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While digital marketing offers multiple opportunities for agencies to effectively and affordably reach their best target prospects, many agents have been reluctant to take advantage of these platforms. These posts provide hands-on guidance to give you the confidence to start, or expand on, your digital marketing efforts. For an overview of all PIAK posts, visit our "Blog Post Library List" at "All Blogs"

 

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Get More Insurance Quotes from Google Search

Posted By Robyn Sharp, Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Have you ever thought about why someone chooses to call one insurance agency over another?  

We all worry about ranking high in Google search.  Should we buy Google Adwords?  Should we hire someone to optimize our website for keywords?  What will make the biggest difference in getting actual quotes?

But guess what?!  There is one thing you probably haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about that is greatly affecting your agency online!

Imagine this.  You’re a customer and know nothing about any of the local agencies.  You just want to get a quote with as little trouble as possible.

So you go to google, type in “insurance,” and see 3 agencies at the top of the local search results.  The first has 5 star reviews, the second has no reviews, and the third has 2 star reviews.  Which one would you call?

For most of us, it’s the one with the best reviews.

Think about it.  You read reviews before you purchase something on Amazon.  You read reviews before you call a plumber.  You read reviews before you order a new pair of shoes!
We are conditioned to read reviews when we make online choices.  In fact, studies show that 72% of people say that they trust an online review as much as a recommendation from a friend or family member.

So the question is…what are your clients saying about you online?

Go take a look at your agency’s Google and Facebook pages first.  This will give you a great picture of what your current online reputation looks like.  You can then do the same for your top competitors!  Once you see how you compare, you can begin to take steps to gain new positive reviews and increase your inbound calls fast.   

Robyn Sharp is a former agent and the owner of Mega Agency Marketing.  She specializes in social media lead generation and online marketing.  Get more free insurance marketing tips at www.agencyupdates.com.

Tags:  google  insurance  marketing  social media 

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10 Keys to Getting Your LinkedIn Profile Viewed

Posted By Lance Polikov, Wednesday, September 19, 2018

from PropertyCasualty360.com

LinkedIn has quickly become the number one resource for both executive and corporate recruiters to locate talent. Beyond sourcing talent, LinkedIn and other social media platforms are increasingly being used to disqualify top hires, in the same manner as drug testing, background and credit checks.

Social media is becoming so important that the 2018 MRINetwork Reputation Management Study found 18% of employers are formalizing their process of reviewing candidate social media profiles. Another 17% are considering doing so in the future. Here are some tips to help candidates develop a social media presence that will be attractive to recruiters:

  1. Choose the right photo. Select a picture that only shows you; no group photos. Make sure the background is simple and your face is clearly seen. Since this is typically an employer’s “first impression,” make sure you look professional and it is a good quality photo.
  2. List all previous job titles, companies you worked for, tasks performed and results. Most people don’t put their entire resume on LinkedIn, and that’s fine, but you want to incorporate necessary information for people to find you. For example, if you are a “construction defect” claims adjuster, make sure you are specific and include both job duties. Add your responsibilities and results as well; such as the number of claims handled and cost savings to your present organization. Employers, as well as clients, have a much better chance of finding you if you use accurate keywords of your expertise and experience.
  3. Select the right industry. As an insurance professional, make sure the industry you choose for your profile is “insurance.” If not, there is a very good chance you will not be found by people who are looking for Insurance professionals.
  4. Include all of your education. Earning a CPCU, CIC, RPLU, ARM or any other insurance designation is important. It shows your commitment to the industry. You have worked hard and spent time outside of the office to become a more knowledgeable insurance professional.
  5. Connect with folks you know in the industry. There are two main reasons to invite people to your network. First, employers want to determine how connected you are in the insurance industry; whom you are connected to, which companies, and how many connections you have. When company hiring managers are looking for a production-oriented underwriter who is developing new business, they will be looking for someone who has many connections. Strive to have a minimum of 500 connections. Second, employers are also using social media to see if there are any common relationships. The more connected you are in the industry, the better chance you have of seeing what new career opportunities employees are posting.
  6. Recommendations matter. When you are considering a major purchase you probably read reviews and look for recommendations. Hiring a new employee is no different. Employers want to see what other managers, co-workers and clients have to say about a potential employee. You need to ask people to give a personal recommendation (even if you are not actively looking for a job), which will be a very powerful message to hiring managers.
  7. Join insurance-related groups. There are all kinds of insurance specific groups on LinkedIn. If you are in professional liability insurance, you can join a wide variety of groups that can be either generic or very specific. For instance, if you are in a niche within professional liability (such as medical malpractice or directors & officers insurance), there are groups that are specific to this specialty.
  8. Create an intro/headline. You may have some general information or you may not have anything in here at all, but this section is a very valuable piece of real estate and one of the first things insurance hiring managers see. Talk about your accolades, successes and accomplishments here.
  9. Update your page every six months. It is easy to forget to update your page, but it is very important to keep it current. This allows others to stay up to date on your recent promotions, current job duties and achievements.
  10. Create updates/share articles/write posts on insurance industry news. LinkedIn is a great way for people to network, but it is also a good place to read industry specific content. By creating or sharing topical content, you will be viewed as someone who is knowledgeable and passionate about the industry.

