Last month we talked about the importance of social media for your insurance brokerage. Now we’ll discuss how your brokerage can get started on a new social media initiative.
Creating a business plan
When making the decision to have a presence on social media, it’s important to have a business plan that includes specific objectives, tied to high-level brokerage goals. When creating a social media plan, you should consider the following:
- Who is your targeted audience?
- What are your business objectives and how will social media fit in?
- Which social media platform(s) best fit your objectives?
- Who will manage the social media platform(s) and how often will they post?
- How will you highlight your brand and showcase your competitive advantages?
As we are aware, there are many social media platforms out there, and choosing which ones to engage on can be a daunting task. Businesses have different successes on different platforms, and what works for one business might not work for another. The key is to pick platforms that work for your company, and engage in a meaningful way on these platforms.
Facebook currently has over 1.3 billion active users monthly, making it the most popular social media platform available today. Facebook offers users an opportunity to not only interact with their friends, family and acquaintances, but also to interact with companies and brands.
If you choose to get started on Facebook, make sure to create a company page (this is different from an individual page). Pages appear in Facebook search and can be “Liked” by users. Customize your page with images and details about your business, and be professional. Then, you can invite contacts to like your page on Facebook.
To get the most value out of your Facebook page, share information that clients and prospects value. This can include:
- Brokerage news and links to your blogs
- Links to industry news and information
- Relevant topics to spark conversation
- Business news
- Engaging questions
If someone comments on a post, it is a best practice to always respond, even if it is just thanking them for their interaction. Use negative comments as an opportunity to address the client’s issue and demonstrate customer service.
Twitter has exploded in growth since its inception in 2006. There are currently about 1 billion registered Twitter users, and over 36 million unique visitors on desktops come to Twitter’s site each month (this does not include mobile activity). In our age of instant information gratification, people are drawn to a platform where you have to get your point across in 140 characters or less In addition to being a fast way to get news, Twitter has proven to be a valuable tool for business growth.
Rather than creating a full-blown profile, the focus of Twitter is to send short (140 characters or less), periodic posts – called tweets – that get sent to followers in real-time. Tweets are easily shared (retweeted) so the potential reach is great.
Similar to Facebook, it is important to share relevant content regularly, so clients and prospects are seeing your active presence. Links to industry news stories and your blog make great posts. Twitter is also a great platform for engaging prospective and current clients by asking thought-provoking questions. The ideal number of tweets per day ranges from 3 to 6, depending on your unique audience’s engagement level. Interacting with those who tweet at you is also important; thank them for retweets and for their insights or respond to them, when and if appropriate.
LinkedIn is known as the “place for business people,” so it is not surprising that most companies today have a LinkedIn presence. LinkedIn boasts over 300 million users, primarily comprised of individuals who are involved in business in some way, shape or form.
LinkedIn is a prime place for an insurance brokerage to connect with current clients and prospects. It is important that your profile is engaging and current, and that it highlights your organization’s competitive advantages. To promote visibility, join groups and network with other people and companies that share your business interests. Also consider creating a private group that only your clients can join, making it a place for industry updates, compliance news, coverage, FAQs and anything pertaining to your brokerage in order to strengthen relationships and boost cross-sell opportunities.
Social media best practises
So you have your social profiles set up and are ready to go, but what next? Use these tips to make social media a successful initiative for your company:
- Start by following others and/or inviting them to follow you
- Promote your social media efforts on your website, your business cards, you email signature and in your marketing materials
- Connect with your audience and be real
- Build credibility – share expertise, don’t sell
- Post information that is relevant to your audience but not always tied directly to your business
- Engage in conversation, don’t just post updates
- Always respond to questions or comments
- Pictures and videos tend to get more hits than links and text-only posts
- Keep in mind that much of beginning in social media is about trial and error
By following these steps and engaging regularly, you will be able to build your social media presence and solidify your position as a trusted advisor in the insurance industry.
Getting started on social media is best done with deliberate planning and strategic thought into where to invest your time and resources. Brokerages that invest a little time up-front are more likely to reap the benefits of a committed, integrated online presence.