8 tips for brokers using social media

Think social media is a fad?

Think again, argues Chad Schneider, Aflac business developer manager.

“A lot of people are scared of this, but it’s not going away,” Schneider said at a session Thursday in Denver, part of the Colorado State Association of Health Underwriters’ annual conference. “It’s not a fad; it’s fundamental communication.”

Insurance sales “are no longer about spreadsheeting,” he said. “It’s about developing yourself as a brand.”

And that’s where social media comes in.

For folks in the insurance industry, social media works to broaden your network and complement your sales efforts.

Consider these tips for using social media as a broker.

Recognize it’s not a fad. Consider these facts: 96 percent of millennials are on a social network; 80 percent of companies use social media for recruitment, 78 percent of consumers trust recommendations and universities no longer issue email addresses, as kids instead migrate to social media for information sharing. And the insurance industry is at the forefront of the Facebook revolution: as an industry, they have the most Facebook pages, Schneider said.

Ask questions. Who do I want to reach? Where are they online? What are my resources?

Keep clients informed. A social media platform enables you to direct clients to important information—such as health reform or business practices. Also, it’s a good opportunity to tell them about you. “Tell your company’s story,” Schneider said. “You want to think your clients know what you do for them on a day- to-day basis, but at the end of the day, do they know your company’s story?”

Remember the customer is always right. The old adage applies here, too. What is your customer going to expect to see from you? How will social media help you fulfill that expectation? Keep your image and brand consistent.

Update, update, update. Ensure your content is ongoing and high quality. If you are only updating once every few weeks or every month or so, don’t bother.

See it as a road for two-way communication. Sites like Facebook allow for two-way communication with customers and prospects. You can post news articles and FAQs for customers about things that affect them—small business tax credits, advantages of an HSA, etc.

Bring your brand to life. Think about this: The Aflac duck has more than 315,000 friends on Facebook.

Blog. Put your point of view out there—why not talk about what’s happening in Washington regarding health care? Blogging makes sure you regularly communicate with your customers. Some tips on doing so: Don’t treat it like a press center; blog regularly; stay current; create an environment to enable chat; and be patient—don’t expect results right away; it takes time to set up and for people to react.

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