Underneath the sea of selfies, memes and birthday pics that make up today's social media world lies a powerful marketing platform. A marketing strategy built on this rich foundation can drive new business, raise brand awareness, and increase customer loyalty. With 90% of young adults using social media regularly and one third of millennials preferring social media as their primary channel of communication with businesses, carriers can’t afford to ignore the value-added benefits that come with social media.
Many insurance companies have a social presence, but creating a Facebook page is not the same as implementing an overall social media strategy. With an effective plan in place, you'll be able to create relevant content that competes with your audience's own birthday posts, status updates, and cat videos. The following three pillars form the basis for a compelling and effective social media marketing strategy.
Social media should be a component of your overall digital marketing strategy; it should not be your only digital marketing strategy. The purpose of marketing is to grow and sustain your business by promoting and selling products or services. Effective marketing employs several techniques to reach, engage, and inspire customers to interact with your brand. If you do not have a comprehensive strategy in place to outline these techniques for your company, draft one.
Define Core Objectives
Before you begin posting content on social media sites, revisit your core marketing objectives. These should align with your company's overall goals and focus on brand awareness, lead nurturing, customer conversion, policyholder retention, agent retention, loyalty, or reputation.
Analyze Your Target Audiences
Social media is inherently social. Increase customer interaction by sharing media-rich content that appeals to your target audiences. To better understand those audiences, you can create profiles that reflect their characteristics and interests. Profile descriptions can be written for several customer types, including: current or potential policyholders, staff members, and agents. When planning and scheduling content aligned with company goals, review these profiles to make sure what you’re publishing is relevant and useful for your target audiences.
Drive Traffic to Your Website
Social media is an excellent channel for grabbing your reader’s attention. However, it’s not a great platform for lengthy or substantial content –– that’s what a company website or blog is for. Use your website as the central hub for all digital marketing content, and always link back to the content on your website within your social media posts. Keep in mind that this only works well if your website is responsive and delightful to use on a mobile device. Approximately 80% of social media is consumed on mobile devices, which means all those visits to your website or blog will occur on a small screen.
Quality content is necessary for attracting quality business leads, increasing SEO, and building loyalty and trust among your audience. When generating content, be sure it’s as much about the viewer as it is about you. Followers will be more attuned to your message if the information you’re promoting is relevant and applicable to meeting their needs.
Start a Social Media Calendar
Build a content repository and map out campaigns 31 days in advance. Even if you miss a day here and there, the prep work will help you consistently deliver targeted content to your audience. Below is a start to your first seven days. If you need help with the remaining 24, check out Pinterest for post suggestions and Hubspot for topic generation.
- Day 1: Personal Photo of Your Office, Staff, or Products
- Day 2: Share an Industry Related Article
- Day 3: Customer Testimonial (Photo is a Bonus)
- Day 4: Promote Your Website, Product, or Service
- Day 5: 7 Reasons Why You Need Umbrella Coverage [Infographic]
- Day 6: Short Video (Commercial or Quick Tip)
- Day 7: Share a Free, Downloadable Checklist or Guide
Share Content That’s Valuable to Customers
Strong, consistent branding trumps random posting. Focus on creating a highly specialized content strategy as opposed to a broad approach. Use your marketing goals as a guide for content generation, and consider using social media to accomplish the following:
- Promote new products and services
- Start a direct conversation with current and potential policyholders or agents
- Use giveaways and contests to increase awareness and excitement
- Network with business partners and community members
- Monitor reputation and resolve complaints
- Survey followers to improve your products and services
- Engage agents to help spread information
- Share industry-related material
- Recap company, community, or sales/marketing events
Recycle Content and Automate Posts
Get the most out of your content by automating and recycling. When you create content for your blog or website, go ahead and schedule promotional campaigns for social media. If a certain post or comment is popular among your policyholders or agents, find ways to transform those posts or comments into a larger article, guide, infographic, or other media presentation.
Digital marketing offers on key over traditional marketing, which is tracking. Every time a person visits a link, watches a video, or clicks “like” on a page, web servers track the activity. You don’t know what you don’t track. Take advantage of the following analytics in your social media campaigns to make efficient use of marketing time and dollars.
Reach refers to the number of people potentially impacted by your social media ads, posts, or campaigns. Reach is indicative of how strong your following is and can be tracked in the form of likes, connections, ratings, subscribers, and visitors.
Engagement refers to the number of people who interact with a post or campaign. Engagement is driven by quality content, so sharing information that prompts viewers to take action is vital. Examples of Engagement metrics include clicks, shares, or comments retweets, mentions and direct messages, and ratings.
Traffic refers to the number of people directed to your website from a given social media source. Analytics platforms such as Google Analytics can help you determine where traffic originates and what keywords and search terms generate the most click throughs. Invest in paid advertising with sites that generate the most traffic for your business, and buy pay-per-click impressions for search terms that your audience responds to.
Converting website traffic into leads is one of the most vital components of a digital marketing strategy. Conversion metrics tell you how many people are engaging with your brand and how profitable those engagements are. Content downloads, webinar registrations, form completions, phone-in leads, or online sales all carry an opportunity to track conversion statistics. Consider tracking conversion rate, cost per lead, bounce rate, average site time per visit, and rate of return visits for each digital channel.
Social media marketing remains one of the most cost effective and approachable online marketing strategies for carriers. No matter which phase of growth your company is in, who your target audience is, or what your long-term goals are, social media can help raise your company’s profile and drive traffic to your website. Just be sure to plan ahead and measure your progress. If your campaigns are driving sales and revenue, you’re successfully engaging with your audience. If not, you’re wasting your time.
- Pick, Tom. 47 Superb Social Media Marketing Stats and Facts. January 19, 2016. http://www.business2community.com/social-media/47-superb-social-media-marketing-stats-facts-01431126#RejaxDQwwLJYW8Qf.99
- Sterling, Greg. Nearly 80 Percent of Social Media Time Now Spent on Mobile Devices. Marketing Land. April 4, 2016 at 10:38 am. http://marketingland.com/facebook-usage-accounts-1-5-minutes-spent-mobile-171561