih’s presentation on timeless business lessons revived in the social era. After all, every time technology transformed business through the past decades–through call centers, through the proliferation of email, and today through email–one thing has remained constant: the importance of person-to-person relationships.
So, how exactly has social media changed traditional business practices?

1. Get found

On average, according to a CEB study, buyers progress nearly 60% of the way through the purchase decision-making process before engaging with a sales representative. Today, social media is one of the most powerful ways to tip those scales in the sales rep’s favor. Social media pages and profiles are typically at the top of search results, and without these online presences, a salesperson or organization is at risk for not turning up in the search results when an interested prospect goes looking.

2. Build your network

For decades, sales managers built countless training programs around effectively utilizing personal networks because reps that could effectively engage and expand their networks rose to the top. The same is true today, and the rise of social networks has made this entire process more efficient and powerful. Just like shared connections in the offline world, online social networks provide the context, familiarity, and trust that allow good salespeople to effectively do business.

3. Do your research

Salespeople are always taught to research a prospect and their history before walking into a meeting. Today, social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter make it easier than ever for reps to better understand their customers’ needs. Researching social signals allows reps to reach the right people at the right time, and go in warm.

4. Establish credibility

Gone are the days when Yellow Pages, a storefront, or a Web 1.0 website were the first point of interaction between you and your customer. We have entered a world where social presence provides necessary credibility. Not only does a social page or profile indicate what you or your company does, it indicates who knows you, follows you, or has worked with you before. People are unlikely to walk blindly into their local bank in order to find a financial advisor: they’re doing their research on social networks to find people or businesses credible in the social era.
With billions of people broadcasting buying signals on social networks every day, it’s no wonder that 7 in 10 financial advisors are already using social networks for business purposes (according to an FTI Consulting and LinkedIn study). Even more striking, 61% of financial advisors surveyed said they had landed a new client directly from LinkedIn (according to a HubSpot survey).
By the close of #LLSMC, the message was clear: many insurance and financial firms today are already growing business considerably by engaging with customers and prospects on social media. Are you?


 

One tweet leads to $4.1 million sale: Gary Vaynerchuk at #LLSMC

For more #LLSMC updates, see our recap of day one or learn why LIMRA selected Hearsay Social as its Elite Strategic Partner for social media.

We’re glowing after a fantastic second day at LIMRA’s Social Media Conference for Financial Services. After our team closed out the day with a discussion on the path from compliance to ROI, we hosted all our customers and partners at a dinner over the Boston skyline. Thank you so much to everyone who attended!

Earlier in the day, Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee), co-founder and CEO of VaynerMedia and a well-respected social media thought leader, keynoted the conference with a presentation bullish on the power of social sales.

Obsessed with social selling, he said the only reason he believes in social media is because it helps sell.

Gary’s chief belief is that every person’s job is to be a storyteller. (Fittingly, much of his talk drew on his own personal experiences of growing up in the Soviet Union, emigrating to the U.S., and eventually establishing a presence in technology and social media.) Relationship managers like financial advisors and insurance agents are successful when they are telling stories, not just trying to sell directly. And they distinguish themselves from the rest of the pack by telling different stories and by telling them in different ways. That’s where social media comes in.

One of his friends, who tweeted “thinking about moving,” eventually bought a $4.1 million apartment after a progressive insurance agent reached out in response to the tweet. This is just one of many successful social sales examples, and it’s a sign of the times we live in.

“We are living through the biggest culture shift of all time,” said Gary, referring to the unstoppable proliferation of the consumer Internet over the past two decades and social technologies today.

Gary Liu (VP Marketing, Hearsay Social), Paul Desimone (VP, Compliance and Regulatory Services, LIMRA), Erik Qualman (author of Socialnomics), and Augie Ray (Director of Social Media, Prudential)

Gary Vaynerchuk’s keynote set the stage for several great presentations throughout the day by executives from John Hancock, Mass Mutual, Prudential Financial, Fidelity Investments, Northwestern Mutual, Google, LinkedIn, LIMRA, and more.

In his session, Augie Ray (@augieray), Director of Social Media Prudential, called attention to the fact that, though banks and insurance companies are in the “trust” business, they are at the bottom of the trust rankings, according to a study by Edelman. Fortunately, social networks provide a way for real advisors and agents to correct that gap.

Ameriprise, as an example, allows people to find advisors that they have shared connections with on LinkedIn.

In a later session, a representative from LinkedIn confirmed the power of your professional network. Ben Ortman (@ortman_social), Social Business Connector and Innovator, Global Accounts, LinkedIn, explained that the key is to find individuals with relevance in mind. Build trust and strengthen your relationships so you can reach out at just the right time.

All in all, a very informative day at #LLSMC! To read more, see our recap of day one or learn why LIMRA selected Hearsay Social as its Elite Strategic Partner for social media.

Greg Bailey (VP Marketing, Pacific Life), Clara Shih (CEO, Hearsay Social), Jim Kerley (President, LIMRA Services), and Michael Lock (COO, Hearsay Social)

Smiling faces en route to Hearsay Social’s #LLSMC dinner on Thursday.


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At LIMRA #LLSMC: The opportunity for financial advisors on social media is now

Hearsay Social CEO Clara Shih and Jim Kerley, president of LIMRA Services, at LLSMC. Photo courtesy of Corina Roy (@CorinaRoy)

LIMRA kicked off its annual Social Media Conference for Financial Services in Boston yesterday, and, as LIMRA’s Elite Strategic Partner for social media, Hearsay Social was there in full force to share insights and stories with customers and partners.
Today and tomorrow, we’ll be leading two sessions at the event:
Today at 4:30 PM in the Duxbury Room, Gary Liu and Meagan Herfkens will be discussing “The Path from Social Media Compliance to ROI.” Join us to learn all about how you go from preventing risks to reaping the rewards of social selling.
Tomorrow at 9:45 AM, our CEO Clara Shih will present a keynote session on “Four Timeless Business Lessons Revived in the Social Media Era.” Come learn how the value of advisor relationships hasn’t changed, but how the way they connect with customers has changed.
The very first session of the conference, led by John Ploumitsakos (Director of Online Sales, Twitter, @johnp) and Dipayan Gupta (Director of Social Media Marketing, New York Life Insurance Company, @Piron), largely focused on the opportunities for financial services marketers on Twitter, which now boasts over 200 million monthly active users. People are generating so much content on the microblogging social network that Twitter says it processes one billion tweets every 2.5 days. That’s incredible!
So how can financial marketers and advisors take advantage of that?
“Plan for everyday moments” was John’s primary advice. While it’s great to participate in big events like the Olympics and the Super Bowl, you can also make an impact just by engaging with your audience on everyday topics, like exercise and sleep. Every interaction pays off, especially when you respond directly to your customers. A recent Nielsen study confirmed a 30% lift in brand favorability when brands engaged with tweets. Not only that, but purchase volume also grew by more than 50%.
Dipayan added to John’s comments by highlighting New York Life’s slogan, “Keep Good Going,” which calls attention to positive, real life moments. These everyday moments often spark conversations with your target audience–use that as an opportunity to provide tips, tools, and further reading around whatever interests them. By building your credibility, you strengthen your social media presence and ultimately increase your potential to drive successful social sales.
To learn more, drop by the Hearsay Social booth and say hello! We always love meeting new faces.


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