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, Author: Craig Fuher

Using Social Media to Learn About Your Customers

Social media isn’t just a place to post what you ate for lunch or share vacation photos. Nor is it just a place to share company updates and ask people to buy from you. Social media is a far more complex landscape that often blends the personal and professional sides of people.

Yet this complexity can be used to insurance agents’ advantage, as social media offers the opportunity to learn about customers and prospects, rather than just blindly selling to them. By learning more about your target customers, from their work history and their hobbies to their communication preferences, you can gain several benefits, such as:

  • Building stronger relationships with customers, which can lead to better customer retention and referrals
  • Learning how to sell to your target customer better
  • Finding more relevant prospects

In this guide to using social media to learn about your customers, we’ll dive into how insurance agents can gain a deeper understanding of what customers are saying about their agency and/or insurance overall, as well as what customers care about.

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Understand Your Customers Through Social Listening

To understand your customers more, you need to listen to what they’re already saying on social media, rather than just posting your own content and hoping for the best. Listening on social media allows you to learn what your customers think about your brand, competitors, and your industry, as well as other valuable information like personal and professional interests. 

“Social listening allows you to watch people’s feedback, questions, conversations or comments in order to discover opportunities or curate interesting content for those audiences,” explains social media platform Buffer.

Learning that your customers tend to be interested in sports, for example, could affect the small talk you decide to make during client meetings. You also might learn that your commercial insurance customers tend to engage with other content related to, say, improving their marketing. As such, you might then create more of your own content around helping small business owners with their marketing.

Conducting Social Media Searches

One relatively straightforward way to engage in social listening is to conduct searches through social media platforms. You can filter your searches to just those you follow on social media if you want to stick to customers you’re already connected with, or you might want to broaden your search to find new potential customers. Some ideas for searches include:

  • Your name/brand name: While this tends to be more relevant for larger businesses, still see if customers or prospects are talking about you on social media. Perhaps a customer mentioned that they were happy to buy a policy from you but didn’t tag you. You then might ask that customer if they’d be willing to share that as a review on a site like Yelp, or you could see if you could use them as a testimonial on your website.
  • Competitors’ names: Similar to searching for yourself, see if customers or prospects are talking about competitors. Maybe you can learn what their experience was like with these other companies so you can either gain inspiration for your own business or learn what not to do if they share a story about a bad experience.
  • Industry terms: Searching for insurance industry terms like “E&O policy” or “professional liability insurance” can also help you learn what customers are looking for. For example, you might find that customers or prospects are venting about high costs or talking about how these policies helped them. That information can then inform your own sales strategies, such as if you address these concerns and benefits during renewal conversations. 
  • Business terms: In addition to looking for terms related to insurance, you also might try more general business terms. Even a phrase like “small business” might lead you to discover what customers have to say about the challenges of being a small business owner, which you can then address in your own marketing and sales conversations.

Using Social Listening Tools

While you can find out a lot about what customers and prospects care about by conducting manual searches on social media sites, you can also use social listening tools to automate the process and discover perhaps even more insights. Tools like Sprout Social and Sprinklr enable you to set up automatic searches for keywords and hashtags relevant to your business.

Some tools even have the ability to gauge how positive or negative certain mentions are. So you can see if customers are upset with, say, current insurance buying processes, which could indicate a need for more streamlined sales processes.

Engaging With Customers on Social Media

In addition to listening to what customers are saying on social media, you can also learn more about your customers through a bit more active engagement with them on social. Again, this doesn’t mean you need to share overly salesy posts. Instead, aim to understand what your customers care about through real conversations, much as you would get to know someone in offline conversations. Some of the ways to do so include:

Replying to Customers: 

If you see that a customer you follow has shared a post that you feel like you can respond to, chime in so you can start to develop a relationship and learn more about them. For example, a customer might ask for book recommendations. You might then offer a few suggestions and ask if they’ve read those. Depending on their response, you might learn a little bit more about your customer’s preferences, and you also could have a good conversation topic to circle back to next time you chat offline.

Asking Questions: 

When sharing your own posts, ask your customers questions to build engagement and learn more about them. You might ask anything from “how do you like to decompress on the weekends?” to “what accounting platform do you recommend?” As you start to get answers, you might identify trends among your customer base that reveal insights into who you should target going forward. Or you might learn something valuable like your customers prefer simple software over more advanced, feature-rich ones. That might then affect how you design your website, your email newsletters, etc.

Joining Groups: 

In addition to engaging with customers within your regular newsfeed, you can also join groups to have good conversations and learn about your clients. Sites like Facebook and LinkedIn have groups for all sorts of topics, and sites like Twitter have niche hashtags you can tap into to find a community. You can also join things like Twitter Chats, which are typically hour-long live conversations. Only a few of your customers or leads might be in these chats or groups, but you can at least learn about what similar individuals care about, which could inform your prospecting strategy or your networking with current customers.

Turn Social Media Insights Into Sales

As you start to learn more about your customers on social media, it’s important to be able to turn these insights into more sales. Pay attention to what customers care about so that you can both improve your communication with clients and adjust your sales practices. For example, you might learn that most of your customers prefer to communicate via email rather than on the phone or through video calls, so you can work on improving your email newsletters.

From there, you can use tools like Wheelhouse to build targeted landing pages that speak to the concerns of different customer segments. This more personalized approach can then help you get more renewals, referrals and can be more effective when reaching out to new prospects.