Insurance Marketing HQ

Social Media For Insurance Marketing 101: Know What’s Trending

Posted on Apr 21, 2014

By Deirdre Weedon

Staying up of popular topics is an important practice if you manage your agency’s social media presence. You want to garner social networking ideasattention, but you want to make sure what you’re posting fits your image. Many social media channels have trend tracking tools which make it easy to know what topics are being heavily searched and discussed. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+ all have that capability. Monitoring trends on each of these social networks is a little different, but they all have one thing in common—the hashtag.

Hashtagging

Let’s talk about hashtags. Most people using social media are familiar with hashtags by now. Using them on social media came about in 2007 on Twitter. However, now many other social networks use them, too, including Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram.

A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#) that is used to identify messages on a particular topic such as #SmallBiz, #RelayForLife, and #MarchMadness. Think of them as a label for content that allows users to find related content. You can search with hashtags on search engines and social networks.

Insurance marketing pro tip: Make sure you do some research before you use a #hashtag on social media to make sure others are using it in the same way you plan to use it.

Listening to your channels

There are many articles online with advice about how businesses can use hashtags to enhance their social media presence. The most important piece of advice is to listen on the social networks you use. Listen to what the public is saying about your industry, business, and the community. Listen to what is said about current events. Use hashtags to listen and as you listen, think about incorporating some of these ideas to engage your audience and increase followers.

  • When you are at an industry event that has a hashtag associated with it, share information about your agency’s participation at the event. Keep it positive and useful. (E.g., The Abc Agency is @ #XyzConference today! Come hear us on a panel with #123Carrier about Key Challenges in the Life Insurance Industry.)
  • Promote charitable drives and events with hashtags. (E.g., Abc Agency is holding a food drive for victims of #LocalFlood. Thanks for your generosity! Please bring canned goods to our agency by 3/25.)
  • Post timely safety tips (E.g., Stay safe of the roads this afternoon, the snow is piling up out there in #TownOfYourAgency. #badweather)

Be creative. Be brief. Use an informal voice. Add images to your posts. Share content from others. Focus on one or two social networks. Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ are good choices. Respond to comments, retweets, and messages. Remember to listen!

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Successful Social Media Campaigns Showcase Community Service

Posted on Apr 14, 2014

By Coburn Childs

You have set your agency up with a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a LinkedIn profile, and other social media outlets. But how Business group in front of a world mapis your strategy for connecting with your followers at the local level? Now is the time to consider a partnership with a non-profit organization or participate in community service!

Studies show that businesses that partner with efforts in the community are more likely to gain the support of customers. As such, the most successful social media campaigns will often be focused on emphasizing community involvement.

Here are some tips on steps to take!

Finding a Worthy Cause

Your community is full of ways to get involved, so start by finding a cause that your company cares about. Your agency may see opportunities for regular community service, ways to donate financial support, or outlets to use your professional skills for the benefit of others in need. If you have ideas for getting involved, don’t be afraid to jump right in! Making a difference and seeing results starts with partnership in your community.

Partnership and Involvement

Once you’ve found the cause your agency cares about, it is time to get involved. If your company wants to make a difference in the community, it cannot happen without involvement in the community. By making your presence known, the reputation of your business will continue to grow. Not to mention, you will build your brand. Now, you’re poised to utilize social media outlets to showcase your efforts!

Utilizing Social Media Outlets

Social media trends often show high levels of user engagement and interaction with Facebook posts that are geared toward community. If your business is involved in a local event, if you have ideas on how to make a difference, or if you want to highlight some efforts you’ve made with a local non-profit, then post about it! Utilize Twitter for links to articles, make Facebook a showcase for pictures, and connect on LinkedIn for a partnership that serves a purpose.

The most successful social media campaigns are interesting, engaging, and eclectic. Social media campaigns are useful for showcasing how multifaceted, caring, and involved your company can be. Utilize your various social media outlets to show how you are involved in community service, and watch the impact it will have on your business.

About the Author
Coburn Childs is a creative mind and young professional based in Providence, RI. In recent years, he’s blogged on a number of topics, from the insurance industry to Hollywood’s box office trends, from communication theories to religious topics, from food to movies, and everything in between. He’s also a self-described social media nut! Currently, he works as an Inbound Marketing Specialist for Astonish.

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LinkedIn For Businesses: Changes To Company Pages

Posted on Apr 7, 2014

By Hannah Beacham

As we have discussed before, social media marketing is always changing. On the heels of the changes Facebook made to business pages, LinkedIn has announced two social medianew tools to help small businesses market smarter on their company pages. In the midst of the organic decline of Facebook’s business page algorithm, this is a welcome site for companies looking for information on performance and how to market their messages on the platform.

The first of these significant changes for LinkedIn is their “Content Marketing Score.” In short, this offering is a form of insights for business pages. The report measures engagement with employee updates, LinkedIn groups, sponsored updates, and more. The engagement is then ranked against your competitors, giving your insurance agency the control to filter what types of companies match your business model the closest. Some of these factors include region, number of employees, industry, and more. You can request your score card through LinkedIn or for a taste of how it appears check out their infographic.

