People buy from people. That fundamental truth is the cornerstone of the insurance industry and is holding true even as the insurance value chain becomes more and more digital. But in a world where customers increasingly avoid in-person interactions — McKinsey’s 2020 U.S. Insurance Agent Survey saw a 65% drop in face-to-face conversations in 2020, with a slow recovery — how do agents adjust? The answer is to meet customers where they are - online.
Insurance professionals likely view social media as a necessary evil, but social media can be a powerful sales tool, putting agents right in the path of their clients and prospects. It’s more than just posting content into a digital void; it’s taking what agents have done for decades to build their business and bringing it to life within the social media landscape. Consider this: GWI research suggests online consumers around the globe spend almost 2.5 hours scrolling through social sites daily.
Putting energy into social media as a sales tool means attracting those eyes and winning more chances to interact with prospects and customers. But where do you start? Here are a few things to consider before leaning into social selling.
Learn exactly what social selling is (and isn’t)
Social selling is using social media to showcase thought leadership and industry expertise, build relationships and, ultimately, connect with new prospects while maintaining trust with existing ones. But a social selling strategy requires much more than having a Twitter account; it requires the same attention as any sales methods do. It’s taking social beyond simply posting regularly. It’s using social as a connection point to identify life events and points of connection with your community. And the good news is, you should see the returns. LinkedIn’s Social Selling data notes that 78% of social sellers outshine their peers who aren’t using social media as a sales tool.
Take stock of your social media accounts
If you hope to capitalize on social selling, you must first take stock of your existing social media accounts and look for opportunities to strengthen your overall social presence.
Whichever social channel mix you’ve decided is right for your business (it’s OK not to be on every social platform!), you always want to make sure your brand is consistent and robust across each channel. That sounds easy, but there are a few things to consider to ensure that your identity is clear and consistent:
Profile images: Whether it’s a professionally taken photo, a well-lit high-resolution image taken on a smartphone or your company logo, make sure your profile images reflect how you and your company look today. (For example: Don’t use your headshot from 15 years ago.)
Cover images: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter all have a space for a cover or background image. Be sure you have a cover image that is consistent with your brand and that you have the rights to use that image.
“About” sections: Today’s consumers use social media for information searches like they use Google, so your bios and “about” sections pages are more important than ever. Sections can vary across social channels, but your information should be accurate and reflect your business on each channel. Pay special attention to your business description, location information and hours of operation.
Rather than jump right into the heavy stuff, it’s important to get these social media ducks in a row first.
Make a plan for posting, engaging and amplifying.
After your social accounts are up to speed, it’s important to have a plan. Regularly posting content is only the foundation of social selling, but it will help keep you top of mind with your followers and give you a place to interact with them. It also sets you up well when you’re ready to start putting money behind your posts with paid social advertising.
Beyond posting, it’s important to keep an eye on those who interact with your posts. Comment back, connect with them or, better yet, give them a call. Social sellingreally comes to life when you can weave social into your everyday sales practices. Either way, prioritize social just as you would other crucial facets of your business. Post regularly and have a plan for responding and engaging with your existing and potential clients. Then turn those engagements into sales opportunities.
Leverage your resources.
You’re not the only one flexing your social sellingmuscles, so look to others – even insights from competitors - for help. A good way to begin is to look at the social accounts of others in and out of your sector. What are they writing about? What posts seem to engage followers? How are they branding themselves to be trustworthy experts? Use the information you gather to help you plan your own social selling and content strategy.
The question shouldn’t be if you should start social selling, it’s when. Your existing and potential clients are there, waiting for you. You only must give social selling the time and energy it deserves. As someone in a profession built around risk, you’ll find that social selling is a safe bet.