More than 9 in 10 insurance and annuity providers use social media in some form, according to a new report.
Corporate Insight, a New York-based provider of competitive intelligence and user experience research to financial institutions, published this finding in a new survey, "Social Media Leaders."
The report examines the use and effectiveness of social media initiatives of more than 90 financial services firms. The report offers rankings for four types of social properties: Facebook pages, Twitter profiles, proprietary communities and blogs. The research was conducted on companies that Corporate Insight tracks continuously through its Monitor services, including annuity issuers, banks, brokerages, credit card issuers, insurance companies and mutual fund firms.
Among the insurance and annuity providers tracked, 92% use social media, the report finds. Facebook is the most popular social media tool with every firm maintaining at least one page on the site and many firms offering "multiple pages." The industry averages more than two pages, per firm, the report says. Five property and casualty companies, including several multiline insurers--Allstate, State Farm, Progressive, Geico and Progressive--offer four or more pages.
The report says the insurers use secondary pages to cover a range of issues. Among the most popular: advisor-related content, product promotions, recruitment, corporate mascots, and philanthropy.
The average number of Facebook fans on these pages exceeds 140,000. But the number drops to fewer than 35,000 when three pages are removed from the total: Flo the Progressive Girl, State Farm Nation and Allstate Mayhem.
The surveys says that Twitter is nearly as popular as Facebook, with all but three companies offering at least one Twitter profile. Of the firms that are active on Twitter, more than half feature multiple profiles, with the industry averaging again more than two profiles per company. Secondary Twitter topics focus on many of the same topics as Facebook, with the addition of customer service profiles that are offered by four firms: Geico, Progressive, Sun Life and Travelers.
Thirty-eight percent of insurers that are participating in the social web offer blogs, the report finds. Most, including the two highest-rated blogs--The Allstate Blog and the The Responsibility Project Blog by Liberty Mutual--focus on issues relating to the companies' products and services.
The report adds that proprietary online communities are "far less popular" among annuity and insurance companies than are other forms of social media. Only Allstate and TIAA-CREF provide these proprietary online features.