Putting Social Media to Work for Customer Education

There’s a difference between using marketing tactics for sales, and for customer education. The latter is much more valuable and will win you more loyal clients.

In order to best educate consumers, you should ask yourself one question: How can your product solve their problem? By answering this question, you’ll be able to identify and create the best material to share to help them make an informed decision.

The other piece of this puzzle is social media. Without a doubt, it is the best tool currently out there to help businesses in customer education. By harnessing its power and using it to educate, you have a wonderful opportunity to help your agency achieve its goals to earn more clients and more loyalty.

Why educate your consumer?

It’s easy for an insurance agent to make the mistake of assuming that a client knows everything about the coverage they are shopping for. An even bigger mistake is believing that they should. Sure, that’s information they can easily search for and find on the internet. However, by providing that knowledge, you not only make it easy for them to make an informed decision–you also establish yourself as an insurance expert worthy of their business.

It’s true that you’re competing with other agents for business. However, using competitive marketing tactics and focusing solely on the value of your own products can be alienating to consumers. A prospect can tell when you’re just competing for their dollars. It’s way smarter to provide education, and show the public how they can benefit from the coverage you offer.

Providing the consumer with the knowledge they need to make an informed decision is far more valuable than flashy marketing–and smart consumers will choose the agent who has educated them every time.

Why social media?

It’s no secret that we believe social media is an effective and revolutionary tool for insurance agents. It’s provided new and exciting ways for agents to connect with clients and prospective clients in a casual, low-pressure environment.

Worldwide, the number of social media users as of 2017 reached 1.96 billion, with 81% of Americans having at least one social media profile. That gives you the opportunity to engage with a much larger percentage of the population than you could on traditional marketing platforms.

Additionally, many consumers are shifting their habits to reflect what experts are calling a “social economy.” Where previously our traditional economy took place primarily in physical locations and involved human interaction, the advent of the Internet and social networking has spawned an environment that thrives on social connections and interactions between businesses and consumers. In short, today’s insurance consumer wants a more authentic connection to their agents/carriers, and those interactions will drive their buying decisions.

Social media advertising and sponsored posts have proven to be effective and should be utilized; but providing education through social media is the key that will unlock better client-agent relationships and higher conversions.

Who is the consumer?

As social media usage continues to rise and become the norm for both social and economic connections, insurance agents need to adapt to the new ways in which consumers are making their purchasing decisions.

In order to educate insurance consumers, it’s crucial to know who they are.

  • They are mobile

According to data collected in 2016, around 80% of social media use is now done on mobile devices. This means that if someone is interacting with your agency on social media, they are most likely doing it through their phone or other mobile device. When educating consumers using social media, think about how mobile-friendly your content is. If you often link to your blog or website, are those pages optimized for mobile access?

  • They respond to images

A social media post accompanied by an image is 10X more likely to receive engagement (likes, comments, and shares) than a text-only post. This is proven by the popularity of image-driven social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest, and it holds true when looking at analytics from other social media platforms, as well. Including images also helps with information retention–a person typically retains 10% of what they read, but that jumps to 65% if the information is accompanied by an image.  This makes images a valuable tool when it comes to educating consumers on social media.

  • They love video

Almost everyone using social media spends a chunk of their time online watching videos. Experts estimate that by 2021, video will account for at least 82% of all Internet traffic. Creating a video explaining a subject is a great way to capture users’ attention and educate them about insurance. How do you think your agency could use video in its social media strategy?

  • They value community

Millennials, who currently make up the largest consumer group and are the heaviest users of social media, place an emphasis on the value of community. This means that it isn’t enough to simply sell them insurance. Instead, it’s crucial to involve them in dialogue related to your industry. This dialogue fosters engagement and creates a community, resulting in greater trust, customer loyalty and, ultimately, better clients.

How to educate your social media consumer

  • Curate educational content

The first step to educating your customer through social media is knowing what content they want most. It may help to start a list of topics. What questions do you most commonly get from your clients? What aspect of your job do friends and family ask about most? It may also help to survey your clients–ask them what types of coverage or insurance-related topics they are most curious about. You may also wish to ask them what topics or terms most confuse them. By compiling these answers, you can get a better idea of what content will be most valuable to your current and future clients.

