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Did you know that social media for insurance agents is a highly valuable and often underused tool for marketing your business? Perhaps you’re using it, but you haven’t gotten the results you expected. Or maybe you’re overwhelmed with how to get started. Regardless of where you’re at in your social media marketing strategy, it can be a daunting task to take on technology and tools that you may be unfamiliar with or think is a total waste of time. Nevertheless, social media is an important opportunity for you to expand your business and engage your clients.
One of the most important parts of your job as a commercial insurance agent is to make connections. You need an overview of the community and the people in it to gather information, assess risks, and look for ways to connect people to solutions. Social media can help you connect to people in the virtual town social media creates and the real world in which you live. Let’s take a look at the ways social media plays a part in your overall marketing strategy.
More Americans use Facebook than any other online platform except YouTube with about 69% of adults checking it daily, according to a Pew Research Center study. Its users range across a diverse demographic spectrum around the country and the world – allowing you the option to target a specific audience with your posts or ads. Facebook has evolved over the years and now provides more services than its traditional menu of users’ status updates. Today, you can give clients an update of trends in the market with live stream video using your phone, share posts on protecting your business with insurance, and send text messages to your connections using Facebook Messenger without having a phone number.
With so many choices, you may wonder where to begin. For a commercial insurance agent looking to find and engage with new and existing clients, Facebook is a great platform for you to begin your social media endeavor. Consider Facebook as the plaza or town square of your virtual town.
Personal vs. Professional Account
Should you use a personal or professional account? The answer might be both. It’s perfectly acceptable to create a personal account with privacy controls set to share only with family and friends while having a separate account for your professional life. However, if you are a public figure or leader in your community and don’t mind sharing yourself 24/7 with the world, you may want to create both with few restrictions on who can see and engage with your profile or page.
Chances are, you already have a personal Facebook account. If not, you can create a profile that is shared with just family and friends. If you are so inclined, you can also connect with acquaintances and professional connections, but do this with caution, especially if you don’t want to intermingle your personal and professional life. Use your discretion and connect with whoever you feel most comfortable.
For creating a business account, you’ll want to use Facebook Business Manager. There, Facebook will walk you through the set-up process, which will include:
- Establishing an account with log-in credentials, contact info, and setting a profile picture. This can be a photo of yourself, but can also be your business logo.
- Assigning roles to people on your team with permission levels set for who can change your Facebook page, add new content, and manage ads.
- Adding payment information to create ads with target audiences Facebook helps you create.
Ultimately, the main technical difference between a personal and professional account is advertising. It’s an affordable and effective way to reach people, especially given the technical changes (known as algorithm updates) that Facebook has implemented making it harder for businesses to be seen organically, even by those who follow businesses. Ads on Facebook can appear in the columns as banners or look like any other post in your newsfeed.
A post can easily jump from single-digit likes to the hundreds with dozens of shares and comments with a small advertising cost added to it. On Facebook, this is known as “boosting a post.” Facebook offers a good tutorial on its different types of ads with how-to-steps.
It’s important to think about what you want to communicate with your followers on Facebook. While your goal is self-promotion and attracting new clients, simply posting about your services and how you are better than the competition won’t get very far on social media. You need to share information that is educational, informative, or entertaining while maintaining your brand voice or identity. Don’t overthink it. People appreciate authenticity more than perfection.
3 Tips For Posting Success
When thinking about what to post, how often to post, what time of day and week to post – it’s a lot. What it comes down to for social media content for insurance agents, keep these 3 tips in mind.
- Positive Posts – Create posts that are positive and upbeat, and share success stories. How has your work helped someone? Tell their story with a picture and a straight-forward caption. You might also share something you learned or that brightened your day.
- Engage with Your Audience – Be sure to engage with others, too. Pay it forward with tips, advice, help, and recommendations. Got a problem, question, or need a referral? Someone else probably does, too. Open up and ask for help and give it in return to others. To alert someone on Facebook that you’re mentioning them, you can type an “@” symbol before their name to select and highlight. That person will then see your highlight and know you mentioned them. Your engagement with them will increase the likelihood of your post getting seen by others as it rises higher up their newsfeeds because of its activity.
- Use Images and Video – Images or videos are important aspects of any Facebook post. You’ve heard the old adage, “a picture is worth a thousand words” – be sure to include a relevant photo with your posts. There are a number of resources for finding imagery, including Canva, Pexels, or Flickr Creative Commons.
