Grow Your Online Community by Participating in Your Offline Community, Article by Kirk Faulkner from Agency Revolution

AA Munro Insurance President Wayne Ezekiel used community social responsibility to grow his online audience to 20,000

Making social media work for you is no small feat. Social media marketing requires more than time and money; it calls for transparency, personality, and content. To start, insurance agents must consider the best ways to introduce themselves and their agencies to their online audiences.

One great way to create a relationship with your online audience is to invest in community social responsibility (CSR). When asked why they choose to do business with certain companies, consumers cited a company’s CSR as a key reason. Your agency can get involved in your local community and show itself to be a responsible member thereof by volunteering, fundraising, or donating your services.

Serving your community is not just a great way to increase your marketing effectiveness. When your company plays an active role in your community, both you and your team will experience an increase in job satisfaction.

This makes CSR a powerful tool for talent retention, especially among millennials. A recent PriceWaterhouseCoopers study found that 86% of millennial professionals said they would consider leaving a job whose CSR program had begun to slip.

Community involvement presents many opportunities to create incredibly powerful content. Compared to messaging focused on selling your services, posts that document how you support your local community draw a larger audience and encourage more engagement across all social media platforms. 

On a recent episode of The Connected Insurance Podcast, Wayne Ezekiel, President of AA Munro, discussed the benefits of CSR. He found that community involvement was a major influence on both the effectiveness of his marketing and the attitude of his team. He quickly embraced the strategy.

“Most of our marketing is not spent on traditional advertising but on community activity. It’s having our people engaged in the community and in things that they want to be engaged in, things they feel passionate about,” Wayne explained. 

Wayne had his company partner work with his local volunteer fire department to help them attract new recruits. Supporting the local fire department allowed Wayne to give back while presenting his agency in a positive light. The content he posted on social showed his agency’s commitment to its community in an authentic way.

While the agency had the best of intentions, Wayne was clear about one thing, “The [volunteer firefighters are] the unsung heroes, and I wanted to bring attention to that.”

While Wayne was hopeful that the campaign would have some positive effect on his agency’s web presence, he was not prepared when his social media audience swelled to over 20,000 followers. From an almost invisible web presence and after just a few community events, AA Munro grew its following to one that rivals many Internet influencers.

As clients and prospects see evidence of your altruistic actions on social media, their relationship with you will deepen, and their willingness to engage your services will increase.

As an insurance agent, you may not think the size of your social media following is all that important. But studies show that 71% of followers that have a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend the company to friends and family. 

It is essential to recognize that your followers are an audience. You need to keep in mind the expectations they have for your social presence. Living up to your brand promise through your social marketing is key to growing your audience.

If you follow Wayne’s example and invest in CSR, you’ll be able to grow your audience and deepen your client relationships. And, as any good insurance agent knows, it’s all about the relationships.

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