Use what your customers use! Here's an overview of your top four options.
As you can see in our post on 10 Tips for Using Social Media to Promote Your Insurance Agency, social media has a surprising amount of moving parts that must be given attention in order to correctly connect with your clients and fans online.
Now that you've wrapped your mind around what you need to do to embrace social media for your business, another question surfaces: which platform should you go with?
There is a seemingly endless list of social media sites, but a handful have held the spotlight for years: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.
We'll focus on these four, because the next set of most-popular sites (Instagram and Pinterest, for example) are notably specialized. That's not to say that they can't be used (for example, you could provide useful tips and tricks for homeowners via Pinterest), but this kind of social networking is a more advanced sub-set that would require different content and commitment.
As of December 2015, Facebook has 1.5 billion active monthly users, of which nearly 2/3 log in daily. A lot of work has gone into their business pages and presence, largely viewing Google as competition. People can now better search for, like, follow, and / or favorite your business, leave reviews, ask questions, interact, and have conversations with you in public or private messages, and recommend your business to friends. Facebook also provides some impressive—albeit somewhat advanced—analytics that give you a lot of insight into your targeted customers.
Twitter has 320 million active monthly users. The power of Twitter is its use of hashtags (for example, #autoinsurance). The posts (or "tweets") are limited to 140 characters, but that can be used to your advantage: share a quick tip that might raise a question in peoples' minds—"Is your home ready for winter? Check out our blog post to find out"—so that they are aware of your business and your expertise, in case they do need to adjust their current insurance or address their lack of it. A lot of companies also use Twitter for quick, simple customer support.
LinkedIn has about 400 million users, but only 1/4 are said to be active. LinkedIn is a good way to connect professionally, whether you're hiring and looking for candidates, want to reach out to nearby businesses, or share content as another way to establish your expertise in the industry.
Google+ has an estimated 700 million active users each month, but has gone through some turmoil lately: they recently divorced their Google+ program from Google My Business, and have been slowly transitioning Business to Google Maps. During all of this, they have made it more difficult to find a business page directly (its primary view is a simplified card in Google search results), leave reviews, view pictures, etc. They had even temporarily hidden vital information like phone numbers while making their changes. Their business page analytics are also rough (especially when compared with Facebook). It's important to have your business optimized and verified on Google, but interaction with your business page is likely to be minimal and frustrating for both customer and professional until Google finishes its changes and settles. However, if you commit to posting regularly and interacting with what audience you have, Google+ is worth further research to see if it will work for you.
Time To Get Started
The most important thing is that you begin.
It's easy to procrastinate when you are intimidated by these new frontiers. You might not be sure whether Facebook or Twitter are right for you, let alone what to do after you make a decision and set up an account.
Let yourself off the hook: mistakes will be made. But the important thing is that you take baby steps forward, and learn as you go. If you start on Google+ and find it's not working for you after several months, switch gears to Facebook. Try both, and see which ultimately fits you and your audience best.
The worst thing that you can do is nothing.