Every now and again a particular industry seems to wake up to social media. This is currently happening in the insurance industry, where, faced with commoditisation through price-comparison, companies are desperate to differentiate themselves.
Personalised social media engagement and clever content marketing provide just such an opportunity – and one which the RAC, a UK-based breakdown and motor insurance company, are leveraging to maximum effect. Their website is packed with something that we just don’t see enough of: content that’s genuinely useful and perfectly tailored to their target customer. Here are just a few examples that feature prominently on the website:
- Route planner (which includes traffic news and calculates fuel costs)
- Car reviews and advice on buying cars
- Advice on winter driving
- Advice on summer breakdowns
- Pothole advice (such as how to report potholes or claim for damage made by potholes)
- Guides on travelling abroad
Just in case a consumer is in need of advice that isn’t there, there’s also a community forum with 24,000 members and over 115,000 posts. Now that’s not huge, but it’s still impressive.
RAC excellently demonstrates the fact that the more focused you are on a niche, the easier it is to build a reputation within that niche. With the brand being entirely focused on motorists they’ve been able to position themselves as ‘The Motorists Champion’ and I expect it’s this reputation that really manifests itself in terms of ROI.
Of course, sharing all this content through the website would be useless if no one knew where to find it, but when working in conjunction with traditional advertising and social media you get a really powerful mix.
Its recent #RACRoadTrip campaign may not have been an earth-shattering concept, but road trips provide a clever way to focus on the positive side of motoring and bring in some up-beat user-generated content, which in turn was used as part of a TV advertising campaign.
The trouble for most insurance companies is that they’re rarely focused on just one niche and they tend to cover everything from pet and travel insurance to business insurance. It’s very hard to position yourself as an expert in all of these areas and without well designed sub-sections on the website or separate social media accounts, content can easily end up seeming a random mismatch of topics with no clear focus. If you try to separate out these niches, you’re into a serious branding operation that goes way beyond the remit of Marketing.
Herein lies the challenge of social and content marketing for large, commoditised, consumer-focused industries: how can we demonstrate authentic expertise at scale? RAC are certainly giving it a good shot.