With more people looking to gather quotes online or working with operators at a call center, it’s challenging to highlight the advantages of having a local agent working face-to-face with prospects and clients.
Although our world is moving toward digital communication, customers still want to buy insurance from people that they know, like and trust. Agents can use social media as a tool to build relationships, provide value and ultimately create a community that may lead to new business and satisfied customers.
Facebook, with its 1.5 billion users (as of the third quarter 2015), has used its database to not only connect people with others, but also to connect people with businesses. Although Facebook is still a great tool to reach potential customers, organic reach is more difficult in 2016 than it was in 2012 because of an algorithm that filters content on users’ news feeds. Your agency may post something on Facebook, but it may not show up on your audience’s feed because of Facebook’s design. More exposure on the platform comes at a premium by paying to run ads or “boost” posts.
I’ve used social media in my marketing efforts for the past three years, and one app that I’ve been paying attention to that is beginning to gain traction, and will continue gain attention, is Snapchat. The insurance agents who understand how to use Snapchat to provide value to customers and prospects will be the agents who reap the rewards of social media in the next two to three years.
Snapchat is a mobile app that allows users to share videos, pictures and messages both individually or to a group of people. The app has more than 100 million monthly active users and almost 70% of those users are under the age of 35. If you’re completely unfamiliar with the app, here’s a video that will show you how to use it.
I’ve personally used Snapchat for business purposes, and have set appointments with the app that led to sales.
Here are 11 practical techniques that insurance agents can use to do the same:
You can use Snapchat to take videos of satisfied clients to share with prospects. (Photo: iStock)
Snapchat allows you to record 10-second videos at a time.
Do you have clients who love working with you? Ask if they’d be willing to share a testimonial with your followers on Snapchat.
What’s nice about the Snapchat video is that it comes across authentically and your clients’ testimonials won’t sound scripted or rehearsed, which will gain more credibility.
This Snapchat shows a client how to save money on insurance premiums. (Photo: Louis Lee)
Show before and after pictures
As insurance agents, we’re familiar with the minute changes that can make a large impact on our clients’ policies.
If you’re working with a client and see something that can make a big difference, share that with your followers.
This will help people learn more about their own policies and will also showcase your knowledge on specific details of your products.
Snapchat allows you to share quick tips and helpful hints with your clients and prospects.
Give weekly tips
We have tips and tricks to get the most out of an insurance policy, and your followers would benefit greatly from hearing about them.
Get creative with something similar to an “Insurance Tips Tuesday”: Every Tuesday you use Snapchat to share tips and information that the public is unfamiliar with.
This not only provides value, but it also generates consist engagement with your followers.
Snapchat goes beyond pictures and videos.
It also allows people to message each other quickly and it’s a way to communicate that stands out from the crowd.
Most insurance agents communicate via email, but you’ll be able to differentiate yourself by messaging on Snapchat, an unorthodox approach that not many others in the industry are doing.
(Screenshot: Louis Lee)
You can use Snapchat to show your clients what may not be covered under their current policies. (Photo: Shutterstock)
Show what’s not covered
Insurance is a product that covers pure risks that are sudden and accidental.
Unfortunately the things that are between “sudden” and “accidental” have many different variables, which creates a lot of gray areas when it comes to what’s covered and what’s not.
Snapchat should not be used when dealing with a claim, but you may be able to provide knowledge to your followers before a claim happens by sharing with them what would not be a covered peril.
Think about the claims you’ve come across in past years that have been rejected. Describe similar cases to your followers and explain why a similar claim would be rejected and what they can do instead.
For example, you could be on the way to work and come across a building that has a damaged roof after wear and tear, and you’ve had a client who submitted the same type of claim. Take a snap of the roof and send it out to your followers explaining to them that this would be something not covered by insurance.
Use Snapchat to ask short questions about insurance coverage or policies. (Photo: iStock)
Use it for market research
Once you have a few followers that engage with you regularly, use Snapchat as an opportunity to gain information on the market.
Ask your followers such questions such as, “What’s the most difficult thing about your insurance?” or “Have you had the same agent for a while? If so, what do you like most about their service?”
This will give you the ability to see how the market is reacting to the industry, and what you can do to improve professionally or add value to other clients in the future.
Snapchat gives you another way to promote your social media channels. (Photo: iStock)
Promote other content
Do you have a blog? A YouTube channel? A Facebook page?
If you’re on other social media online, use Snapchat to promote your content at those other locations.
What’s nice about Snapchat is that it will notify you if someone has posted a screenshot of something that you’ve sent out, which is an indicator that others are interested or engaging with that type of content. You can use that information for future posts.
Clients and prospects can send you questions — with pictures as appropriate. (Photo: iStock)
At times, insurance can get confusing, and that’s why having an agent is valuable.
A person who can understand your wants, needs and concerns when it comes to insurance is a benefit that separates agents from alternatives ways of buying insurance.
Part of our job is to be an adviser, and Snapchat gives you the ability to provide advice to those who follow you and have questions.
Many prospects are suspicious of social media accounts. Use Snapchat to highlight your office or personal accomplishments. (Photo: Louis Lee)
Showcase yourself as a person
The terms “insurance” and “fun” are usually not synonymous.
When people think of our industry, it’s not usually in light of being great entertainment, but I know that’s not always the truth.
I’ve met humorous, charismatic, and enticing insurance agents who would be great at spreading their personality to their followers.
Snapchat is one of the closest forms of “real life” on social media that shows real things happening in real time, and that type of content allows followers to see people in a honest and authentic way.
You can highlight sections of spreadsheets or other data. (Photo: Louis Lee)
Everyone loves saving money, and when you’re able to do that for your clients, share that with your followers.
If others can see the benefits, they may be compelled to see what you can do for them and their coverage as well.
Use Twitter to build a following
One of the cons of Snapchat is that it’s difficult to add new people that are not in your lists of contacts.
If you want to grow your following and engage with new prospects, the best way of finding people to connect with is through Twitter.
If you run searches on Twitter around the terms you see in this photo, you’ll be able to view hundreds of people talking about both Snapchat and Insurance. This gives you a starting point to engage with them on Twitter, and potentially engage with them on Snapchat by adding their user name first and responding to them when they follow you back.
Social media sites become popular first with younger users, then with older users. (Photo: iStock)
When you use Snapchat, it’s important to note that you should always follow your company’s guidelines when it comes to sharing content online, and be sure to never allow private client information to be displayed in any content you post. If you have any questions, suggestions, or would just like to connect with me, you can find me on Snapchat under my username: louislee.
Social media sites historically “age down.”
When a platform is relatively new, it starts to become popular with the younger demographic and then as its popularity grows, older generations jump on board. That’s what happened with Facebook, which originally was intended for college students, and that’s what will happen to Snapchat in the next 12 to 18 months. Snapchat is popular, but competition for attention on the app is low, so those who jump on board first will have an easier time at creating an audience.
Try it. You just might like it!
Louis Lee is a licensed property and casualty insurance agent at Platt Insurance Group and Financial, a Nationwide Insurance agency located in Youngstown, Ohio. He also serves as the digital marketing manager for the agency's online presence.
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