Why independent agents need Facebook
By David Shields
WealthMark Advisors, Inc
“All things being equal, people do business with and refer business to those people they know, like and trust. Social media has opened up avenues to develop a ‘Know, Like, Trust’ relationship with prospects and referral sources in very simple non-intrusive, non-spammy, non-salesy ways. The salesperson who understands and uses these tools will sell more than those who don't.”
— Kevin Knebl
Like it or not, social networking is essential if you want to succeed in selling life insurance and annuities. Old sales methods such as cold calling, though not gone for good, are gradually slipping out of favor. Clients prefer to find you, rather than the other way around, and one of the surest ways of making your presence known is through social media. Here is where sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn can help you.
With more than one billion registered users, Facebook is indisputably the planet’s most popular social networking site. Chances are, you already use it — but how are you using it? Everyone knows that Facebook allows you to socialize with friends and family, but if you’re not taking full advantage of its potential to generate leads and grow your client list, you’re letting the train pass you by.
Age is no longer an excuse to ignore social networking as a marketing tool. A 2012 study conducted by the Pew Internet Project found that 1 in 3 seniors who use the Internet have a LinkedIn or Facebook account. Eighteen percent of those seniors use their accounts on a daily basis.
Creating and optimizing a personal account
To maintain an optimized, engaging Facebook profile, follow these tips:
- Make sure your content is professional, including your profile picture. (No photos of you performing keg stands, please.)
- Let others know your job title and location so you can show up in Google searches. You can accomplish this by clicking the About button under your profile picture and updating your personal information on the next page. Be specific! For example, instead of “Agent,” write “Texas Independent Agent.”
- Raise other users’ awareness of your presence and what you do by making frequent status updates. Don’t go a week without posting something. Keep your posts short and proofread your writing before you commit.
- Be mindful of when you share an update. You want the optimal number of people to see it. Midday and after-work hours are typically a good time to share, but avoid Mondays.
- Engage your audience by asking them to comment on your posts. When they do, respond back. People like to know they’re being listened to.
- Consider allowing customers to subscribe to your news feed without their having to “friend” you. In the upper right corner, use the dropdown menu next to Home and select Account Settings. On the far left under General, click Subscribers. Then click the box under Subscribe Settings. Customers can now read your public posts.
For those who wish to keep their personal and professional lives separate, creating a business profile in Facebook Pages might be more appropriate for your needs. To create a business page, you must already have a personal profile. Then, follow these steps:
- On the far left, under Pages, click on Like Pages. On the next page, click on the green Create a Page button. Choose Local
Business or Place. Fill out the information, and click Get Started.
- Follow the same tips as before: keep all content professional, post updates on a regular basis and engage and interact with your audience.
- As a business page, you can now run ads that will appear on other users’ profiles. Running ads costs you, but if they generate leads, it could be profitable. From your business page, click on Build Audience at the top of the screen and select Create an Ad. It will ask you to continue as your personal account. On the following page, fill out the requested information. Make sure you customize it appropriately to target your desired audience. if you sell fixed annuities, you probably wouldn’t find it useful to market to 13-year-olds. Before placing your order, you can always review your ad. Enjoy the incoming leads!