The social media site’s director of planning emphasises that ‘insurance is relevant to our everyday lives and people on Twitter tweet about their everyday lives’

The “brutal, honest truth” is that people working outside of the insurance industry do not talk about insurance on Twitter. To change this status quo and potentially solve the sector’s  “trust dilemma”, companies can use “openness and transparency” as a strategy to transform their social media presence, said David Wilding, director of planning at Twitter UK.

Social media site Twitter allows companies to shine a light on what goes on internally in businesses and organisations, “so, if openness and transparency in your people is something you’re proud of – that’s definitely a potential strategy,” he added.

“It’s not something we see a lot from insurance, but it’s definitely an opportunity.”

Wilding was speaking as part of a webinar hosted by the Managing General Agents’ Association (MGAA) and insurtech Worry+Peace last month (22 June 2021), titled Insurance’s Social Dilemma.

Worry+Peace founder James York chaired the discussion with Wilding. 

In his role, Wilding is responsible for helping brands, users and organisations utilise Twitter as a communications tool.

Discussing the existing presence of insurance content on Twitter, Wilding said that “it’s quite a dry conversation” if individuals are not directly involved in a particular discussion or working in the industry.

He said: “If you said to me: ’how do I insert myself into a conversation on Twitter as an insurance company?’ - I would say you just have to take yourself into the conversation that people are naturally having and are interested in.

“At a very simple level, insurance is relevant to our everyday lives and people on Twitter tweet about their everyday lives.”

Building conversation and trust

To catalyse conversations, businesses can engage in trending topics - for example, cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin (BTC) is currently being widely circulated across social media platforms as several popular digital assets, for example Ethereum (ETH), have dropped in value after a long period of consolidation. BTC, in particular, is at “dangerously low levels”, reported

Wilding warned, however, that businesses should not feel like they need to be in every conversation on the social media platform - this is a “mistake that a lot of companies make”.

To build trust on social media and, in turn, boost business through transparency, the insurance industry should share content that provides its audience with business insight from the perspective of staff members, or post regular statistics about how an insurance product has helped improve someone’s life, for example.

Alternatively, “there are softer ways to build trust as well”, said Wilding. This includes posting images or videos, as well as the use of gifs where appropriate because “people prefer to hear from people on Twitter, rather than organisations”.

Twitter polls, which can be created for the online community to weigh in on specific questions, are also recommended to encourage engagement, Wilding added.

Adding humanity and strategy

Wilding shared that online bank Monzo, for instance, has “done a very good job” of making its product relevant to customers’ daily lives by using a “combination of personality and personalisation”.

As a brand, he said, its “tone tends to be a lot more conversational”.

According to Twitter meta-analysis across 25 brands in the US – conducted in partnership with software and technology companies Neustar, Nielsen and Pulsar (published in 2019) – one brand found that a 10% increase in brand conversation on Twitter could lead to up to a 3% growth in sales.

Paid ads can also yield an 105% incremental lift in brand conversation.

Although Wilding praised Monzo, he added that when creating a social media strategy, companies should fight shy of copying other businesses as this leads to “homogenised myths” and “that’s not a good use of Twitter”.

For brands to avoid losing sight of their identity, “you want to make sure that your Twitter is aligned to your overall marketing strategy”, Wilding explained.

He continued: “You’ll know what you are trying to achieve and you’ll know what is unique about the service you’re offering versus your competitors – you shouldn’t jeopardise that in trying to be socially relevant - it’s about that sweet spot between what are you about and what Twitter as a platform is about.

“It’s very important to start with your own strategy and adapt it.”

“The huge majority of Twitter is actually extremely positive to neutral,” he added. “You’ll almost be ignored as an insurance company, trust me, and that’s a far bigger problem than receiving negative feedback and negative traction.

“It’s about finding where you can be useful and add value to people’s everyday lives - [that] is the best way to get the best out of Twitter.”