How producers can market themselves using social media
By Paul Wilson
We live in an age where technology is literally changing our lives on a daily basis. Obviously, one of the major sea changes in the past few years has come in the form of social media. At last month’s NAILBA meeting, I was fortunate enough to sit in on a presentation by Chris Marentis discussing strategies insurers can use to market themselves and their businesses using technology and social media.
Chris is the founder and president of SurefireSocial, an interactive media and marketing services company that helps businesses brand themselves using technology.
As Chris explained, traditional marketing strategies no longer work. These days, people’s primary source of information is the Internet. In other words, people no longer come to you; you have to go to where they are.
He also stressed the importance of building authority with your community — you must be perceived as an expert.
One way to increase your authority is simply to get your voice out there. Join life insurance groups on Facebook and LinkedIn and begin sharing your content on Ezines and other websites (Hint: your content could be appearing on this very site in a matter of minutes.)
Getting your voice out there not only increases your authority, it also helps you create a larger footprint on local search engines. Search engine algorithms have changed dramatically in recent years and are now much more focused on local content, which is great news for producers looking to build their business with their communities.
Chris also stressed the importance of learning to use the new Web. Because search engines now favor local searches, agents who use the right links and key words can easily displace national brands within search results.
As part of his presentation, he offered four actionable social media tactics that can help producers market themselves and improve their brand:
1. Create and updated professional universal business listings
Create a professional online identity by providing consistent information on websites such as Google Places, Bing, Yahoo, SuperPages and Info USA. Carefully select key words and categories, and add pictures and videos. Update the content at least quarterly.
2. Set up Facebook fan pages
Create a Facebook fan page for your business and then add newsletters, multimedia features, banner ads and direct links.
3. Use Hoot Suite to schedule and track all social media updates
Utilize this social media dashboard to schedule status updates and tweets. It enables you to write one message and then automatically post it to all social media sites. It also allows you to schedule updates and track analytics.
4. Establish a social media link wheel
This strategy involves setting up technological “spokes” in the form of articles, social media presence, links, customized themes, etc. that point back toward your site and can then be promoted at social bookmarking sites.