When we ask some consultants the best way to learn social media, one of the tongue-in-cheek answers has been, “find a cool kid and watch what he does.” At its recent Implementation Forum, ACORD took this seriously and brought two of the coolest 20-something agents in to show how they use social media to market and sell insurance.
So, our question to you: Are you ready to join the cool kids?
Who are these guys anyway?
By introduction, Jason Cass started JDC Insurance Group in Jaunary 2010. In April of the same year, he committed to using social as a major marketing tool.
Ryan Hanley has been been using social as a major marketing vehicle since joining his family agency as a producer a few years ago. We first came across Ryan last year and posted on his in-your-face on-line comments at that time.
How did they get started and what do they do?
When asked where to start with social, both agents agreed that establishing personal credibility in the on-line community takes precedence. Jason put it well: “No one cares about how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Beyond that, content is king. Ryan gave an example of his 100 questions in 100 days. When he was starting, he asked all of his friends to give him their questions about insurance. He boiled these down to 100, and posted the questions – in his friends’ words – on his site, with a video response. The key was to use the language that people would use when they were searching for answers, not the language of insurance geeks.
Ryan also focuses on restaurants in his upstate New York market and blogs on issues of interest to restauranteurs. His objective is to be high on the search engine list when any mention is made about restaurants. Ryan makes the point that when marketing commercial insurance on social, an agent needs to focus on selling his phone number (getting the prospect to call). Social is not the media to use to explain commercial policies to lay people.
Both agents use Google analytics and in-house lead/conversion tracking techniques to monitor results. Jason notes that while his actual direct sales results are modest ($30,000 in revenue), his costs have been low as well ($7,ooo).
What do the carriers and other agents think?
There has been mixed response by insurers to the agents’ efforts. Jason notes that one of his group program carriers prohibits him from using their logo on his Facebook advertising. Some others are more supportive. However, the vast majority simply don’t know anything about social marketing.
Jason and Ryan have found that other agents are coming to them for advice. Being the good entrepreneurs that they are, they have set up an on-line training program with a series of web presentations to give solid how-to advice. The GROW Program website has additional information.
Now, where to?
In our first post on Ryan almost a year ago, we remarked on his passion and hoped other agents would join him. Clearly Jason is a fellow traveler and the two are investing time to bring others along.
So, where are you on the path? Do you have a plan for how to keep up with the cool agents (and brokers), or is the jury still out on social for you?
Let us know by leaving a comment below.