Should you join social networks to help make your business connections stronger? Sometimes, it can seem like social networking is a way to spend a lot of time and not really a networking venue at all. Here's how to translate your social networking into real-life connections that help your insurance business grow.
Engage With People Around Keywords
As you look online for people to add to your network, don't just look at the business they are in; look at the conversations that they are having online. For example, you can look at someone's Twitter feed and discover that person is having discussions about the same emerging auto insurance issues that you are having right now. That person would be an appropriate one to add to your social media connections since you'll have something to discuss that's relevant to you right now.
Be intentional about the words and hashtags that you use on social media as well. Develop your own keywords that are specific to what your business does or what you're looking for in a social media connection, and you will find others in your field and beyond who can support what you do.
You can also find people based on the keywords in their bio. For instance, if you're looking to build more connections in the digital marketing field, you could search for those who have keywords specific to business marketing or insurance marketing.
As you build your social network one person at a time, choose to truly build those connections instead of simply adding names to your list of contacts. Those names don't mean much until they turn into real-life connections. Start with a simple message to your new contact. Instead of using a stock message such as the ones provided by LinkedIn or Facebook, Rebekah Radice suggests that you can start by "being a valuable resource, offering assistance, or simply sharing a commonality." This creates that true interpersonal connection with your new contact and turns that person from a name into a potential collaborator.
Create Valuable Opportunities
Social networks give you the opportunity to create real-life value for others in that network. For instance, you could provide resources online, or you could do something such as host a real-life dinner to which you invite many of your local social networking leads. Forbes mentions the benefit of creating value for others: "When you create opportunities that provide value, you can expand the network of your followers and position yourself as an authority." You can create opportunities such as lunch and dinner meetings, group gatherings, or online events such as webinars.
As you develop your connections online, offer up content that you've created and use it as a solution to others' problems. Also, ask others online if they would like to participate in your content creation by adding their specific expertise or by guest blogging for you. As you become co-creators of online content, you get used to working together and create connections that are deeper than being a connection on LinkedIn.
At American Agents Alliance, we help your insurance business grow. Our insurance agent association provides opportunities for learning and networking so that you can focus on providing excellent insurance to your clients. Learn more about the opportunities that we provide; check out our membership benefits today.