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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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How to Use LinkedIn Mobile Find Nearby

Posted By Steve Anderson, Wednesday, April 17, 2019

from SteveAnderson.com

Find Nearby gives you the ability to find other LinkedIn members who are nearby, using your mobile device.

This feature will provide you with opportunities to network with other LinkedIn members by quickly finding and connecting with people around you at conferences, events and more that are close to you.

To protect your privacy, you’ll need to opt-in to use this feature, and you’ll only be discoverable when you are on the Find Nearby page. Find Nearby is turned OFF by default. LinkedIn doesn’t track, monitor, or store your precise location data.

Using your mobile device, you can find other LinkedIn members in your surrounding vicinity of up to 100 feet (30 meters). If both you and another member have the feature active, you can send a message or invite them to connect.

How to Use LinkedIn Find Nearby

It is easy to use the Find Nearby feature:

  1. Activate Bluetooth on your mobile device.
  2. In the LinkedIn mobile app, tap the My Network tab.
  3. Tap Find nearby at the top of the screen. 
  4. You may be prompted to allow LinkedIn to connect to your device Accessories, which will allow Bluetooth to work with the LinkedIn mobile app. Follow the prompts or navigate to your settings directly to update your preferences:
    – Tap Enable > tap OK.
    – Tap Enable Bluetooth sharing > toggle to allow LinkedIn to access Bluetooth Sharing.
  5. Once you’ve enabled Bluetooth sharing, you can discover others nearby while viewing the Find Nearby screen.
  6. You’ll see a list of people who currently have the Find Nearby feature active. Tap the name of the member’s profile you want to view.
  7. If that member is already a connection, you can send them a message. If not, you can invite them to connect.

Note: This feature is currently only available on the LinkedIn mobile app.

Because Android sometimes bundles permissions, you may be prompted to allow LinkedIn to access the location, microphone, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth on your mobile device. LinkedIn does not receive any details of your location or connection data or audio recordings for this feature. This is because the data processing is done on your mobile device itself, not on LinkedIn servers.

This feature uses Google Nearby technology to locate other LinkedIn members near you.

It is an excellent little tool that is easy and works quite well.

Tags:  LinkedIn 

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Data is our Agency's Future

Posted By Chris Paradiso, Wednesday, April 3, 2019

from ParadisoPresents.com

Chris Paradiso highly successful independent insurance agency owner and marketing expert will be our featured speaker on May 10th at our PIA of Kentucky Annual Meeting.

Data is extremely important to your Agency. Why? It’s simple; you can’t improve what you and your agency aren’t measuring. Measurement is key!

I can assure you that it doesn’t matter how big or small your agency is. You and your agency has data within your management system that is readily available to you, and when understood, it can have an enormous impact on your agency’s future success.

Data can and will give you a snapshot of how you’re presently doing and forecast future successes and failures. That data can and will help you better plan where you want to go and how you’re going to get there.

Have you ever sat down and looked at how other industries are using data to better understand their prospects and customers? Think about how Amazon, Apple, or any professional sports team uses your order and search histories to recommend products to you that you’re more likely to buy based on what you were looking at. Or, how Netflix does the same thing with what you watch and what it thinks you’re going to want to watch next. It’s a simple process, they use the data that is already there to predict what direction things are going in.

The more you know about your prospects and customers, the better your chances are in getting them as clients and keeping them for the long hull. The more they know about your agency, the more successful you’ll be as well. Insurance sales are based on three things: ease of purchase, trust, and the customer experience.

There are all kinds of data you and your agency can and should collect.

You can track data on your prospects and clients such as emails, birthdates, locations, current carrier, lead source (Facebook, referral, TV ad, or billboard etc…). Are you collecting data on your agency’s net promoter scores? We use Rocket Referrals to do this in our agency. The million dollar question is, are you collecting this information?

You can track data on your agency’s performance, such as revenue by line of business, mono lines business, the amount of retention premium verse retention rate, gross premium per staff, amount of business per carrier, or location. Then there’s closing ratios, loss ratios per carrier, retention rates, retention premiums, and new business written. There is a whole lot that each and everyone of us should be tracking, but the question is, are we?

