If people get insurance for that rainy day when something goes wrong, what do you communicate in the middle of a biblical flood? That’s the challenge for insurance brands at the moment, as the coronavirus pandemic has made everyone’s life significantly worse overnight. The audience definitely wants to hear from the insurance industry right now. For instance ListenFirst found that social engagement around 138 Insurance brands increased by 47.14% in March 2020 compared to the previous 31 days.
But what exactly do they want to hear? To what extent should Progressive just go with the Flo or shift focus from a campaign they’ve spent years developing to prioritize coronavirus-related messaging? Does the audience still want to hear about how they can save on car insurance when they haven’t been allowed to leave their homes in three weeks?
To answer those questions and more, ListenFirst drilled down into social media analytics around the Insurance industry during March 2020. Here are the key findings of that study:
Insight #1. Policyholders Really Want To Hear About Increased Flexibility Around Payment
17 million people have filed for unemployment in a 3-week period, and we’re almost certainly at the highest jobless rate since the Great Depression. In that context, many policyholders want to hear what insurance companies are doing to get through this because, in many cases, they just can’t afford to pay their normal insurance premiums at this moment in time. For instance, during March 2020, the top performing Geico post generating 5,333 responses on Facebook was about the insurer pausing cancellation of coverage due to non-payment through the end of April.
Meanwhile, the top performing State Farm post during the month generating 7,453 responses was a Facebook video saying if you’re facing a financial burden, you should call your State Farm agent for help. State Farm also announced they’re returning $2 billion back to their auto policyholders in policy credit in an Instagram post that received 3,303 responses.
People are struggling right now and the audience wants insurance brands to explain on social media how they can pitch in.
Insight #2: Celebrity Content Still Connects…Provided It’s On Message
Nationwide’s top performing post in March 2020 generating 10,379 responses was a video on Twitter of Payton Manning encouraging people in Ohio to wash their hands. Meanwhile AARP received 5,041 responses around a repost on Facebook of a video featuring Max and Mel Brooks modeling social distancing. There’s clearly no problem with Insurance brands using celebrities if it’s in PSAs.
Nationwide experimented with this formula slightly in an April Tweet cheering Dale Earnhardt Jr. on a virtual race he’ll be participating in, which generated 1,132 responses. However, other than TV spots shared on YouTube, there’s no evidence of Insurance brands sharing celebrity content on social media that doesn’t touch on the current situation one way or another.
Until we return to some sense of normalcy, it’s likely too risky to share any celebrity content on social media that doesn’t acknowledge what we’re currently going through.
Insight #3: There Are Many Different COVID-19 Social Conversations That Are Insurance Relevant
In March 2020, 48% of all the content USAA posted on social media was related to the coronavirus, a strategy that helped USAA triple the volume of social media responses they generated in March compared to February. During that time, USAA positioned itself as a hub for information regarding the crisis, especially regarding market health and financial planning. For instance, their top post was a Tweet detailing how best to plan for the receipt and budgeting of one’s stimulus check. Additional posts they shared discussed commiting more than $4 Million to military and nonprofits supporting COVID-19 response, a post thanking SAA Bank Tellers and other essential workers, and even a post about how working from home means more time with your pet on National Puppy Day.
Insurance brands absolutely need to address the subject of policy relief on their social media channels, but that’s far from the only coronavirus topic that they can be talking about.
Insight #4: It’s Okay To Post About Topics Other Than The Coronavirus, But Be Cautious
While maybe it wasn’t as extreme as it was around other verticals (think Movies or Travel), there definitely was a hesitancy by Insurance brands to post once the pandemic happened. There were 4,678 new posts shared by Insurance brands on social media in March 2020 which was a decrease of -12.23% compared to the volume of new posts they shared on social between January 30 – February 29, 2020. For instance, the top performing post for all of Insurance during March 2020 was a Facebook post generating 176,869 responses by AIG honoring the female leaders of the company for Women’s History Month. Additionally USAA generated 3,542 responses around a Facebook post recognizing veterans for Vietnam War Veteran’s Day.
Yes, insurance brands should be extra cautious about what they post during this time; but they also should feel free to post about things that are important and that people care about which have nothing to do with the coronavirus as well.
Insight #5: The Coronavirus Isn’t Funny, But Social Distancing Can Be
There’s no way to make the death and destruction surrounding the coronavirus funny, but at the same time, insurance brands are still having success touching on other aspects of the current situation in a less solemn tone. For example, Mercury Insurance shared a video on Facebook that received 1,918 responses showing there are easier ways to save money than DIY one-ply toilet paper. Meanwhile, Trupanion pet insurance shared an Instagram picture that received 189 responses joking that social distancing is a cat having to watch birds through the window. Additionally, SafeAuto received 115 Responses on a Tweet explaining five ways a car is better than having a husband, with the caption: “humor helps me cope.”
Insurance brands should feel free to joke about the day-to-day, more mundane aspects of our stay-at-home experience.
None of us want to be in this situation, but because insurance is all about planning for the future and about being there in the bad times, it’s especially important that Insurance brands have a social media presence during the pandemic. By understanding the social media audience and what they’re responding to, insurance brands can better connect with their customers and potential clients, building bonds and brand loyalty that go beyond just the dollars and cents numbers of a specific quote. Insurance brands are always talking about how they’ll be there during the hard times – this is the opportunity to prove it.