Would you have ever thought that an insurance company would use social media to reach their business objectives? I did. The reason? It works! All a company needs to do is humanize their brand enough to connect with their target demographic. Sounds simple right? It is. Financial institutions have to stop worrying about the buzz word of “social media” and begin to realize that social media isn’t about the social networks themselves—it’s about the power they have given us to access virtually anything and anyone in the world.
What does that mean for business? You’d better find a genuine commonality that you can share and develop with your existing clients and prospects. In this way, you can show them that as a brand you have a soul, the brand isn’t lifeless. Corporate America shouldn’t be about pitching commoditized products and services, all the while pretending to be interested in who and what their prospects care about. There needs to be a connection. That connection can be as simple as the love of the game of football—yes, football.
I digress. New York Life Insurance company, known as “the company you keep,” has started to humanize its brand. On Facebook, they created a “Protection Index.” Simply stated, the index rates and determines how well your favorite NFL team’s offensive line protects the quarterback. ”Just as an offensive line is designed to protect its quarterback’s blind side, New York Life offers life insurance products that protect individuals, families and businesses from unforeseen circumstances,” said Mark W. Pfaff, executive vice president, of New York Life.
This great “human” approach was received well by the fans and followers of all NFL teams, the bloggers covering the NFL teams, radio and TV commentators, and the NFL players themselves. Every week, more and more fans were exposed to the Protection Index and were immediately interested to see how well their team was doing. It was being spread on Facebook, bloggers were Tweeting about it, articles were written, NFL team websites and game day announcers were sharing the story, and videos were being made. Even New york Jets Super Bowl III underdog and MVP, Joe Namath made a vlog post about the Protection Index. All methods of media drove curious fans to the site. Through those methods, the campaign spread like wildfire. New York Life gave the football fans what they wanted, and then subtly extended their careful message to their newfound fans. They made it easy for them, as the quarterback of their team, their family to check and see if they had enough life insurance coverage to protect their family, if they were “blind sided” by life. Brilliant!
In my eyes, the campaign was a big success, but how can it have been bigger? How could New York Life have made their marketing campaign better? They could scale it—they could try to reach more eyeballs! Aside from spending millions on a commercial during the Super Bowl, I came up with another cost effective way.
My system incorporates the incredibly powerful infrastructure Twitter has created. Most brands use Twitter all wrong. They use Twitter to blast out messages to the masses, going sight unseen by their target audience. If they Tweet their “Protection Index,” how many people will really see it? Most people are viewing Twitter on their mobile phone, and if they aren’t staring at the screen they’ll miss the message. When the NFL teams and blogs were Tweeting out about the index, it did drive traffic, but what if you could drive more?
For example, here is the Twitter account for the National Football League (NFL). They have over 2,990,000 followers, which are fans of the NFL and the New York Giants. Here is that commonality we were talking about when looking to humanize a brand. We could have 2,990,000 one-to-one conversations about football and drive them toward making that human connection. We could also have our customer service team monitor their conversations, and when they talk about something relevant to football, we can talk to them and link them to the page. The Tweet wouldn’t be an interruption to the prospect because the “Protection Index” is relevant to them. It would be in the flow of their conversation. As an insurance salesman, you can’t say that’s the case with a phone call. The phone call is an interruption to the prospect. Why wouldn’t you leverage Twitter’s infrastructure for sales?
If 3 million prospects are too many, we can drill down to specific NFL teams. Here is the Twitter page for the New York Giants. They have over 274,000 followers, which are fans of the NFL and the Giants. When you drill down, the commonality becomes stronger.
Here is an example of a New York Giants blog’s account. They have more than 25,000 followers. Do you think these passionate fans are interested in New York Life’s “Protection Index” to see how well Eli Manning is being protected in the pocket? They sure do!
We can organize all of those Twitter users into Twitter lists and have our customer service team monitor those conversations. Once there is an opening to enter the conversation, after some small talk you can then drive them to the value add of the “Protection Indexes” landing page. The customer service team is already in front of a computer; why not leverage their capacity?
The point is, why wait for people to come to you when they are right there for you to put yourself in front of and speak to? It makes total sense to take advantage of this and join the relevant conversation. For one, you have already spent the money creating the campaign. The point of the marketing message is to drive more people to the ”Protection Index” to drive awareness of the brand and explain how it could solve a problem, eventually leading to increased sales and client retention. The second point is that Twitter has organized and identified your target audience; they are there for you to talk to. Through social technology, you can communicate to them in a human and meaningful way.
Adding this strategy to an already successful strategy will not only score a big touchdown, it will surely win the game!