Have you steered away from incorporating social media into your agency? Social media, the various web-based technologies that turn communication into interactive dialogue, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, will not fade away any time soon. In fact, many industries including construction and insurance have companies realizing that they can benefit from social media and, as a result, they are making it part of their strategic plan.
Debra Weinstein, Surety Team Manager and Eastern Region Manager of Insurance Practice with Blackwell Global Consulting said, "13% of the global population utilize social networking sites. We anticipate this number will double within the next three years. Social Media is having a huge impact on the way consumers access, accumulate, and decipher information, which will have a significant impact on insurance product development and distribution in both the personal and commercial segments.”
More on Blackwell Global Consulting’s views of social media are described in a brief titled, “Making Social Media Work: Insurance Industry Perspective,” that Blackwell distributed at the 2011 NASBP Annual Meeting and Expo. NASBP has no doubt that this trend is going to be around awhile, especially since NASBP members indicated that they are increasing their use of social media, according to the 2011 NASBP IT Survey.
NASBP members may soon discover that their construction contractor clients are embracing social media as a marketing tool and that they may want to introduce social media to their agency to stay in tune with their clients.
Bonding Agencies Can Reap Benefits Through Their Use of Social Media
Here are three suggestions:
1. Complete your Profile on NASBP’s SuretyConnect
Update your profile, add contacts, and post messages on NASBP’s SuretyConnect. If you do not, you may be missing an important opportunity to network and to promote your agency. It costs nothing since you are already a NASBP member, and it only takes a few minutes. The benefits are priceless. Potential clients visit www.NASBP.org daily, so make sure they can find you when they search on the Association’s site. Be sure to provide your background, certifications, and location. NASBP can provide assistance to update you and your staff members’ profiles and will be happy to answer questions about SuretyConnect. Contact Dave Golden, Director of Technology for assistance at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Create a Business Page on Facebook
Create a Facebook page for your agency. Once again, this is another social media that costs nothing to set-up and participate. Facebook is now much more than just a personal page for social networking. Individuals, celebrities, organizations, businesses, and politicians have Facebook pages to market, network and communicate their services and messages. CVT Construction, a construction firm that uses Facebook effectively for their business, regularly posts updates about their company and photos of jobsites. Melissa Rodgers, CVT Office Manager, said, “It seemed natural to start a CVT Facebook page, because we are in an age and time where it is necessary to promote and market your company though the Internet. Small companies like CVT should embrace technology to show the world the quality services we provide.” To visit CVT’s Facebook page, click here.
To create your agency’s business page, follow these instructions. Take a few minutes to fill in basic information about your agency and then upload your agency logo. Before doing so, you must create an individual Facebook page, if you do not already have one. Once you have set up your agency’s Facebook page, you may promote your new agency’s page by sending a message to your clients to view your agency’s Facebook page using your personal Facebook account. Consider asking them to indicate if they “Like” your page.
If you are concerned about privacy, change your privacy settings to make your account as secure or as public as possible.
Here are some Facebook statistics:
People on Facebook
- More than 500 million active users
- 50% of active users log on to Facebook in any given day
- Average user has 130 friends
- People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook
Activity on Facebook
3. Create a LinkedIn Company Profile
- There are over 900 million objects that people interact with (pages, groups, events and community pages)
- Average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events
- Average user creates 90 pieces of content each month
- More than 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each month.
Create a LinkedIn profile of your agency. LinkedIn Company pages are a company’s profile of record on LinkedIn and an easy way to create a presence for your agency on this leading business networking website at no cost. Visitors can create word-of-mouth recommendations and testimonials, much like an individual’s LinkedIn profile.
According to LinkedIn it boasts that “LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 100 million members and growing rapidly. LinkedIn connects you to your trusted contacts and helps you exchange knowledge, ideas, and opportunities with a broader network of professionals.”
Here are some LinkedIn statistics:
LinkedIn Member Data
- 101 million members worldwide as of January, 2011
- Over 1 million company pages
- Industries: 16% High Tech, 13.3% Finance, 9.5% Manufacturing, 8.5% Medical, 8.3% Corporate, 7.4% Educational, 6.7% Consumer Goods, 5.4% Recreational, 4.4% Construction, 3.7% Government
- LinkedIn is used by 69 of the Fortune 100 companies
Setting up social media accounts for your agency, if you have not already done so, may help your business gain visibility. NASBP can be a resource for your questions. Contact Dave Golden, Director of Technology at email@example.com.
To learn more about using social media as a business tool, view the brief video, titled “Social Media Revolution,” that is based on the book, “Socialnomics,” by Erik Qualman.
If you are interested in joining the NASBP Automation and Technology Committee and the Social Media Subcommittee, please submit the committee interest form.
The author of this article is Joshua Etemadi of Construction Bonds, a Division of Murray Risk Management and Insurance. He is the current co-chair of the NASBP Social Media Subcommittee and Vice Chair of the NASBP Small and Emerging Business Committee. If you have any questions or comments about this article, contact Joshua at Joshua@sbabonds.com or (703) 934-1000.