Now that you’ve created your social media profiles and identified your strategy, it’s time to start building your following on social media. But where to start?
There are services you can pay for that will increase your followers at a fast rate. I do not recommend this route as these followers are more than likely bots and non-active accounts that the networks are actively removing. Un-involved followers like these are not going to help you be successful on social media. You need to organically grow your follower list one follower at a time. Yes, it will take longer, but you will build an audience who will care more about what you say and share, sometimes sharing it with their followers and helping to increase awareness for your agency when they do so.
I always say the best place to start is with your current customers. Use your email marketing software and send an email to all of your customers letting them know your agency is now on social media. Be sure to mention why they should follow you, including the kind of information you’ll be sharing like insurance tips or tricks, community news and events and promotions or contests.
Every time you talk to a customer, whether it’s in person or on the phone, ask them to follow you on social media. Put buttons that link to your social media profiles in your email signature, on your website, and on your blog. Add links to your newsletter.
We have created a placard that can be mounted to a computer monitor as a reminder to ask your customers to follow you on social media as well as get their email addresses. We provide up to 25 placards for you and your staff at no cost. If you’re interested in this visible reminder to ask for a social media follow, you can order the placards on our website.
Follow Them First
Most people will follow back if you follow them first, especially on Twitter and LinkedIn. A good way to encourage people to follow you back is by what you share on social media. Share information that is valuable or funny, and people are sure to follow you back. Here’s a hint: what you share doesn’t have to be all about insurance. In fact, the more of yourself that you share, the more likely people will follow you.
Start with the group of people you network with. Are any of them on social media? If so, follow them, like their business’ Pages or connect with them on LinkedIn. If you’re using Twitter, check to see who is following your contacts and who your contacts are following. You can follow the people in those lists who fit your target audience. LinkedIn also allows you to view a person’s connections, which is a great way to find more people you may know and connect with them.
Social networks will recommend followers to you based on who you follow, your own account and what you share. For example, Twitter has a tab called Discover. Click on it and then click on Who to Follow in the list on the left. You can also search for people you know by connecting the social network with your email.
LinkedIn also recommends people you may want to connect with. When you sign into LinkedIn, in the upper right corner is a box called People You May Know. You can click See More to view more people you may know.
A great way to engage more people on your Facebook page is through the Invite Friends feature found on Facebook’s Admin Panel. This allows you to invite your own friends first. Once you have invited them, add other agency staff members as Moderators and have them do the same. After they have invited their own friends to like the agency’s Page, remove the access if desired.
Remember, social network is about networking with others and the trunk of your referral tree always starts with friends and family.
Final Thoughts It’s important to remember that you don’t have to build your followers in one day. Instead, take a few minutes each day and look for one or two new people to follow and ask each customer you talk to follow you. It will take some time to build a good following, but the audience that you are building will be much more valuable to you and your agency.
One last thing, as people follow you, make sure you thank them. A simple “Hi @InsTechCorp, thanks for the follow!” will start you off right with building relationships on social media and will help to make you memorable on social media as not many people make thanking new followers a regular practice.
We’d love to connect with you on social media. You can like our Facebook Page, follow us on Twitter or follow our LinkedIn updates. We’ll follow you back.
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.