Insurance companies spend millions building their online presence to help sell their products and promote their brand. With social media becoming ever more pervasive, is this the new way to sort the big fish from the small fry? Billy Bambrough looks at the 25 largest insurers on Facebook and Twitter

US based insurer State Farm wins the combined polls, coming 3rd (with 270,000 ‘likes’) and 2nd (with nearly 30,000 followers) on Facebook and Twitter respectively.

Liberty Mutual is the only other insurer to get into the top five for both Facebook (2nd with 316,000 ‘likes’) and Twitter (5th with almost 10,000 followers).

US based insurers dominate the social media rankings claiming six of the top ten places in the combined Facebook and Twitter charts.

Despite Twitter being the number one social media website in Japan, it would appear that some of the largest Japanese insurers have no presence at all on the micro-blogging site. Of the six insurers that have no active Twitter account, four (Meiji Yasuda; MS&AD; Dai-ichi, and NKSJ) are based in Japan.

Facebook is used by more of the insurers with all but three of the top 25 maintaining an active Facebook page.

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Metlife, the largest insurer in the US by revenue, tops the Facebook popularity charts with over half a million ‘likes’. Although Metlife have a successful Facebook page they only place 8th on the Twitter table with just 5,000 followers.

Second place Liberty Mutual have 200,000 fewer ‘likes’ at 300,000.

Japan and China have been much slower than their US counterparts to adopt Facebook as a marketing vehicle.

China Life is no where to be found on Facebook, as well as French Insurer CNP Assurances and Japan-based NKSJ.

MS&AD and Japan Post do have pages on Facebook but neither has managed to garner many ‘likes’, with 138 and 52 ‘likes’ respectively.

Swiss insurer Zurich has a strong Twitter presence with over 15,000 followers, although doesn’t perform so well on Facebook with just 4,000 ‘likes’.

Louise Zucchi, Zurich’s head of media relations in UK and Ireland, said: "We use social media in marketing and PR campaigns in different ways in our different global markets, depending on the widely varying usage of, and attitudes to, social media in different countries and regions.

"It is of course a valuable part of the marketing media relations toolkit, whether it’s to engage with our customers in an innovative way, give added value to our products and services, bring campaigns to life, or provide them with useful and supportive information.

Zucchi said that it is important for every company to listen to what its customers are saying and pointed to the importance of monitoring online conversations and engaging where it is appropriate and helpful.

Zucchi added: "Use of social media is constantly evolving and we are working to ensure that Zurich’s use of and presence on these networks is as constructive and effective as possible by working on strategies at both a country and global level".

The results collected by LII for this report do not include companies which combine their banking or financial services brands with their insurance brands on Facebook or Twitter.