From Silicon Valley to Wall Street and all around the world, Twitter is the word. The popular online social network recently went public, proving once and for all that tweets, trends and hashtags are here to stay.
Nevertheless, many insurance advisors are still trying to figure how best to use Twitter for business. Is it a sales channel, marketing channel, or customer service channel? The answer: All three!
Here are four steps to supercharge your Twitter strategy:
1. Be there.
More than 200 million people use Twitter. In the United States, nearly a quarter of all Internet users are on Twitter, according to Forrester Research. That’s a sizeable audience no business can afford to ignore; it means every business with at least a handful of customers has some customers who use Twitter. Creating a professional Twitter presence for your business allows you to provide another key touchpoint for customers to “follow” you and engage with you. As a result, you’ll be able to provide faster and more personalized service that will remind them why they’re happy to do business with you.
2. Grow your network.
After engaging with and “following” your customers on Twitter, focus on growing your network. This could mean directly letting your followers know that they can pass your name along to their friends and family. You can also use Twitter to connect with new contacts. Have a meeting next week with an executive? Find their Twitter account, follow them and retweet them to show that you’re paying attention and support what they are saying. Now you have something in common when you meet, and they might even follow you back. Engaging with people is one of the best ways to build followers and ultimately expand your network of business opportunities.
3. Discover opportunities.
Follow people you know, and then pay attention to “social signals” they share, like interest in buying a new car or photos of new babies. People are quite likely to share updates over Twitter about what they're up to, and it's pretty non-intrusive for an agent to follow them, learn this info, connect online and then reach out over phone or email at the appropriate time.
See also: How to sell on social networks
Additionally, tools like Twitter Search allow you to quickly target Twitter users to follow or message based on keywords (e.g., industry-related words, geographic location), hashtags or usernames. Use this feature to identify potential customers in your town or region, to scope out the competition, and to keep your finger on the pulse of customer attitudes. Search on Twitter is uniquely positioned to present you trends because most content on the network is made publicly available, in contrast to the often private posts on other social networking sites.
4. Demonstrate your industry expertise.
Twitter is full of professionals sharing information about their respective industries. They live-tweet from conferences, share their professional accomplishments, comment on industry-related news, and interact with customers. You, too, can join the conversation. Follow publications that report on your industry (like LifeHealthPro!) and important regulatory bodies, where relevant, so you stay abreast of the goings-on relevant to your business.
By connecting with other insurance professionals and making yourself more visible to potential customers, you boost your expertise in your particular field, giving customers and prospects more confidence in your partnership. Consistent and active use of Twitter will help make your business more findable to prospective clients. Whether they’re searching on Google (where Twitter results rank highly) or simply on Twitter itself, your name will be driven to the top of search results the more you hone your professional social presence.
More than a billion people today understand the power of social media. Some of those are your customers. Let the steps above be a guide to you as you establish your professional presence on Twitter to help grow your business.
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