Has your agency wanted to get more involved with giving back? It can be difficult to know where to start – Do you send a check? Do you ask for donations? Do you volunteer your time? Remember that you have an amazing resource at your fingertips: social media! Your social networks aren’t just for insurance marketing, they provide the perfect starting point for social good. Here are a few of our favorite tips for giving back and helping out:
- Share articles and information. To get started, try sharing links to articles about local or national charities. The more people who read about a charity’s work, the more likely they’ll be to help. Every share (including yours) helps! You can ask your employees about their favorite charities and read your local news sources to learn what’s going on in your neighborhood.
- Choose a charity. If you like, you can focus all your support on one charity of choice. Choose something close to your heart, or brainstorm with your employees to find a local or national charity that means a lot to one of them. Write about the charity often on your page, and link back to their website. Share their events, fundraising efforts, and anything else they publish. Remember: charities often have limited resources, so every little bit you do really helps.
- Promote your offline efforts, online. Chances are, you are already supporting local charities offline. Perhaps your employees are running a 5k to raise money, or you have a collection box in your office. Write about these things on your social networks! Encourage people to stop by and drop off a donation, or come out to an event and participate.
- Run a like or retweet campaign. Many agencies like to run like or retweet campaigns. For instance, you can promise that every new like on your Facebook Page until a certain date equals a $1 donation to a certain organization. Promote this heavily on your Page, mentioning the organization your supporting in your post. This is good for everyone, as you’ll get more likes on your Page, and the organization will get a donation! You can also do this on Twitter, by tweeting, “For every retweet of this tweet by midnight tonight, we’ll donate $1 to ABCFoundation!” Be sure to include a link to the charity so people can learn more.
- Partner with other local businesses. Maybe your agency isn’t in a position to donate a large amount of money. That’s fine – there are still things you can do! Talk to other businesses in your neighborhood to see what they’re doing to help charitable organizations and ask if you can participate. You can help promote the efforts through your social networks.
- Get creative. There are hundreds of ways to help and give back to your community. Sit down with your employees and have a brainstorm session. You’re bound to come up with some extremely creative ideas!
Choose an option that’s right for you and your agency, and start giving back. Studies have shown that giving back makes companies more successful in the long run, so it’s a win-win all around!
If you’re a frequent reader of Insurance Marketing HQ, you know we’re all about blogging. It’s a great tool for SEO, the perfect way to establish yourself as an expert in your industry, and just an overall a wonderful resource for insurance marketing. In the past, we’ve covered topics like blog inspiration and touched on promoting your blog posts. But what if you want to go above and beyond?
You write an amazing post, publish it, and then what? Social media is a great place to get your name and your blog out there! Here are some tips for content writers using social media:
- Use the big networks. Make sure you have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If you’re comfortable with it, go for Google+, too. On Twitter, try using your blog’s name as your username. Do the same with your Facebook vanity URL. Have a link to your blog in your public profile.
- Share posts. When you post a new blog, share it on each platform. We recommend using link shortening services like bit.ly, which can help you track clicks back to your post. Include a short (one or two lines) blurb about the post to interest readers. Occasionally, share older posts as well. If you wrote a post a few weeks ago about the dangers of texting while driving, and your state just initiated a ban on texting, share your older post! It’s still timely.
- Interact and engage. Make sure you share your posts, but don’t forget to interact. The whole point of social media is to have a conversation. Don’t wait for people to come to you – go find users talking about the topics you’re writing about, and start commenting or tweeting with them! Follow accounts, like pages, and join groups. Participate in intelligent conversations to establish yourself as an expert.
- Be friendly. Happily promote other blogger’s content – they just might return the favor!
- Avoid self-promotion. Don’t sign off every comment with a link back to your blog – you’ll just look like spam. Instead, be genuine! People will be more likely to interact with you and trust you, and eventually click back to your blog.
Remember that this will take time. You’ll need to establish yourself as an expert, as a good writer, and as a genuine person. As much as we all sit behind screens, we still like to know that an actual person wrote what we’re about to read. So go ahead and have fun with it. When you give your network good content, a friendly attitude, and valuable information, they’ll want to read what you’re writing!
It’s something we hear all the time: how do I know if my social media efforts are working? If this is a question you’ve asked yourself, you’ll first need to start by deciding what “success” means to you and your agency.
Social media success can come in many forms, and only you can decide what success looks like for you. For instance, is it a high level of engagement on your Facebook page? Is it valuable conversations on Twitter? It is referrals to your website, or is it a high level of lead conversion? Most likely, it will be a combination of all of these. Once you set goals, you’ll know what to measure!
- Forget about hard numbers. You may be used to looking at charts and spreadsheets telling you exactly how successful your other insurance marketing efforts have been. Understand that you will not have such cut and dry information when it comes to social media. People will read your posts, but they may not always call you to get a quote. Remember that brand awareness is a success, and the more people interact with you online, the more aware they are of your company.
