The Really Simple Guide to Social Media for Benefits Brokers (Part 1)!
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The Really Simple Guide to Social Media for Benefits Brokers (Part 1)!

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Find out what you need to know about social media as a Benefits Broker! ...

Find out what you need to know about social media as a Benefits Broker!
Insurance agents aren’t commodity pushers, they’re relationship builders. And today's relationships with potential clients (especially millennial) start online. With 84% of people screening products and companies online before making a purchase it's more important to have a strong presents. If you're looking for a place to start then get social.

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The Really Simple Guide to Social Media for Benefits Brokers (Part 1)! The Really Simple Guide to Social Media for Benefits Brokers (Part 1)! Document Transcript

  • The Really Simple Guide to Social Media for Benefits Brokers! (Part 1) What benefits can build. SM
  • Share this eBook! A Look Inside Introduction................................................. 3 What are the Benefits?.......................... 4 Ways Social Media Helps You................ 5 Social Media Platforms............................. 6 LinkedIn....................................................7 Twitter......................................................7 Facebook................................................. 8 Blogging................................................. 8 Google+................................................... 9 Tools & Resources.....................................10 Time Saving Tools................................. 11 Free Grading Tools for Marketing......... 12 Our General Recommendations.......... 12 13 Things to Keep in Mind When Posting......................................... 13 Interested in our sources?....................14 2
  • As a benefits broker and insurance agent, you aren’t just a commodity pusher, you are a relationship builder. And because you care about building a relationship with your clients, social networking needs to become a part of your routine. With roughly 168.5 million social media users in the U.S. alone, there is a tremendous opportunity for you to make lasting connections online. US Study shows average age distribution across social networks (Twist Digital) Ag es 2 18 % 534 Ages 4 35-4 % 25 Ages Ages 18-24 9% 45-5 19 % 4 4 Ages 55-6 -17 Ages 0 10% % 15 Ages 65+ 3%
  • Share this eBook! What are the Benefits? Social Media gives benefits brokers and insurance agents an opportunity to break the ice with potential clients. While it’s true that a prospect will not likely seek you out on Facebook without any knowledge of who you are, especially as you start out, that is not the goal. The goal when building a social media page on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+ is to give potential clients insight into who you are as a broker or agent and why they should work with you (your unique selling proposition or USP). More and more people are turning to the internet to find connections and answers long before they contact potential partners directly. Americans spend an average of 7 hrs & 168.5 million 36 mins Social networking users! a day being social Once you’ve broken the ice with these new-comers social media also give them the ability to share your services more easily with a friend… 4
  • Share this eBook! Social media helps you in three ways: 1 Thanks to Google’s latest search algorithm release, being social helps search engine optimization. This means that having social media accounts and linking them to your website and/or blog makes it easier to be found online. 2 Second, prospective clients are able to learn more about your business in a medium they feel very comfortable with. Social media platforms give today’s tech-savvy consumers the ability to get a sense of how you do business through your up-to-date posts, customer comments and even ratings. Once you’ve broken the ice with these newcomers, social media also give them the ability to share your services more easily with a friend and spread your name by word of mouth (or in the case of many social media, updates). 3 Lastly, social media develops brand recognition, which can make every prospect and client interaction simpler. 47% of Americans say, “Facebook has the greatest impact on purchase behavior.” 66% of users search via Google. 84% of Americans participate in some form of product branding before they make a purchase. 5
  • Platforms Social Media Platforms give today’s tech-savvy customers the ability to get a sense of how you do business through ratings, customer comments and up-to-date posts. 40 % of consumers report social media affects their health related decisions
