Social Media for Business – Hosfeld Insurance
By Keith McIlvaine (Link: http://blog.lehighvalleylive.com/social-media/2010/02/social_media_for_business_-_hosfeld_insurance.html)
This week I spoke with Donna Hosfeld of Hosfeld Insurance. Donna is an energetic and passionate person and someone that is exciting to be around. She likes to network and talk (business and non-business). Her passion for her customers is extremely tangible in how she speaks about insurance as well as caring for her community. Donna is one of the few insurance agents, and maybe the only insurance agent, who uses social networking to build her message and expand her brand into the Lehigh Valley.
Feeling comfortable with your insurance agent and how they treat you? Have a look at how Donna will take care of you!
Prior to meeting Donna, I asked her to send me background information about her and her company:
Donna Hosfeld founded Hosfeld Insurance in June 1998, after enjoying eight years in the Erie Insurance Claims Division. A graduate of Emmaus High School and Kutztown University, Donna lives and works in the Lehigh Valley, having recently relocated her office to Main Street in Macungie.
An independent agency, Hosfeld Insurance represents various carriers including Erie Insurance Group. Donna’s team includes Linda Braun, Judy Breen and Elaine Schwien. Donna says, “Our mission is to make insurance easy to understand and to have fun while doing it. Our retention of clients is in the mid 90% range, so that tells you our folks are pleased with the value package we offer. Insurance is not about price, it’s about value. Clients know that. They value relationships as much as we do. They know we’re honest and we’re going to be there with them when the tough stuff comes along.”
Hosfeld’s agency offers personal and commercial insurance programs. “We provide tips to save money and expand coverage. We assist throughout the life of the policies, especially during the claims process when policyholders need us most. And we have developed lifelong friendships that mean the world to us,” says Donna.
Thanks for connecting with me today Donna. How did you start with social media?
I really just wanted to connect with others and have fun. Absolutely on a personal level. Expanding it to the business is just an extension of me. I kinda “am” Hosfeld Insurance! Insurance is competitive and social media is a way to differentiate yourself and connect with your clients. We expanded into Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WordPress and LinkedIn as well as publish a monthly eNewsletter that goes out to all of our customers. We have a great website and we’ve been able to integrate the social media platforms into it. I write a blog, which is accessed via the home page of the website. We also have links to Facebook, Linked In, and Twitter. Each is a bit different, but all give us the opportunity to spread the word about insurance. They allow us to tell people about who we are, what we do and why we’re different. They can see why we’re passionate about insurance and it’s catchy! Existing clients and potential ones enjoy the topics we cover and the extra value we provide. We’re not “stuffy” insurance agents, we’re real people.
What social networking channels are most successful for you?
I like to use social media to educate and inform others of various insurance practices, policies and even tips they may use. This is a great way to add value to existing clients. I have also helped non-clients from time-to-time. I think Facebook allows for the best way for this type of interaction because it can foster existing relationships, help you make new ones and allow people to build trust in you by finding who you really are.
What do you find most challenging about social media?
Social media is very interactive and I am a person who likes feedback, but you don’t always get immediate feedback or a response to what you put out there. Whether it is a video, an article or a tweet, I would like to have the response be instant… maybe I need to learn patience!
What do you see as the next social media tools for you to use with your business?
I am going to look into Tumblr, but it is always a challenge to stay up to date with the new trends and technologies. I don’t have a natural affinity for technology so this has been quite a curve for me to learn all of the new technologies.
Anything else you would like to add?
We’re incredibly lucky and blessed to be able to say that we operate almost exclusively by referral. We don’t spend a lot on advertising, we rely on our clients to spread the word about us. If we simply do a great job for them, they will tell others. Today, folks want relationships with real people. They want to connect, they want a sense of community. Social media helps makes that happen. We’re excited to see what’s next!
Thanks Donna, I appreciate your time and willingness to talk with me!