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We all must admit that our customers and our prospects are on social media. So my question to you is this: is it a good place to meet and communicate with prospects and/or clients? Let me give you five basic guidelines in helping you answer that question, and also take the mystery out of getting social.

First and foremost, our agency must be present and be on brand. When followers go to your agency page, they (the clients/prospects) want to see that it’s a legitimate business. What does that mean? Well, you must have real pictures and not stock photos, along with your agency’s contact information and hours of operation. Please don’t make the mistake of leaving this information blank, because if you do, it says a lot about you and your agency. Part two of this section is the frequency of posts on your agency page. The bad news is that there is no magic number on how many posts per day, but a good rule of thumb would be to post once a day Monday thru Friday and once on the weekend. A major “no-no” is posting one time a week – please don’t set it and forget it, because that too says a lot about your agency if you do.

Secondly, you must think and act like a consumer. Think about it; you are a consumer too, so consider what you would want to see for content and visuals, but remember one thing, consumers don’t care about your newest BOP policy. The way we think about it at Paradiso Insurance is we ask ourselves a few questions; is the content helpful, educational and/or relevant, but also interesting? It’s easy to see what’s working and what isn’t; just look at the interaction, likes, and comments, and that will tell you if your having success or not. Another great way to figure out what type of content you should be posting is to simply ask your clients. The third way we think about content and what we would like to post is make a list of the top 20 most asked questions, and talk about those questions and give answers with stories so people can relate. Last but not least is the most popular content we have posted, which is to talk about your agencies community work along with what charities you are supporting and why. Community based content is always most viewed, liked, and shared. Don’t be shy with your achievements and charity work – share it with the social world.

Thirdly you and your agency must commit to two-way communication. This is a simple rule that isn’t being followed, and to sum it up, if someone asks you a question on social media then you cannot ignore it; you must be committed to answering and in a timely manner. It doesn’t stop with just answering questions either, because if someone posts a negative comment about your agency, you must address it in a non-confrontational, professional manner as well. It maybe as simple as apologizing about their experience and giving them your personal cell number so they can hear more of how you let them down, because that goes a very long way. Don’t be afraid to take it offline, as long as you follow through with it and try to make things right. If you are committed to the two way communication, it would help to go all in with a social media manager, because once you establish a social presence this easily becomes a full time job. We made the leap of faith nine years ago with hiring a full time social media manager, and it has paid off!

Fourth is if you don’t have a full time social staff member, then don’t bite off more than you can chew. Start with with one to two social platforms, such as Facebook and LinkedIn. This would be a great start, and for more information on strategizing your Facebook business page, be sure to check out Facebook’s free educational tool, Facebook Blueprint. This is site solely designed to help you learn how to you use Facebook for your business. It teaches you all about boosting and in today’s marketing world the ever-powerful Facebook Ad platform. Try not to be average in all social platforms; try to master two before you move onto Instagram,Twitter or Snapchat.

The fifth tip is simple – measure everything! Yes, everything, because if you don’t measure then you can’t get a good grasp of what’s working and what’s not. Make sure you set up Google Analytics for your agency’s website too, because this is a free tool that can help you understand who is going to your agency’s website. Other great things Google measures is where are your visitors coming from such as from your blog, Pinterest, Facebook or a direct link, and this is very powerful data. Another great tool we use at Paradiso Insurance is HubSpot; all of our posts go through HubSpot which measures everything from how much visibility to likes, comments and reach. All great information that will help you become a better marketer, and this data will help you become more profitable.

I hope we took the mystery out getting social, because it’s really not scary. It’s all about you being real and being yourself. Social media has changed the business world. It has turned digital marketing into branding and visual content marketing to meet the needs of the ever-changing consumer and stay in front of them. Social media will help us independent insurance agents gain ground on direct writers. Here’s to wishing you and your agency social success in 2019!