Ensuring that your LinkedIn profile is complete with accurate and updated information makes you easy to locate, and will provide the best opportunity for you to capitalize on your next great career move, or to connect with your best prospects.

 

Tags:  LinkedIn  social media 

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Create a Job Post on Facebook

Posted By Robyn Sharp, Wednesday, August 29, 2018

from agencyupdates.com

It’s time to hire a new sales producer for your insurance agency.  Where do you advertise the position? Back in the day you might have listed the job in the newspaper.  Then you moved on to job websites like Monster or Indeed. But now?  You can use Facebook!  And it’s incredibly easy and effective.

Today I’ll show you how to get job applicants from your Facebook page.

Step 1: Setup Your Facebook Job Post

Go to your Facebook page and click in the box like you’re going to write a new post.  You’ll see a bunch of options listed.  Choose “Publish A Job Post.” 


Then you’ll fill out all of the information about your job.


You can use the Cover Photo on your page (like my Effortless Leads photo shown here) or you can upload a photo specifically for your job listing. Add the Job Title and Location. 
You can add the salary information, but it is optional.  Then list if it’s full or part time.

Next add in all of the details about the position and what is required!


If you’d like for applicants to answer a specific question in their application, you can add it in the Additional Questions box.

When someone completes the online application, it’s basically just their contact information and job history within their Facebook profile that is shared.  It is sent as a private message to your Facebook page. You can add your email address in the “receive applications by email” file if you’d prefer email notification over just the messenger alert.

"Tip:  If you’d like to see how well people are paying attention when they apply, consider putting an extra step in the description.  I recently ran a job ad and requested that applicants send their resume via email also.  I could tell how detail oriented a person was if they followed the entire request!"

Details may not be what you’re looking for.  If you want a sales person, you are often looking for someone who is confident and motivated my money! In that case, you might ask them to prepare to do a sales pitch at their interview!

Step 2: Share The Post!

When you get to the end of the post, you can publish it immediately.  You may also choose to spend a few dollars and Boost it so more people see it.  There is a minimum $10 per day cost to boost a job post.

I spent $10 for a 1 day boost on my recent job post and received 26 local applicants.  I simply targeted people in my city (and we’re in a relatively small town).

After you submit the boost, go back to your job post and share it on your Personal Facebook page.  Ask your friends to share it or pass along to anyone they think would be a good fit. You could ask your current staff to share with their Facebook friends too!

Step 3: Watch The Applications Roll In!

I started receiving applications that same day.  I had the most during the boosted post time, but they still kept coming in several days later.  Eventually I deleted the post when I had enough interviews scheduled.

The only negative I saw in the job post process was that they weren’t full out official resumes.  Some left a lot to be desired!  But I found qualified applicants very quickly at a low price, which is what matters the most.

Next time you’re getting ready to hire, don’t forget about putting your Facebook page to work to help you find the perfect team member!

Tags:  facebook  hiring  insurance agency  job post 

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Guarding Our Reputations

Posted By Patricia Harman, Wednesday, July 11, 2018

from PropertyCasualty360.com

Have you ever stopped to think about what your reputation is worth? Good reputations take years to create, but can be damaged in mere minutes in today’s instantaneous social media world.

