Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Social Media For Business Is Crap

This post from one of my LinkedIn groups really resonates with truth and challenges the hype. One of the most important questions you have to ask yourself as a business person embracing Social Media (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc.) is "why am I doing this". My wife saw me tweeting the other night and asked me why are you, an insurance guy, wasting your time on these social media websites. My answer was two-fold: "to own the first page of Google" for Tague Alliance and to begin building connections online with our member agents.

I have no intentions of selling insurance on Facebook or Twitter and no illusions that I ever will. However, building a relationship with people is at the core of what an independent insurance agent sells to his/her client. Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are great mediums for building relationships that may lead to a sale. Don't put the sale ahead of the relationship.

So think through your purpose for being involved in the Social Media space...

by Kevin Conway

Social Media for Business is CRAP!

OK, I finally said it publicly, Social Media for business is Crap! .

Maybe because my feeling for the hyped-up benefits of social media was recently confirmed by a top millionaire online guru. If you follow the most successful gurus his name is always at the top of the list. As a matter of fact, he was the first online entrepreneur to make a MILLION $$ in a day. That said, recently he published a PDF where he said “I think social media Su-ks”. When I read that I felt a sigh of relief, “maybe I am not off the tracks after all”. You see when you don’t “follow the pack” you tend to sometimes feel like you are going down the wrong path or at least missing an opportunity. Now, I must admit I use all the major social media outlets including Twitter, Facebook, Squidoo, etc, etc. However, not for direct marketing. And, even though I publish new product releases on Twitter, analytics tells me no convertible traffic comes from that source or Facebook. My primary use of social sites is for building backlinks, but that is for SEO purposes. And, of course the added exposure. i.e. "branding" doesn't hurt.

However, I never felt like any of the exposure or traffic was ever really serious “convertible traffic”. In other words social media is used for entertainment and communication, ahh, socializing. "Socializing" people are not in the “consumer mode” when they are cruising the social sites. They are looking for friends, maybe a date, etc. Proof of this observation is that these social sites still cannot monetize themselves via paid advertising to nearly the level of search engines like Google or Yahoo. Why? Because you really cannot target potential consumers when they are out at their “buying behavior mode”, i.e. when they are specifically looking to buy a product or service. To try and pull social surfers out of the “social mode” and into a “buying mode” requires many steps before a behavioral shift is realized. Sure, you can start a dialogue and maybe down the road they will recall your business, but the effort to generate business is much more ROI effective using PPC or SEO. The one bright spot for social media as a business tool may be list building, but my own results have been mixed (via measuring quality of opt ins).

And yes, I have read the eMarketer predictions that social ad spend will increase by about 400% by 2013. But, these same groups are also publishing reports like today’s “Does Social Media Work for Small Biz?” where 88% of all small business owners say social media is not helpful to their business. Proof that most of us are not yet seeing the tangible benefits, i..e., sales, leads, etc, from our social media profiles. Personally I am not even seeing much return on creating and maintaining groups within the social media outlets. And, one of the most raved about tools within social media is creating specialized groups.

So, at the moment using social sites for business generation, in my opinion is still highly overrated. As an owner of several e-commerce business I don’t see myself investing advertising dollars in social media any time soon. And, even though there are those that will disagree, I don’t think many of them can show you their own e-commerce business that has experienced any serious ROI using social media. If anyone can show me any REAL results otherwise, please I am all ears. But please Hold the HYPE.

Monday, December 28, 2009

What May Be Wrong With Congress

by Tony Veteto

As I observe our government at work I sometimes wonder what is going through our "representatives" minds. Could it be that they just cannot relate to us a common human citizens any longer? According to one headline it seems that some members of Congress are out of this world....thought this was funny and decided to share it with you. Explains a lot!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas from Tony Veteto and Tague Alliance

It is with the utmost sincerity that we say thank you to all of
our members, partner companies, and vendors. The collective
success of Tague Alliance is due in full to all of your help and support. Merry Christmas!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Insurance Marketing Advice - Circa 1897

by Tony Veteto

I was browsing through some old text on Google Books and came across this wonderful little nugget of an article about how an insurance agency should market themselves to the public. Far too often, we as insurance agents, get trapped in the idea that we need to talk about things like:
  • Insurance company representation
  • The strength of the insurance company
  • How old or established the insurance company is
  • Competitive rates or having the best price
The reality is that as an independent insurance agent it is critical that we follow the advice given in 1897:
  • The brand is "You", not the company
  • You are the expert at providing the best coverage for your client
  • You make sure the client is taken care of in the event of a claim
  • Clients benefit from working with you, do not waste your time on clients who don't care about their insurance needs
Check out this vintage article below and remember "YOU" are the brand and make sure your clients know that it is you who are the reason they have decided to purchase insurance coverage through your agency.

As you read the article below take a look at some key statements:
- The first paragraph could be a synopsis of how most agents brand today
- The second paragraph of column two clearly states, brand "yourself"
- If a prospect is not currently insured, do not work with them
* One of our best member agencies asks every prospect, "Do you have current insurance?" If the answer is "no", the member tells the prospect that they cannot help them. Simple but effective way to get clients who care about their insurance.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Economy & Internet Trends

By Tony Veteto

The internet has completely transformed the way business is done. Tague Alliance Insurance Services and our member agencies can attest to the productivity and other improvements fueled by the internet. Independent insurance agencies are internet centric and the trends in within the economy and internet impact the ability to be a successful insurance agency.

Mary Meeker at Morgan Stanley put out a really good presentation on the internet and economy. Take a look at slide show from Meeker Tech '09.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Insurance Agents should use Constant Contact... http://ping.fm/Vp8KO

Tague Alliance Uses Contstant Contact

By Tony Veteto

For all of us small business people out there it is a real challenge to stay in touch with clients in a simple way. Constant contact is a great resource especially for insurance agents.

  1. Cross-sell clients
  2. Send newsletters
  3. Reach out on special days (birthday, holidays, etc.)
  4. Schedule email campaigns with ease
  5. Don’t reinvent the wheel – use the templates that are already done and simply add your content
  6. Survey your clients on occasion and solicit testimonials
  7. Track who is opening and responding to your email campaigns (hugely important)
  8. 500 email addresses will cost you $25/mth for both email and survey capability

As an insurance agent it is very important that you find a consistent way of staying in front of your client so that when they are ready to buy you are in their mind.

Tony Veteto
Tague Alliance