Joe has been an insurance professional for 15 years, and he has amassed quite a bit of industry experience. Last year he realized social media could be a powerful marketing tool, so he signed up for a Facebook account, made some contacts, and began posting to his audience. He posted three times per week, reminding his audience what a great insurance professional he is, and how successful he had become in the past 15 years. And yet, Joe grew perplexed when his social media marketing efforts didn’t generate the leads he had expected. His posts were rarely liked or shared, and he didn’t gain any new clients from his Facebook marketing efforts. Joe forgot that social media marketing is an entirely different form of marketing.
Joe was trying to use traditional marketing techniques – the ones that had worked in the past, before social media – but they weren’t working in this new environment.
Joe didn’t realize that the type of content he posted was the key to getting the attention of his target audience. And he was posting all the wrong things.
Whether you’re in the beginning stages of a social media marketing plan, or you’ve been at it for quite some time, it may help to remind yourself how social media marketing differs tremendously from traditional marketing strategies. Otherwise, you could be going about your social media strategy in a completely wrong way. Not only can you fail to achieve the results you want; you may actually annoy or drive away your audience.
Your traditional marketing plan would look something like the following:
- Identify audience
- Create a message
- Flood the audience with that message
- Hope to sell your point strong enough that you gain plenty of new customers
Now let’s take a look at how a social media marketing plan works:
- Build a community
- Create an experience
- Invite your community to participate
- Collaborate with customers
So why doesn’t traditional marketing work on social media?
Think about why your audience is participating on social media in the first place. They aren’t there to look at ads, have someone’s views pushed on them, or hear you talk about how great of an insurance professional you are. They’re there because they want to interact, form connections, and have conversations. If you over share with them, what feels like blatant advertising, they’ll quickly learn to ignore you. If you engage them, give them valuable information, address their worries or problems, entertain them, and form a relationship with them, they may look forward to more content from you and share it with their contacts.
Work with the system, not against it.
It’s also important to remember how social media sites determine which content they will display to users. Long gone are the days in which everything you posted to Facebook, for example, was displayed to every user on Facebook. Social media sites now filter content based on how many likes, shares, and comments it receives. Posts which receive more interaction are now displayed in more users’ news feeds, whereas those which don’t receive much attention disappear quickly.
Now ask yourself: When was the last time I liked, commented on, or shared an advertisement?
Like most people, you probably don’t do that very often. You like, comment on, and share content that you find useful, entertaining, or valuable in some way. So remember to offer that same type of content to your audience. The more interaction your content generates, the more it will be seen by even more social media users.
Remember: Content is the key.
With social media marketing, content is the key to your success. This will determine whether you get your audience’s attention, or drive them away. Before you post anything, ask yourself whether it meets at least one of the following criteria:
- Does it create value with regard to a previous conversation, or start a new conversation?
- Is it useful, does it solve a problem, or does it answer a question?
- Is it entertaining?
- Will this help me form a relationship?
If the answer is yes, then post away! If your content fails to meet at least one of those criteria, then think twice before hitting the “post” button.
Always keep in mind that content drives social media. Offer your audience what they want, and you may establish yourself as a valued contact in their eyes. When they need help with retirement income planning strategies, you may be the first person on their minds.
As with any traditional or social media marketing, keep in mind the agents’ obligation to have clear identity and purpose in all communications with potential customers. They should know who you are and what services or products you offer. All carrier and product specific content must be approved by the issuing carrier. Agents and representatives should be aware and follow any social media related guidelines of the carriers they represent and/or their broker dealer.
FOR PRODUCER USE ONLY. NOT FOR USE WITH THE GENERAL PUBLIC. 13835 – 2014/11/10 | 1410067