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Social Media Basics: Succeeding on Social Media by Aligning Expectations with Reality

Human beings have been gathering and sharing information for centuries. All that has changed in modern times is that we’re not always sharing our information face to face. Thanks to social media, we are able to share stories with people we’ve never met who might be a world away. Being able to speak directly to a large audience via social media and plant a seed has allowed companies to grow in ways they used to only dream of. It is easy to hear about the success other businesses have on social media and assume that success is effortless.

“I can pay someone to post on social media and blog for me?! Sign me up!”


Reality Bites, Sorta

Any outside company or individual you pay to post on your behalf usually handles the media portion of social media. Who takes care of the social side – the side that takes part in conversations, answers questions, and responds to mentions? Social media has the ability to really link consumers to your agency, but it does not happen without work. Nor will it happen without someone in your agency nurturing those social media connections. Look over this checklist to see if you’re off to the right start:

  • Do you have goals? (Realistic ones)
  • Are you interacting with others? (On your social media profiles)
  • Have you done anything special? (Think promotions or contests)


Starting off on the Right Foot

Setting goals for your social media marketing doesn’t have to mean gaining more followers or getting retweeted. Your first goal could be to respond to one person’s tweet or to post a photo from around the office. Remember, you’re trying to achieve the mere act of being social. So here’s another handy list to give you an idea of what consumers are looking for on social media:

  • Support or guidance: solicit customer feedback, offer support, or share ideas.
  • Conversations that spark ideas: don’t just sit back and watch, and don’t be afraid to start a dialogue.
  • Committed interactions: while others are spitting out facts, make sure your posts are convenient for multiple devices, relevant for your audience and emotional – join in on funny memes or cute animal pictures.
  • Humans: social media is not the same as face-to-face communication, but consumers need to understand the depth of your agency – post employees, the office, events, customers testimonials, your referral program, etc.


Understand the Commitment

Don’t let the numbers consume you. Social media has value that isn’t always reflected by an increase in followers. Improving customer relationships and gaining loyal fans can improve your agency far more than any number of followers alone. Having good customer relationships is one of the main benefits of social media. This is why while anyone can handle the media part, the social half is really up to you.


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


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