Nearly everyone is on social media today, but that doesn’t make all users instant experts or guarantee that their outreach is effective. Take these tips to heart, and you can use this cost-effective marketing channel to find and connect with customers.
1. Pick your channels wisely. Your social channels should make sense for your business and audience. If you’re not sure where your business fits in, first determine where your audience goes online to find information about the types of policies you sell. Still not sure? Check out your competitors to see where they interact with their customers and evaluate the demographics of your website visitors against current research on social media audiences.
If you specialize in business policies and commercial insurance, then LinkedIn is an obvious choice. For homeowners insurance, consider Facebook or Nextdoor. Whatever you do, don’t rely on your teenage son or daughter for social media advice, even if they do spend all of their time there. The latest trends in social media may not be right for your business. If you can’t see how you’d create content for the platform, it’s probably not a good fit.
2. Don’t try to do too much too fast. Be consistent and take on one channel at a time until you know you can keep up. Just like it takes a while to build relationships in real life, it requires time and commitment to develop connections online. You may want to grow your influence on LinkedIn, keep in touch with customers on Facebook and harness the power of Nextdoor for local leads, but choose just one to start.
Create a few short-term goals and focus on the strategy that will get you there. Don’t be surprised if you spend four to five hours per week growing your audience and creating the content you’ll need to engage them.
You might get advice from digital marketers to have a presence on all of the social media sites for the search engine optimization (SEO) value the backlinks bring. While it’s true that this is helpful, it’s far better to be a high-quality reliable contributor on one platform, than to make spotty appearances on many. However, it’s a wise move to set up accounts on all the social media platforms you may someday want to use (even if they remain initially inactive) to prevent others from reserving the name or handle you want for your agency.
3. Create and schedule posts ahead of time. Remember the four-to-five hour commitment to social media we mentioned before? One way to get a jump on content creation is to write your posts in advance and use a social media scheduling tool like HootSuite to automate posting. You already know what’s timely in different seasons of the year, such as reminders about flood insurance during hurricane season and peak renewal times. Add in holidays, and you can have much of your content pre-written and ready to go.
4. Don’t just sell, sell, sell — give advice, add value. With social media, you’re striving for a dialogue with your audience. Are they liking your posts or, even better, commenting on them? Here’s where starting slow and focusing on one channel at a time allows you to dig in and find out what truly matters to your community. You may need to tweak the type of content or the timing to ensure it’s getting in front of your intended audience.
Remember that it’s not all about you. Think like your customers. Anticipate their needs and create content that answers their frequently asked questions. If you do your homework, set appropriate goals and use realistic resources to reach them, social media can be a powerful tool in your brand-building and lead-generation arsenal.