Use the social web to get out of the agency
One of the biggest factors working against widespread agency social media integration is the perception that it takes away from “real work” and somehow robs agents of their productivity. Disclaimer: Social media is not for everyone…but insurance agents who can parlay a genuine, helpful, bubbly, humorous, informative, trend-setting or spirited persona into a tangible and productive web presence; are wasting an opportunity by not engaging.
Polished computer and communication skills offer an inherent advantage in almost any office setting, and the insurance agency is no different. Building connections (generating leads) through social media is possible, but it takes patience with a dose of selflessness and dedication mixed in with the occasional self-promotion. The bottom line = converted leads, but an effective social web presence truly is about more than profits.
Linda Stone, a brilliant blogger and contributor to the New York Times, Harvard Business Review, The Economist and many more introduced a concept called “Continuous Partial Attention” explaining it as,
“To pay continuous partial attention is to pay partial attention — CONTINUOUSLY. It is motivated by a desire to be a LIVE node on the network. Another way of saying this is that we want to connect and be connected. We want to effectively scan for opportunity and optimize for the best opportunities, activities, and contacts, in any given moment. To be busy, to be connected, is to be alive, to be recognized, and to matter.”
Any insurance agency in America would benefit from having one person who can use the Internet and social media to achieve what Linda Stone describes above. Sure, it’s possible to survive without an insurance website or social networking plan, but the days of print are fading, and research shows that companies with a social web presence are more appealing to consumers, so why ignore what’s working so well for so many?
One of the best ideas I’ve heard an agent come up with to justify the use of social media, was to promise the agency owner she would set one out-of-office business appointment per week via her social media efforts. Hesitant at first, he agreed, with the added condition that she keep track of other community members active on social media. The result, business they’ve never expected is FINDING THEM based on outreach she’s done, and the agency now has a larger digital and public footprint, just from one person’s use of social media.
Insurance marketing is a blended strategy. A strategic social media presence won’t manage your agency, but it can play a critical role in reputation management, lead generation, brand awareness and actually giving employees MORE PRODUCTIVE work to do. Imagine that.