This article originally appeared in the March edition of BenefitsPRO magazine.
Social media has become an essential marketing tool for businesses of all sizes. Buffer, a social media management platform, recently released its State of Social 2018 report, which surveyed over 1,700 companies, half of which employ fewer than 10 people. Survey results showed that a whopping 96 percent of businesses are using social media marketing.
We’ve reached the point where businesses of all sizes know they should be incorporating social media into their overall marketing strategies, but the social media landscape can be overwhelming, especially for busy brokers who want to focus on revenue generation and agency management. It can be difficult to know which platforms to use, what to post, how often to post, and how to measure success. But social media marketing doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Here are five easy-to-implement social media strategies that can jumpstart your social media marketing efforts.
1. Update your LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn is the most popular business-oriented social networking platform, with more than 500 million users. While you may think of LinkedIn as nothing more than an online resume, it is an essential social media marketing tool. Your LinkedIn profile is an online professional statement about you—who you are, what you do, why you’re qualified, how to contact you, when to hire you and how connected and relevant you are. It is often the first place someone will look for information about you when they are considering doing business with you.
At a minimum, make sure your profile is updated with your current title and a description of what you do. Upload a current photo of yourself, and make sure your contact information is accurate.
2. Look for content in everyday activities
“Content” can be a scary word for people who are just getting into social media marketing. I talk to a lot of brokers who have the impression that they need to invest time creating long, insightful and witty articles if they want to participate on social media. They don’t always recognize the value of their expertise and don’t realize that they are constantly creating content in the course of a normal day.
Content can exist in an email that you send to a client responding to a technical question about an insurance policy. It can be an answer to a question that an employee asks you at an open enrollment meeting, or it can be in a conversation you have with a referral source about a prospective client’s needs. It only takes a few minutes to repurpose those responses into informative content that you can share on social media.
3. Identify FAQs & SAQs
Here’s my favorite exercise for creating content: Spend a few minutes writing down five frequently asked questions (FAQs) that you often hear in different professional situations. For example, what do people ask you about health care reform? What do employees most often ask when you are conducting open enrollment meetings? What are the common questions clients ask about COBRA? In addition, consider the should-ask questions (SAQs) that you wish people asked you more often. For example, what should employers consider when selecting a benefits enrollment platform? What should individuals know about Medicare prescription coverage? What should employees know when their employer changes health insurance carriers? Each of these can generate short Q&A posts or become the foundation for a longer article.
4. Be positive, timely & authentic
Your social media presence is often the first way prospective clients, vendors and referral partners learn about you. Your content should be an authentic reflection of what it’s like to do business with you. Are you informative, helpful and knowledgeable? Are you enthusiastic about what you do? How do you handle challenges? What are your thoughts about current events in your industry, and how are you advising your clients? Your content is an indication of what it’s like to work with you, and it will often be the first step in the valuable know-like-trust relationship cycle.
5. Spend 10 minutes each day
Once you identify the content that you are creating during the course of your day, you only need to set aside a few minutes each day to share it.
I highly recommend using a social media management tool like Buffer or Hootsuite. They make sharing easy, allowing you to post one piece of content over multiple platforms, and schedule posts for future distribution. Using a social media management tool also allows you to post without getting distracted by those productivity-killing notifications and cat videos.
While there can be a lot more to social media marketing, it doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t require a lot of technical skill, writing skill, or time. Follow these easy-to-implement tips to ensure that you have control over your online presence.
Be sure to attend Amy Evans’ Education Track session, “Fast Tracking Social Media: Easy-to-Implement Strategies for Busy Brokers” April 19 at 9:30 a.m at BenefitsPRO Broker Expo.