Next, go online and search for the topics and questions that you’ve compiled. Find articles and videos that provide comprehensive answers to your clients’ questions. It’s best to pull from a variety of sources, but to also make sure that any source you link is reliable and trustworthy.

Finally, determine what content you want to create yourself. If there are areas in which you have particular expertise, you may want to start with those. The insurance blog is a powerful teaching tool that can be shared on social media, so start one if you haven’t done so already. Consider what other type of content you could produce. Do you have the in-house talent to create videos? Infographics? Interactive content? Be sure to create content you know will encourage engagement, but don’t be afraid to come up with ideas outside the box.

  • Create a community

Your agency isn’t just a business–it’s part of a community. Sharing quality content, maintaining a regular presence, and providing answers and customer service on social media will help you foster that sense of community. Those strategies are discussed further below.

In addition to social media presence and interaction, your participation in the community outside your agency can help consumers feel good about doing business with you. Try collaborating with local organizations on events or fundraisers. Be sure to promote and share about those events on your social media. Focusing some of your attention outward toward a good cause will encourage more people to engage with your business.

  • Post frequently and regularly

We won’t sugarcoat it–you have a lot of competition on social media. As of 2014, 88% of businesses used social media as part of their marketing strategy. That means, in order to rise above the chatter, it isn’t enough to simply post good content–you have to post it frequently. Pages that only post on occasion risk being drowned out of the conversation, so having a frequent and regular schedule for your posts can help to boost your visibility. We recommend posting approximately once per day, around the same time of day.

Not sure how you’ll find and create that much content? Remember that it’s okay to share links more than once. Rewriting a post and featuring alternate images can help keep the content fresh while presenting the same information. For instance, if you have a blog post on a popular topic, you could choose to share it three or four times within a six month period. This means that the information is still fresh and relevant, but the sharing is spaced out enough that it doesn’t seem redundant.

Once you start posting, pinpoint some content that you think is good enough to share again later.

  • Aim to entertain

Users are on social media for two reasons: Socializing and entertainment. They look to their friends for social fulfillment, and to the businesses and other pages they follow for entertainment. So how can you make insurance educational but still entertaining?

Consider what makes content entertaining. Sometimes it is humorous. Sometimes it is fascinating. And sometimes it tells a story. Think about how you can incorporate these characteristics into your content. Can you present information about auto insurance in a way that is humorous? Can you present interesting statistics about business liability? How about telling a heartwarming story about homeowners and how their insurance agency came to their rescue? If the answer is yes, explore those possibilities and create that content. What ideas can you come up with?

  • Integrate platforms

Keeping things consistent and sharing between platforms can create a cohesive experience for clients who follow you on multiple social media accounts. If you post a photo to Instagram, share it to Facebook as well. If you upload a video to YouTube, make sure you tweet it out to your followers. And if you’re launching a campaign or celebrating an event, promote it across all your platforms, keeping the messaging consistent. This type of integration will help you utilize and optimize the potential of each individual platform.

  • Nurture the community

A community is a lot like a plant–you need to care for it and provide it with what it needs to thrive. Therefore, once you’ve created this community, you’ll need to put in some effort to help it blossom.

First and foremost, interact with the followers who are interacting with you. Reply to comments, messages and concerns promptly. It can help to have a scheduled daily time for checking and interacting with your social media. Even if your response is as simple as liking a comment, it can mean a lot.

Additionally, reach out to others who have interacted with you in the past. If a client posts a photo of their new home, like it or offer congratulations. It can also be nice to share posts from local businesses–a type of engagement that could even result in them sending you referrals! Tagging others in relevant posts is also a great way to show recognition. Engage in the community, and the community will engage with you!

Finally, let your followers know that you’re always available. Invite them to message you on social media with their questions and concerns. Even if they never do, the simple knowledge that you’re there and ready to help can foster trust.

As an insurance agent, the most valuable tool you have to educate consumers is social media. By utilizing it, you can easily spread the knowledge necessary to help prospective clients make the right decision by choosing your agency. When you take the tips above and put them together with your insurance expertise, you have a winning combination.

Can’t wait to get started on social media? We specialize in content that educates and entertains. See how a streamlined social media experience can help your agency by signing up for our 30-day free trial today.

–By Mallory DuPuy

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