According to Ryan Hanley, author of Content Warfare, the goal of content marketing is to “create, publish, and distribute media content to acquire targeted, profitable customers and repeat buyers.”
It is no secret that social media has ruled the digital landscape over the past several years. With social media sites continually rising from the ground, it is difficult to keep up with all of the changes. While Facebook once dominated the stage, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and more have now taken the digital space by storm. It can feel overwhelming to even consider getting your business started in this scene, but, by determining which social network platforms your clients are most likely to use and how to use these platforms to your advantage, you can create a simple social media strategy that facilitates your business’s growth and augments your communication with customers.
Social media is a series of websites and applications that are designed for content sharing and communication. Though built for personal use, businesses began to recognize the strength of a social media following and its purpose: to build connections.
Businesses big and small began using social media to drive targeted traffic to their site and establish meaningful connections with their audience. Larger brands like GE and Net-A-Porter have built an impressive following on social media over the years, increasing traffic to their sites and cultivating their brand identities through a landscape on which traditional marketing is unable to capitalize. But even small businesses have success on social media. Coconut Bliss, an Oregon-based ice cream company, uses social media to represent their brand’s authenticity and transparency. As a result, they have garnered more than 17,500 followers on their Twitter account and more than 31,000 followers on their Facebook page—an impressive feat for a small business.
The insurance world has responded to these metrics in kind with agencies and carriers also finding success through various social channels including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and even Instagram. For example, UnitedHealthcare has amassed nearly 160,000 Facebook followers, more than 44,000 Twitter followers, 1,500 Instagram followers, and a strong YouTube subscription base at 14,000. But this analysis does not stop at the carrier level because even smaller agencies like Sarasota, Florida-based American Insurance Agencies Direct have reached a Facebook audience of more than 400 and a LinkedIn following of 97.
It is worth noting that these followers come from a variety of backgrounds. Social media is no longer just a pathway for a specific demographic. Though Facebook was originally designed as a medium through which the college-aged youth could communicate, it has since evolved to include a much more impressive following. Data from Statista’s January 2018 examination of the distribution of Facebook users in the United States suggests that most users are in a large margin between the ages of 18 and 65. Additional research from the Pew Research Center indicates that the number of seniors/all adults who go online increased from 14 percent in 2000 to 59 percent in 2013, and this number is expected to continue growing. Yes, even the older generations have a foot in the door—and a large one at that.
It is important to note that social media, above all else, is NOT a sales tool. This is not the right venue to promote your products and services, and it is also not a welcome home for religious and political posts because of their divisive nature. Rather, it is the platform to promote you. This is the network you can use to establish yourself as an “expert” in the industry that stays ahead of the game with research on the latest market news.
But social media is more than just a platform to connect with your clients. Websites like LinkedIn and Facebook are a great medium for promoting and building your brand identity and awareness. Your social media profile and the posts that you share represent your company’s vision and voice. What is it that you want to communicate in these posts? What do you want to say that will engage, influence, and motivate your audience?
Use social media as a key to staying in touch with existing and prospective clients. The social media king himself, Mark Zuckerberg, once said, “Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend.” Become that trusted friend to your client base. Share industry news on your social media sites to show that you stay up to date on the latest trends, and include your own two cents on the piece. Respond to comments on your posts. Engage with your clients and community. Encourage new and existing clients to follow your social media. Start and be a part of the conversation so you can make a lasting impression on your clientele.
Start with one or two platforms (we suggest LinkedIn and Facebook), and begin sharing posts every couple days about news in the industry, and be sure to connect with your audience with “likes,” “shares,” and “comments.” You can also post health tips and educational resources that will help your clients, as well as testimonials from loyal clients, success stories, and inspiring quotes.
Not sure how to get started? Here are a number of different resources that you can use to get your social media off the ground:
- Marketing on Facebook 101
- LinkedIn 101 | From Beginner to All-Star in 8 easy steps!
- Intro to Twitter for Business
- How Your Agency Can Leverage Snapchat as a Marketing Tool
Social media is here to stay and it is easier to use and maintain than you might think. Stay ahead of the game and find out what social media strategies work best for you and your business. Don’t shy away from social media—it may be the most important and economic digital marketing tool that you use.