A Message From PIA's President
IN THIS ISSUE OF PIA CONNECTION, PIA takes a deep-dive look at social media for independent insurance agencies. In recent years, many agents have embraced social media as a key element in their overall agency marketing and communications strategy.
Small wonder. The Internet and social media have opened up powerful marketing opportunities that are ideally suited to independent insurance agencies. In the “old days,” agencies’ marketing opportunities were quite limited. We would often spend the majority of our marketing dollars on Yellow Pages ads.
Times have changed. Now, interacting on Facebook can fulfill the same role. But while social media provides an additional opportunity to connect with customers, it is important to realize that it should never replace in-person interaction.
My agency made a major commitment to Internet and social media marketing as one of our tools, because if we didn’t we would miss out on a market segment that is growing every day. We have an interactive web page where our customers can get an auto quote, live in real-time. We have a professional social media manager with expertise in insurance.
Online marketing is to Main Street independent insurance agencies what all those TV ads are to Geico. Main Street agencies will never be able to afford the billions of dollars a year that direct writers dump into their marketing. Online, grassroots marketing enables us to compete effectively.
As we embrace social media, we must realize it is only a part—a very powerful part—of our marketing. Social media isn’t just Facebook and Twitter. It also includes what I like to call community social media. My agency advertises in every local church bulletin and school program. We donate bottles of water to community events, like high school football games, with our agency’s name printed on the water bottles. It is the original social media.
One of the strengths that sets PIA apart and brings unique value to our members is the fact that we are a grassroots association that is bottom-up, not top-down. Combining online social media with community social media gives us a powerful advantage over our competitors. We are not separate from our communities, we are an integral part of them. We are Main Street agents. That makes us unbeatable.
“If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back to hit it again. Then hit it a third time—a tremendous whack.” —Winston Churchill
Richard A. Clements