Meeting #2: Social Media Guru and Humongous Life Insurance’s Gonzo Redhead of Compliance

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(Photo credit: SonOfErat.)

For Part I of this three-part series, click the following link:

Meeting #1: PR Guy and Social Media Guru at Humongous Life Insurance

Nik (walking into Cindy’s office): Hi, I’m Nik; I think I’m on time.

Cindy: Nik, I thought it was Rik. Just got off the phone with Ed and he kept calling you Rik.

Nik: Yeah, I know, he just kept calling me that when we met. Don’t know whether he just got this stuck in his head somehow or was deliberately trying to, well, bug me.

Cindy: Or if he’s just stupid?

Nik: Yeah, well, I doubt he’s stupid, although narrow-minded seems kinda appropriate. In any case, the name is Nik and I hope you will call me that.

Cindy: Oh, no problem, Rik… Hey, just kidding. But as for Ed, he’s going to be your problem, not me. The guy runs the f*cking News Prevention Department, excuse my German, only thing he knows about publicity is getting Neddie [CEO] a couple of f*cking quotes in three grafs in the Wall Street Journal or some Humongous Life employee who adopted a kitten, for God’s sake. By the way, how’d that box of kittens post work out for you?

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 9.50.34 PMNik: Yeah, well, not so well… But I’ve talked to a couple of your people over the last week or so and I think I know where we are compliance policy-wise on social media. Seems a little more restrictive  than I had expected…

Cindy: Well, obviously I can’t speak for your expectations, Nik, but I’d hardly call our policy restrictive. Hell, if I had it my way it would be restrictive, like as in not-f*cking-allowed. But between the Agency people and Neddie and your predecessor  over in IT or wherever — what a pain in the ass he was, had to keep arguing, just wouldn’t  take no for an answer — well, I haven’t had much choice. We gave our pound or three of flesh…

Nik: OK, well, so I take it you’re not a big fan of social media, then? And, by the way, wasn’t it his job to mostly get yes, let’s do this  for an answer?

Cindy: F*ck him. As for social media, are you kidding me? My daughter is not allowed to go on Facebook or any of those sites. In fact, she’s not allowed to have a computer at home and she’s forbidden to use them outside the house, for that matter. Computers are nothing but trouble. I wish we could throw every f*cking one of them out the window — they just lead to one f*cking obscenity after another and pornography and one time-suck after another.

Nik: Yeah, OK… But to take a step backward here on social…

Cindy: That’s exactly it, Rik. I’d like to take a few  steps backward on Social. Sorry, just couldn’t resist, NIK.

Nik: Yeah, saw that coming. But the fact is that we’re making really good progress in social. Our numbers are way up…

Cindy: Numbers? You mean Facebook “likes,” right?

Nik: Well, yes there’s that, but there are other numbers…

Cindy: What’s a “like” worth, Nik? To the company, I mean. Is it a sale or even a lead — I know you’re in the lead business, too, right?

Nik: Yes, I am, and no a “like” isn’t either a sale or a lead, as such. It’s a bit complicated, how you put together the web sites, SEO and SEM, social media participation, lead generation, and mobile for that matter…

Cindy: Boy, you’ve sure got your acronyms and jargon handy, don’t you? But let’s stick to social here for a sec and let me ask you a question, Nik: What’s your job with that?

Nik: Well, look, I inherited a lot here and most of it is pretty damn good, a lot of progress was made, some good systems put in place, especially for the agents, so I think my job in social is to expand it, integrate it better with all our other digital operations. I want to push things forward… I think it’s pretty obvious that FINRA wants us to push things forward…

Cindy: FINRA? Don’t f*cking FINRA me. Here I’m  FINRA.

Nik: OK, we’ll have to have a discussion about FINRA some other time then. But, as I said, I just want to push things forward…

Cindy: But why, Nik? Why? What’s the value of social? That’s what I don’t get. Your predecessor got what he wanted all right, Facebook and Twitter and God knows what that I don’t even know about, but he never explained the value of social, not to me, not to anyone else in executive management that I know or care about, except of course Neddie, who has the attention span of a mite, by the way. (And, yeah, some advice. Watch out for this. The guy bounces around stuff like a bumble bee.)  So maybe your job, Nik, is to explain that. Why are we spending all this money, hiring new employees, wasting all this time on kitten posts, WHEN I CAN’T GET A F*CKIN’ BUDGET INCREASE IN THE PAST THREE YEARS? Riddle me that, Nik.

Nik: Look, Cindy, I would be more than happy to at least try to explain the value of social to you, to Humongous Life, to any other Execs you think want it or need it. Give me an hour of your time and I’ll do my best to show you how this fits in with everything else we’re doing digitally, because that’s  the value, Cindy, that’s  where the value is.

Cindy: Sure, Nik, you do that. Have your secretary — excuse me, your Executive Assistant — call my girl and set up a time. But can you do it in a half-hour?

Originally posted March 28th, 2014 on Insurance Innovation Reporter.

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