You might not think of your insurance brand as trendy. In fact, most people would argue that the whole insurance industry is rather staid and conservative. But, keeping up with the latest marketing trends is key to growing your brand. Right now, a wave of social selling is rolling across the industry – and you could ride it to increased visibility and an expanded reach for your insurance brand.
What Is Social Selling?
Social selling is a modern, full-on digital version of networking. It is a means of connecting your insurance brand to your customers and potential customers via social media (let’s de-emphasize the “selling” part for the moment). When applied to your insurance brand, social selling can help shorten your sales cycle, amplify your credibility, and grow your brand.
Social selling is about building relationships with your existing customer base through your social channels and then branching out from there. Customers have a shorter sales cycle than prospects, and existing customers are also the most likely to become your brand ambassadors. Social selling is an effective way to grow your brand through your customers’ networks because your customers are connected to other like-minded people.
How to Craft a Social Selling Plan
Social selling takes time, but you can get started right away. Like any good marketing technique, social selling requires a plan. Here’s what you need to do:
- Establish Your Brand’s Online Presence: More than just having a website, you need to optimize your online presence across several platforms. Start by filling in all the spaces in your social media profiles with up-to-date, relevant, and engaging information about your company. Think of each profile like a mini website because that might be the only place a potential customer engages with your brand. Be sure your product offerings are fully explained and one point of contact for your company is highlighted.
- Build Credibility Through Content Sharing: Social media platforms reward consistency, so plan a regular posting schedule that you can maintain over the long term. What you post can make a significant difference to your brand’s success in social selling. (The “selling” aspect is still on hold.) Post valuable information that your customers and potential customers could benefit from and that also displays your expertise in your industry. You could include tips for worksite safety, homeowner maintenance, bad weather driving, or business emergency planning. Post case studies or repost articles from other industry experts with your brand’s summary of the key points.
- Go on a Social Listening Tour: Set up tools and alerts that let you know when someone is posting about topics relevant to your insurance brand. For example, if you want to boost sales of your new home and auto package or sell more BOPs with cybersecurity riders, you might track #workfromhome. These alerts will help you identify people who may need the products you have to offer. Be sure to include alerts for the name of your insurance company so you can monitor and engage with people specifically posting about your brand.
- Engage in Digital Networking: Ultimately, you want to develop relationships with people in your customers’ networks, but you can’t just send them random requests to connect. Instead, see what groups your customers belong to and join a few of those. Jump into the conversation in those groups when you have something valuable to add. Also, join groups that could be relevant to the industries you serve. Observe the conversations in several groups to determine where you could participate in the most useful conversations for your insurance brand. Remember, you are just trying to add value to the conversation. You are not making any sales pitches. Yet.
The “selling” is mostly silent in “social selling.” You are not pitching your products or promoting your agency. You are simply building relationships with your brand. When people feel they know and trust your brand, they will seek you out when they are ready to buy.
How to Know You’ve Mastered Social Selling
Data-driven decision making is another wave you are probably already riding. It’s easy to collect the data you need here by using the Social Selling Index. LinkedIn established the Social Selling Index based on four parameters: brand identity, relevant connections, engaging content, and strengthening relationships. You can see your score by signing in to your LinkedIn account and going to your Social Selling Index dashboard.
Record the Social Selling Index score for your insurance brand as a baseline. Check back frequently to see how your social selling efforts have increased your score. Your dashboard will show how you score in each of the four areas and overall. It also shows your score within the insurance industry and within your particular network. You don’t have to conduct surveys or do split testing. LinkedIn calculates your social selling score automatically. If you implement the same social selling plan on other platforms, you can assume your level of success there is similar to what you see on your LinkedIn dashboard.
Digital marketing trends like social selling change frequently, which is why it is important to get on board right away. Get all the benefits of social selling for your insurance brand before a new trend comes along. If you need help ramping up your social selling efforts, contact LIGHTSTREAM. We’re here to help you take advantage of all the marketing techniques that can more successfully grow your insurance brand, and keep you informed of the latest marketing trends to help you evolve your marketing strategies.