Nothing succeeds like success. At the February meeting of the Agents Council for Technology (ACT), Terry Golesworthy of the Customer Respect Group shared information on successful social media strategies and tactics for independent insurance agents and brokers. He was joined by some practitioners on a panel. We think they offer some good, common sense advice. We’d like to know what you think and what strategies are working for you.
Focus Focus Focus
A number of Golesworthy’s points stressed the importance of focus and discipline. This seems to boil down to drilling into what gets the client/prospect’s attention and how to ensure that that your information is engaging.
There is lots of competition for customer’s attention. Golesworthy cites a Google study which found that the average consumer used 11.2 sources of information about insurance over a three month period before making a purchase decision.
Golesworthy stressed that agents had to decide upfront which communities the agent wants to reach first, then find out what social media platforms serve those communities. The agent then has to have something interesting to say, and saying it in an interesting way. According to Golesworthy, people like stories.
Engage Engage Engage
To be engaging, social media must be a conversation, not a monologue. And the best conversation is consumers talking to other consumers. Golesworth notes that USAA (a large, US-based direct marketer serving military and selected civilian government employees) encourages members to write reviews about their policies.
Communities can be discovered or built. Golesworthy cites examples of ‘manufactured’ communities. The Hartford, for example, created a community for people over 50 and encourage information sharing through the use of a blog. Zurich has a similar approach for Real Estate Managers.
According to Golesworthy, independent agency insurers’ best role is in support of agents/brokers, because the agents are the ones with the best connection to communities. Insurers can provide content, offer guidance and training, and offer promotions.
Golewswrthy was joined by several agents on a panel who shared their own experiences and tips.
- Chris Paradiso‘s best close rate for Internet leads is within the first 5 minutes. Interestingly, he has the next highest close rate 6 days later, because of having a process of continuing to make calls to those prospects during those 6 days. The agency creates 180-200 videos a year and put them on YouTube. It’s the second- or third- leading revenue generator.
- Jason Cass runs a virtual agency in Illinois, with an assistant located in Colorado. When he started, he had no idea of the power of social media. He reports: “My goals were get leads online. I said I would be happy to write $20,000 in premium the first year. I almost tripled that. I spend $30-50 a month on Facebook. I get three or four calls a month through it.”
- Chad Davis has a personal lines focus and now operates nationally. He got interested in workflows & streamlining and digital marketing. He watches Google ad words and can change things quickly. Sales people are independent contractors across the country. He checks the sales pipeline and what his sales people are closing. Chad takes advantage of digital marketing tools to constantly analyze the metrics.
What Do You Think?
There is a plethora of information about use of social media, and even more about precise ways to use it perfectly. However, in the real world of insurance sales, common sense success stories are sometimes better than the most perfect plans, especially when just getting started.
We’d be interested in your own suggestions. What have you found to be effective with social media? How do you engage your clients/prospects?
And, if you’re interested in more Agent contact, the next ACT meeting occurs at the ACORD/LOMA Forum in Las Vegas, May 5-9, 2013.