With so much focus and buzz on social media, it’s easy to jump in without giving it a second thought. In order to do it right, however, it’s important to make sure your agency is ready. Successful adoption of social media is rooted as much in business culture as it is in marketing and operations. The internet, with all its commentary, discussions, interactions, and opinions, puts your company on stage for everyone either to criticize or applaud. This often means a shift in mind-set, and odds are it will feel different than the way you’ve done things before. Here’s why:

Your customers have the megaphone.

The idea of encouraging real-time public customer feedback can be terrifying, and at times you may fear that you are “losing control” of your agency’s online reputation. But in reality, the control you think you’re giving up was never really there. Customers are sharing their business experiences with their family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers in-person as well as online, whether you have a presence there or not. Establishing a platform where they can voice their concerns and you can be there to take part in that discussion – when done correctly – will actually give you more control.

Responsiveness is required.

Customers will be there to thank you for your great work. They’ll also be there to let you know when they’ve had a not-so-satisfying experience. In that event, it’s important to turn that negative comment into an opportunity to grow. Yes, the comment can be damaging and is housed on a public forum, but your followers are watching how you react. Nobody’s perfect, and agencies who acknowledge their customers’ feelings and use the experience to better their policies and customer service are going to fare much better than those who simply choose to sweep it under the rug.

It can be risky.

In the insurance industry, we’re in the business of minimizing risk, yet social media seems to open us up to a form of accountability we’ve never quite experienced. Here is where proper training of your social media manager is of utmost importance. Take the time to develop protocols and response plans, especially in the beginning, to make sure that your agency is not making statements online that you do not endorse.

So before jumping in – or even if you’ve already adopted – make sure your agency has embraced these factors and you’ll reap the benefits of social media.  Are you ready?