One of the big goals of this blog is to encourage everyone, especially our independent insurance agent partners, to use the online tools that are available to them. There are social media sites like Facebook (have you been to our page?), video on YouTube and Vimeo, and blogs just like this one.
You may have an online presence already — a website with your contact information, maybe a Facebook page or Twitter stream that’s updated once in a while — but how do you build a steady flow of information, one that keeps your customers, and potential new customers, visiting day after day?
Start by developing a plan for your social media posts, known by specialists as a content marketing strategy. We can do that by answering a few questions: the famous “Five Ws and an H” used by journalists for decades.
At Hastings Mutual, there are four audiences we try to reach with most of our content:
A social media post focused on your business gives your reader information. It could be as simple as facts about what’s happening in your community, or promotions for your business. It should highlight what you do best: you can buy insurance almost anywhere, for example, but the reason a policyholder wants to work with an independent agent who represents Hastings Mutual is to benefit from expertise and attention to service from both the agent and Hastings Mutual.
In the same way, if you’re managing social media for a shoe store, you can highlight shoes that are on sale this week — but you’ll want to feature shoes that no other store is carrying, or ones that are best for the activities that your customers participate in (living in a big basketball town? Is your location a haven for hikers?).
There’s no firm answer on that. The main goal is to be consistent; if an audience that only stops by now and again sees you’ve got something new every morning, it will only be a few weeks or months before they make sure to check your page every day.
There seems to be a new social media channel available every day. The giants of the field, though, are just what you think they are: Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Try to have content for them, but don’t overlook your audience: younger people are less likely to be on Facebook, for example. It’s probably quicker for you to write a blog post, but everyone enjoys watching videos, too. A brief online search of other companies in your industry will point you in the right direction for your social media channels and social media content.
These answers are simple: You’re promoting yourself and your business online because you want to reach people every way you can. And you’re doing it by using the internet for research (say, by reading this blog post…) and developing a plan for your social media presence. Let us know how to find you, in the comments!