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Time to meet up at an Insurance Tweet-up

May 12, 2014

Social media for me has always been a means to an end and not and end in itself. One of those ends has been to get in touch with a wider range of people and develop broader relationships with them. The best way of doing this in my experience is to meet them. That’s just what Mike Wise (@MikeWise07) has created tomorrow’s London Insurance Tweet-up for.

I for one will be there (before rushing off to watch Leyton Orient in the 2nd leg of the League One play-offs!) as I passionately believe in the power of social media to bring people together in the real as well as the virtual world.

Social media is not just about sitting behind a screen
People often complain that social media diminishes human contact and will, one day, turn us all into recluses, trapped in front of a computer screen. I have never bought into this depressing, slightly Orwellian view which seems most frequently to come from people who do not use social media or, if they do, do not fully understand its potential.

The truth is quite the opposite.

Right from the infancy of social networking I have found it to be a great tool for fostering face-to-face interaction beyond the limiting medium of the computer screen. I have rekindled old friendships, found useful business contacts and gained introductions to local and national networks that I would probably never have discovered otherwise.

I come from a generation that was raised in a world where online networks were little more than a science fiction pipe dream. It was all too easy to lose contact with people as you moved from school, to university and into the world of work, something today’s young people often find difficult to understand. Through Friends Reunited initially and now with Facebook, I have found people I regretted losing touch with and thought I might never find. Many of these online reconnections have produced some memorable meetings over the last few years, usually involving not a little alcohol and plenty of reminiscing.

In my business life, Twitter and LinkedIn have produced a wealth of virtual connections that go far beyond the old, ‘real’ networks that I was in. On many occasions I have found myself sharing a cup of coffee with one of these new virtual connections as we realised our common interests went well beyond what 140 characters can embrace.

For a journalist, social media is a wonderful resource as there is a wealth of valuable content made readily available and it is easy to see who and what is making the news. It is also easy to see who has got something interesting to say but, for me, it is always important to find out more about the person or company behind the social media profile so leveraging the potential of social media to get myself in front of or on the phone to those people is a vital dynamic of this exciting new world.

Social networking isn’t (just) for the nerds
People are social beings and online networking can only satisfy so much of that need. Don’t let anyone tell you that the big social networkers are some sort of nerd, a breed apart that doesn’t value human contact because that simply isn’t true.

I have seen this proved locally in Brentwood, Essex where the local tweet-up is now a monthly event and draws a fascinating cross-section of local people.

I hope tomorrow’s #LondonInsTweetup14 succeeds in doing the same for the insurance market. Give it a go even if you are not too sure about Twitter but want to explore what social media could do for you and your business it will be worth popping in.

It takes place between 5pm and 7pm, Tuesday 13 May at Corney & Barrow in Lime Street.

One Comment
  1. David, thanks for the mention in your article. Thanks for getting behind it. But I think it will be just the two of us. But that’s fine by me. More time for us the build relationship. And thanks for mentioning the game. If you have an extra ticket, I’d love to go. A hobbyist, I’ve done a bit of photography in the US Soccer realm, mostly college, and a couple MLS games. See them here:

    To your point, “… come from people who do not use social media or, if they do, do not fully understand its potential.”

    Absolutely spot on. I’ve got some funny but true stories on that point.

    I remember when I was a young sales guy starting out. I was in a sales meeting with the team. The Sales Manager started training us on a brand new technology. “Guys, you know how when you get back to the office after sales calls you check your message slot at the front desk? Well, we’ve got this new thing where people can leave you a recorded message, and then a signal is sent to your pager right away, automatically. It’s called ‘voice mail’ and should be really helpful.” I’ll never forget the most senior guy on the team, Bruce, probably 55 or so, head and shoulders above everyone on the stack ranking, said emphatically, “I will NEVER use that. It’s WAY to impersonal. People need to speak with my secretary, a live person if I’m not here.”

    About 10 years later, I sat in another sales meeting, this time as the sales manager for ADP. Actually it was a managers meeting. A new technology had just come across our desks and we managers were discussing it with our Sales Exec before rolling it out to the producers. It was a way to communicate with referral sources like CPA’s and bankers in mass without having to use the mail. It was a new thing called ’email’. The very accomplished sales exec said, “That’s idiotic. Why would we want to do THAT. We need to pick up the phone and CALL them.”

    Of course, I wasn’t around, but I’m sure there was a time when a sales manager gathered the team together, set a really weird-looking, black plastic device on the table and said, “Team, I’ve been told this thing is going to help grow our business. So I need to train you on how to do that.” And someone on the team, probably the most successful person, said, “We can’t do THAT! We need to meet people face to face to sell them. How could we ever sell more with a PHONE?!?!”

    I’ve got some case studies from US insurance companies and agencies that are undeniable. Oh, and by the way, 2 weeks ago, my son’s college, Houghton College, raised around 3/4 of a million dollars, in ONE DAY, from over 1000 donors, using Social Tech and eWOM, and a hashtag. Here’s the story: Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Hashtags are the secret sauce, the key. Understanding hashtags is critical.

    See you soon! Thanks again.


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