Thoughts ahead of Online Influence West

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iWestIn a few weeks, on 16th October, I’m speaking on a panel at Online Influence Conference: West  In the run up to Oi West (as it’s known), I answered some advance questions covering about strategic social, video streaming and employee engagement…

How has the role of Social Media Manager changed over the last few years?

The role has certainly changed from something tactical (to fill the “we need to do something/anything on social” clamour) to a strategic oversight role, bringing business objectives across all communications (external and internal). That will only continue as we move towards being ‘social businesses’ rather than ‘business who are on social media’.

How does a strong social media presence benefit a company like Zurich Insurance?

Zurich touches people in so many ways around the world. We will protect just about anything in more or less any location around the world.

In the UK, we have just over 7,000 people across 20 odd locations. We have one of the biggest apprenticeship programmes in the UK financial services sector, we have intern and graduate schemes, return to work programmes, military personnel inclusion initiatives, a widespread Diversity and Inclusion agenda, a charitable trust arm and a very strong CSR culture.

Social media is perfect for helping us tell the Zurich story and to engage with all those different communities. So we therefore need ensure we’re there to support the market facing business, but also to be recognised as a successful UK business, and as an employer of choice.

What is the secret to creating a successful social media strategy?

We’ll let you know when we get there! Zurich in the UK is still on the journey to bringing social up to the level it could be, and in becoming a social business success. It will take time, but we have a strong leadership who understand the way social can help in so many ways.

What emerging social media trends have caught your eye of late?

We’re continuing to monitor the social media trends, especially in relation to our customer services operations.

The other two areas that stand out to me are the ever-increasing focus on employee engagement, and also the increasing use, and opportunities to use, video streaming. It seems to me that live video content through tools such as Periscope, Meerkat, Google Hangouts and Blab.im provide a great opportunity to bring our expertise out within the communities our employees could shine in, to speak to our customers, IFAs and brokers, but also as internal collaboration tools. Lots to keep an eye on!

What can we look forward to in your Oi West session?

As I’ve inferred above, Zurich is on a journey towards becoming a social business. We have lots to do and we have some challenges to overcome in the next year or so.

Whenever you go to social media events, you get some great case studies from companies who have some fantastic products that people really want to have, and therefore engage with. I’m not sure insurance is one of those things, so we have to find new ways of making our presence felt, and to get our employee base active in their own social communities. I’m hoping I can share some of those thoughts and experiences with the OiWest audience.

If you’re coming to the event, let me know.

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