Whether in-person or online, it’s essential to demonstrate your social responsibility
The last year in quarantine has changed many things about how we communicate with each other. It has been easy for crucial aspects of in-person interactions to get lost in the move to digital. Being involved with your community through service projects and supporting local groups is still an essential element of your brand. It is still possible, even if it is all online.
Social responsibility is a strategy for self-regulation used by many companies. It is also imperative to consumers. Social responsibility is a critical factor in modern consumers’ buying decisions. 87% say they consider a company’s social advocacy when making purchase decisions.
Here are 5 steps that agents can take to make sure they are maintaining social responsibility in a digital world.
1. Explore Your Community
The easiest way for your agency to establish a relationship with the community is through officially engaging groups and organizations already helping. Investigate the groups working to make your community better. Look at their online presence and determine which causes match your values.
Demonstrating social responsibility is especially important with the upcoming generation. 70% of Millennials report spending more with businesses that support causes. With a purchasing power of around $2.45 trillion, appealing to this demographic will become increasingly important to agents.
2. Create and Share Content
Creating content that documents your involvement in worthwhile causes is an integral part of social responsibility. Content like pictures, videos, and blogs about meaningful involvement are all compelling. They demonstrate your company’s commitment to the community.
To align with your brand, it is crucial your current and potential customers can see what values your company represents.
Content created by third parties is also very effective. Local newspapers, online articles, or responses from organizations all demonstrate your relationship’s authenticity. You can find publications, both online and offline, to cover events and projects.95% of marketers suggest combining online and offline marketing. Create a unique page on your website where your social responsibility content will live. Make sure it is included in your site’s menu. As you create new content, share it through your various social platforms. Consider including it in a newsletter or direct mail piece.
3. Engage Authentically
Recently, Claudia McClain of McClain Insurance Services in Washington shared a story with us which exemplifies authentic engagement with the community:
“During COVID, many churches and not-for-profits that had provided meals had to suspend their services. This added unexpected financial burdens and stress to counseling staff trying to help the teens through quarantine while now having to be meal planners and preparers.
“‘Food For Our Future’ was born in response to these needs. McClain Insurance pledged to provide Wednesday night dinners purchased from local family-owned restaurants and delivered by our team to the shelter.
“We wrote an article in our monthly client newsletter and posted regularly on Facebook and Instagram about our efforts and our other small business partners’ contributions. Some of our business vendors, carriers, and even a few clients soon stepped up to join our efforts.”
Finding a real need and working with others to provide a service demonstrates your authenticity to your community members. Claudia was able to involve local restaurants from within the community to contribute which then inspired more people to help. Their efforts helped their community and allowed them to get to know many people, many of which are now customers.
4. Raise Awareness Through Engagement
It’s not enough to simply post things to your social media. You must also engage with your audience there. Responding to comments, answering messages, and simply liking a post are all ways you can digitally extend your hand to clients and prospects. In fact, it can be the best way to turn a client INTO a prospect.
Online engagement is your chance to regain some of the opportunities to develop relationships in-person meetings provided. By sharing something important to your business, you open conversation to include more personal topics.
Another significant benefit of online engagement is its effectiveness in generating referrals. 71% of followers who have a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend the company to friends and family.
Pick a primary platform for communication. Let your audience know where you can be reached. Then enable alerts on your phone (or a managing employee’s) for comments and messages. Make it a goal to respond to all messages within 24 hours.
5. Empower Employees
If you are looking for a direction for your agency’s social responsibility, start with your employees.
In a recent podcast, Wayne Ezekiel, President of AA Munro Insurance, shared how he discovered the power of corporate social responsibility.
“Most of our money now in marketing is not spent on traditional advertising, which is newspapers and flyers, not even the flyers anymore, but it’s more based around community activity. It’s having our people getting engaged in the community and things they feel passionate about.”Social responsibility is also a powerful tool for talent retention, especially among millennials. 86% of millennial professionals said they would consider leaving a job whose CSR program had slipped. It’s vital for young professionals entering the job market to work for an organization with meaningful initiatives.
Agents are faced with a challenging situation. It has never been more important to interact with your community while interacting seems to have become more difficult. Remember to use the digital tools available to help achieve your goals.