Social media has been defined as "A virtual community where people with common interests can gather and connect to share stories, ideas, thoughts, and opinions." ~ Rick Morgan, Rick Morgan Consulting.
He expanded on that idea, adding that "Social networking is similar to a cocktail reception without constraints of time or space."
Now that you understand everything there is to know about what social media is …
Here are some suggestions for how to use it to build your insurance agency.
Learn how to use the tool. Social media is not "chainsaw marketing," (whatever that means). It's more like "massage marketing." If you can imagine getting a massage with a chainsaw, then you get the point. Use the tool the right way.
It's all about relationship. The key word in the definition of social media is "share." On your website, your agency is a business. On social media, your agency is a person. That person, of course, would be you.
What have we learned so far?
Social media is all about building relationships and sharing. Conversely, it is not about advertising.
Building relationship with clients and community is the best place to start and, in fact, is the best place to stay. Don't expect the entire world, or the entire community, for that matter, to beat a path to your door. Social media is the best form of word-of-mouth engagement ever. If any new clients are gained through social media, it will most likely be as a result of current clients leading others to your agency, either through your social media sites or directly.
The Nielson Company Online Consumer Survey indicated that "Nine in every ten Internet consumers worldwide (90 percent) trust recommendations from people they know, while seven in every ten (70 percent) trust consumer opinions posted online." That information is the leverage needed to drive the use of social media to market your agency.
Recommended Best Practices
Content is king. Once committed to using social media, posting new content on a consistent basis is a must. One of the best features of social media is that all of the people in your circles and groups can get notifications every time you post something new. Plus, they have the option of sharing. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it has caught many a client on social media.
Build circles and groups so that your posts are broadcast. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ are ideal. Hint: Google+ is becoming more important than many people realize. Using it properly can also drive more people to your agency's website.
Provide useful information and insights about insurance and your agency.
Repost interesting information from third-party sources. It adds credibility.
Promote community events. You'll show your support for your community and you will unobtrusively promote your agency as a pillar of the community.
Always post the positive.
To be sure, there may be hundreds of other tips and tricks for using social media to promote your agency, but they are largely irrelevant until the basic essentials are understood and employed. Take it one step at a time and be patient. Follow the basics, then let the social media do the rest.
Contact the American Agents Alliance to learn more about how we can help build your agency.