- Examine engagement. When an individual has a meaningful interaction with your agency, they will remember it. Take a look at all your social profiles to see how many interactions you’re getting, but remember that it’s not all about the numbers. It’s quality over quantity when it comes to engagement! Facebook’s insights feature has some great tools to see which types of posts are most popular with your fans, and a quick Google search for “Twitter analytics” will provide you with hundreds of options for looking at engagement on Twitter. As time goes on and you manage your social media sites, you’ll know which types of content get you the best interactions.
- Are people talking about you? One of the best things about social media is that it’s so easy to share information with others. Count it as a huge success if your name is coming up in positive online conversations! It can be difficult to catch every single mention of your company online, but you can start by setting up Google alerts and using some other free tools to monitor these conversations.
One of the most difficult things to understand is the idea that social media success is not easily measured with metrics. But don’t worry; once you focus on creating value and interacting with your customers, you will absolutely see results!
These days, it can be difficult to find great customer service. Go into your local big box store and ask a question and you’ll likely be met with blank stares or a snide remark. But contrary to popular belief, great customer service is not dead! A dying art maybe, but not totally dead – and your agency can bring it back.
You are already providing great customer service in person and over the phone, but if you’re not taking advantage of social media, you are missing out on a huge opportunity for customer service!
Your insurance social networking sites are the perfect place to speak to customers and help them with their issues. Your clients are already on these sites talking to one another (possibly about you), so it’s your responsibility to become part of the conversation. But how?
- Seek out customers talking about you. Do a quick Twitter and Facebook search for your agency name, and any variations of it. Be proactive and respond to people who are talking about you, even if they’re not asking you a question.
- Answer as soon as possible. When someone posts something directly to you, do your best to answer as soon as possible. Try setting up alerts for your phone or email so you get a notification the second someone mentions you. Responding quickly shows customers that you care about what they have to say.
- Answer every single message. Don’t skip over anyone, because that person will see you’ve responded to others and become upset. Ignoring a customer on social media is the equivalent of hanging up on someone while on the phone.
- Direct the customer to another outlet, if necessary. If the issue is personal, or requires you to gain more information about the customer, urge them to call you or email you. You do not want to invade anyone’s privacy publicly.
- Let each interaction serve as an example. When a customer visits your Facebook or Twitter pages and sees you’ve been answering questions and thanking customers, you’ll gain more credibility. Try not to delete posts without responding. There are exceptions to this rule of course (inappropriate content, etc.), so use your best judgment.
- Keep track of issues. To cover yourself, try taking screenshots of every post you respond to; you’ll have a record of what was originally posted in case something goes wrong. You can also take a good look at the most common questions and use this information to improve your own services.
It’s important to remember bad news travels at the speed of light on sites like Facebook and Twitter, so if someone has a bad experience and writes about it, it’s imperative that you rectify the situation immediately. And don’t forget that everything you put out there online is public. Be friendly, calm, and helpful, and you’ll have a huge community of supporters in no time!
Mention YouTube, and some people picture cats playing the piano, or FedEx drivers throwing fragile electronics over fences. But YouTube is a gem for marketers in virtually all industries. The video sharing site turned six last year, and on its birthday we learned that YouTube is now the second most popular search engine behind Google. It’s larger than Facebook and Twitter, and averages three billion views per day.
These statistics prove that YouTube is overflowing with opportunity for insurance agency marketing. But how do you start? Here are some tips for turning your YouTube presence into dollars:
- Build your profile. Just like on other social networking sites, YouTube encourages you to fill out a profile. Make sure you include links to your website, Facebook, and Twitter, and write a search-engine friendly description of your agency.
- Post videos! This is the most obvious way to utilize YouTube, but be careful. People don’t want to watch commercials for your products. Instead, record videos that answer questions your viewers may have. For example, you could record a series of videos that explain different types of business insurance. Keep them short and sweet – try not to run longer than two or three minutes!
- Use it as a community. YouTube allows you to like, favorite, share, and comment on videos easily. Network with people on YouTube just as you would on Facebook or Twitter! Comment on relevant videos and share videos that you find interesting.
- Cross-promote. Don’t expect people to find your video just because it’s on your YouTube channel. When you record something, share it on your Facebook page, your Twitter profile, and everywhere else you can think of. Include the link to your YouTube channel on your business cards, website, and in your email signature. As long as you provide quality, informative content that isn’t overly promotional, people will watch!
- Interact regularly. Yes, your video is there to stay once it’s uploaded; unlike on Facebook or Twitter, it won’t get “pushed down” the News Feed. But as we’ve said, YouTube isn’t just about uploading and watching videos. Remember to log on regularly to comment, like, and share!
YouTube is an excellent resource for insurance marketing. With the right mix of relevant uploads and interactions, you’ll be well on your way to building a great YouTube presence!