Parts of a Post
- Goal – You should know the intent of your post before you publish it on social media. Do you want your followers to read an article on your website, engage with you via the comments, share your post, sign up for an event, or a newsletter? Have one goal for the post.
- Post Copy – The post copy lives at the top of the post and is the thing you want to communicate. You might ask for a comment, request they click through, and read your article.
- Headline – This generally lives below the image or video. Think of this as the attention grabber.
- Description – The description is different from the post copy. It will generally pull in the information from your link (as well as the featured image on the page).
- Image/Video – Images tend to get better engagement than posts with only text. You can upload an image or when you include a link, it will automatically pull in the image.
- Call-to-action (CTA) – this is usually a button and is connected to the link you added, as mentioned above.
- Link – This is where you want them to go – your website, generally.
Twitter for Insurance Agents
While Facebook is the plaza or town square, Twitter is the newsstand. It’s where you can quickly find more up-to-date news and information than a Google search or any other media. Running late and want to check traffic before you go? Search the name of your highway on Twitter. If traffic is held up, someone’s tweeting about it. Likewise, if you have newsworthy information to share, Twitter is the place to do it.
Tweeting, or posting on Twitter, is both similar and completely different than Facebook. On Facebook, you can write as much as you want in the post copy. However, a Tweet is limited to 280 characters. Characters include spaces, so while at first glance it seems generous, it is not. You will need to be intentional and direct in the text you use to communicate. Brevity is your friend on Twitter.
Twitter thrives using hashtags (the # pound mark). If you’re not familiar, a hashtag is a way to group conversations so people can easily search for a topic. The results display the most popular tweets on the topic as well as the most recent. With one search you are part of world-wide conversations with strangers. You can still search for keywords without hashtags, but creating and using hashtags is standard practice on this platform and a useful way to search on Twitter. The more likes, retweets, and replies on your tweet will increase visibility on others’ timelines.
Advertising on Twitter
As with any social media platform, it can be difficult to get engagement on your posts without a following. If you or your business is new to social media, it will take time to build up followers. However, by using Twitter’s advertising platform you can reach more businesses. It’s not necessary to advertise on social media platforms, but depending on your goals, can be helpful in creating brand awareness the huge benefit to advertising with Twitter (or any social platform) is to get access to their targeting capabilities. By layering demographic data (such as gender, age, interests, locality, etc.) you can be sure that your ad dollars are shown to the right people. You can learn more about advertising on Twitter directly from them.
Using LinkedIn for Marketing
In our virtual town center, LinkedIn is the employment agency. While once known mostly as the place to post and search for jobs, it has evolved to provide more business-related news content than serve merely as a placement board. You can keep up with former colleagues, make connections with acquaintances of colleagues, and search for specific professionals, industries, or companies since users on LinkedIn list more professional titles, experience, and credentials here than on other platforms.
The big advantage of LinkedIn is its audience demographic of decision-makers, business colleagues, and people who can give you leads, according to a statistical analysis by Hootsuite. People using LinkedIn are no longer simply look for jobs, but using it to generate leads, improve their skill set, connect with other professionals via groups, and become a thought leader by posting and sharing content relevant to their industry. Posting news articles about success stories, trends in your industry, and benefits to working in insurance can build your connections and credibility. Likewise, reaching out with a message of “Congrats!” to connections can often result in a new business connection in the real world, too.
While Instagram is growing rapidly, especially with younger audiences, its practical use for businesses like the insurance industry lags behind other platforms, making it an ideal place to build brand awareness if you can learn to leverage the platform and get ahead of your competition.
Consider it a Kodak Moment Spot on our virtual town tour. Like its app icon shaped like a lens, Instagram focuses on being a highly visual medium. Your posts here should contain compelling images, engaging videos, or something surprising to make them stand out. A picture of a smiling face after a positive encounter to tell the news of a success story always works to attract likes and more followers.
With new features being added to the site combined with its growth and prized demographic, Instagram may be worthy of building an audience for future engagement. It’s worth noting that Facebook owns Instagram so the same advertising features and targeting capabilities on Facebook are available to Facebook advertising customers, even if you don’t have an account on Instagram.
In the long run, the opportunities available with building a social media presence outweigh any aversion you may have to using it for your business. In addition, the personal connections you can make online can serve you well in the real world. Social media is no longer a light distraction, but a toolbox you can use to maintain old connections and make new ones. The key to being successful in social media is to be social. You can’t ignore your followers or post only promotional posts, and expect to have a positive experience. Followers will ignore you and you won’t see the return on your investment. Take a walk around your virtual town and introduce yourself to your neighbors today.