Financial professionals need social media if they want to be part of the future of the insurance industry.
Social media platforms have been around for decades, but they’ve evolved into a space where financial and insurance professionals can network, discuss ideas and most importantly, reach a broader audience for their services and products. Social media has expanded dramatically in recent years, and now consumers are using it to learn about insurance products and financial planning before they speak with a professional. This new arena has brought to life a new method of social selling, and financial advisors would be smart to learn more about it and get involved.
Many financial professionals have already joined a social media platform in the hopes of reaching more people. If you haven’t, here are the tips you need to get started:
- Take a look at different platforms. Not every social media platform has the same atmosphere or will connect you to the same people. For example, LinkedIn is a professional networking site while Facebook welcomes both personal and business pages. Before diving into social media marketing, you need to determine which site or sites are best for your goals. Recent LIMRA research found LinkedIn is an important place to be for the insurance industry and a site you don’t want to ignore. But, in addition to LinkedIn, you may want to have a Facebook page or Twitter feed to broaden your reach.
- Determine if you want a blog. Blogging and social media go hand-in-hand, but it’s possible to have social media profiles without also blogging. Online marketing works best if you deliver consistent new content through your website because it improves your Google ranking, but you can post content to LinkedIn and other platforms without having your own blog.
- Research compliance issues. For many in the financial and insurance industries, regulations closely control what you can market and how. Before posting content, make sure you understand any relevant state and federal regulations.
- Make a formal plan. Successfully using social media to reach a broader audience and generate leads isn’t as simple as setting up a profile on LinkedIn or tweeting a few times. You need a true plan for how you will engage with others on whichever sites you choose, including deciding what kind of content you want to post, how often you want to post and how you want to communicate with other businesses and potential clients. Many advisors use social media as a place to educate consumers regarding new financial and insurance products, about changes in the insurance industry or economy as well as events and changes with your business. Others use it as a way to connect one-on-one with potential leads, answering questions and helping them find the insurance products they need – even offering online quotes.
- Consider a partner. Trying to manage more than one social media platform and consistently create original content can be a challenge when added to the top of your normal workload. If you’re serious about online marketing and using social media, you may want to consider a third-party content provider or social media specialist. The online marketing industry has grown rapidly over the past decade, and there are now many agencies and professionals ready to provide you with their expertise and writing skills.
- Avoid common mistakes. Many professionals begin a blog or create a social media profile and then after a month of work, let it fall off their radar. Online lead generation and sales is a long-term game, which means your plan needs to encompass how you will manage your social media strategy for at least the next year, not a few weeks. Inactivity on your profiles leads to a lack of engagement, which is what you need to connect with potential clients.
There is no one perfect plan for utilizing social media in your sales process. However, it’s clear that many financial professionals are successfully using various platforms and social selling strategies to boost their lead generation and business.
If you want to begin using social media or you have an inactive profile, do some research and formulate a plan to move forward. Only by devoting a bit of time and energy to social media can you gain anything from it.