from PropertyCasualty360.com, January 17, 2018
As we begin this new year, the internet is awash with articles looking at trends in 2018.
The problem is that many of these lists don't seem geared toward the unique position insurance agents inhabit in the marketing world. It could make an agent feel that it might be better to just ignore the trends altogether.
But social marketing isn't just a trend; it's an industry necessity, and has been accepted as one of the best practices for spreading a marketing message and establishing a brand. Communicating your unique value proposition over social is one of the primary ways you give prospects and current clients the chance to experience your brand.
After reading dozens of lists and consulting with our social marketing experts, I have identified five trends that are essential for agents to focus on in 2018:
No. 5: Leverage 'influencer marketing'
In the world of marketing, there are always one or two phrases that are the buzzwords of the moment. Right now, as the calendar has just turned from 2017 to 2018, the idea that's on everybody's lips is "influencer marketing." That may be because statistics say that companies make $6.50 for every dollar spent on influencer marketing.
The concept of tapping users with large followings on social platforms makes a lot of sense. Instead of traditional advertising, influencer marketing allows you to not only access larger audiences but also leverage their willingness to act on the recommendation of their influencer. The result is an exponentially powerful marketing platform that can help your message cut through the noise to deliver a powerful signal.
Insurance agents may not be looking for the average YouTube influencer, but connecting with influential thought leaders in different verticals can be a great way to drive traffic to blog posts, announce promotions and be introduced to new audiences that might not have ever found your message otherwise.
No. 4: Attract Generation Z
That means that this new group of consumers, Generation Z, needs to be marketed to, but hardly anyone knows exactly what to say to them.
There are significant differences between a member of Generation Z and a millennial, though precisely what constitutes those differences is still becoming clear. One thing that's for sure is that reaching this new generation takes much more effort than launching a single Facebook ad now and then or hoping that one of your tweets goes viral.
Gen Z looks for immediate engagement in the form of ephemeral content, chat applications and artificial intelligence-augmented experiences. The opportunity to establish your brand with a younger generation that is still developing their purchasing habits and social engagement patterns is the opportunity to be on the cutting edge of a whole new customer segmentation.
No. 3: Use more video
For many insurance agents, using more video will translate into using any video. But the indicators are clear though: Studies show that 43% of people prefer video marketing to any other kind. When it comes to marketers naming what type of content has the best ROI, 51.9% name video as No. 1.
Video is also becoming one of the primary advertising avenues for social. Facebook's video ads offer advanced targeting capabilities that not only allow an agent to address clients and prospects directly but also to use their demographics and psychographics to create lookalike audiences that are tailored to fit their unique value propositions. LinkedIn recently announced that it will be releasing similar video advertising capabilities on its platform. Using video ads in tandem with these targeting capabilities is a highly efficient way to increase reach and engagement across social channels.
No. 2: Encourage employee advocacy
Business-to-consumer (B2C) brands have already discovered that posts about their products coming from employees are re-shared 24 times more frequently than messages from the brand itself. Consumers are more trusting of employees who take the initiative to post on behalf of their company than a corporate account that's dedicated to marketing messages.
LinkedIn — arguably the most employment-centric platform — recently launched a new feature that allows bosses to monitor the posts of their employees to see what kind of content is being associated with members of their company. This fail-safe makes employee advocacy not only effective but manageable as well.
No. 1: Use ephemeral content
Daily stories were all the rage this year and will continue to grow in popularity through 2018. Ephemeral content is posted by a user, exists for 24 hours, and is then erased. The temporary nature of the content makes it more valuable and experiential for users and thus more powerful when delivering a marketing message.
With all of the opportunities and changes happening in the social sphere, these new trends can seem overwhelming. But agents can get help managing their online presence from marketing companies like mine that provide a full suite of tools as well as client communication platforms. Let's make the rest of 2018 your best year ever!