Do you want to use social media to promote your agency but don't know where or how to start? Here's your crash course in social media marketing!
Social media can seem daunting--especially for an independent insurance agency. Not many people look at an agency and think, "I want to follow them on Facebook. I can't wait for the latest news on car insurance coverage!" But by consistently providing useful, lesser-known and insightful information--and maybe a discount or two--you can maintain your existing client base and find new ways to reach out to potential customers too.
So how do you go about tackling this intimidating aspect of online business presence? We've compiled a list of what we find to be the most important and helpful tips for someone preparing to take the social media dive.
- Post consistently. The downfall of many agencies on social media is that they post a few times for a week or so, and then drop off. This is often due to lack of engagement and interaction. But it takes time to build an audience. Unless you're an established and popular brand, your social media presence isn't going to go from 0 to 1,000 (or even 100) overnight. Posting good content consistently will gradually yield results. And on that note, don't forget to monitor your profiles consistently, as well. Taking days to respond to comments or questions won't reflect well on you or your agency. If you're going to be away on vacation, find someone trustworthy to check the accounts for you.
- Know who you're trying to reach. Do you specialize in farm insurance? Church insurance? Do you want to be selling more business auto insurance? Are you wanting to find more new customers or nurture your existing client base? Having answers to these kinds of questions will help you be direct and purposeful with your posts.
- Interact with your own audience, as well as other pages and experts. This will help you build credibility and a reputation for being knowledgeable and helpful.
- Let people know you're online. By including your social media profiles on your site, in email footers, paid ads and more, you can let people know where to find you. Don't trust customers to find you on their own--especially when you're spread out on multiple platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Instragram, etc.
- Don't constantly solicit your business. A good rule to utilize is the 80/20 rule, which means 80% of your content should be informative and without ulterior agenda for your audience, and 20% should be focused on promoting your agency.
- Utilize hashtags. Hashtags are often frowned upon for being nonsensical and overused, but they can be a powerful categorization tool--especially on Twitter and Google+. Utilizing a broad term, like #autoinsurance, can help your posts be seen by people who wouldn't normally come across your posts.
- Be helpful, but with a line. Someone may comment on your post, then you reply to them with an answer or helpful suggestion, and soon you'll find yourself in a time consuming and divulging conversation in which they're getting a lot of information for nothing. Being open and approachable is important, but don't forget to draw a line for yourself to wrap up the conversation with something like, "You've got a lot of questions, how about making an appointment to come in to our office?"
- Contests and promotions can be a great way to up your engagement. Something like a free car wash for anyone who requests an appointment or auto quote via your Facebook profile, or a free ___________ after a drawing or filling out a poll. Just don't offer anything as an incentive for reviews--Google and Yelp have been known to suspend accounts for review solicitations.
- Ask questions to promote engagement. This goes hand-in-hand with the interaction note above. Posting about a topic, then ending it with a question like "How many people aren't sure if their auto insurance covers driving other peoples' vehicles?" usually increases audience engagement.
- Community. Post photos or updates of your agency and staff interacting with the community, whether it's a blood drive, donation event, etc. You can also talk about community events and holidays, and post about risks (e.g. New Year's and drunk driving) or things to prepare for (Winter is almost upon us, does your car have snow chains?).
The bottom line when it comes to building an online social media presence for your insurance agency is to be patient, consistent, open, and helpful. Over time, people will take notice and appreciate the extra steps you are taking to help them with their insurance coverages, which ultimately effects their daily lives.