With social media so pervasive in our daily lives, it’s easy overlook the fact that enterprise-ready tools to help companies capitalize on the technology are still nascent.

A new report from Celent, "Mining the Chatter: Optimizing Social Media Monitoring," explores these social media applications and how insurers can leverage them as operational tools.

The report, authored by Celent Senior Analyst Mike Fitzgerald, says at the very least insurers should track social media activity to keep abreast of what is being said about them.

“The task of monitoring the social media space is a massive one,” he states. For insurance companies, monitoring this activity is necessary to defend the brand against attack. Additionally, compliance in some lines of business requires that communications between intermediaries and existing and potential clients are controlled and archived by insurers."

Yet, the report says insurers should not stay on the defensive and should employ the tools for value creation and offensive benefit. “In addition to these defensive responses, leading organizations are beginning to use social monitoring for offensive, proactive market actions,” the report states. “For example, these companies are identifying and then engaging with key individuals (“influencers”) that use social media.”

Elsewhere, Fitzgerald describes the social media monitoring process, a five-step model that Celent developed. The report also instructs carriers how to plan an optimum approach to social media monitoring and includes a listing of 11 vendors that may be able to help carriers better understand the social media tools currently available.

Bill Kenealy writes for Insurance Networking News, a SourceMedia publication.

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