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Social Media Silos: Five Ways to Break Out

A guest blog from Tom Johansmeyer:

The social media landscape has changed a lot in the (re)insurance industry since I first put my toe in the water two years ago. Several companies have blogs, and there are independent bloggers (like me) popping up all over the place. There are LinkedIn groups with thousands of members, and slapping a "#reinsurance" hashtag on a tweet will get you in front of a pretty big audience. It sounds like the industry has figured out social media ... and this is the same industry that made me recite my answer to the "What's a blog?" question endlessly in 2008 and 2009.

So, what's missing?

We're generally doing social media in silos. There are some small pockets of dialogue emerging, but social media has generally been a push. This can work if the content is unique, but using Twitter or a blog as yet another channel for a press release does nothing but create extra work for you.

Social media has been occurring in silos in the reinsurance business. The early efforts - and yes, we're still early in the game - have been almost solipsistic. We've generally blogged, tweeted and shared as though the recipient's irrelevant. We haven't been talking to each other enough. If this continues, the victor will be determined by brute force of content volume and promotion, which only creates noise.

Fortunately, there's plenty you can do to help. Here are five ways you can help move the reinsurance industry take social media out of the silos:

1. Retweet, share on Facebook or comment on a blog post every day. Take some form of action that enhances an existing piece of social media content and puts it in front of more people.

2. Try something new every once in a while. Set up an RSS reader, subscribe to a blog or pitch guest post. Get out of your comfort zone.

3. Ask a question. Join a LinkedIn group and start a discussion to learn more about an industry (or social media) situation that's been on your mind.

4. Talk. Recommend a blog, Facebook fan page or LinkedIn group to a colleague or client. If you spread the word, everyone wins.

5. Get started. Help your company launch its own social media presence. Support an initiative to move into this space.

Tom Johansmeyer blogs about social media and the (re)insurance industry at Before that, he was a key player in launching one of the first corporate blogs in the industry. Recreationally, Tom blogs about cigars on his new blog, and covers travel for and the art market for He's located in New York, as you can probably tell from his writing style.

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