Facebook is not just about cute babies and adorable pets. Of course, those endearing distractions are part of the appeal. But, this powerful social media channel also represents a huge marketing opportunity for insurance agents. Many, however, simply do not understand how to market on Facebook.
With a thriving user base of around 1.65-billion people, Facebook is the largest social network in the world: It has more active monthly users than the entire population of China. If that doesn’t put things into proper perspective, how about this: There are 20,000 people on Facebook every second of every day.
Without question insurance agents need to have a presence on Facebook.
Who’s On Facebook?
What began as a small social network for college students has since grown up to be a global community consisting of everyone from tiny teens to retirees. Facebook’s reputation as an adult-free zone has been difficult to shake. But, while it might once have been the place where young people went to get away from the grown-ups, things have changed.
These days Facebook is being used by all age groups – from 13 to 65 and beyond. It is true that the platforms popularity decreases with age, but a Pew survey confirms that people are frequenting the platform well into the typical retirement age.
Those aged 18-29 are the most fervid users - something that should not come as a surprise given the platforms origins. But those hoping to target age demographics outside of the 18-29 bracket should fear not. The Pew survey indicates that people up to age 65 are also well represented on Facebook.
Whoever your intended target, there is almost certainly a ready-made audience on Facebook.
Social Media Marketing on Facebook
Social media is ripe for the pickings but, it would be a mistake to rush in with all marketing guns blazing. The quickest way to get shunned from online networks, such as Facebook, is to come across as self-serving and of no value. The most important aspect of social media is, social.
In days gone by, small independent insurance agencies might have been inclined to adopt tactics that mimicked large organizations; opting to hide behind a wall of receptionists, toll-free numbers, and inaccessibility. These days it is the other way around. Large companies are doing their utmost to appear smaller and more approachable. Social media humbles even giant organizations such as AXA and Berkshire Hathaway.
All companies, large and small, operate on roughly the same playing field on Facebook. Marketing on Facebook is not all about big budgets and big branding. It is more about making connections and engaging with your audience. An increase in ad spend won’t necessarily have the desired result in a Facebook marketing strategy. In the digital medium, people dislike being “sold”.
Your focus should be on winning hearts and minds as opposed to sales and results; building connections and establishing relationships rather than leads and customers. In a world where insurance policies and products seldom differ from one agency to the next, the primary differentiator will be in the customer service and experience that are perceived by the community you serve.
Tools of The Facebook Marketing Trade
With 1.65-billion people gathering in Facebook’s corner of the web, there is plenty of opportunity for the modern insurance agent to execute a sound social media marketing plan. Taking advantage of the opportunities requires some effort, though. The first step in understanding how to market on Facebook is to get to grips with the available tools.
Pages are free and easy to set up. They are a standard requirement for businesses on Facebook. A business page allows quick connection and content sharing. Users that “Like” a page are opting to be notified of new content, and other company updates. The more likes a page has, the more opportunity there is for you to connect with people and turn them into customers.
With a little creativity, a unique and attractive page can be developed. However, getting a foothold and building a fan base with a page requires a little more effort. If you have to use a social media template from corporate, that’s ok, too! Either way, it’s imperative that you have a quality Facebook cover profile and a unique profile photo of yourself.
Facebook’s targeted advertising platform is one of the best around. It allows the creation of ads that can be targeted to specific ages, geographic areas, device types, and even education levels. These ads have the added benefit of potentially driving more “Likes” to a page.
Ads can be used to promote a business, website, page, or individual pieces of content. The targeting parameters are powerful and effective.
The Facebook groups concept is similar to that of forums. Niche specific forums can be found all over the internet and were useful marketing avenues. With the rise of social media, however, many forums have fallen out of favor.
Facebook makes it possible to take advantage of everything great about forums. Agents can join existing groups or create entirely new ones. By engaging with members of a group and consistently providing value, an agent can establish his/herself as an authority and thought leader. It opens new avenues for reaching out to potential customers.
Groups offer high levels of engagement, provides added exposure for the business, and are free to create or join. They should feature prominently in your Facebook marketing strategy.
Facebook Marketing Tips for Success
An insurance agent’s agenda is not usually world dominance. That’s fine. Big brands that wish to expand to reach a global audience might use Facebook differently to an agent focused primarily on local customers. Fortunately, Facebook can facilitate both agendas.
Despite the mention of big user numbers and huge marketing potential, it is a good idea to start small. Don’t become daunted by big brand numbers. Set reasonable expectations for your Facebook marketing campaign. It is unreasonable to expect 500 new followers in the first week.
Overnight success due to viral content is unlikely - the insurance industry is not known for such phenomena, but that’s okay. By focusing on providing consistent value to the market, rather than content that goes viral, it is possible to build a steady, loyal following.
Providing value to an audience can also come in the form of third-party content. One of the biggest hindrances to Facebook marketing adoption is content development. Many insurance agencies do not have the resources necessary to produce the amount of fresh content needed to sustain a marketing campaign.
Sharing compliant articles, and infographics from other sources, can help to bridge the gap - as long the content is relevant and valuable. Some agents find it valuable to curate some of their content from their corporate office’s Facebook page. Some that are really creative, and can find the time, create some of their own compliant content for consistently posting to their Facebook profile.
The great advantage of Facebook is that insurance agents get the opportunity to disseminate and react to information quickly. When big news is announced in the industry, such as legislative changes, it is an opportunity for agents to position themselves as the go-to source of information.
Sharing relevant articles, answering questions and explaining how any changes might affect a customer are ideal ways to build credibility.
- Start Small
- Embrace third-party content
- Act quickly
- Build credibility
- Be fully compliant
Facebook marketing takes effort, is often slow to take traction, and is potentially difficult. But, as pointed out in this article, it is an important marketing avenue that should not be ignored. If done correctly, Facebook will serve as an effective referral and client nurturing channel, allowing the development of loyal lifetime customers that are happy to give you referrals. It doesn’t get any better than that. It will significantly amplify your current marketing efforts.
Ready to achieve Facebook marketing success? Download our free eBook How to Use Facebook to Market Your Agency Like a Pro now!