So you work at a health insurance company or in a related business, and you have decided to take the plunge into social media, despite the significant obstacles. So how do you create a program that is engaging, yet complies with regulations?
Jason Falls of Social Media Explorer gives some relevant tips that are useful for any health insurance company beginning involvement in social media.
1. Develop a plan, then get commitment from the top levels of you company. You need a CEO and board behind the idea and your proposed implementation of the idea before you dabble. If not, you may have the rug pulled out before you even get started. The top level involvement will also help assure compliance with regulation requirements.
2. Be proactive about compliance. Don’t try to skirt regulation requirements simply because you’re using social media. Work closely with your compliance officers to explain social media interaction, then work out solutions that integrate best practices for compliance as well as interacting in social media. This may mean you have a pool of approved Tweets from which you can pull, or that there is a delay of hours or days in responding to some questions, but that’s part of the equation.
3. Know your Media. It’s important to know your media tools and how they are used, and then educate your team, including top executives, on how those tools work. Let
them know that corporate blogs don’t need to be on the front page of the website, for example. Also, that there can be a review and approval process for any customer-
generated content, as long as that review process is clearly stated on the blog.
Some executives won’t understand a moderated environment or how moderation works – make sure you’re prepared to explain it.
4. Have a team approach. Making a single person in charge of all social media, moderating input and making comments can be exhausting for that individual, and may cause problems for you down the road, if they go in a direction that you didn’t like. The team approach is by far the best.
5. Shorten timelines for review. Social media does, by nature, demand a kind of immediacy. This will likely involve a streamlined process for communication review. Aim for 24 to 48 hours on most comments, but allow for a quicker interface if there is a situation that demands it.
If you take the appropriate precautions and plan ahead, there is every indication that the health insurance industry could benefit from utilizing social media opportunities with their customers.