Insurance application: While the infographic leads us to believe this is a more effective strategy for large businesses, it can still be useful to the independent insurance agent. For those agencies focusing on business to business or commercial insurance, being able to pinpoint your direct competitors and companies in the area can be a true asset.

The second of the LinkedIn updates is “Trending Content.” Jumping on Facebook and Twitter’s coat tails, LinkedIn has now integrated a way to see what topics are trending well on the platform. Additionally, the social platform breaks it down by topic segment. For example: insurance, finance, IT, marketing, etc. Once you choose your topic segment you are then able to see the specific topics under that category.

Insurance application: If this tool performs the way it is advertised, the ability to derive quality trending content for blogs and social media posts could be invaluable. Being able to see what topics are trending specifically in the insurance industry, and what topics have trended well over time, is ideal when flushing out your editorial calendar.

Since these new tools launched less than a month ago, we will see how well they perform for small businesses over time. Looking for more information on LinkedIn Strategies for your agency? Check out the full strategy guide LinkedIn for Insurance Agents or sign up for  the Astonish webinar on April 8, 2014.

About The Author
Hannah Beacham is an Inbound Marketing Specialist at Astonish. Fanatical about helping small businesses reach their full marketing potential, she utilizes marketing best practices to implement effective strategies on the web. Hannah is involved in a wide array of inbound marketing activities – from social media all the way to SEO. After a long day of decoding the complexities of the world of inbound marketing, Hannah likes to unwind by taking her creative energy to the next level – cooking, baking, decorating, shopping, and of course, crafting.

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A Guide To Email Signatures For Insurance Agents

Posted on Mar 31, 2014

By

It wasn’t long ago that the majority of business communication was done over the phone or via U.S. Mail. You remember, the days when we couldn’t text message people or had to know how to format a return address for the post office? Nowadays, however, it seems communication between company and customer, company and vendor, etc. is done mostly via email.

Just like with your traditional communication methods of yesteryear, it’s a good idea to put your personal stamp on all the digital correspondence you send out; not only for brand recognition, but for consistency as well. You can do this by setting up a custom email signature, which can act as your online business card.

Having a custom email signature is a popular trend in online business today, as it gives people the chance to locate the sender email marketingeasier, and of course it creates brand consistency with a subtle touch of personality. Plus, by including your agency’s signature, your messages will be less likely to be marked as spam.

What Should Your Custom Email Signature Include?

At the very least, your agency signature should provide basic contact information, including your phone number, email address, and website. (Be sure to make your website name a hyperlink so that one click will bring readers to your site). But that’s just the beginning. You can also add photos, logos, social media buttons, testimonials, special offers and more.

A quick note however about adding too much “flare” to your email signature; there is such thing as too much “flare”. Everyone thinks they are a designer at times but a wide spectrum of photos, fonts, colors, and pictures can have an adverse affect. Live by the rule of “keeping it simple” and you’ll have hit the mark with a custom digital signature that promotes your business as a professional and organized insurance agency.

Here are five email signature ideas designed specifically for insurance agents or risk managers:

  1. Link to your “Get a Quote” page. This is probably the most important. The easiest way to do this is to have text at the bottom of your signature that says something like, “Get your free insurance quote.” This should link to your optimized contact form or quote landing page.
    • Pro Tip: Take this one step further with a response email. After the prospect has submitted their information, send an automated “trigger” email letting them know you’ve received their information and have begun working on their request. Of course this email should also have your agency’s branded email signature.
  2. Link to your social profiles. There’s no easier way to grow the number of Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and LinkedIn connections you have than by making it easy for people to connect with you. Add direct buttons to your signature that people can click on. In addition to growing your professional network, this also builds credibility because people who do not connect with you may still learn more about your company while trying to decide whether to buy insurance from you.
  3. Link to a YouTube video or channel. If you’ve been interviewed by a TV reporter recently, or have a commercial running for your insurance agency, add a link to your digital signature that prospects can click on to learn more about you.
    • Ensure that any social channel you link to from your signature is well developed, not just a single post or video. The more developed each of these channels, the more credibility your pages and ultimately your insurance agency will have.
  4. Showcase a startling insurance fact. By connecting yourself with your industry, you can showcase yourself as a leader. A good fact to provide may be something like this: “Average apartment fire claim: $21,000; Average renter’s insurance policy: $.75 a day.” Numbers like this might pique someone’s interest. Remember that it’s easier to get people’s attention when you’re talking about their money.
  5. Link to online reviews. Having positive online reviews for your insurance agency on Google, Yelp, Yahoo Local, and others can boost your search rankings and increase phone calls because you look more trustworthy. If you’re very confident in the quality of your service, add links directly to those profiles to make it easy for people to give you a review.

While you may think all five of these ideas are good ones, don’t overdo it!

Pick one or two to try. If you give people too many options they tend to ignore all of them because they don’t know what to do or you end up re-directing them away from your intended goal of getting new contacts and new business. Having too many links in your signature can also land your message in a recipient’s SPAM folder, a place you don’t want to end up!

