The statistics are staggering and social media has a powerful presence when it comes to doing business. If the above numbers aren't enough evidence for you, Snapchat has 255 million users, Pinterest has 250 million users and Tumblr has 640 million users.
We've created a short survey regarding the use of social media. What we're interested in knowing is which platforms you currently use to network and get your information from.
We'd appreciate it if you would take a 60 second survey to let us know which platforms you use regularly and find most beneficial. You'll also be entered into a $100 cash prize drawing by completing the survey.
The first step in creating a digital footprint is to start off slowly, and in increments. Trying to be all over the web in one fell swoop is completely unrealistic. There are too many places to be, and it takes time to be where you want to be, and offer content that is of value.
Having worked in Sales for Lactalis Group and Apple Inc., and currently working in Marketing and Social Media Marketing, it takes time to build up a digital presence. And not all digital spaces are created equal. By implementing a digital strategy in 2018, you can help bolster your sales and broaden your network, but you must be open-minded and be ready to roll up your sleeves and do some work.
Some of the biggest misconceptions about social media is that people assume they will suddenly have clients knocking on their door the minute they create their social media platforms, and start pushing content. STOP right there. It does NOT happen overnight. It takes time to grow followers. It takes time to cultivate a community. It takes effort to deliver meaningful content. And it takes time to engage with your followers.
There are two ways to share content on social media platforms:
We haven't talked about websites and why you should or should not have one. Having a website is paramount if you're an established agent with a solid book of business and a client base that needs to find you online and your resources 24/7. If you're a new agent just looking to get established, then I have a suggestion for you. Hold off on the expense of building a website and start off slowly (again). Begin by building a business facebook page where you share (primarily) industry-related content. Sharing your story and how you came to be and personalizing your page DOES provide value, but be mindful of how much you share about your personal life. A business page is exactly that. A page for your business.
LinkedIn is another must when you're starting off. It's essential to have a LinkedIn profile because that's where industry leaders, colleagues and consumers hang out. Again, start off slowly. Build your profile and take time to craft your work history, education, accomplishments and awards to include all pertinent information about your career. And please? Don't forget to use a professional looking photo of yourself for your avatar. Being online is about connecting with others. People like to see what others look like when they're networking. Nothing screams "INCOMPLETE PROFILE" like a LinkedIn page with no picture of the person. Be professional and have someone take a well-lit picture of you if you're uncomfortable taking a selfie. You don't need to incur the expense of a professional photographer.
If you've started off slowly and now want to move on to additional platforms, then start with one you feel most comfortable with. In November Twitter lengthened the amount of characters you have to tweet with. The old 140 character limit is no longer in effect, and you now have a whopping 280 characters to play with. Instagram and Snapchat are very brand-oriented when it comes to social sharing. These platforms are more about sharing your story. These are platforms where you can share more of your personal life in combination with industry information.
If any of this sounds like I'm speaking a foreign language, or if you understand some of it, but need a little 101 on it, I'm available to help you. Everyone makes New Year resolutions and sadly many fall by the way side. Embracing technology and expanding your digital footprint on the world is beneficial for you and your business. Whether it be by launching a new website (we have referrals for you for agency websites), building your facebook business page, composing your first tweet, sending you first mass email campaign, or submitting your first electronic application, we're here to guide you and give you assistance.
Technology does not have to be challenging. Nor does it have to be a nuisance. Technology is here to assist you, and help you grow. If you're serious about expanding your digital footprint and want to take the next steps to build your online presence, reach out to me directly at 800.928.4998 ext. 8 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'll share some of my tips for finding news-worthy industry content. I'll give you examples of insurance agents who are killing it with their websites and social media content. I'll give you my best practices for scheduling out content. And lastly? I'll be here to show you the ropes and how to navigate the digital waters. So grab your life jacket, and give me a shout or shoot me an email.
First off, the biggest source for networking and referrals comes right from your own circle of family and friends and your existing clientele. You've heard the old story "he told someone, then she told someone" and on and on it goes. Networking and referrals do not have to be daunting. In fact, it can be quite easy to build your customer base, if you're willing to work at your goal and put forth some effort.
Some of the absolute basics in getting repeat business or referrals is deeply rooted in how an advisor approaches his business and treats his existing clients. People want to be heard, they want to be acknowledged and they want to be understood. They also want to be treated with respect, kindness, fairness and be appreciated. That's just human nature.
We have people say to us "Selling insurance isn't as easy as I thought it would be. How do I grow my business?"
The golden rule is this: if you know your products, treat clients with fairness, respect and acknowledge them, they will in turn recommend you to their family, friends and peers. It's really as simple as that. If you follow up with a client two months after writing a Medicare Supplement policy for them, just to check in and make sure they're happy with their plan and their premium, that speaks volumes about who you are as an advisor to them. After all, they are looking to you for answers. This follow-up is the perfect time to ask additional discovery questions as well. "How's your health?" "Have you thought about life insurance?" "Is there someone in your family who could benefit from long-term care insurance?" These are all ways of making the client feel important, without trying to push a specific product on them. It also shows them that you have a broad knowledge on the topic of senior health products, and want to ensure they are well taken care of. And if you need assistance recommending a product, you can certainly look to us to help you. That is why we're here, after all.
Kindness goes a LONG way.
When you listen to people, you acknowledge their concerns, and you show interest in their well-being, you in turn are paving the groundwork for future clients. The next time you write a piece of business, tell your client that you're going to follow up with them in two months (and be sure to create that follow-up task in your CRM, so you're reminded to do so). Explain to them that you want them to be happy with the services you've provided, and want to be sure you've addressed all of their needs. Seniors change all the time. They move, they retire, they become ill, they have grandchildren. Life is never static, and neither should your philosophy be on growing your business. And if your small client base is happy with you, they will in turn speak highly of you. And before you know it, you will have clients calling you.....and not the other way around.
By Carolyn Portanova
Carolyn Portanova is the Director of Marketing at The Brokerage Resource and has been with the firm since 2012.