You're scratching your head again. You don't know how to get more clients. You want leads to just magically appear. Well, here's the reality. That's not going to happen. You have to take action. Break down your day from the moment you get to your desk until you walk out of the office. What fills your day? Is it responding to emails? Is it client phone calls? Is it submitting applications? Is there a chunk of your day allotted for marketing? If not, then now's the time to carve out an hour a day to share some content or run an ad. You have to market yourself. There's no way around it unless you have an influx of clients and can't possibly keep up with all of their demands.
How do you do that during a global pandemic? You do that online. And yes, attention spans are shorter than ever these days because people spend hours scrolling through endless content. But if your content strikes a chord with someone and that person turns into a new client, you've started the snowball effect.
What is the snowball effect? It's exactly what it sounds like. Marketing takes time. There is no instant payoff, unless you happen to share something that goes viral and you're all of a sudden internet famous. And yes, that happens every now and then, but let's be clear, you do not want to base your marketing strategy on a hopeful post going viral. Marketing takes commitment, dedication and hard work. You have to be consistent and share content regularly.
What content do you share? Helpful, informative content that educates the consumer. Don't plug yourself non-stop. That turns off likely prospects. Share content that showcases your knowledge and your willingness to help others. Make it easy for people to click, read more, and get in touch with you. Consistency is key.
Running ad content on social media platforms (specifically Facebook) is economical and simple. It's not rocket science. Facebook does the majority of the work for you. And once you start running ads, you'll realize how easy it is. To be clear, it will take several tries before you figure out what content draws the most attention and what demographics to target. But once you get those clicks, which eventually turn into leads, you'll be happy you made the investment.
Where do you get the ad content? If you're a contracted agent with us, we'll help you with ad content. We'll work with you to create photo or video ads that will speak to people and will encourage them to learn more about your services.
It would be great if we could all get instantaneous results with our marketing efforts, or had an endless supply of money to fuel ad spend, but since that's not the case, we're here to work with you and teach you. The more content you share, the more people will become more familiar with your brand (agency) and will reach out to you when an insurance need arises. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.
If you're not on Instagram, perhaps it's time you downloaded the app and joined the other 500 million daily users? That's right. And overall, according to Instagram, there are 1 billion monthly users on the digital image and video platform. If that doesn't make you scratch your head and say "Where have I been?" maybe this will: over 50 billion photos have been shared since the platform launched in 2010. Brands are engaging with customers and clients on a daily basis, and that leads to more sales.
What should I share?
Instagram is where brands come alive with content. What do you share? That's easy! Pictures you've taken or curated, re-share customer content, videos, memes, quotes, there is no end to the types of content you can share. But keep in mind, you're promoting your brand, so think before uploading and pushing "Share".
Where and How do I share?
There are several ways to share content on Instagram. On your profile or via Instagram Stories or IGTV. If you share content on your profile, people who follow you or those who follow the hashtags you use, will see your content in their feed. This is a place to showcase your brand and let viewers see what you offer. Be creative, have fun and let your personality shine.
What are Instagram stories? Just like facebook, you can share content that only remains active for 24 hours. Haven't used Stories on facebook before? What are you waiting for? And you can cross-share on both platforms. Story content is typically content that you want to share that doesn't require a long shelf life. However, you can also promote content you've shared on your profile by sharing it to your stories as well. You can re-share content you see in your feed, and you can re-share content from other stories (if they're public and allow their content to be shared).
Should I be Public or Private?
Business accounts are public. If you have a personal account, you can choose to make it public or keep it private for just your inner crowd.
What is IGTV?
IGTV is also a standalone app that allows you to upload videos of up to an hour in length. It's similar to YouTube. However, it's also integrated within Instagram. Short videos that are 3-60 seconds in length can be shared on your profile or in your story. If you share a video longer than that length it will automatically be uploaded to IGTV. The amount of exposure you can get from sharing on both your profile and in your story and with IGTV will help you grow your agency (brand).
To hashtag or not to hashtag?
Once you establish what and where you're going to share your content, be sure to incorporate hashtags and tag relevant people or brands in your content. This helps broaden your exposure. Hashtags are a way to find content and many users follow hashtags as well as accounts. Consider coining your own personal hashtag.
Tagging accounts is different from hashtags. When you tag someone, you're mentioning them. It's just like when you mention or tag someone on facebook.
Don't forget to add locations to your posts and stories as well. You'll get more eyes on your content that way. And viewers in certain geographic areas will be able to see your content if you add your location to your story.
How do I know how my posts are doing?
Insights. When you set yourself up with a business Instagram profile, you'll get access to all types of analytics to see how your content is performing, who is viewing it and the activity it's getting. This helps you tweak your content and your posting times. And speaking of posting times, now would be a good time to take advantage of scheduling platforms like Buffer, Hootsuite, Later or SproutSocial to schedule out your content.
Once you've figure out the what and the where to post your content on Instagram, you now have to focus on the when. Yes, the when. There are preferred times to schedule out your content for maximum exposure. According to HubSpot, these are the best times to share on Instagram:
The heatmap below provided by SproutSocial indicates highest engagement times.
Should I Promote My Posts?
Promoting your posts (paid content) will get you even more exposure, and it's a good idea to think about carving out a little budget to promote certain posts that are important or that do well with likes and engagement. Again, you can promote your content on both facebook and Instagram which will give you twice the exposure.
Overall, sharing content on Instagram is yet another way to promote yourself and to get exposure. It's a free app and your posts can all be free, so why not take advantage of it?
"Before a prospect for life insurance, annuities, disability insurance or other products or services meets you in person, they might visit your website or explore your social media or call your office . A poor first impression on any of these fronts can degrade your credibility and spook the prospect."
"Though giving advice today on first impressions may seem cliché, it is perhaps MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER. Customer choice is at an all-time high. Prospects can easily click to the next search result and collect a stack of proposals before making a decision. In this ultra-competitive landscape, advisors cannot afford to botch the first impression.
"The classic wisdom of looking and behaving at your best still applies, but we have to extend that philosophy into every possible first-touch moment." Read the full article...
Source: Think Advisor , February 8, 2019, Marykay Long
Are you in need of help with your online presence? If so, we're here to assist. Don't lose prospects because your online presence needs work. Falling short with an online presence will only inhibit your ability to gain more clients. As your FMO, we want you to succeed and that means helping you with your branding and marketing. Reaching as many potential clients as possible in today's fast paced world of scrolling takes the right tools and the right knowledge. We can help you build your online presence, and we urge you to take advantage of our services.
If you don't have a website, a social media presence or even a Google listing, we need to rectify that. Simple steps that ensure you're found online need to be implemented. Referrals are fantastic, but new clients that come by way of the internet are just waiting to fall into your lap.
Visit our Marketing Resources page to learn more, and get in touch with us today.
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.
Carolyn Portanova is the Director of Marketing at The Brokerage Resource and has been with the firm since 2012.