About The Author
Justin Brown is an insurance marketing expert working as the Marketing Content Manager for the Bankrate Insurance companies NetQuote, InsureMe, and AgentInsider. He provides insurance agents and risk management advisors with the latest news and marketing tips to help them grow their business.

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Google’s New Search Engine Results Page Layout

Posted on Mar 24, 2014

By Shawna Arnold

You may have already noticed a change in the way your search results are appearing on Google. For some, the change may seem subtle. For those of you who may be avid search users and/or keep up with industry trends, this change may seem more significant. The recent updates to the layout of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) involved the formatting of paid advertising, fonts, and overall layout.

The Old Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)

 

Old Google Search Engine Results Page

Even before Google changed their SERP layout, search users were presented with different types of results based on a number of different factors: their queries, locations, browser settings, search history, and more. Local insurance searches oftentimes brought up results like the page shown above, with a few paid advertisements up top and on the sidebar, several local map results, and perhaps some organic results. The paid results at the top of the page were contained in a light yellow box, as a way to separate them from the organic and local map results. Also, all links in Google’s SERPs were underlined, regardless of whether the link was for a paid, organic, or local result.

The NEW Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)

As of March 12, 2014, Google announced that after some testing, it officially changed the way that their SERPs appeared. They detailed the changes as such:

  • Increase font size on result titles
  • Removal of underlines on links
  • Evened line heights
  • New ad labels (as used in mobile results)

These changes were made with hopes to improve readability and create a cleaner look overall. The changes also foster more consistency amongst desktop and mobile search results. Here is what a local insurance search results page might look like for you today: NEW SERPs - March 2014 You will notice that the overall layout is more or less the same. The big differences lie in the formatting of the fonts, links, and paid advertisements.

As is Google’s prerogative, we’re sure they’ll test more layouts and features for the search results pages in the future.

Overall, the latest changes support Google’s overall mission of bringing valuable (and relevant) results to search users. Certainly, the readability and ease of navigation through Google’s results plays a part in their value.

How do you feel about the changes? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.

About The Author
Shawna Arnold is the Inbound Marketing Manager at Astonish, specializing in SEO and content marketing. She has been with Astonish for five years, allowing her to work closely with a variety of insurance agencies all over the country.  She has a passion for SEO, content, social media, and all things inbound marketing. She thrives on educating small businesses and individuals on inbound marketing through blogging, eBooks, white papers, and more.

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Insurance Marketing Game Changer: New Tool For Social Media

Posted on Mar 3, 2014

By Hannah Beacham

At Astonish, we are social media enthusiasts and get excited when we see something especially useful. Recently, our Inbound Marketing team Feedly Imagecame across a site that puts the world of social media content at your finger tips!  If used in your insurance marketing strategy today, you can really stand out with fresh and timely content.

How To Keep Your Insurance Marketing Social Media Topics Fresh and Timely: Content Generator Tool

The site is feedly.com and it is truly a game changer. Here’s what it offers to your current insurance marketing and social media strategy:

  • Organization– The best thing about Feedly is it offers a place to add all the best sites from around the web into one easy to use dashboard. If you are especially into current news, this is a place where you can see articles from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and your Local News all in one place.
  • Top stories - Feedly is 100% customizable so no matter what site you find interesting you can make sure you are getting the latest information and most popular articles to your newsfeed.
  • Segregate content- We all have a wide variety of interests and Feedly gets that. With the organization of grouping sites by topic, it’s easy to see what’s trending in insurance vs. what the best recipe on Food Networks Blog is at the same time. On the other hand you can select just one topic if you are just focused on business news etc.
  • Find new content– Once you have all your favorite sites, Feedly starts to recommend more sites that you may find interesting. This is where it gets really fun, you may discover your new favorite blog or relevant business articles to post on social from a new site you have never heard of.

How you can use it in your insurance marketing strategy:

  • Create different groups pertaining to your agency- The best thing to get started with Feedly is think about the different types of content you want to access. Start with insurance news and move on from there.
  • Share the content on social media- Once you start following content and can see it all in front of you, get inspired. Maybe there is a great article about flood insurance in the New York Times that is really timely, use that as fuel for a blog about flood insurance or share the article on your agencies Facebook and Twitter.
  • Stay on top of industry news- Browsing all the news sites, or agency blogs is time consuming, and as an agency owner you need relevant news now. This is why staying on top of what’s going on in the insurance field is easier than ever with Feedly.

Try it out and let us know what you think about it! If you have any other great ways to aggregate content for your insurance marketing needs, let us know.

About The Author

Hannah Beacham is an Inbound Marketing Specialist at Astonish. Fanatical about helping small businesses reach their full marketing potential, she utilizes marketing best practices to implement effective strategies on the web. Hannah is involved in a wide array of inbound marketing activities – from social media all the way to SEO. After a long day of decoding the complexities of the world of inbound marketing, Hannah likes to unwind by taking her creative energy to the next level – cooking, baking, decorating, shopping, and of course, crafting.

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