If you are the CEO of a company, it is probably something you and your colleagues have considered. Even our personal reputations have value. Whether you are in sales, an SIU investigator, a claims professional, a risk manager or some other type of insurance specialist, your reputation gives you credibility (or not) as the case may be.

Randy Nornes, executive vice president of Aon Risk Solutions, says reputational damage is often the result of a failure. He recommends that companies deconstruct their reputations to see where they are vulnerable. Reputational risk can be internal or external and involves a host of issues that a firm may or may not be able to control.

Before the advent of social media, executives had the opportunity to investigate and shape their responses. Today, they must respond almost instantaneously. Consider the company that is the subject of a tirade on social media from disgruntled employees or unhappy customers. The information may be correct, or it may not. In either case, a response is required.

Aside from financial risks, reputational risk is one of the leading areas of concern for company boards. It is critical for them to consider how their products and services, innovation, leadership, company performance, citizenship, regulators, industry, media and other influencers can affect their reputation, and then create a plan to manage each scenario should a negative situation arise.

Companies with strong social responsibility programs, who are viewed as good corporate citizens are better positioned to withstand a reputational attack. Leaders must respond quickly, be transparent and honest, take responsibility for the company’s failure, and provide a credible plan to address the issue and prevent it in the future.

Executives who do not accept responsibility for a company’s failure, shift the blame elsewhere, and do not set realistic corrective actions will likely see an immediate reaction to their company’s value such as a drop in sales or stock value.

Insurance can help mitigate some of these reputational risks, but understanding and preparing for their impact requires an in-depth look at a business and the many factors that can affect it. Doing the right thing each and every time is probably a good place to start though.

Tags:  reputation  risk  social media 

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How Busy Insurance Agents Can Leverage Social Media

Posted By Daniel Williams, Tuesday, May 29, 2018

from PropertyCasualty360.com

When companies and individuals first began adopting social media for business purposes, they had very clear goals in mind: drive traffic and make direct sales. They were often robotic and impersonal; they might as well have flashed a billboard that read, “Go to my website! Buy my product!”

But social media marketing has evolved, according to Amy Evans, president of Colibri Insurance Services. Speaking at BenefitsPRO Broker Expo, held last week in San Diego, Evans said the key trend today is engagement. She cited a 2018 study conducted by social media platform Buffer that found engagement (42%) is the top way to measure ROI from social media advertising, followed by leads (17%) and sales (15%).

At its core, Evans said, social media is about developing deep and lasting relationships, and those relationships are built by communicating a clear message, one that can embrace both business and personal lives.

“People who do social well see no difference between the two,” she said, but added, “You want to remain professional when posting any personal information.”

The key, though, is to make a commitment to post, and to create content on a consistent basis so “your audience looks to you” as a trusted source of information. “Your goal is to figure out what content you want to communicate,” Evans said. “And you can do that by answering the question: What’s unique about you to your clients?” 

What does content looks like?

The leading social media platforms for business accounts are Facebook (96%), Twitter (89%) and LinkedIn (70%), according to the 2018 Buffer study, but no matter what platform someone adopts, content should be their driver, according to Evans. “And it should have inherent value and provide truthful information.”

She said it’s easy to get disappointed if there’s not an immediate interaction on a social media feed. “How many of you will open your Twitter or LinkedIn or Facebook page and scroll through the feed?” she asked. “You can see that information rolling off the page, but don’t get discouraged by all that noise. If you stick to your message and provide consistent content, remember that eyeballs are seeing what you’re working on.”

Evans said great content is made up of five key traits:

  • It’s positive. People don’t want to log into their social media platform and become inundated with negative news. They want something that will educate, inspire and uplift them.
  • It’s timely. Information moves fast on social media. “If you see content that happened a month ago, you might want to leave that alone unless it’s evergreen content. What you want is the news of the day, and you don’t want to simply forward it. People are in your feed because they want to know what you think about this topic you’re promoting.”
  • It’s authentic. The most important aspect people look for in a social media feed is authenticity — and people will respond to authentic posts. “Some people look at hiring social media managers to run their account,” Evans said. “But the best response and engagement you will ever receive from your followers is when you make posts in your distinct voice.”
  • It’s educational. Knowledge is power and people gravitate to social media to learn something new. “We know more than we think we know, particularly when we’re talking about our industry. When you provide your followers with educational information, it’s incredibly powerful and valuable to them and has the potential to help them in their own business.”
  • It’s engaging. Engagement is the new normal in social media. One way to achieve that is to speak directly to your audience. When you find a piece of content you want to share, ask for comments and then respond to their feedback. This is where real dialogue and the sharing of information can take place.

