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toeOne of the biggest questions I get on a regular basis is “what can I do to kick start my agency’s marketing into the social media world.” Well, that is an excellent question and I would imagine if you ask 100 different people from outside of the insurance world, you would probably get 100 different answers.

Let me start by speaking from my insurance experience. I personally feel that I need to give you the agency perspective. I would first start with a personal Facebook page, so once you have that completed, and try to connect with personal friends and with family. You may even want to connect with the people who work inside your agency. The next step would be by connecting with clients and/or prospects through your personal Facebook page. Many of you may be thinking that this is very simple, but I think it’s critical to get a grasp for Facebook on a personal level before you jump into creating a Facebook fan page for your agency.

Quite a few people simply outsource to a consulting or marketing company to handle their social media, one of the major drawbacks to this that the outsourced firm has little to no understanding of the agency’s identity or brand. There is no cookie-cutter approach to this, so there needs to be a very personal feel of who the agency is and what it stands for, as illustrated through your personal Facebook fan page.

The next major step in the social media arena is would be incorporate an agency Facebook fan page. Before you do that though, I would recommend taking the time to understand how Facebook works, especially by looking at other agents who are having success on Facebook. You can learn an awful lot from what other people post.

Step two would be creating your agency’s fan page on Facebook. When doing so, make sure you include personal photos of your agency and create a personal touch. Don’t go corporate if you are not a corporate company. As we all know, image is everything, so make sure your image on your Facebook fan page matches the image of your agency. Make sure when filling out your interests and other important information on both your personal page in your fan page that you include your interests. For example I included on my Facebook my family, Yankees baseball, basketball, watches, triathlons, working out, small businesses, my children, the charities I am involved in, boxing, veterans of America, and my community.

A very important fact to remember about social media is that social media is not about you- it is all about others.  So remember to keep 85 – 95% of your posts should be around your interests, your agency’s brand, and your agency’s identity, not around insurance or related products. People are not interested in you selling them something; people are interested in you and your interests so that they can find a common interest to connect with.

Another key component of having success is spending the time to interact with other users by commenting on different posts, liking photos or statuses, or sharing other people’s posts. Success will elude your agency if you don’t interact with others, because social media is all about them.

I understand and realize this is only a starting point, but remember- we all need to start somewhere. Don’t listen to the people who believe Facebook is dead – it has over 1.23 billion users- yes that’s billion with a B!  If Facebook was a country, it would be the fourth largest country in the world.

So get focused, start slow, and move at your own pace. If you are just starting in the social media arena as an independent insurance agent, and you have questions or concerns, please feel free to call me and I would be more than happy to help you along the process.