I had intended to write about the importance of staying true to yourself when creating an online presence. But as I write this post, Hurricane Irene is barreling down on North Carolina and then heading toward New York City. So, instead I decided to write about how our industry has been using social networking to communicate valuable disaster-related information to their customers.
Often, I hear agents who are not yet actively participating in social networking question its value and/or its return on investment (ROI).Clearly, the use of social networking by our industry during the past couple of weeks has demonstrated that “social” is not just about ROI. During the earthquake and now the hurricane many East Coast agents, carriers and associations effectively used social networking to connect with their followers and communicate valuable information. Some examples include:
- New York agent, Ryan Hanley who created a video blog offering, “6 Hurricane Preparedness Tips for Homeowners”
- Connecticut agency The Founders Group blog posting, “Hurricane Irene is on her way – Tips for protecting your home!”
- Many Facebook posts and status updates by Connecticut agent V.F. McNeil Insurance including links to the town’s emergency preparation and a request by the governor to sign up for CT Alert Emergency Notification.
Other examples of agents effectively using Facebook include:
- New York agent R.J. O’Brien Insurance
- New Jersey agent Henry D. Young
- Pennsylvania agent William B. Parry & Son
Several carriers including Travelers and Harleysville also did a great job posting storm-related risk management information on their websites and Facebook pages. Marsh USA, @Marsh_inc did a particularly nice job using Twitter. IIABA, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina and IIABNY all used social networking to communicate relevant information.
I also found our industry actively involved in Twitter conversations and followed them using the hashtags #irene, #hurricaneirene and #insurance.
Our industry shines in times like this. In contrast to popular media stories about increased premiums and uncovered losses, this is our chance to demonstrate the value of the Independent Agency System. I congratulate all of you who worked to make sure your customers had access to the information they needed to properly prepare and recover from Irene.
(The agencies, carriers, and associations listed above are only a small sampling of the many who took advantage of social networking during Irene. Please let us know how you used the social space to communicate and stay connected during this disaster.)