This might all sound daunting and too time-consuming, but Evans said “it’s easier than you think and won’t take hours a day.” By utilizing a third-party platform like Buffer or Hootsuite, users can manage their social media accounts “without getting sucked in to the quicksand of social media, and you can create your content and log back out in as little as 10 minutes a day.”

Tags:  insurance agent  social media 

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Chris Paradiso Shares Resources

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 2, 2018

Chris Paradiso, our featured speaker at our 2018 Annual Meeting, graciously agreed to share links to marketing resources that he has either developed, or uses within his own agency.

Tags:  agency  agent  Chris Paradiso  insurance  links  resources  social media 

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Insurance Agents and Online Reputation Management

Posted By Rick Fox, Monday, April 2, 2018

from PropertyCasualty360.com, March 26, 2018

As insurance agents venture into the realm of marketing themselves online, there is often a question of what image they should portray. Some are tempted to present what they feel is the best persona they can create without regard to the reality of their situation.

Authenticity is one of those concepts that are easy to talk about but incredibly difficult to achieve in practice. Finding authenticity in your marketing is a prolonged and concerted effort to first say who you intend to be as a company and then to follow through on that plan. Provided you’re an expert in your field and an honest operator, there is no reason your marketing should not come across as authentic.

Announce the values you espouse

It’s crucial for you to understand which values are most important to your brand. One way to establish your values is to identify experiences where you felt your company really succeeded. What were the values that made that success possible?

The inverse can also work. What were some times you feel your company did not live up to its own expectations? What were the values that were violated in that case?

Finally, what are the values you rely on day to day to make sure that things run smoothly in your business and your life? Identifying these values can take time and is an ever-evolving process. It is, however, the first and most significant step in achieving authenticity.

Demonstrate your expertise

One of the most important side effects of authentic marketing is the establishment of a relationship of trust. When you use your online engagement to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise, your audience will come to see you as a thought leader in your field and you’ll become an influencer to those most interested in what you have to offer.

The secret to becoming an authentic thought leader in your marketing is consistently delivering valuable insights. Giving away valuable advice can sometimes be a difficult exercise for an agent. It feels a little bit like giving away the milk for free. In deciding what level of insight to use in your marketing, it can be tempting to hold back the good stuff. This is generally a mistake. There will always be proprietary information you only share with clients but as a rule, it’s good to provide more valuable insight than you might feel comfortable with.

On top of the reputation-enhancing benefits of such content, valuable insights in your marketing material can also have an incredible effect on your SEO. Google has worked hard over the last decade to hone their algorithms to reward not just keyword-rich copy, but copy that authentically provides a strong user experience.

Use authentic language

Insurance agents are just like any other business when it comes to defining a brand. They need to express it well to communicate the right message to prospects and clients. It’s one of the most crucial things agents can do to grow their business. The way that your brand is expressed through your marketing and advertising is your “brand voice.”

A big part of brand voice is the language that it uses to express itself. It defines your purpose, illustrates your character and makes up your tone. There are a lot of questions to answer when considering the language to use in your marketing. How these questions are answered is the process in which the rest of the brand voice elements are defined.

By establishing the type of language the brand will and won’t be associated with, an agency can put finite edges on its brand voice, often an elusive concept. A cohesive voice will not only attract an agent’s ideal clients but will also be a catalyst for continued engagement with existing clients.

The danger of inauthenticity

Once you’ve established yourself as an expert who shares important values with your audience, you must then live up to those standards. If the behavior of your agency is inconsistent with your marketing, you’ll feel a backlash.

Ironically enough, marketing as a concept has an image problem. What should be an honest effort to convey a brand’s benefits and values too often comes off as a snow job, some attempt to misrepresent the reality of a company. Modern consumers are incredibly savvy and have become adept at identifying incongruous marketing messages.

If there’s even a suspicion of dishonesty in your marketing message, the result will be a complete loss of trust and most likely a cessation of any engagement with your brand. In extreme cases, dishonesty will be rewarded with negative online reviews that can haunt your agency for years to come.

