December 10, 2012

Muhammad Yasin began heading up social media marketing at Indianapolis-based HCC Medical Insurance Services LLC in early 2011. The company, which sells travel insurance and short-term medical insurance online, credits his work with tripling overall revenue in 2011 to more than $60 million and growing even more this year. Yasin, along with a steady stream of interns, manages nearly 50 different social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube, and has about 400,000 total followers. Collectively, HCC’s social media team produces 2,000 pieces of “content” every month—even though it operates in a highly regulated industry.

IBJ: How do you do social media in a regulated environment?

A: We’re in a more regulated industry. So when we create a piece of content, it may get reviewed by four or five people before it gets sent out. We can’t just make it up as we go along. I work very closely alongside our compliance team, our product teams, making sure what they want to see, what they do not want to see. We use a social media content management system. You have the ability to set up workflows for your content. If we put up a tweet, it will go on its own to all those different people that need to approve it. They will review it and approve it, and then it will go on to the next person. Different things require different levels of approval. We spent quite a few years developing those different approval paths. Working really close with our compliance team was really critical to that.

IBJ: How do you measure social media success?

A: One is just your general brand awareness. Are they the right people? And how many people are you in front of? And the second is, how are your social media efforts actually impacting your bottom line? We have about 400,000 people that are following us online, and in early 2011 we had about 3,000 to 4,000 followers. It was super, super, super hard. One of the key things was that we really created super, super great content that people wanted to read. The tipping point came last summer. We hit 25,000 followers. I was ecstatic that weekend. And it kind of really took off from there.

IBJ: How do you make short-term and travelers’ medical insurance interesting enough to capture so many followers?

A: People are not interested in insurance. It’s not an interesting topic. You’re going to run out of topics pretty quickly. To reach some of the market here, it was the question, If they’re not searching for things like travel medical insurance, what are they searching for? They’re searching for tips on how to get there or tips on what to do when they get there. So we thought we would provide content about that. We research and keep abreast of vacation ideas in between those trips. That’s something I want to make sure we’re continuing to be involved with.



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