Who's sexy enough for social media?


Lizzie Johnston

Corporate Communications Specialist, AA Insurance

I’m not sure if you’ve looked at your social media accounts this morning, but if you’re awake and are within arm’s length of your device, then you probably have.

As I scroll through my feed I see cats in graceless positions, a few holiday snaps, lots of carefully curated food set-ups, and a tonne of ads I’m not interested in. After tagging my co-workers in my favourite morning memes and waiting for a response acknowledging how funny I am, I settle into the job I’m paid to do – strategic social media communications.

Following the 2011 and 2012 Canterbury earthquakes, conversations on social media about AA Insurance significantly increased. These events put the insurance industry at the forefront of people’s minds; New Zealanders were asking questions, and customers wanted to provide us with feedback.

During this time, we listened and we learnt, but by 2016 we knew we needed to be part of the conversation, and it needed to be now.

Understandably, we are risk adverse. Insurance is unlike most businesses. We sell a promise – a promise that, when you need us, we will be there for you. But unless you’re looking at a new house after a fire, or a new phone after you’ve dropped it, our promise is intangible.  As a financial institution, we are also held to higher standards of service than other businesses and bound by legislation such as the Privacy Act to keep personal and confidential information out of the public eye.

So, with this in mind and seemingly nothing to photograph or talk about, our thinking had to be beyond the box. To some, insurance is not overly interesting or exciting. Would it be sexy enough for social media?  Would people follow us?

The answer is no. And yes.

No.  We are not sexy enough for social media, but we don’t have to be. Wherever there is a market for something, there’s an audience with problems to be solved and needs to be met.

Yes. Two years later I can confirm that we did find things to post on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, and yes people do follow us – more than 13,000 in fact. 

For us, success on social media is about building meaningful relationships with our customers through transparent, authentic and consistent content and conversations. The key to this is to anticipate and respond to customer needs in a timely fashion.

We post about a variety things from major event information during a storm, to community groups we support. We want to be useful, but to also show that we are human and care about the same things our customers do.

To finish, I thought I’d share a few rules I regularly fall back on:

Move quickly. You need lean sign-off processes that move as quickly as social media does.

Be agile. Don’t waste time planning what you’ll be posting in 6 months – I guarantee you won’t be using it.

Resource up.You wouldn’t under-staff your contact centre, so don’t under-staff the teams responsible for responding to your followers.


About AA Insurance

AA Insurance is an independently operated, New Zealand-based joint venture between the New Zealand Automobile Association (NZAA) and Vero Insurance New Zealand Limited (VINZL). Since 1994 we have demonstrated trusted expertise in home, contents and car insurance in New Zealand, and in 2018 introduced commercial small business insurance. We underwrite our own policies and sell direct to New Zealanders. Our 750+ staff look after 430,000 customers with nearly 850,000 policies.

We proudly partner with Eden Park, support youth charity Blue Light, and have been consistently recognised by: Reader’s Digest Most Trusted Brands (10 consecutive years since 2011) and Quality Service Award for Car Insurance (since 2015), Canstar Blue Most Satisfied Customers (2013-2018), and the Colmar Brunton Corporate Reputation Index (since 2015) that recognises New Zealand’s most successful companies. Last year, AA Insurance was also named Consumer’s 2019 People’s Choice award winner for car, home and contents.

AA Insurance has an A+ (Strong) Insurer Financial Strength Rating given by Standard and Poor’s (Australia) Pty Ltd. For further information visit aainsurance.co.nz.

For more information please contact:

Nicole Steven, Botica Butler Raudon Partners, (09) 303 3862, 021 025 31886 or email nicoles@botica.co.nz

Amanda Fifield, AA Insurance Limited, 027 406 1787 or email Amanda_Fifield@aainsurance.co.nz

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Amanda Fifield
Corporate Communications Specialist, AA Insurance

Mobile: 027 406 1787
Email: mediacontact@aainsurance.co.nz

Nicole Steven
Account Manager, Botica Butler Raudon Public Relations

DDI: (09) 303 3862
Mobile: 021 025 31886
Email: nicoles@botica.co.nz

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