The hardest thing about social media is knowing how it works for your agency. There are all these different sites and everyone is telling you to use social media but no one is making it easy for you to…. Until now.
In this blog post I am going to give you multiple ways you can use social media as an insurance agent. The thing that makes social media hard is also where you get the most value. There are so many ways to use it but the idea is for you to find what will fit your style and use it to further your business.
There are many uses for social media, and you can’t do it all. (Well maybe you can) But we really suggest you take a look at our list and find out which style will work with who you are as an agency and drive it home. Let’s take a look.
Humanizing your brand
Big brands are spending millions to make themselves look like your local shop. Think about Jake from State Farm. He is just some guy in khakis waiting for your call as though he is the friendly agent around the corner.
The cool thing about social media is that you can do this for free just by being you, because you are the local shop that is around the corner.
Simply take pictures and videos of what you are doing around your office. Highlight staff achievements, take pictures of the office cat, record when employees go caroling, etc…
This may not seem like a “good” insurance strategy because it does not lead to sales but you are looking at it the wrong way. When you connect with someone what do you think they do when you or a producer hangs up the phone? They will search and find info on you. So, they can find your social profiles filled with all the cool things you do or they can find your about us page on the website that talks about how the agency was created in 1970’s and you are located here, and blah blah blah.
People want real. So give it to them.
Showing who you are as an agent
Why have people chose to do business with above all the other thousands of choices? Is it because you are patriotic and love your country? Is it because you are a prominent figure in your community? Is it because you take the time to help them understand what they are buying? Is it because you actually care? Is it because you are just a great person to be around?
You can use your online posts to showcase who you are. You can talk about what you are doing in the community, you can use Facebook live to tell everyone your thoughts on what is on your heart, post pictures of the things you want to support or post about why you love being an agent.
Social media is an amazing way for you to highlight who you are and what makes you great.
Building awareness of your local presence
Most agents want to be THE local agent. They attend community events, donate to schools and sporting events and do their best to give back to the community.
While you might not be doing it for the notoriety, it still plays a role in the function of your local presence.
You can attend a local event and shake hands with 50 people. But when you post those pictures online of you shaking hands with the 50 people or taking selfies with locals at the event, then the exposure of 50 people quickly multiplies as they share it with their friends and followers.
Imagine if you took 50 selfies and those people shared it with their 500+ friends. The awareness of your coolness quickly spreads from 50, to 100, to 500, to possibly thousands just from one event.
I find that most agents think of social media as a marketing tool and give it no value for their sales. They do not want their sales people on social media and they do not want to be there themselves. However, Social Media can play a huge role in the sales process for insurance agents.
You may not be into branding, advertising or marketing at all, but here are some ways you can use social media for insurance sales.
Don’t you wish there was a place where every ideal customer gathered where you could learn about their pain points and start a conversation with them all in one place. Oh wait, there is something like that, it’s called the internet.
Using social media you can literally search for an exact ideal customer. On LinkedIn you can connect with every individual in a niche market you want. You can type “restaurant owner” or “landscaper” or “teacher” or whatever into the search bar of any social site and generate a huuuuuuge list of prospects at your fingertips.
You probably hate calling and sitting on hold as much as your clients do. Imagine shooting someone a quick Facebook message saying, “I have that quote already, when would you be available to chat? I have a couple different options so we really need to chat on the phone or preferably in person.”
Boom! No more 1000 missed calls and emails as you try to reach prospects for the quote or renewal or whatever. Social Media is allowing people to communicate in a way that we’ve never been able to communicate before.
It is not just the convenience factor either. What if your client’s house burns down on a Friday at 7pm? They likely do not have their emergency claims information saved on their phone and they have no documentation to get a hold of anyone. Plus your office is closed, so what do they do? What if they could shoot you a quick message online? If you have the social apps on your phone they you will immediately get the message and can provide them with the emergency claims number or whatever they need.
Imagine that conversation when they tell all their friends on Facebook about how their agent help them on Friday at 7pm. How many referrals do you think that will be for you simply because your client could reach you?
I’m not sure how well cold calling works in your agency, but if you cold call me I will hang up. As a matter of fact, I will not even answer the phone. Even if I did, do you know how pissed I would be if I was at work and had to stop because someone had a sales pitch for me?
