Social Media for Insurance Agents
Since the founding of the insurance industry in America more than 250 years ago, the most successful method of converting a prospect into a customer has been establishing a personal relationship with that person. This used to be a delicate process that took a considerable amount of time, as you had to do it one person at a time.
Now, thanks to social media, you can share your message with a large audience with a single post or tweet. But how can you leverage blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even Pinterest to help make your business more successful?
Here are some ideas that will help you use these tools to improve customer acquisition, and take your relationship with existing customers to new heights. Before making an impact on social media, you should contact your insurance company to ensure you abide by any online compliance standards they may have.
- Blogging. These days, insurance companies across the country are using blogs as a marketing tool to share news about their business and the industry, and you should too. Setting up a blog is easy to do and can help build your brand, establish you as an industry expert and increase your searchability on Google – as long as you keep it updated.
You can host a blog on your own domain, add one to your existing website or use a free blogging service. A few popular platforms are Blogger (www.blogger.com), WordPress (www.wordpress.org) and TypePad, which does have a minimal cost but offers promotional options overlooked by most services.
Once your blog is up, be sure to remain focused on your blog’s theme, contribute to it regularly, and try to make your posts as keyword-rich as you can, as the content on blogs is intermittently tracked by Google.
- Connecting through LinkedIn. If you’re not already on LinkedIn, log on to www.linkedin.com and start an account as soon as you can. This is a place that business-minded people visit regularly when they want to find an expert or they need professional services. Don’t you want your name to come up when someone does a search for an insurance agent in your city?
Because LinkedIn is a business-oriented networking tool, people give it a lot more credence than the now-outmoded phone book, which can be used to your advantage. Be sure that you list your contact information when you set up your profile and update it immediately if anything changes.
- Creating a Facebook business page. Facebook is typically the social media tool that people associate with their personal friends, but the social networking behemoth also offers businesses the ability to create a page that customers can “like.” Once someone likes your page, that person will see all the information you post on it through his or her Facebook feed.
While you won’t be able to see your fans’ personal profiles, at least you know they're there. Some of your fans may already be customers. Consider all the others potential customers.
To launch a Facebook page for your business, log on to www.facebook.com/pages/create.php, choose one of the options for the type of page you want to create, give the page a name, check the box that says you're the official representative of the business, then click on the button to create your page. It’s as simple as that.
Once your page is set up, you can add information to the page and upload photographs. Facebook has made the process extremely easy and intuitively user friendly. Menus will guide you through the experience. Once you’re online, start posting information.
Initially, you can create a fan base by marketing to your existing customers, but before you know it, people you didn’t solicit will find you and join in the conversation.
Facebook also offers the opportunity to purchase affordable ad spaces that are highly-targeted to members who fit certain criteria. Learn more about Facebook ads at www.facebook.com/help.
- Promoting your social media activities through Twitter. Twitter is a great social media tool for businesses, because it allows you to connect quickly to your followers and other peers. The people you are reaching out to want to hear what you have to say. After all, they have signed up to follow you.
Because the tool limits you to 140 characters per post, a lot of companies use Twitter as a way to direct traffic to a blog, Facebook page or website where the conversation can be continued and more content can be found. Using hashtags can help you connect to a variety of public conversations and gain more exposure. To learn more about using hashtags, go to https://support.twitter.com/articles/49309-what-are-hashtags-symbols#. Many companies have caused damage to their company reputation through errant tweets. Please remember than once a post has been made, even deleting it will not remove it from the internet. (ahem...I'm sure there's an NSA/Edward Snowden joke in there somewhere...)
Note: Facebook now supports the hashtag categorization method so including a hashtag in your Facebook posts will now help other users find and organize your content.
- Leveraging Pinterest. Pinterest is basically a virtual scrapbook of images found around the Web and categorized into groups or boards based on interests. The images, or “pins,” link back to websites that have further information and content – all users have to do is click through on the image. For businesses, this presents a powerful opportunity to easily connect with consumers to tout values and display personality in an appealing, visual format.
If you want to give it a try, log on to www.pinterest.com and get started.
If you choose to launch a social media marketing campaign, keep your plan simple, be consistent with updates and, above all else, focus on establishing relationships -- with current and prospective clients.
Have you had success in any of these other social channels?