People frequently ask me the same question. “Why should I care about social media?” My immediate internal reaction is of disbelief, I mean social media has been fully integrated into most of our lives for over a decade now…but to be fair, it is an important question to ask if your company is looking to contribute to social media in a regulated industry.

The ‘why’ question is a key focus point to consider before making social media a part of a company mindset. In fact it is probably the only question that matters. The easy answer: “Join social media because you have something worthwhile to say”. But there is more to social media than using it as another platform to blast your message. Rather, social media is most effective when it is used as an opportunity to directly engage our customers in a unique way, on a new channel, in real-time. This is the value proposition social media provides. And knowing the best way to handle social media in a regulated industry is key to a company’s success.

It would seem the regulators who govern these industries have struggled to apply the standards of traditional media to that of the interactive social media space. The results have been a chilling affect, where caution due to murkiness in what is allowed, has lead to inaction. I believe regulated industries are now beginning to come around and better understand the value social engagement can have for their brand and customer experience.

Here are a few points to consider about the leading social media platforms that will help cultivate a positive social experience for your company.

‘LinkedIn Validates You’

In today’s digital world where users rely five times more on digital content for their industry insights, companies need to be available to engage customers at this point of contact. Simply put, LinkedIn validates you. It is the 2nd largest social media platform among active users and is the leading business social platform. If you’re not on LinkedIn you’re not validating yourself or company as a leader in your industry.

‘Facebook Personalizes You’

Touted as the largest of the social media platforms, Facebook is considered a mass-market personal social media site. Engagement is different here…it’s well, more personal. There are opportunities to see what your customers do in their leisure time. Building and strengthening relationships in the social space should never be underestimated and Facebook is where you can most easily make those personal engagement strides.

‘Twitter Innovates You’

By the numbers, Twitter is currently the 3rd largest social media platform. In its simplest form, Twitter can offer your company the ability to monitor what is being said about you or be used to monitor industry trends and shifts. You can keep tabs on what competitors are tweeting or stay up-to-date in real-time about news and events. Not to be overlooked, one of the greatest benefits Twitter offers a company is direct engagement with customers. Twitter allows your customers to have a voice, and more importantly they can easily share that voice with you directly via Twitter.

Over the next several months, I will delve deeper into each of these social platforms, providing insight and tips to help you make the most of your efforts with social media in a regulated industry. Always remember, social media was born from the idea that it is always a two-way street…an opportunity to meet, connect and help your audience succeed. Maintaining this understanding and keeping it front-of-mind for any organization will ensure success on all social platforms. The goal should always be about a positive user-experience.

What are some challenges or successes your company has faced in a regulated industry and how have you addressed them? I would love to hear your experiences. Share in the comments.

Ben Smidt, MA

Ben Smidt - MGIC Digital Strategy Manager

Ben Smidt serves as MGIC’s Digital Strategy Manager. He leads corporate development and management of MGIC's digital marketing strategy across the enterprise. This includes establishing a clear vision for all digital marketing initiatives and providing strategic direction for the company's digital and social media marketing efforts. His primary goal is to increase brand awareness and improve user experience (UX). Additional responsibilities include PPC budget strategy and management of ad spend.

In addition to the insurance industry, Ben has a combined 10 years of experience in computer software, education and publishing industries. His focus has always remained in the area of education and digital marketing for media and technology.

He holds an MA from Marquette University in media channel effectiveness and digital communications, as well as a BS from UW-Madison focused in communications. He resides with his wife, daughter and son in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

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