Resolutions: We make them every year. From resolving to stop cutting your bangs over the sink to finally organizing your garage-turned-storage-unit, personal resolutions come in many forms. But what about professional resolutions? It’s easy to forget to make these, so we’ve developed a list of resolutions for our insurance agents out there who hope to become savvier at social media marketing, and to use social channels to increase referrals and grow business.
Why is social media the go-to tool for agents in 2019? It’s no mystery that social media influences outcomes in sales, client leads and brand messaging. It also enables you to reach large (and often targeted) groups at minimal cost. Social media networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are dynamic and in constant change with new updates and features regularly being added.
According to a Dreamgrow aggregated report published July 5, 2018, Facebook is at 2.2 billion active users each month. This trend is spreading: There is an all-time-high number of users in the top 15 Social Networking sites, including Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn. Here are a few telling—and compelling—numbers that show exactly where your future clients are:
- Online adults between 18-34 are most likely to follow a brand via social networking (95%).
- Visual content is more than 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content.
- There are now more than 50 million small businesses using Facebook Pages to connect with their customers.
- There is a total of 1.3 billion Twitter accounts, and 336 million are active.
- Top brands on Instagram are seeing a per-follower engagement rate of 4.21%; that’s 58 times higher than on Facebook and 120 times higher than on Twitter.
- YouTube has 1.8 billion logged-in monthly active usersvisiting at least once a month.
- The number of marketers sharing video content on LinkedIn is around 38% right now – this is anticipated to rise to 55%.
So, what to make of these staggering social media statistics? If you haven’t tapped into social media channels yet, you’re missing out on one of the most effective, potentially viral ways to market yourself and your insurance business. Already have a Facebook account? Perfect start! What about Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn? Once you’ve established yourself in the social media universe, it’s all about how you use those channels to boost your online presence.
How do savvy insurance agents gain referral business through social platforms? They do a little research, read a few how-to-guides and put a handful of strategic tactics to work. So, let’s get to it. Here are11 tips on how to grow your agency’s digital footprint and business this year.
- Know your market audience.
Ask yourself: Does your audience favor Instagram? Facebook? Or Twitter? This might depend on what ages your potential clients are and what region you live in. Young urban adults favor Instagram while older suburban adults prefer Facebook.
Spend time exploring your current clients’ major social media channels. And, where are those clients you hope to work with in the future? Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are generally the most relevant platforms for insurance professionals, but others like YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram may be the wave of the future as younger people (that is, your future clients) use these more.
- Strengthen your brand.
When setting up your social profiles, it’s important to identify what values you want to represent. Keep it simple. As you set up your website, your profiles and any additional online assets, make sure you’re presenting a unified, consistent brand. This is especially important to younger consumers, as millennials are more likely expect a consistent brand experience that spans from online to offline communication. That number may seem surprising, but today individuals actively consider and cultivate their personal brand when it comes to Instagram. In fact, personal branding has led to the Influencer Marketing phenomenon.
- Be social & relatable, not simply a seller.
Maybe it’s a no-brainer, but the goal of social media marketing is to foster a community, and nurture people with useful knowledge. Carve out time in your daily or weekly schedule to interacting with your followers and build relationships online first, and eventually in person too. Make your expertise known when it comes to coverage, but balance out your social media strategy with posts that are entertaining, show off your brand’s personality, and are truly interesting to you. Being inspirational, informative and helpful to your audience establishes trust and engagement.
- Include adjacent topics in your feed that interest your clients.
Be thoughtful and strategic with your topics. Although you are the expert, keep in mind your followers are not. Assume they want you to share helpful home maintenance tips, the latest in car safety, and other tips and steps that will give them the advantage in protecting the things they love. But don’t stop there: Branch out to share topics that impact your audience but don’t necessarily relate to insurance. Empathize with their concerns and interests—show that you “get them.” Surprisingly, content unrelated to the business of insurance influences audiences and keeps you top of mind. Plus, it shows you’re authentic and not only interested in selling. Measure your results, and adjust your content mix as needed.
- Be consistent.
Being consistent with your social media accounts is the best thing you can do to keep engagement high. It’s easy to let social media fall to the wayside when you have a busy day, but you must carve out time for it—just like getting back to emails within 24 hours. Like any effective marketing strategy, it takes persistence to achieve real results. Whether you’re posting daily or maximizing the reach of each social media channel with a posting schedule, stay the course because the payoff is huge: businesses that use social media for at least a year see a boost in brand exposure. The equation is simple: brand exposure = engagement = new clients.
- Vary what you post.
Engaging creatively with your audience requires variety. Remember, you’re trying to engage clients in a conversation. Ask meaningful questions to elicit answers from readers. Crowd sourcing is a great way to improve your own business practices. By engaging your audience, you’re building comradery that could lead to more referrals in the future.
- Spread the word.
Promote yourself! Select the channels you’re most active in and include their icons prominently on your website, as well as in your email signature. You can also bring it up in conversation when you speak to a client. It’s also okay to politely ask your best customers to share your social media handle with friends and family. If you have great rapport with them, even better since 84% of consumers trust friends and family for business recommendations.
- Monitor & manage your online reviews.
Consumers can make or break your company’s reputation through sites such as Google Reviews, Yelp and Facebook reviews. In fact, 86%4 of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2018 and trust them as much as a personal recommendation. With high numbers like these, analyzing online reviews should be added to your business activities for 2019.
- Go mobile.
We are attached to our phones like never before. Mobile use continues its dramatic rise with users spending upward of five hours a day on their mobile devices. (Don’t believe us? Download the app Moment and see how long you spend on your phone each day!) That means your website should be “responsive” so users who visit via mobile or tablet have just as great an experience as those using a desktop computer. In fact, mobile is already beginning to eclipse desktop use: A great mobile website means potential clients will have a better experience while shopping for insurance on the go.
- Streamline your marketing schedule with automated tools.
You’re busy as an insurance agent, and time is precious. Managing a healthy pipeline of marketing materials doesn’t have to be complex—especially when there are so many tools able to help with the heavy lifting. Automated email platforms like MailChimp allow you to create and schedule campaigns. Plus, it’s easy to upload copy and images so your messages always look their best and stay consistent. Mailchimp is a useful tool especially when you don’t have time to pick up the phone or send a good old-fashioned handwritten note. There are also several apps that allow you to schedule your social posts as well. Hootsuite and Sprout Social are tried-and-true platforms when it comes to scaling up your social content calendar.
- Measure the return on investment.
Although most agencies have some sort of social marketing program in place, a lot of them don’t measure the return on the investment (ROI) they’re receiving from social media. If you aren’t bearing in mind the full scope of your social media efforts, you might miss how much benefit you’re actually receiving from your strategy.
Social media is a tool that helps you build relationships. This strategy could lead to referrals and attract new prospects through your followers. By strengthening your brand, you’ll attract your ideal clients by addressing their pain points and representing your expertise on the topics for which they need guidance. By amplifying and varying your content, you’ll provide value to a bigger audience that will then have you top of mind when they need your services.
With a good strategy and these digital tactics, you can tackle one mega-resolution for your business in 2019: Amp up your online presence. The biggest hurdle will be setting time aside on your personal calendar to accomplish your goals. If you can resolve to do that, we promise you’ll see measurable growth this coming year!
For informational purposes only and may not be applicable to all situations.
4 Source: BrightLocal