Authenticity is not a static concept. It can take years to establish and can be destroyed with a single action. By focusing on your brand values and demonstrating your expertise you can continue to establish your authenticity for as long as it remains congruent with your actions.

Tags:  insurance agent  management  online  reputation  social media 

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The Rise of Chatbots

Posted By Chris Paradiso, Monday, April 2, 2018

from ParadisoPresents.com, October 26, 2017

Chatbots have been around for a while now, whether you’ve heard of them or not. What are chatbots exactly though? If we look at Google’s exact definition, it states that chatbots are “A computer or program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet.” Yes, chatbots are in place to serve one purpose, and that is to emulate a conversation with users who visit you online, such as on social media or on your website. Bots can be implemented into any business, but we recently have seen an uptick in interest within the insurance space.

Actually, let’s take a step back –  Did you know that back in 2004, there was a spike of interest with chatbots across the web, because this concept was relatively new during that time period. I’m sure that’s an eye-opener for some of us, especially if we are just hearing about bots for the first time. That being said, back in the early 2000s, chat bots were still in a beta phase, and much testing needed to be done in order for bots being developed to have a larger “IQ” so to speak, or overall range of functionality and understanding conversational flows. One of the bots that was more popular that was open to the public for chatting during this time period was Clever Bot, which is still available online. If you’d like to get your first hands-on experience with a chatbot that has had roughly ten years to develop, I would check out cleverbot.com for a quick moment.

Now, here’s the thing; some bots are set up to learn, such as Clever Bot, but most bots are manually programmed by a developer through their back end. This means that to program your bot to understand more, you’d have to log into the bot’s hosting service, and actually add to its intelligence, one command at a time. For instance, if your insurance agency decided that you wanted to implement a bot on your website, or even on social media such as through Facebook messenger, the bot would be limited on its functionality based on how you set it up. You could push the limits of its functionality any time through the bot’s back end by programming it to understand more, but this could take a careful eye and ongoing maintenance. Allow me to explain further.

Let’s say you wanted to program a chatbot for your website that could receive quote requests from your customers, get in touch with your agency, and get help with claims. First, you’d implement your bot, using a service such as Pronavigator, a company that specializes in building bots for insurance agencies that you can find online at https://pronavigator.io. After that, you’d work with a team of chat bot professionals to help program your insurance agency’s chatbot to service your customers in the ways that you listed above. At this point, your bot would have keywords or phrases that trigger specific conversations. For example, if someone opened up your bot after this programming, the conversation would look something like this:

Bot: “Hi, welcome to our insurance agency. How can we help you today?”

User: “I need an auto insurance quote”

Bot: “I see you’re looking for assistance with a quote for an auto insurance policy. I’ll just need some information from you first. Can we start with your first and last name please?”

And so on. This bot recognized the phrase “auto insurance quote,” and immediately started initiating a conversation that specifically entailed to the users request. Pretty intuitive right? While this makes for a great emulated conversation, the important thing to remember here is that this is in fact an emulated conversation, meaning that the bot is only as smart as you programmed it to be. It’s following the patterns of an actual conversation, but it can only process specific keywords or phrases and trigger responses accordingly.

This means that if a user types in something that is outside of what you’ve programmed the bot to understand, then they will not be able to be serviced by your bot. For instance, we mentioned that the bot in our example has been programmed to help with quotes, claims, and getting in touch with your agency. Now, what if a customer wanted to come to your website to leave a review for your agency? Here’s what the conversation would look like:

Bot: “Hi, welcome to our insurance agency. How can we help you today?”

User: “Leave a review”

Bot:I’m sorry, I can’t seem to figure out what you’re asking. Do you need help with anything else?”
User: “I’d like to leave a review.”

Bot: “I’m sorry, but I’m still having trouble figuring out your request. Would you like to have one of our professional agents give you a call?”

In these instances where the user requests something that is outside of the chat bot’s functionality or programming, the responses can be a bit clunky or unexpected. The user is just trying to search for help leaving a review, but the bot can’t deliver because it doesn’t recognize any of its programmed key words or phrases, and therefore, it cannot take action.

