In a recent conversation, Nick Andrews, Channel Partner Marketing Manager at Liberty Mutual, talked about the importance of social marketing. But before you dive in head first, it’s a good idea to make sure you are ready to take on social. These five actions need to be on your to-do list if you want to do social right.

1. Create a home base

If you don’t have a quality website to which to drive traffic, getting on social doesn’t make much sense. You need the traffic you funnel to your homepage to stay on the site long enough to learn about you and your agency. Studies have shown that it takes a user 50 milliseconds to decide whether or not they like the site. An out of date or poorly designed website will send the wrong message right away. 

Nick pointed out that bad websites are an epidemic amongst agents right now:

“I get to see a lot of insurance agency websites, and I can’t tell you how many times I still see a website that looks like it was put together by the agency principal’s 12-year-old nephew. With stock photos and nothing about the team.”

An effective site must have elegant design and strategic branding. It also needs to be optimized to gather leads. If there are not automated form fills, contact management software, and automated follow-up and nurture campaigns, sending prospects to your website won’t do much good.

By capturing information and continuing to develop the relationship, an agent can keep their “finding pool” always full.

2. Establish a referral program

Social media can complement a referral program by giving satisfied clients a simple and powerful way to share your information with interested parties. But to pair your social up with your referral program, you have to have a referral program.

“One fundamental building block that I would put over social before you get to social would be having a formalized referral program at the agencies. Every year at Safeco and Liberty, we survey our fastest-growing agents. This year both personal lines and business lines have said that the number one source of new business is a formalized referral program. Having that in place is another key building block.”

Much like a website that is optimized to gather leads, an advisor needs to have a mechanism for generating referrals. 

3. Build your “content engine” 

Content creation is one of the most critical parts of a digital marketing strategy. It is also one of the elements that can cost an agent the most time and effort. Also, as Nick points out, insurance agents face a unique challenge:

“Insurance is boring. I hate to be so blunt about it. No one is logging on to Instagram to learn about an umbrella policy, that customer journey just isn’t happening.”

Agents need to explore what content actually works for them and then capture the simplest way to create it.

Rather than start from scratch every time you want to create a new piece, it is vital to develop a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for your content creation. For it to be effective, you need to capture it in writing. It should also include any relevant contact info for vendors like writers or designers.

4. Participate in your community

Nick points out that one of the best ways to consistently be creating content is to get involved with community events. Every event provides an opportunity to develop compelling and relevant content. This is the kind of content that will reach out and connect with an agent’s ideal clients.

“One of the most foundational building blocks to a successful marketing campaign for an independent agent is community involvement. Community involvement is so important because it’s a content creation engine. You should start taking staff photos, and then you can take all these pictures and populate all these different channels.”

5. Study ALL the platforms

On which social platforms do you plan to establish a presence? If you said “all of them,” you might want to think about that for a minute. There are many overlapping principles that can apply to all of social marketing. However, every platform from Facebook to Snapchat has its own capabilities, restrictions, and best practices.

Nick pointed out what a necessity it is for an agent to identify the real benefits from a social platform:

“If you were to look at each platform individually, Facebook might not be that hard to understand on its own but the fact that you have to do Facebook along with so many other platforms is. You need to give constant attention to all these marketing platforms. It is what makes social marketing so complex.”

Don’t sleep on social!

By now, most agents understand that being present on social is critical. Even if they wish it weren’t:

Nick: “Can you even imagine a world without social media now?”

Michael: “I do like to from time to time.”

But whether we like it or not, social media is here to stay. Be sure you do everything you can to prepare yourself to take it on. 

One More Thing! What do you think? How will you and your peers use this to grow your agency or brokerage? Share your thoughts in the comment section below, subscribe to get updates delivered to you and *please share this if you found it informative.

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