We cannot ignore that our customers, prospects, business partners, employees — well, pretty much everyone — are now using social media to some degree. However, creating a simple catchall term, i.e. “social media,” might be deceiving. The general goal for businesses embracing social media is to be part of the new sharing culture where information is passed from person to person with an implicit blessing and a “hey, look at this” command.

But people rarely share information that is dull or attempts to sell, say, the product brochures that insurers have used to communicate with prospects for many years. Therefore, insurers need to rethink their approach, as the key challenge is now to be interesting. That’s what gets shared. But this is a huge can of worms; what a 21-year-old finds interesting will be totally different from what a 54-year-old finds interesting, and that can be further splintered by geography, common bonds, employment, family dynamics, etc. Needless to say, being interesting is really hard, and not something that insurers have had to do in the past. The message has always been simple: You need insurance, visit our agent and buy what he or she tells you to.

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