Insurance agents are tasked with a unique challenge – developing a local brand identity while delivering on the larger insurance brand’s promise and customer experience.
For insurance brands, social media is most often used as a tool to get the word out about the newest services, discounts and plans, but agents have the opportunity to make a name for themselves as a local expert within their communities. Here are four things agents should keep in mind when developing a social media strategy.
1. Start small
When it comes to implementing social media, or any marketing channel for that matter, you have to set reasonable expectations. If you only see 50 customers in your office in a given week, it’s unreasonable to expect 500 new Twitter followers or Facebook fans in that same time. If you’re new to social media, it’s important to understand your place in the social landscape and determine which channels are right for your firm. What platforms are your customers and potential customers already using and which of those provide the best channel to deliver your message? Newer platforms like Vine, Instagram and Snapchat likely won’t be a fit for your audience, so focus on more traditional platforms like Facebook and Twitter to engage your users.
Also understand that as an insurance agency, it’s unlikely that your content is going to go viral – but that’s okay. New York Life has one of the largest Twitter and Facebook followings in the insurance industry. Why? Because instead of trying to develop content that would go viral, they focus on providing value to their followers and fans. When looking for social content, New York Life’s social media team shares everything from articles on how to save your pocket change to guidelines for selecting the best life insurance plan. Their dedication to providing useful information established the company as a go-to source for customers experiencing important life events such as having children or caring for aging parents.
2. Embrace third-party content
Content development can be one of the biggest hindrances to social media adoption. Especially when you don’t have a dedicated marketing or social media team, it can be difficult to develop fresh content on a constant basis. Don’t be afraid to look to outside sources for help. Consider sharing relevant news articles and graphics from national publications and local outlets.
If you do create content internally, use social as a channel to share it. Just ensure the content you create is relevant and provides value for every follower, fan and friend.
3. Act quickly
Social media is a great channel for insurance agents to quickly disseminate and react to information. When legislative changes that affect your industry are announced, jump on it. Share relevant articles and explain how this will affect your customers. You can establish yourself as a valuable source of information and a credible expert in the space.
Since social media enables two-way communication, it can open the door for customers to use social as a customer service channel. In the insurance industry, however, it’s not always appropriate for customer services queries to be answered in a public forum, so establish some guidelines internally. General questions about policies can usually be answered without trouble, but questions with personal account or claim information need to be directed to a more personal channel, like phone or email. But no matter what the question, respond to customers promptly. When you make a point to address questions as soon as possible, customers will see that you’re committed to providing quality customer service.
4. Seek out useful tools
Look for tools that can make managing your social media presence easy and effective. Basic tools should include the ability to schedule content in advance and post across to several platforms from one place.
To select the best tools, identify your biggest pain points and look for solutions tailored to your needs. For those struggling with content development, look for a platform that utilizes RSS feeds to create a library of relevant content. Or if your insurance brand provides branded materials or social content, consider looking for a platform that allows for easy content syndication. Some content syndication platforms will even alert agents by email when a new piece of content is available, letting them approve or deny the content right from their inbox.