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Social Media Use Lags With Agents & Brokers, AAB Survey Finds

Source: National Underwriter

Posted on 15 Dec 2009

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Twenty percent of agents and brokers in a reader poll said they are considering using social networking for marketing, but less than 25 percent currently employ it, according to an exclusive American Agent & Broker survey.

Published in AA&B's December issue on Internet marketing, the unscientific survey suggests that although agents may still be holding back from full involvement in social media, interest is strong in reaching customers through other web methods.

The online survey, which was conducted in October and November, included more than 600 participants of all sizes and locations. The questions focused on what types of Internet marketing methods users were currently employing, from basic Web sites to Twitter and Facebook.

In general, the responses suggest that although most agents and brokers are actively using more traditional Internet methods, they have been slower to get involved in more cutting-edge practices.

When asked whether their agency or brokerage had a social media presence, 58.1 percent said no, 22.3 percent said yes, and 19.6 percent said they were considering it.

Of those respondents who had a social media presence, 26.6 percent used LinkedIn, 24.9 percent Facebook, 11.4 percent on Twitter, and 3.8 percent on MySpace.

Of the social networking users, 47 percent reported having a formal policy on what employees can do on the Web during working hours.

Surprisingly, even the use of a basic website is not ubiquitous. Although 81 percent of respondents reported having an agency website, 19 percent did not.

Of those respondents with webites, the majority (32.3 percent) had supervised a redesign over the past six-to-nine months, 24.6 percent did so more than two years ago, and 21.9 percent over the past year.

In an open-ended question, several respondents commented that they didn’t pursue any form of Internet marketing because Web sales were “undesirable.”

Along with websites and social networking, other popular marketing methods used to reach current and prospective customers included:

• E-mail marketing (49.3 percent).

• Search engine optimization (24.9 percent).

• Lead-based websites (13 percent).

• Interactive webite such as reader forums (10.4 percent).

• Electronic customer relationship management (8.4 percent).

Other methods mentioned in an open-ended question included insurer-sponsored websites, online and print advertising, telemarketing, seminars, direct mail, cross-policy sales lists, and instant quotes and purchase options on website.