  • Share this eBook! Social Media Platforms Social Media Platforms you need to be on! LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a professional networking platform that allows you to connect with your professional contacts and colleagues. This platform also allows you to join professional Groups. Within these Groups you will find tips, discussions and links to reliable and useful information. It also allows you to create a company page where other users can choose to receive updates about your business (called post or status updates) by following your Page. Twitter: Twitter is a micro blogging social media platform that allows you to “tweet” messages (status updates) to your followers in 140 characters or less, and follow others who tweet their own updates. Many Twitter users are looking for interesting people (not necessarily friends or family), breaking news, online trends, updates on their favorite celebrities or sports teams and (most importantly to you) company contact. Twitter is one of the quickest and easiest ways to find out what’s important and/or what’s going on right now with other users. The platform is full of people who want to hear quick updates on what you are working on, too. Tip - For LinkedIn posts, you may want to consider two different approaches: Participating in Groups lets you start or join discussions with focused segments of the entire LinkedIn network. Posting, commenting and liking within a Group is all done from your personal Page. Updating your company Page’s status is directed at current followers which lets you use a more direct, attentiongrabbing approach (much like with Twitter or Facebook) than you might do in a Group. Tip - Twitter only allows you 140 characters to speak to your audience, the use of hashtags (#) and abbreviated links is incredibly useful. Hashtags such as #dentalinsurance or #obamacare allow users to search trends or find other tweets similar to the one they are reading. As for links, it is always a good idea to share a link to an article or post you wish to share with your audience. But if that link is too long, you may not be able to explain why they should be reading it, which could lead to a low clickthrough rate. In these instances we recommend bitly.com, an online service that shortens URLs and tracks how many people follow your link. 7 #
  • Share this eBook! Social Media Platforms Facebook: Facebook is a personal social media platform, which also lets you promote and expand your brand through the use of Business Pages. 47% of Americans using social networks say, “Facebook has the greatest impact on purchase behavior.” With that in mind, Facebook is a great platform to reach prospective clients and maintain consistent contact with current clients. Tip - When using Facebook, keep in mind the length and type of posts you publish. Facebook recommends that professional posts not exceed 100 to 250 characters. Short, easy-to-read posts grab the attention of your audience and are more likely to engage your audience. As far as the types of posts published, photos and videos often receive more attention and engagement than links and text-only posts alone. Keep a constant mix, to offer your audience variety and continually test their likes and dislikes. Blogging: A blog is the best platform for longer content development. Setting up your own blog allows you to create your own content, such as informative articles to help your clients, thought pieces to show your mastery of your subject, or opinion pieces to share on other social media platforms. A blog can help you build credibility and, even more important to search engines, “authority” online. Having a blog or website with continual updates will help you direct traffic to your site and ultimately generate more business. Tip - Connect your blog with your website and social media platforms to fuel your Search Engine Optimization, which is the most effective way to increase your website’s visibility in Google, Bing or Yahoo’s search results. 8
  • Share this eBook! Social Media Platforms Google+: Google+ is comparable to a combination of Facebook and LinkedIn; it’s comprised of the personal user interface without the resume layout (similar to Facebook), however it allows you to join Communities that are similar to LinkedIn’s Groups. The best practice for promoting your company is to create a Page. Chances are Google already has your company listed, which means all you need to do is claim the listing. A Google+ Page will allow you to interact in conversations under your company’s name in all status updates and Community posts. Tip - We suggest you use Google+ Communities much like LinkedIn Groups, to focus on a conversation or discussion about topics relevant to the Community. Join as many Communities as possible that apply to your interests (professional or otherwise) and designate that you would like updates within certain topics. This will keep you up to date with the topics you find most interesting, and won’t require you to spend a lot of your time on their site. Keep in mind that within all of these platforms, content is king. By developing high-caliber, original content in any form, you are building a positive image for your brand and your benefits business. You always want to give your audience a reason to come back, and strong, original and consistently fresh content gives them that reason. 9
  • Tools & Resources Worried social media is going to take up too much time? You can always pull these free tools out of your hat!