On the flip side, I have had people send me some really cool Linkedin messages. It was timely and relevant (they were messaging me in response to a comment I made in a group) so it was well received.
Imagine if you got a message saying:
“Hey Joe, I saw some of your agency’s posts and I really love what you’re doing and am blown away with your increase success over the last few years. I worked with Bob (someone who you know) for many years and helped him with his agency’s books as he grew. I know there’s a ton of paper work that comes along with more business and as much as you probably love working in the office until 10 trying to finish all your paper work I think I could maybe help. You see, I specialize in book keeping services and think I can help your business continually grow by giving you back more time to spend with prospects and clients. Would you have a few minutes to chat so we can explore how I may use my skills to help your business grow? Congrats on all the success you have been having. Again, I really think I can help your business become even more profitable but with less headaches.“
Wouldn’t you at least maybe hear them out? Much better than a cold call to your office right? The best part is that this message takes like 2 minutes to craft and you can even have your connection to the person introduce you online.
One of the original uses of social media for businesses was inbound marketing. You would connect with people online, provide educational or useful content and people would read it, come to your website, become a lead and then ultimately a sale. It creates a marketing funnel where you drive people you do not know through the process of becoming a customer through education and value.
Here is a depiction of the inbound marketing process:
In theory, the concept is simple. Here is an example of this concept in action.
Let’s say you write a blog title “Is Life Insurance Right?” One of your social media followers clicks on it and reads the article. At the end of the article there is a CTA that says “learn the different types of life insurance that are available.” So they click on it and read another article. At the end of that article there is another CTA that says “Discover how much life insurance you need” but instead of going to an article they go to a landing page where they have to fill out a form so they can download the life insurance needs estimator document. Once they download it, you or your producer now knows that Mr. Johnson has a very big interest in life insurance and is even to the point of exploring how much his family needs.
Agents would pay big bucks for a lead that was this far along in the buying process, but you can do it for free using social media in your insurance agency.
There are very few people in our nation who do not use search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo. Heck I bet you found this article via search engines didn’t you? Well, I believe in the future many social posts will be at the forefront of search engines.
As of right now, Google is only populating trending topics and hot new conversations, but we do not know where this will evolve.
How you can capitalize on this now, however, is by capitalizing on trending topics. A couple big topics right now are Healthcare and cyber crimes. What if after the next big cyber attack that your agency was the first to post on Twitter and had a link that went back to your cyber liability insurance article? You would be at the top of search engines for the trending topic and would give you the spot light to highlight why businesses need cyber coverage.
I am sure by now you are familiar with the concept of a digital agency. People are getting more accustomed to communicating with bots and technology for service. (Think Alexa, Siri, Google voice, etc…)
Many agents hang on to the concept of having a real person on the other end of the phone (which is good) but much of the market place has shifted into a time when a real person is not necessary for all forms of customer service.
Even if your agency does not want to go fully digital, there are a few ways you can utilize social media alone in your agency to better aid in customer service.
Ease of communication for clients
We mentioned this a bit earlier when we gave the example of your client’s house burning down at 7pm on Friday, but social media does make communications much easier for clients.
What if instead of sitting on hold, going through the “Press 1, now press 5, now sit and listen to this ringtone” *ring* *ring* This is Jane how can I help you. “Hey can we drop coverage on the old ford truck, we sold it.”
What if your client could just shoot you a 5 sec message online instead of having to sit on the phone? While you think this may devalue your customer service as an agent it actually makes it more valuable. I want convenience, and having to sit and wait to talk to my agent is not valuable for me. Shooting you a message at 9 pm after my wife asks if I called your office yet, is valuable for me.
I’m thinking on the consumer end of things, how nice it would be to say “how do I file a claim with_______” Your customer service person responds back immediately with the correct response. What about “what are your office hours I need to meet with Joe today.” Or what about “Can I pay my bill online instead of writing you a check?”
Granted not every conversation will be able to be tackled over social media but it at least starts the conversation. Your customer service person can always guide the person to who they need to speak with or even set the appointments for them. This is more the front line of your front desk.
