Insurers’ Use of Social Media Has Jumped More Than 50 Percent Since 2010

A robust 75% participate in social media strategies

A new LIMRA survey finds that 93 percent of life insurance companies had social media programs in place in 2013, up 55 percent from 2010 (when only 60 percent of companies used social media).

More than three quarters of companies report having social media programs targeted to the public (77 percent); while 7 in 10 have programs supporting financial professionals’ use of social media. One in five companies say they plan to launch social media programs to reach these audiences in 2014.

According to LIMRA’s annual survey, LinkedIn and Facebook are the most widely used social media platforms with 98 percent of companies having a presence on LinkedIn and 93 percent on Facebook. Other sites, such as Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram have also seen growth (see chart).

While compliance concerns topped the list of challenges in 2013 (68 percent), it is far lower than reported in 2010, when 9 in 10 insurers cited compliance concerns as their biggest worry. However, more tactical concerns such as staffing, funding, and getting executive-level support are becoming more common.

The Pursuit of Excellence in Financial Services Social Media

In only its second year, the LIMRA LOMA Silver Bowl Awards seeks to recognize excellence in social media by financial services companies.

Because of the compliance constraints unique to financial services, social media programs are developed more cautiously compared to other industries. These awards showcase successful social media programs, providing other companies a blueprint for how to effectively use social media in their businesses.

While new platforms constantly emerge, the Silver Bowl Awards currently focus on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Entries are judged on criteria such as innovation, effective use of the platform and engagement with followers. The deadline for this year’s entries is Friday, June 20.

While compliance concerns topped the list of challenges in 2013 (68 percent), it is far lower than reported in 2010, when 9 in 10 insurers cited compliance concerns as their biggest worry

In 2013, 52 companies entered more than 100 submissions for Silver Bowl consideration. The winning programs were impressive and diverse:

  • “Best of the Best” winner Morgan Stanley Wealth Management (MSWM) used LinkedIn to launch a “compliant yet engaging platform for its Financial Advisors.” As of May 2014, more than 6,000 financial advisors had registered a LinkedIn account-and they continue to sign up.
  • For Prudential Retirement, LinkedIn made the most sense to increase influence and win new business primarily through intermediary partner channels. Results: 190 percent increase in LinkedIn connections to intermediary partners, Prudential Retirement’s key sales channel.
  • Transamerica developed the “It’s real now” campaign as a customer engagement strategy. They used the platform to highlight life events such as the birth of a baby, retirement, etc. to make a personal connection to customers. While the campaign used several social media platforms it proved a huge success on Facebook, increasing their community 2000 percent.
  • The John Hancock Twitter strategy for the @jhBoston26 handle supports their Boston Marathon principal sponsorship. In 2013, their Twitter followers increased by 137 percent in April alone.
  • Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom premiered on television in 1963 and took viewers to the far corners of the world to study wild animals in their natural habitats. Now a webisode series on YouTube, Mutual of Omaha is introducing a new generation to the show. Elements included a nationwide search for a new host in which candidates submitted a video on why they should be selected.

With these inaugural winners, a high standard has been set for 2014.

For more information on the awards and how to enter, go to 2014 Silver Bowl Awards.

To learn how companies are dealing with these issues, join other financial services professionals at the 2014 Social Media Conference for Financial Services.

Members can read the full report by visiting: Where Are We Now? Leveraging Social Media With the Public (2014)