May 25, 2011

Making Sense of Social Media Mentions – Insurance Industry Edition

As part of Covalent Marketing’s ongoing research into the insurance industry for our clients, we spend time listening to them on social media.  To do so, we rely heavily on Crimson Hexagon to stay abreast of how consumers view insurance and how they choose to voice their opinions.  Crimson Hexagon is a tool used to tap into billions of online conversations taking place in social media and uncover vital consumer opinions and insights.

We believe that social strategy needs to be baked in at the marketing level, not just at a channel level – and here’s why.  In the past 45 days, Crimson Hexagon helped evaluate 1,751,699 mentions across social spaces.  What we found was a LOT of promotion – about 38% of the social messaging is promotional or corporate in nature versus consumer focused dialogues.  Another 12% is news oriented. In the remaining 50% containing consumer focused dialogues, we find customers talking about the mechanics of shopping, need for insurance and price.

Social strategies are about listening and the benefits they deliver can change the way organizations interact with customers.  Please note:  one of the biggest words in the word cluster below is SWITCHING.  What does that say about the sentiment in the market?

  • wow, insurance actually came through 🙂 Now I am all smiles lol. (facebook status Apr 7, 2011)
  • i just saved alot of money on my car insurance by switching to geico (tweeted on May 3, 2011)
  • Just found out I saved $344.26 dollars on my car insurance by switching to Progressive =) (tweeted on April 7, 2011)
  • why am i still waiting for my insurance to phone me back?! (tweeted on May 9, 2011)
  • Since I just used all my money on car insurance im about to go driving (tweeted on May 9, 2011)

Certainly, not all mentions count equally and they often have little value taken individually.  However, in aggregate, they provide valuable information that Insurance companies can use to start to engage their customers in more meaningful dialogue.

  1. Stop promoting
  2. Start talking about the process – ask what they like or didn’t.  They put it out there – you are fully allowed to follow up.

Consumers are no longer relying on information direct from an insurance company or an agent to form opinions on a brand or product, as these 1,751,699 insurance mentions attest.    That being said, it does not mean that the agent or company do not have a valuable role to play in helping the consumer.  Especially with seemingly complex, and low interaction products.  You may not purchase insurance often, and you may not think about it.  However, as the floods, hurricanes, tornadoes last week reminded us – insurance is there for a reason.  Because with insurance, when you need it, you really need it.


Insurance companies need to be listening and responding, especially in the context of the consumer.  We’re continuing to play with the data, so we’ll share more insights next month.


Crimson Hexagon’s name is fitting as a reference to a short story published in 1941 called The Library of Babel, by Jorge Luis Borges, in which there is a library that contains all possible books (and therefore everything worth knowing) known to man all arranged in an infinite sea of adjoining hexagon shaped rooms. The library has no organization and the only way to navigate this vast sea of meaningless information is to locate the Crimson Hexagon, the one room that contains a log of every other book in the library – a guide to extracting meaning from all the unstructured information.

Crimson Hexagon aims to provide the same value: extracting meaningful insight from the infinite amount of online conversations.

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