Where is social media marketing headed in 2014?Article added by Louisa Manalastas on December 2, 2013
Louisa Manalastas

Louisa Manalastas

CO

Joined: July 20, 2012

How important is social for insurance?

According to Accenture Insurance's guide, “Four steps to mastering a social media strategy in insurance” customer acquisition is the number one benefit of social marketing. While only 33 percent in the banking and insurance industry say that they have acquired customers through social media, according to Business Journal, there is still room to grow that number among insurers.

Terry Golesworthy, from the Insurance Experts Forum, explains a variety of effective strategies in “The Most Liked, Shared Insurers on Social Media.” One of the methods included is social proof, in which friends look to the insurance brands “liked” by their friends when they are on the path to making their next insurance purchasing decision.

InsuranceTech.com wrote a post recently about the impact social media has had for insurers, noting that Liberty Mutual, New York Life, Northwestern Mutual and USAA have all successfully tackled the social space by providing comprehensive feedback. The piece discusses the noticeable growth of engagement for companies like AXA Equitable, which hints a positive outlook for insurance branding in the year to come.



The strength of social will affect you

According to Google's blog, social media shares and likes place much more weight on the validity of content and search engine rankings than in the past. Hubspot, an amazing hub for content marketers, says that, "when someone distributes your content [via social media], it makes your content relevant in the eyes of Google." Along with Hubspot, other companies have taken the lead in better understanding ways to optimize their social media pages.
The New York Times posted an interesting article recently with research findings on how to get more shares in social media. The article explains that social media users want to create a positive image of themselves by sharing upbeat stories. In other words, positive social media pieces drive traffic, while posts that elicit emotion drive shares. Insurance can easily leverage this insight by providing stories worth sharing.

This means that social media is so much more than just random conversations and announcements. With this in mind, here are the ways social media is expected to change in 2014.

The movement in 2014

According to stats from www.stateofdigital.com, the middle aged group (45-54 years old) is the fastest growing segment in the social media space. It may be wise to consider your target segments when communicating on these various platforms. Below are three expected shifts in social media for 2014:

Visual content

According to Forbes, social media marketing will become a necessity, especially as it becomes an even stronger pillar in contributing to search engine optimization. The difference in 2014 is the expected shift to visual content over text. This includes images and the sharability of six-second micro videos. Jayson Demers, CEO of AudienceBloom, and many others predict a large growth in visual content platforms such as Slideshare, Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram. The key to utilizing these sites properly will be keeping "sharability top of mind in creating content for these platforms.

Dedicated social staff?

Forbes also predicts that corporations will begin moving from assigning social media marketing tasks to individuals to creating a dedicated social manager, team or department, although many recent articles (for example, these articles in Quartz and CNN Fortune) have also talked about the death of the Social Media Manager title.

Influencer growth

Thought leaders and influencers are expected to become even more prominent in the coming year. Connecting bloggers to brands is not only expected to grow in 2014, it is also expected to distribute differently. Instead of focusing on posting within their own blog, writers will utilize high-profile sites to post and distribute their content. Businesses may also spend less time creating content and more time reaching out to influencers to guest post, or ghostwrite. The reason influencers are on the rise? In 2014, exposure will be everything.

When all of these shifts are considered, it's clear that deeper content and social media storytelling are on the rise.
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