This sort of behavior from bots, which causes the original “problem” of the user to remain unresolved, has caused bots to have an alarming bounce rate. In fact, there’s one other type of “clunky” conversation that exists far too often with bots, which lies in a problem of interpretation of the user’s text. Sometimes, users may have typos, or even send one single statement through multiple messages that should have all been on one. Let’s take a look at an example, first with a set of split up messages:

Bot: “Hi, welcome to our insurance agency. How can we help you today?”

User: “Hi I need a quote”

User: “for my renter’s insurance”

Bot: “I’m sorry, I can’t seem to figure out what you’re asking. Do you need help with anything else?”

The bot can’t immediately recognize messages that are split up in all scenarios, and in fact, most of the time it will play out like the example above when a message gets split into multiple parts unintentionally by the user. While bots are being developed to be “smarter” and figure out situations like this one, they aren’t 100% ready yet. Let’s take a look at another example with a simple typo instead:

Bot: “Hi, welcome to our insurance agency. How can we help you today?”

User: “Hi I need a quote for my retners insuarnce”

Bot: “I’m sorry, I can’t seem to figure out what you’re asking. Do you need help with anything else?”

Did you notice that renter’s insurance was misspelled? The bot certainly did. In fact, if there’s a typo on a certain word or phrase that normally triggers conversation from the chatbot, it won’t know what to do at all in most cases. These sort of “clunky” conversations that we keep mentioning have caused users to bounce away from bots, because they didn’t get the service they needed. In fact, one of our friends from Forrester has told us that when bots don’t provide the experience the user is looking for, the user is apt to bounce away from the bot more than 60% of the time. That’s a surprising amount, which means that overall, bots aren’t quite ready yet to handle providing an outstanding customer experience, which is something our agency focuses on.

So, what does all this mean for you and your insurance agency? Well, for Paradiso Insurance, it means that we have an exciting future ahead of us with communicating with our customers, but we are going to be patient and wait for the right time to implement a chatbot into our website. The chatbot, conceptually, is a great thing to have, and can be a valuable asset for insurance agencies everywhere. We believe that chatbots need more time and development to be smarter and answer more questions and recognize more problems with communications with our users. We just believe that they aren’t quite ready yet. In the meantime, let’s watch the behavior of these chatbots, especially within our industry, to see how they end up changing the customer experience moving forward.

Tags:  chatbot  chatbots  insur  insurance  Social media 

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5 Easy-to-Implement Social Media Strategies for Busy Insurance Agents

Posted By Amy Evans, Monday, April 2, 2018

Social media marketing doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

from PropertyCasualty360.com, March 14,2018

Social media has become an essential marketing tool for businesses of all sizes.

Buffer, a social media management platform, recently released its State of Social 2018 report, which surveyed over 1,700 companies, half of which employ fewer than 10 people. Survey results showed that a whopping 96% of businesses are using social media marketing.

We’ve reached the point where businesses of all sizes know they should be incorporating social media into their overall marketing strategies, but the social media landscape can be overwhelming, especially for busy insurance agents and brokers who want to focus on revenue generation and agency management.

It can be difficult to know which platforms to use, what to post, how often to post, and how to measure success. But social media marketing doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

Here are five easy-to-implement social media strategies that can jumpstart your social media marketing efforts:

1. Update your LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn is the most popular business-oriented social networking platform, with more than 500 million users. While you may think of LinkedIn as nothing more than an online resume, it is an essential social media marketing tool.

Your LinkedIn profile is an online professional statement about you — who you are, what you do, why you’re qualified, how to contact you, when to hire you and how connected and relevant you are. It’s often the first place someone will look for information about you when they are considering doing business with you.

At a minimum, make sure your profile is updated with your current title and a description of what you do. Upload a current photo of yourself, and make sure your contact information is accurate.

2. Look for content in everyday activities
“Content” can be a scary word for people who are just getting into social media marketing. I talk to a lot of brokers who have the impression that they need to invest time creating long, insightful and witty articles if they want to participate on social media. They don’t always recognize the value of their expertise and don’t realize that they are constantly creating content in the course of a normal day.

Content can exist in an email that you send to a client responding to a technical question about an insurance policy. It can be an answer to a question that an employee asks you at an open enrollment meeting, or it can be in a conversation you have with a referral source about a prospective client’s needs. It only takes a few minutes to repurpose those responses into informative content that you can share on social media.

