5 takeaways from a Twitter tour

By Paul Tyler

Fidelity & Guaranty Life


I recently had the privilege of participating on a trip to the San Francisco corporate offices of Twitter and Google with a small group organized by LIMRA. There’s no substitute for actually visiting companies like this in person and having a free-form discussion. Clearly, we all had very defined motives. We wanted to learn how to more effectively use their platforms for insurance marketing and sales. They wanted to sell us more ads in the future. Here are my five takeaways from a 12-hour day in the Bay area:

1. Get on Google+. Even though the potential audience may be small, it’s imperative for a businesses to have a Google+ presence and link back to the corporate website. Google didn’t tell us that cross-linking improved search. But it’s clear that the Internet company’s long-term strategy will benefit those who have linked their content through Google+ as well as other platforms.

2. Don’t give up on Twitter. Twitter may be one of the most intimidating social media platforms for the industry. However, it also holds the most promise. The ability to openly start discussions with deeply passionate groups in the insurance community has yet to be tapped. Twitter also offers us the means to target micro-segments in ways we never have before — by geography, by profile, by interests and by device.

3. Google may take a long time to adapt for us. Google+ still does not have the APIs in place to make archiving easy by third-party vendors. The company now clearly understands why we want them. But priorities will be set by the needs of the consumer market, not our insurance community. For now, build your strategy assuming that you will only have the same tools at your disposal as a regular Google+ account holder.

4. Twitter is betting on long-term success in insurance. Twitter has built an astonishingly deep subject-matter expertise in our industry and is focused on commercial application in our market. Their team could take insurance by storm in the not to distant future.

5. Network, network, network. Given the rapid change in technology, marketing strategy and regulation, it’s critical for like-minded individuals in the insurance business to share best practices. This is the only way we can keep insurance relevant for the next generation of agents and consumers.

LIMRA, the industry association, deserves enormous credit for getting us actively in front of the social media wave. In particular, Jim Kerley, Steve Selby and Jim Huffman deserve a round of thanks for pushing us all out of our comfort zones. The dividends for the industry will be enormous in the coming years.