ACG - Agency Consulting Group

The PIPELINE

A national monthly newsletter for agency principals dedicated to agency management topic

Social Media 101 - For Insurance Agents

(Part 1 in a 3 part series)

Why Social Media?

If you sometimes feel like your company or agency is an island by its own with you trying to stay connected to your clients, your community and the rest of the world, social media can help.

You still need to find ways to stay connected to your clients and can’t always do that face-to-face when there is only one of you and hundreds if not thousands of them. Social media is changing the way people connect with each other and businesses can easily tap into those connections. Your happy clients have always been your recipe for success. When they like you, they tell other people. Social media can help build on these existing relationships and therefore can be instrumental in helping you sell more insurance products.

Skip the Jargon

Simply put, social media has changed the way people connect, discover and share information.

Throw away the jargon, it all boils down to this:

Social Media is the technology that connects people’s ability to share content, chat about their ideas, opinions, perceptions and experiences.

Social Networks (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for example) are the places where these interactions take place.

Social Media Marketing is the way to use that technology to give your business some personality and participate in the interactions that are already taking place. It helps attract new clients through your existing ones sharing information with their friends. In the insurance industry, social media can be used for discussions and not necessarily focused a sales tool. Educate clients, provide advice and resources, provide a forum for disaster and

recovery efforts. Customers want to interact and they want to do that with those they trust.

Set Some Goals

Before worrying about which social media sites to establish yourself on, it’s important that you set goals and understand what you want to get out of your social media marketing efforts. These are different types of goals, you may have other ideas in mind:

- Spreading the word. Show your clients and prospects who you are and what

you can do for them. Build your brand.

- Increase leads and prospects or drive sales.

- Provide customer service, get feedback, educate, provide resources.

Traditional vs. Social Media Marketing

With traditional marketing there is a common term called “funneling” to describe the way marketing professionals attract new prospects and convert them into clients. More time was spent on finding prospects, converting them into clients than there was in retaining those hard-earned clients, primarily because historically the best you could wish for was to provide a great client experience and simply hope they would come back to buy more—and better yet bring their friends with them. With social media marketing, we flip the funnel because we now know that recognizing your existing clients are your best asset. By using social media technologies, you can reach out to your existing clients to remind them to come back, make word of mouth recommendations and ask them to share your content and their experience with you to their friends and families.

“Marketing does not end with the sale, but rather it begins after the first sale”.

It’s Not a Replacement

Don’t abandon your existing marketing tactics and replace them only with social media marketing.

There are traditional marketing efforts that still provide results.

The fact of the matter is that social media marketing works best when you combine it with other online marketing activities in that social media has been directly linked to search engine indexing of your website and blog, can be easily integrated into email marketing campaigns and allows your clients to share the content and information you provide from one format to another.

Dick Fisher of e-Merge Online Marketing is working with Agency Consulting Group to help insurance agents utilize social media strategies as a part of an overall marketing program. For more information about e-Merge Online Marketing, visit www.e-mergemarketing.net, FB: eMergeOnlineMarketing, Twitter: e_mergeonline, email info@e-mergemarketing.net or call (651) 368-8610