The power of social media

Aug 12 2013, 13:56 IST
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SummarySocial media has diluted boundaries and spaces for networking.

Social media is an integral part of our lives today. Not only has it diluted boundaries and spaces for networking, it has

become a part of all walks of our lives today. People are connecting, sharing experiences and seeking advice. Brands that want to engage and become a part of customer’s lives have to look at the social medium as a platform beyond branding.

When it comes to insurance, there is a lot of apprehension and ambiguity in customer’s mind, and it is generally perceived as a “cold” industry. First, insurance by design requires customers to visualise or think about adverse situations—illness, accidents or even death. Secondly, for various reasons, there is a lack of trust for the category itself. Thirdly, understanding the product is difficult, since there are several nuances. Explaining relevant concepts, exclusions, limits and such face-to-face to the end-customer is practically difficult. This makes branding effort an uphill battle for the marketer in insurance industry.

As a marketer simply being in touch with customers in a language they understand can work wonders. Brands could then work upwards in driving positive associations with the customer. Social media can help bring warmth to the relationship between the brand and the customer. As opposed to writing an email and waiting for an auto response or being faced with long wait times on telephone lines, social platforms allow you to better connect with customers. How? By driving conversations—a two way dialogue between the brand and the customers. Conversations drive the following:

Brand’s reach: The brand can reach out to the target audience which is increasingly spending more time on social platforms than TV/radio/print. A Deloitte study showed a dramatic shift of time spent by Indian youth from TV to the internet. Between 2009 and 2011, the preferred medium for Indians changed from 91%-9% to roughly 50%-50% for TV and internet respectively. This is dramatic and a brand needs to be where time is being spent! If a brand reaches the right audience and engages the audience continually with relevant communication, this should translate into sales.

Customer access to the brand: Used effectively, insurance brands can be accessible 24/7 when customers need them. This does away with the constraints of not being able to clarify product related doubts when needed. Being accessible is a huge first step towards delivering great customer experience. A recent KPMG report suggests that insurance industry is using social media to

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