Social chat bots and automated responses
“Hey Alexa, can you get my agent on the line?” Ok, so we are not that far advanced in technology, yet. But we are very close. While calling through Alexa may not be applicable for awhile we can still use this type of technology to make communications seamless for clients.
Let’s take those same questions we used for our #AgencyHelpDesk. With bots and automated responses you can actually build pre-loaded responses to questions. So things like “what is the Progressive claims phone number?” It will respond instantly with the correct phone number.
What if the bot does not have a response for the question? Well you can have it simply say (in it’s robotic voice) “Does not compute” or have it say something like “I’m sorry I can not help you with that question, please contact our office.”
Granted I know 99% of agents will not use this for a long time, but it still is pretty cool right. 😉
Education for clients
One of the core values of many agencies is the education of clients. Many mission, vision, value statements talk about educating clients or the willingness to help them understand insurance, yet they do not make the effort to educate them online. Social media is a unique way to educate your clients without having to actually sit and speak to each one individually.
Think about everything you need to educate your clients on. It’s not just policy information is it? There is a lot that goes on week to week from your agency and social media can keep your clients in the loop.
Coverage information and discounts
As your clients needs change, are they aware that you sell different types of policies. You may have introduced policies to them when you wrote their account but they likely will forget and they likely will not call you every time something happens in their life.
Posting videos or blogs on the policies you offer and the available discounts and maybe even what companies you write with can help educate clients on the fact that there is more available from you. Who knows when someone might see your Facebook testimonial video on how life insurance is taking care of a family and decides they need it too. Or maybe someone finally got their dream of owning a motorcycle or boat and while in the search process they see your post on boat insurance.
A conversation that is brought to you is much easier than trying to reach out and tell people about the different options you have.
Value added services
We tell clients about the value added services we have at the time of purchase but often it is not relevant at the time or there is just way too much information to process, so they do not utilize your value added services.
One way to build awareness and encourage people to use these services is to talk about them on social media.
Miscellaneous office info
You would be surprised at how many of your clients Google you because they do not have your phone number or office location stored. They will find you online, check your hours, then call.
Well, unfortunately sometimes your office hours change. Or you will be closed during the holiday for a certain number of days. Or maybe your office is being renovated and you have a temporary location.
When these things happen, one of your best bets is to pin the information at the top of your social media accounts. If a client Google’s you and clicks on your social profile to see when your office opens then they will see that you are closed this Thursday and Friday or whatever it may be.
At my very first marketing conference I met a gentlemen who worked in power plants (or something of that nature). There were very few clients in the marketplace and there really was no social aspects (and people say insurance can be boring). Well, while talking with him we invite one of the teachers over to ask how they could utilize social media.
She said instead of thinking of it as an outward push to clients, it could be used as an inward communications tool.
Working on projects via email and phone calls is challenging. You constantly have to describe what you are working on and sometimes your inbox gets flooded causing things to get missed etc..
With social media it lays out a beautiful landscape of project details.
Imagine if your internal marketing person, your advertising firm and your web designer could all coordinate together in a visual environment. Or what about a producer working with an account manager and a company rep to close a large account. They could share information, pictures, videos, documents, etc… All in the closed platform.
Building agency culture
Many agencies now have multiple locations plus employees who work from home, not to mention producers who are always on the road. How do you build an agency’s culture when no one gets to speak with each other, enjoy each other’s presence or is even aware of what others are doing or achieving within the agency?
You can utilize different social media platforms or tools to bring your agency together. Share pictures, achievements, chat, communicate, etc.
Social Media is here to stay
To many agencies chagrin, social media is not going anywhere. It is not a fad and it is not just some hip thing young people do for now. It is the new norm of communication for people of all ages.
You may argue that your clients prefer to communicate with you via phone but let me ask you something. Do your clients communicate with you by phone because they have no other choice? Be honest. Have you made it impossible to reach you by any other means besides calling you or emailing?
I know, integrating social media into your insurance agency is a tall order to fill, but you don’t do it in a day. You take 1 idea and you work with it. Then you add another idea. And another. And you find what adds value to your agency and your clients until the day comes where you say “I don’t know what I would ever do without social media.”
It takes time and it takes effort but it is not impossible!
If you do not know where to get started then reach out.
What have you tried doing on social media? What has worked for you agency and what has failed? Let us know in the comments below.