I talk with an average of a few hundred insurance agents each month, and almost every one has accepted the fact that Facebook now must become part of their daily marketing plan. Commissions are going down, competition is growing and agents know they need to touch more potential clients, and Facebook’s viral marketing capabilities are the most efficient and cost-effective solutions to these challenges. The trick is, to make Facebook part of your daily model, you need to have a plan or a “system” in place so it doesn’t take up too much of your time.
There are four keys to a successful Facebook system: Aesthetics, Daily Distribution Growth, Posting Scheduling and Posting Strategy. If all of these things are done properly and on a daily basis, you shouldn’t need to spend more than 10 to 15 minutes a day on the Facebook aspect of your insurance agency.
Aesthetics — The Facebook business fan page allows users to customize the look and feel of their page. As with any website, it’s important to keep things fresh. Every agency should be using the “Reviews” application, where clients can leave testimonials. This will allow you to gain “virtual credibility” to potential viral traffic. More importantly, you also should be taking advantage of the new “Static HTML” applications, which allow you to create content that can direct people to become “fans” of your organization as well as allow users to actually quote and buy your insurance products from your Facebook page!
Aesthetics Tip: Spend five minutes each week reviewing your competitors’ Facebook pages. See what new customization and technology they are using. Remember, having a page is one thing, having the tools that can turn traffic into sales and leads is quite another, so always be on the lookout!
Daily Distribution Growth (adding fans) — The most important aspect of social media is having strong distribution — without it you’re just typing to yourself. I find that adding fans is what truly separates the impulsive novices from the innovative experts. Honestly, there is no magic formula for adding fans; it just takes some time and effort. Your goal should be to develop50 percent of your current clients as well as 20 percent of your potential clients into “fans.”
Daily Distribution Growth Tip: Every time you meet or talk to a client, take their email address and type it into the Facebook search engine. If they have a Facebook profile, request to be their friend. It’s become the modern-day handshake, and because you just talked to them, they will accept the request quickly. Once the friend request is accepted, send them a Facebook message directing them to your fan page and tell them why and how they should become a fan of your page. If this is done consistently, then it shouldn’t take more than two minutes a day to grow your list of friends and fans!
Posting Scheduling & Posting Strategy — I find that insurance agencies struggle with developing a posting strategy the most. This is because most don’t have one or they post impulsively, which is the worst thing you can do on Facebook if it’s business related. Keep in mind these three things when forming your strategy: 1) your post has the ability to keep your current clients satisfied with your services, as well as alert potential clients of your offerings; 2) your post can be interacted with and generate viral traffic to your page and 3), your post will be indexed via the search engines and could generate search engine optimization (SEO) for your page. My point is, posting is important! You should have a preset posting schedule as well as a plan on what you’re posting about. You should spend no more than two minutes a day preparing and submitting your posts.
Posting Schedule Tip: The best times to post are when people are playing around on Facebook at work. Keep in mind that when you post, it goes to someone’s news feed. If they don’t come on to Facebook for a few hours after you post, your post could be buried and may not be read. The best times to post are right before lunch and right after lunch (11:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m.) or right before people are about to head home (4:30 p.m.). If you’re going to post on the weekend, do it early, around 8:00 a.m.
Posting Strategy Tip: The best posting strategy is a balanced one. First determine who your current fans are and think of posting topics they are going to “Comment” on and Like.” If your fans are local, then talk about local events, etc. I suggest having a three-pronged posting strategy:
- Spend 33 percent of the time posting about the areas in which you’re an expert.
- Use 33 percent of the time to post things that will generate interaction.
- Devote 33 percent of the time posting about things people fear that are relevant to your agency, and then offer a solution to their fears.
Using social media is a lot like working out — everyone tries it, but in the end, most people burn out or give up. This is because it’s a marathon with very little short-term return. You have to commit yourself and do the little things each day to stay ahead of the curve and ahead of the pack in the race. Make no mistake, the race has begun. Will you finish?