  • Share this eBook! Tools & Resources Time Saving Tools There are a few free tools you may want to consider to reduce the amount of time you spend online and to help you track activity Mention – This tool will notify you when your company’s name or other keywords have been mentioned online. It allows you to set your own keyword terms and phrases, which allows you to respond to your customers in a timely manner. Google Alerts – Similar to Mention, Google Alerts will notify you when your keywords are mentioned within any Google platform: websites, blogs, video or discussions. If a majority of your audience is finding you on Google this is a great option for you. Note: roughly 66% of web users search via Google. RSS Reader – An RSS Feed is a standard feed format of summarized text from a website, blog or other online services, usually for those that publish frequent updates and information. When blogging, it’s a good idea to set up an RSS feed to track other blogs, news headlines, audio and video feeds you rely on to stay up to date. Google Keyword Tool – While it may not be necessary for you to set up a Google AdWords campaign, it is always a good idea to see what words and terms people are currently using to find your site. Once you know what topics your audience is engaging with, you can tailor your content to better help your customers. Buffer – This tool allows you to schedule posts on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn from one central location. It also offers suggested posts based on trending topics. However, some of the more advanced uses, such as pages and some analytics, require a paid upgrade. ManageFlitter – A tool that helps effectively manage your Twitter account through timed posts along with analytics. There are multiple user types for this app, but we suggest you start out on Freebie and go from there. bitly.com – An online service that shortens URLs (web addresses) and includes analytics. These shortened links can be used on any platform, even email to clients. 11
  • Share this eBook! Tools & Resources Free Grading Tools for Marketing Marketing Grader – This free tool from HubSpot analyzes your website and provides actionable insights to improve your marketing. LikeAlyzer – A tool that grades your Facebook page. All it needs is a URL. This app can be helpful when measuring and analyzing the effectiveness of your Facebook Page activity. It offers helpful hints, and allows you to compare your Page against similar industry pages and competitors. Our General Recommendations WordPress is a great publishing platform, which we use at AlwaysCare, that features a tremendous list of Plugins that can help you with everything from website or blog design to automated e-newsletters to your clients to search engine optimization. Review industry regulations before becoming social. An excellent source to review is the NAIC Market Regulation and Consumer Affairs (D) Committee’s Social Media White Paper and the FINRA Guidance on Blogs and Social Networking Web Sites. 12
  • Share this eBook! Tools & Resources 13 Things to Keep in Mind When Posting 1 Stay away from the “hard sell” social media post. Consider each post as if it were the first conversation with a potential client. It is okay to have some promotional posts mixed in (eventually), but mostly be informative, personable and, above all, helpful. 2 Become active on multiple platforms. Know where your customers are and meet them there. 3 Share things about your agency or business so that viewers can get to know you. Your USP is a great place to start. 4 Ask questions. 5 Post weekly (or more often, if possible). 6 Respond to comments and questions quickly and engage prospects and clients where their interests lie. 7 Create interactive posts. 8 Vary your posts. Sharing a mix of text, photos, links and videos will keep your followers engaged. 9 Stay positive and respond in a timely manner. 10 Pass valuable information along, and share your own original content when possible. 11 Use praise in your posts. Complimenting a client, employee, or partner using a link or posting to them is often very effective. 12 Stay professional. Remember that once it’s online, it never truly goes away. If you wouldn’t say it in a crowded room of strangers (including mothers and fathers with young children), don’t say it at all. 13 Remember relationships developed online don’t have to stay there. Use social media to start a discussion that may end up offline. 13
  • Share this eBook! Tools & Resources Interested in our sources? 3 Ways to Drive Sales Via Agent Social Media (Insurance & Technology) 10 Free Tools Every Business Blogger Should Bookmark (HubSpot) 11 Shocking New Social Media Statistics in America (Convince & Convert) 50 Awesome Social Media Ideas for Insurance Agencies (Insurance Journal) Are You Effectively Using Social Media for Business Development? (Forbes) Regulatory Standards for the Use of Social Media in Insurance (Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP) Social Media Analytics: Data Mining Applied to Insurance Twitter Posts (Casualty Actuarial Society) Social Media for Business: Never Miss a Single Trick! (Social Media Today) Social Media Doesn’t Drive Sales… But That’s Not the Point (Tara Hunt via LinkedIn) Give Them Something to Talk About: Brian Solis on the Art of Engagement (Google Think Insights) Social Networking’s Value to Insurance Agents & Brokers - Making the Case (Agents Council for Technology, Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, Inc.) How to Use Social Media in Sales (Duct Tape Marketing) Study: 78% Of Salespeople Using Social Media Outsell Their Peers (Forbes) If You Work in Insurance, This Should Be the Only Article You Read on the Future of Social Media (Ryan Hanley, CIC) Tips On Using Social Media as Your Secret Sales Weapon (HootSuite via LinkedIn) Using Social Media for Business (Social Media Today) Talk to a Marketer about adding social media to your strategy Contact a Sales Rep about our benefits today! Click Here Click Here 14
  • 1-888-729-5433, Ext. 2013 www.AlwaysCareBenefits.com Mailing Address: P.O. Box 98100 Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9100 Mon. - Fri. 7:30 AM - 8:30 PM (CST) Sat. 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM (CST) Physical Address: 8485 Goodwood Boulevard Baton Rouge, LA 70806-7878