Independent agents represent multiple insurance carriers–so if those agents are active on social media, how does that impact just on of the companies they represent? What’s the impact if agents aren’t social media marketers? April Schmaltz, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for Delta Dental of Iowa, shares her thoughts.
How important is it to Delta Dental of Iowa for its independent agents to be active on social media?
Delta Dental of Iowa strives to be a resource and industry expert for all things dental, as well as overall health and wellness. As a part of our promise to provide exceptional quality service, we are happy to provide a range of resources to brokers (via social media, PDF documents, broker portal documents, weekly blog posts, informative newsletters, member magazine resournces, and consistent communication), as this helps them answer any questions their clients may have and better position them as experts and a reliable resource.
This same methodology applies to social media. We encourage brokers to be present on social media, not necessarily for our gain, but to be a better partner with our brokers and provide the best service to their clients. They need to be where their clients are, and we are happy to provide shareable content to help them manage their presence.
How do you think social media marketing impacts the individual agency’s business?
There are a lot of opportunities for insurance agents to use social media to engage with their current client base as well as their potential customers. Agents can miss out on having that extra connection to the customers and being able to react to their customers where they are spending time.
What is your greatest insurance social media pet peeve–the number one thing agents should avoid doing?
When you forget that people don’t care about your company. You have to work to make them care. Most people aren’t thinking about insurance as much as they’re thinking about the cool recipe videos or their friend’s baby shower from last weekend. So you have to figure out what problem you’re solving for them with your posts.
You can tell who knows their audience and who doesn’t – this goes for both large and small brokers. You’re not an insurance broker anymore, you need to think about how you’re showing people that you’re a reliable, trustworthy resource for XYZ. Align your content with your brand, audience, and industry. It is also important to include timely information to what is happening in the news or seasonality.
For your agents, what seems to be the biggest social media marketing challenge?
I believe, for our smaller agents, it is staffing constraints and hesitation to jump into the unknown. They are not social media marketers, they are insurance brokers and they don’t want to “do it wrong.”
For our larger agents, I believe it is understanding what kind of content and messaging they should say. Oftentimes, they might have the manpower to “feed the beast,” but if content is not consistent or helping to build their brand, it could be harmful.
What else do you think insurance agents might be missing in regards to social media marketing?
We’re past the “should I be on social media?” question. In fact, if you’re still asking this, you’re about 7 years behind the game. Especially as millennials age up into the workforce, and the boomers age into retirement (seeking help from their children, who will use online resources), it’s an expectation that companies have some form of social presence that consumers can have an interaction with their agent.
It’s not just a place for you to have a touchpoint with your clients, but also be visible in your communities, organizations, partnerships, employees, and state. Likes, Faves, retweets are more than just jargon – they’re counted as actual human interaction these days. And it counts if you’re not there.