Social Media will SAVE your business! Not on it’s own.

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Below is my response to a friends email, “One of my buddies (and he is also a client) went to a meeting in California last week.   They had a session about social media, where someone went on-and-on about how the insurance industry was changing, and how only the local agencies that embrace social media would survive.  That seems like a bit of a stretch to me, but that’s what they were saying.  I don’t doubt that many local insurance agencies will be drying up soon – the same way that most of the local travel agencies fizzled – but that is because it is becoming so easy to buy insurance on-line.  I have a feeling that social media will not be enough to save some of those smaller agencies.”

I agree with you that social media alone isn’t going to save local insurance agencies. That’s a no-brainer. Some people are convinced (early adopters) that social media are the holy grail and they’ll save your business blah blah blah BULLSHIT. It’s only one aspect that will HELP increase business and connect with those in your community. Social media will be a game changer for some insurance agencies, but it’s not going to save them all that’s for sure! I think social media has the potential to positively impact local businesses, but over time. Locally, especially here in Stonington, CT and Westerly, RI where the majority of people are over and hate when “kids” are always texting or using their phones to communicate. Once this breed of “resistors” fades away, or embraces the concept we are going to see every small business utilizing social media and adopting the technology such as creating a mobile website (or app, but that might be a little farfetched) that is accessible via your smartphone or tablet. If nothing else business owners can use these new media devices to streamline their business, connect with their audience – in real-time, and ultimately increase sales, brand awareness, or loyalty.


Social Networks Will Become More Local and Personal

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With the launch of Facebook’s new ‘send’ website plugin (button) Facebook is recognizing that even people who have greater than 500 friends aren’t actually close friends with all of them. The majority of whom you barely recognize their picture. The move is going to increase the race to develop a more personalized social network OR people will begin to migrate slowly to, or spend more time on another more personally friendly social network. It’s certainly not going to kill Facebook. Zuckerberg most likely has a plan in place and could also begin to act similar to Google under the new leadership of  Larry Page, and buy up competitors as new more personalized startups launch. Now this isn’t always a sound idea. Remember the small, rapidly successful daily deals startup Groupon declined Google’s “miniscule” offer of $5.3 billion in December 2010.

More importantly this is only the very beginning of social network personalization. The Facebook ‘send’ website plugin will reminds me of AIM. It was text messaging on the internet. Today that’s all people do. Think about it, how often do you actually talk on the phone? Depending on your age the question will vary, but for myself and my closest friends texting is our way of communicating 75% of the time. Social networks will begin to embrace the idea of a more personalized social network. Sharing is important, however, who you share your information with is significantly more important. Text messaging is private and personal communication and if you have an iPhone or any smartphone all of your texts are saved. This information acts as a personal friendship timeline. Facebook introduced public ‘Friendship Pages‘, during October 2010 which attempts to embrace the idea of personalization, but fails because it’s public. As much as I support Facebook, this is too much. It’s time to for another startup to challenge Facebook’s personalization and privacy concerns… Do you think Facebook will privatize Friendship Pages? Would you like to see a private, personalized social network that embraces the basic idea of privacy among friends? Would you like to build your own platform within the network? A timeline of your relationship with your entourage, protecting daily memories, exclusively for your eyes only.