You should also be tracking by producer performance such as activity (how many quotes), X dates, closing ratios, and policy count per household. We’ve found that it’s important for producers to track number of calls made per day/week, because activity always leads to apptivity. Remember – all the data in the world doesn’t mean a thing if it’s not quality data and entered into the right areas inside your agency management system.

If your agency has a management system then you have data and that’s a good start. The first step I would recommend is to analyze the data and whether it’s being properly put in to the management system, because quality and clean data is key to mapping out future successes along with helping you improve where your agency is struggling.

Without data can’t tell the current state of your agency. You can also learn a tremendous amount about your agency’s sales and service activities with clean data. Most management systems allow you to pull reports to see how much new business you wrote last month, and then compare it to the same time the prior year. But remember, clean data is when you have processes and procedures implemented that has your team recording clients. For example, you rewrite a client from one carrier to another, but when that downloads it will appear as new business if not recorded properly. When I say clean data, this is what I mean.  You can see cancellations and expiring policies. Other data we must monitor is agency fees (if you charge them because it can alter your growth numbers) and reconcile your commissions.

Another piece of technology data that is overlooked is the data in your comparative rater. This data can give you insight into your sales process and your sales pipeline as well. It helps with tracking where your leads are coming from. Do you know how many quotes does your agency or producers do in a day, week, month, or even year? How many of those quotes does the agency/producer bind (closing ratio) per year or their success on closing? How did the prospect contact you; was it from Facebook, text or phone call? This is all super important data that must be tracked.

Let’s dive into your agency’s website. First and foremost, please don’t tell me you don’t have one! If you do have one, but you aren’t measuring the data points we are going to talk about then it’s nothing more than a phone directory. Your website holds a tremendous amount of very valuable data. Your website can track who’s coming to your website and how they found you. Did they land on your agency site from a carrier’s site, a backlink, or did they directly type your website address in? More great data is did they come from a smartphone to your site, or with a desktop computer? What hours are your visitors coming in at? All of this data will help your marketing team and also help you understand with what’s working and what’s not. You can’t improve if your not measuring.

We have established the importance of management systems and rating systems in the collection of data.  Now let’s take a minute to talk about VOIP phone systems. With VOIP (voice over IP) you can measure everything possible along with recording calls through your phone system’s dashboard on the computer. You can look at numbers such as how many calls per week are being made, and it’s also great to use recorded calls for coaching.

The critical part of all these systems… You need to invest in training your team on to collect data and properly place it into the right areas in your systems.

Educate and train your team on all your systems and on sales we must invest in our team! Share with them why you need this data, why it’s so important, and how it’s going to help them understand on how they are doing and the agency. Make sure each teammate understands all aspects of the data, so they see why it is so critical we all place data in the right areas.

Then start measuring and hold them (teammates) accountable if they’re not entering data in the right areas or if they’re entering bad data. Clean data is key!

When you use your agency’s available data, you can uncover so many opportunities to round out accounts and also help retention. You’ll identify clients of one or two lines of business that you can then market and sell another line of business to.

It’s cheaper and easier to market to existing clients because they already know and trust you. If you want to increase revenue, start with running the reports that will show you cross selling opportunities and then create a strategy to sell more policies to existing clients.

Data is critical to our agency as should be to your agency because its vital to the success and future. You and your agency have so much data available to you in the management systems you’re already using. Facebook and Google only dreams of having the data we have we just haven’t realized how to use in our favor and I hope this article helps you.

So, take a look at the reports both in your management system and comparative rater. Check out your Google Analytics; remember it’s a free tool that will help you understand your website traffic and pull things together for you.

Data is a game changer for each and everyone of our agencies, it is the field of diamonds in our backyard.

Tags:  annual meeting  Chris Paradiso  data 

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Social Media is a Puzzle

Posted By Chris Paradiso, Wednesday, March 13, 2019

from paradisopresents.com

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!

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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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