Social media has become the must-have tool for every marketer and this tool is gaining popularity with every industry. For example, the insurance industry is typically known for more low-key advertising and marketing channels. However, companies like HCC Medical Services, LLC and Blue Cross Blue Shield have jumped on the social media band wagon. HCC Medical Services has redesigned its Web site to include a social media tool and a blog, and Blue Cross Blue Shield actively appears on Twitter and Facebook.

Social media allows nontraditional marketing innovators to get in front of an entirely new set of customers as well as a younger demographic. It can be difficult to measure the results of social media, but the fact that companies can attract followers on Twitter or fans on Facebook is impressive. On the other hand, sometimes the impact of social media is more clear. Some followers or fans will comment that the social media was a factor in their decision to purchase services or goods from the company. Additionally, some posts will comment on what the company is doing well and what it can improve.

However, to succeed with social media, companies need to have a plan for their social media tool. It is not enough to just be visible. Companies need to actively engage their followers and fans rather than use social media as a means to issue press releases.