The pound or the number sign has been reimagined and today’s social media has breathed new life into the symbol. The hashtag - # symbol - precedes a word or a phrase. It became a search tool back in 2007 when Twitter allowed it’s users to search and share topics by using the symbol. Since then, other social medial platforms have adopted the symbol and it is used on Google+, Facebook and Instagram.
The hashtag can be part of your agency’s marketing strategy by enhancing your social media marketing. How can insurance agents use hashtags? Much like the rest of your social media strategy, it should not just be about promoting your insurance plans and services, it should also be about publishing engaging content for your audience.
Whether you curate or create content for your different social media accounts, the posts should be informative or provide a lot of value. Most of all, you should choose content that your audience will be interested in reading.
Being relevant is one way to make sure that you post (or talk) about other things. Showing that you are aware of what is going on makes you look personable and not just into the different insurance products that you offer. Think about talking about a natural calamity or about upcoming holidays and making appropriate posts.
Now that you have an audience, ask questions and start discussions. This can lead to your followers liking your posts, posting comments and even sharing your posts. To make your tweets or posts easily discoverable create a unique hashtag for your questions. Add it to your original question and remind your audience to use the hashtag and include it in their replies. When they use your hashtag their social media friends will also see it. And that’s a whole new group of people for you to increase your agency’s exposure.
Engaging with followers helps you understand them and get ideas on how to better serve them. This is a good way to win their confidence and loyalty.
Here are a couple of examples of ways insurance agents use hashtags:
- Talk about relevant events or topics
- E.g. #summertravels, #insuranceplans
- To promote events and insurance plans
- E.g. #summerbbq, #planningforthefuture
- To announce new followers or customers
- E.g. #welcometo(agency name)
- Publishing informative insurance content
- E.g. #(agency name)info
You can monitor the #hashtag by doing a Google search or on the different social media platforms. Likewise, people can also see your posts when searching for #hashtag terms.
Try to limit the use of multiple hashtags in a post, at most use two. Every single word should not be partnered with a hashtag. Choose a word or phrase that is unique and easy to remember, something that can be connected to your brand. It makes you seem like you just want to appear in searches instead of making connections with people.
Popular hashtags for the insurance industry are : #insurance, #risk, #lifeinsurance, #terminsurance, #insurancebroker. Other popular general topics hashtags are #tbt or #throwbackthursday for posts about the past, #funfactfriday to talk about something interesting, and #motivationmonday for quotes.
If you want to connect to other people, try doing a search in Google+, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using one of the above hashtags to see the posts and discussions connected to it. Click on a conversation and join in by adding your point of view. You can connect with new people and maybe increase your followers.
You can also do a search for trending or popular hashtags and use that in a post. Hashtags of popular shows like The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones are popular during the episodes airing and a couple of days after. If you can connect an insurance product to something that happened in the episode, then that’s a fun way to jump on the trend.
Another thing you can do with your hashtags is to group them and come up with a new post. In Twitter check out Twitter Moments where you can choose tweets and group them to reshare.
When Twitter first introduced using hashtags, they found out that tweets with hashtags get 60% more interactions. Meaning that the tweets reached a larger audience. Because of this, hashtags have become part of insurance campaigns. There are two categories that hashtags are used in campaigns : branded hashtags that include the brand and internet-based hashtag or shared topics.
Examples of branded hashtags are #InFlovation by Progressive and #GeckoPhilosophy by Geico. While #DreamFearlessly by American Family and #MerryMayhem by Allstate are shared topics that hope to attract like-minded individuals.
Progressive’s #InFlovation is a play on words - innovation and Flo. It targets their customers or audiences that like to interact with Flo.
A popular hashtag is #inspirationalquotes and Geico took a cue from that with their #GeckoPhilosophy, putting a spin on the quotes tailored to their audience.
Mayhem is one of the most recognizable insurance advertising characters and his dark humor is center stage no matter if it’s summer, football season or Christmas.
To ensure engagement with your followers mix things up every so often. There are so many different types to choose from - quotes, pictures, graphics, GIFs, videos, etc. There’s crowdsourcing or getting opinions from your audience - ask a question, advice and tips. To really stir things up ask people to choose between two topics - coke or pepsi, car or motorcycle, rent or own. This doubles up as a survey to see what your audience is interested in.
There is no tried and tested way to do social media, but Hubspot came up with a social media calendar to time your posts:
- Facebook: Weekends between 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.; Wednesdays between 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays between 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
- Twitter: Mondays through Fridays between 12:00 – 3:00 p.m.; Wednesdays between 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.
- Instagram: Anytime Monday through Thursday, except between 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
These are just a couple of action points for using hashtags in social media. Hashtags can enhance your social posts and hopefully improve your agency’s marketing strategy. Remember to include a hashtag or two in your next posts!