The rapid rise of social networking led to an overall acceptance of the various social platforms as an important persuasive tool for both customers and businesses. Agencies, brokers, and carriers are all discovering how social networking can be an essential tool for communication, engagement, lead generation and relationship building. However, the social space can seem complex and intimidating, and without a specific strategy, social media can become ineffective for your agency.
To diminish this intimidating barrier, let’s define social networking in its simplest terms. Social networking is a virtual space where people gather to share ideas, engage in conversation, and learn about others. Depending on what a person is interested in influences which social platform they choose to use. Compare social networking to a real-world industry conference. Agents and agencies go to a conference to engage with their peers and learn about upcoming trends in the industry, but when they get there, they are going to go the specific locations that have the information and people they are seeking. For agencies, creating a strategic social networking plan is about finding where the people you want to speak to are going, and what they are looking for when they get there.
Create Meaningful Relationships
It’s incredibly important for both agents and agencies to build trusting relationships in order to have a high client retention rate. During the era of mass marketing with tactics like cold calling and large scale email blasts, agencies were able to reach a lot of people but they weren’t able to stand out and build trustworthy relationships. Customers began to shift away from these types of promotions and gravitate towards spaces where communication flowed between customer and business. The need to build meaningful relationships and engage in dialogue is promising news for insurance agencies. Customers are doing business with agencies they can trust, and if agencies are able to engage with customers on a regular basis they feel connected and therefore trust their agency, which also increases customer retention. Additional reading on consumer behavior in social networks can be found in this Nielson study.
Developing a Strategy
It seems that there are an infinite number of social networks available, and more and more keep appearing with some unique feature. When creating a strategy, don’t try and have a presence on every single network. Instead, pick the networks where your agency will have the most influence and execute your strategy to have the largest impact. Each network is different and has its own unique value. Listed below are a few key aspects of the top social platforms with tips on how to use them:
Managing Social Networks
When creating posts for each network, keep in mind that the more promotional the post is, the less likely people are to engage with your agency on a regular basis. Share articles that are industry relevant, discuss current trends and speak to issues that are trending in the social sphere. Promotional content can be shared if it’s mixed in with non-promotional, but make sure your networks aren’t only discussing a product or event.
Social network management is the second piece to an effective strategy. Think of each social network as an additional phone or computer; it is simply another way your customers can reach you and engage with your business. Assign someone to manage these networks and set apart a set amount of time per day to check-in on each network, making sure posts are appearing accurately and conversing with customers who are speaking to the agency.
Remember, social networking is a powerful way to create lasting relationships and increase customer retention. Questions about social strategy implementation? Contact us today.