3. Identify FAQs & SAQs
Here’s my favorite exercise for creating content: Spend a few minutes writing down five frequently asked questions (FAQs) that you often hear in different professional situations. For example, what do people ask you about flood insurance? What do customers most often ask when considering deductible amounts? What are the common questions clients ask about new car insurance?

In addition, consider the should-ask questions (SAQs) that you wish people asked you more often. For example, what should homeowners consider when doing a home remodel? What should individuals know about cyber coverage? What should renters think about when moving into a new rental? Each of these can generate short Q&A posts or become the foundation for a longer article.

4. Be positive, timely & authentic
Your social media presence is often the first way prospective clients, vendors and referral partners learn about you. Your content should be an authentic reflection of what it’s like to do business with you.

  • Are you informative, helpful and knowledgeable?
  • Are you enthusiastic about what you do?
  • How do you handle challenges?
  • What are your thoughts about current events in your industry, and how are you advising your clients?

Your content is an indication of what it’s like to work with you, and it will often be the first step in the valuable know-like-trust relationship cycle.

5. Spend 10 minutes each day
Once you identify the content that you are creating during the course of your day, you only need to set aside a few minutes each day to share it.

I highly recommend using a social media management tool like Buffer or Hootsuite. They make sharing easy, allowing you to post one piece of content over multiple platforms, and schedule posts for future distribution. Using a social media management tool also allows you to post without getting distracted by those productivity-killing notifications and cat videos.

While there can be a lot more to social media marketing, it doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t require a lot of technical skill, writing skill, or time. Follow these easy-to-implement tips to ensure that you have control over your online presence.

Tags:  insurance agency  marketing  social media  strategy 

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2 Ways Social Media Renewed My Faith in the Independent Agent

Posted By Matt Naimoli, Thursday, March 8, 2018

Between geckos, aprons, quarterbacks, and mayhem, how does the local independent insurance agent gain enough attention to grow?

from PropertyCasualty360.com, February 28, 2018

The P&C insurance industry, especially personal lines, is noisy! Between geckos, aprons, quarterbacks, and mayhem, how does the local independent insurance agent gain enough attention to grow? How can a small agency compete with the ad dollars in our space?

How does an aspiring new agent build a value proposition compelling enough to make a dent? These are the questions anyone from the outside would ask. These are the questions my parents asked me when we decided to leave a top 5 national carrier and open from scratch 8 years ago.

1. Social media levels the playing field

We gained a ton of traction as a fast growing agency the first 5 years through effective networking and hustle, but it wasn’t until we started investing serious time and resources in to social media that we realized how effective it could be to fight the goliaths. There has never been a business tool so powerful.

As a “small” independent, we feel like we have the upper hand against the insurance giants of the world. They can spend their billions on billboards, TV segments, professional sport sponsorships and celebrity endorsements.

On social, attention is underpriced, it’s easy to target your specific audience, it allows you to build and spread brand at a much faster clip than ever before. You can leverage it for marketing your brand and you can leverage it for lead generation.

The options are impressive and we’re only in the 2nd inning of social development. It’s not too late to get involved! Educate yourself on the tools available, design a strategy that aligns with your brand and goals, and then go all in and stick to it.

2. Social media offers virtual support groups

Our impression one, three, even five years in to growing our agency was that there was no one else like us. There were thousands of agencies and hundreds of very successful ones, but few if any were intensely interested and motivated to grow organically at a fast clip.

We’d talk to carrier marketing reps and ask for introductions, but other than a few connections, we felt like we were on an island with a handful of like-minded insurance agents. It wasn’t until we joined IAOA, a Facebook group for insurance agency owners, that we realized how wrong we were.

Facebook groups allow digital communities to grow, develop, and prosper like never before. Insurance Agency Owners Alliance is a FB group of thousands of agency principals looking to be better together. The group is led by Nick Ayers and Dave Jackson, who believe that selflessness, innovation, and collaboration is what is most needed in our channel.

Every day there are agency owners from across the country sharing challenges, successes and new tools in an effort to lift the group up as a whole. Most are focused on growing their agency the right way by being aware of avoidable pitfalls. The sense of give is strong and refreshing.

We would have never been exposed to so many amazing people within the industry all focused on the same core initiatives and interests if it wasn’t for social media. If you’re an agency owner, ask to join the group this second.

Tags:  independent agent  social media 

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