BlogWell: How Big Brands Use Social Media is an amazing series of events presented by SocialMedia.org that features 8 great case studies in corporate social media. To learn more, visit socialmedia.org/blogwell/.

To view the slide presentation in this video, visit wom.us/PUiKvB.
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In his BlogWell San Francisco presentation, Farmers Insurance Group's Director of Social Media, Ryon Harms, shares how they are measuring social media ROI.

Ryon talks about how their Facebook engagement strategy is focused on their people instead of their product and gives examples of how their local agents are connecting daily with customers.
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Below is live coverage from the event:

— Confession: When I started at Farmers, I had no idea how I’d bring all our agents on Facebook or how I’d get them all to use Facebook.

– At this time, I mostly thought Facebook was used for college kids.

– Joel McKinnon changed my views, when I was hired he told me wasn’t using Facebook to tell people what he sells, he is using Facebook to tell people who he is.

– Brands can be authentic through its people.

– Over the course of 12 months, Joel has doubled the line of his personal business. I visited his page and he was getting some incredible engagement.

– So I asked myself, how can we product 5,000 Joel McKinnons?

– We use Hear Say Social. They gave me insights to see what was actually going on our agent’s Facebook pages.

– So we developed Agent Page to share information with our agents. We asked ourselves, how much work are we going to do for our agents? Are we going to teach them to fish or are we going to fish for them? What really worked were the agents posting and the agents building the relationships.

– James Peregrino was able to sell more than 200 policies via Facebook. James uses Facebook to tell people his wins and not the things he is selling and really engages his community on a deep emotional level.

– It’s really about being about your authentic self. I help the agents find their self to build relationships. Facebook isn’t that different from what they do on a day to day level.

– When someone walks into their office they don’t ask about their policies, they ask about their lives: how’s your wife doing? Did you catch that local football game? This is what works best on Facebook.

– The agents have a huge advantage over the big company approach because people want to connect with a person not a corporation. But having the Farmers name behind them lets us all work together.

– The web wasn’t always the best place for our agents, people were just going for the lowest price and not the relationship. Social media has changed that to be more about building a community.

– The agents are the killer app. We took best practices and the early adopters and we pushed them out to the agents and now the agents are helping the agents.

– Lessons learned: Don’t give up on social media to generate revenues. The best ideas come from the edges of your organization and if you want to achieve ROI, lead with your people not with your logo.

— “I’ve never lost a customer that was also a fan of my Facebook page.”

Q&A

Q: How do you manage the platform with people leading the company?

A: We use signal sign on, the agents log onto the agency dashboard.

Q: What do you do about privacy concerns?

A: James: I like to ask my clients if they would allow me to post their name and a fact about them.

Ryan: We use hearsay to monitor to see if anyone posts any personal information.

Q: Where you are drawing the line for your agents for what you are empowering them to do and what you are requiring them to do? Or can they opt in?

A: Right now it is opt in, because we don’t want to have abandon Facebook pages. We do have them pay so that they are engaged in the process.

Q: Could you see a point where it is required?

A: I don’t see that, I think eventually it will get to the point where people see its doing so much for their business they’d be stupid not to do it, but we won’t ever require it.

Q: Have you had trouble with getting senior level sign off on the programs?

A: We’ve been really lucky and we are in a state of change to be more forward thinking. The executives are really buying into what we are doing.

Q: Are you integrating into other platforms like Twitter?

A: Yes, we push content to all social channels using HearSay.

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