Social Media Basics: 4 Tips for Building Relationships
Social media has many uses: driving traffic to your website, promoting your agency and services, sharing insurance information and knowledge, and increasing your online visibility. However, my favorite use for social media is building relationships. Getting more followers can be exciting. But if you're not having meaningful conversations with your followers and building relationships, your posts will be seen by very few followers. Try these four tips to make your social media efforts meaningful and start building relationships.
Be real. It is incredibly hard to fake genuineness on social media. Consumers have become incredibly adept at realizing when a business is not being real. So share real information, real ideas and participate in conversations as if you were having them face to face. At a networking event, would you race around the room passing out as many business cards as you can and talking only about yourself? Of course not. You take the time to talk with people and learn about them and their interests. The same principle applies to social media.
Answer questions. If someone asks you a question, answer it. If someone mentions or tags you in a post, reply to it. What makes social media great is the two-way communication it fosters. When you ignore questions or mentions, you're effectively telling your followers, "I'm just hear to market to you and don't care about what you have to say." And eventually, they will stop caring and ignore you completely.
Become shareable. Don't just say you provide excellent customer service. Actually do it. Go out of your way to make your customers happy, and they'll reward you by talking about you on social media and sharing what you post. Get your followers excited about your agency on social media with promotions or contests. As they engage with you on social media through sharing, commenting and liking, they'll spread your message to their followers. That's a whole new audience who may have never heard of your agency! If they're not sharing or commenting, keep it up until you find followers who will.
Avoid censoring. It is hard to allow those negative comments to remain on your Facebook wall. But as long as what someone posts is not spam or insulting another person, I highly recommend leaving those comments up. Why? Because your customers will notice that you are open to feedback, even if it's negative, and will be more likely to voice concerns or problems rather than just moving on to another agency. Just don't forget to publicly address the comment on Facebook and then take the conversation offline, which will reinforce that you are listening and responsive on social media. This will go a long way towards creating create trust and loyalty, important steps to building relationships.
About the Author: Laird Rixford, vice president of product development at Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC), currently consults agencies nationwide on their online marketing initiatives. Laird and the Insurance Website Builder team have launched more than 2,000 insurance agency websites nationwide. In addition to Insurance Website Builder, Laird has designed the AgencyBuzz drip email marketing and lead management solution exclusively for the insurance industry. To learn more about ITC and its products and services for insurance agents, visit www.GetITC.com.