I recently moved to New York City from a comfortable, tree-lined New Jersey suburb, leaving behind three floors, a basement, a backyard and side porch for 1,000 square feet on busy West 55th Street.

Executive Summary

Frank Salerno, president of River Communications, a market advisory firm specializing in insurance, argues that Instagram is a crucial tool for insurers to reach a wide base of potential customers. Instagram can also help build a brand with consumer recognition that rivals GEICO’s gecko and the Aflac duck, he said.

When I need to stretch my mind a bit, I head down the elevator and walk west to my second “office” at Joe & The Juice on the corner of 55th Street and 6th Avenue.

Sitting just outside my office, on the southeast corner of 55th and 6th, is Robert Indiana’s iconic Love sculpture. Weather conditions notwithstanding, and at all hours of the day, I can look up from my keyboard to see people lined up to have their pictures taken while standing in front of the sculpture.

They come from all over – I myself have volunteered to take photos of peripatetic couples traveling from Glasgow, Brussels, Paris, Bologna and Amsterdam. Yet, I feel certain their photos are all headed to the same place – Instagram.

We have now reached the point at which I begin to explain why I am oversharing regarding my change of address and the long lines of people waiting to have their pictures taken before the Love sculpture.

Recently in this good publication, I shared thoughts regarding InsurTech’s “killer app.” I argued when an InsurTech company, or consortium of companies, launches a killer app, they could potentially seize ownership of the insurance industry from legacy carriers. I went onto advise carriers to either establish internal capabilities, or team with InsurTech companies while favorable terms can still be negotiated.

I believe it is fair to say by now just about every insurance carrier and broker has embraced the need for a social media strategy. Because I believe Instagram is social media’s killer app, I also believe it deserves its own strategy. Following are a few facts and figures supporting my claim:

  • As of December 2016, over 800 million people used Instagram. 500 million users were active every day.
  • 95 million photos and videos are shared on Instagram daily.

What about Instagram and business?

  • Over 25 million business profiles use Instagram.
  • Over 80% of Instagram accounts follow a business, and over 200 million actively follow a business profile every day.
  • 60% of people using Instagram report they have discovered a product or service through Instagram.

With so many photos being posted to the platform, any one photo can easily sink without recognition. Yet, success can be overwhelming. Beyonce’s pregnancy announcement broke the record with 11 million likes. While there is only one Beyonce, the far less glamorous National Geographic Society has attracted more than 80 million followers.

When developing Instagram strategies, carriers should strive for small victories – singles and doubles – while also aiming for an oversized, bases clearing victory. To gain this out-of-the-park victory, carriers should borrow the Love sculpture strategy and place iconic images in metropolitan areas with heavy foot traffic. These locations can include street corners, shopping malls and building lobbies. Shopping malls, currently suffering an Amazon sized headache, could be especially willing to entertain offers.

The first and most obvious carrier to come to mind is GEICO. This carrier has spent an oversized number of marketing dollars creating brand recognition for its gecko. Passersby would line up to have their pictures taken with this familiar, friendly lizard, and then post the photos to Instagram.

I would position the gecko with his arm outstretched, so it would appear he is placing his arm around the shoulder of the subject. I would also position the gecko at other locations giving the thumbs up sign.

Allstate’s good hands may not be as obvious as GEICO’s gecko, but they can also anchor an Instagram strategy. I would curl the fingers to form a seat, and include the tagline “You’re in good hands” above the wrists.

The Aflac duck, of course, seems to have been hatched to anchor a killer Instagram strategy. There is a familiar image of the duck with his right wing outstretched. I wouldn’t change a thing – people would position themselves beneath the wing of their best friend, the Aflac duck.

What if your carrier doesn’t have an image that can easily be turned into an icon? Create one. Once upon a time there was no Aflac duck or GEICO gecko.

It has been said a picture is worth a thousand words. On Instagram, a picture can get a thousand likes. If you are Beyonce you can get 11 million. If you are the GEICO gecko or Aflac duck, I estimate the number will be between 1,000 and 11 million.

To social media specialists at carriers far and wide, please give it a try and stop by my office at Joe & The Juice on the corner of 55th Street and 6th Avenue where we can build out the strategy.