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  Let’s all admit it at once: insurance policies, claims, underwriting and technology might not be the sexiest topics, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a lot of average folks willing to admit that they’d like to see more talk of it in their social media feeds. If you’re a producer, you most likely don’t have the luxury of filling space with Snoopy or gecko pictures, like a lot of the big guys, and you’re well aware that people usually don’t feel comfortable being sold to on social media.   A lot of producers seem to be scared—a study earlier this year revealed that only 34% of agencies are using Twitter and 46% are using LinkedIn. Even Facebook use by producers only sits at 65%. And for  any producer who wants to be taken seriously in today’s 24/7, always-on Twitter landscape, it’s crucial to find the right balance — inform but don’t bore, find new customers but don’t bug, appear relevant but don’t seem too eager, etc.   Here are several key ways to find and build new relationships while not boring your followers to tears:   Teach and Provide Examples One of the primary things that buyers are looking for out of their insurance agent is a sense that they can be found, trusted and are extremely well-versed in all types of scenarios. The smartest producers today are accessible on every platform and utilizing social media to regularly share their expertise, whether it’s commenting on a national disaster or an accident that just occurred down the street. Showcasing knowledge on social media could be the dealbreaker for a customer shopping around different agencies. It shouldn’t be morbid all day — finding ways to meld insurance know-how with friendly tips and trending topics is key — and while the promotional aspect shouldn’t be overt, the overall goal is to direct the consumer back to your web site. The overarching theme should be clear: “We understand you and your concerns, and you can trust our expertise.”   Don’t Be Afraid of Third-Party Content… Sharing content from other sources can be just as effective as original content. Curating from a wide range of trusted third-party sources, whether it’s PropertyCasualty360, Insurance Journal, New York Times, or the local paper, will garner as much attention, respect, and engagement from followers as most original content. But make sure the human voice doesn’t disappear. Social media is all about people, and while technology can help you find and curate content, it can never replace the specific personality of the brand’s voice. Successful marketers present the curated article or news item as only a piece of the big picture, supplementing it with the “why” or “how” to show that this really means something to the reader and showcases yourself or your agency as a valued source of information.   …or Personality So the aforementioned formula for retaining new customers can’t work unless there is a heavy dose of personality injected into the mix. If you’re just going to rattle off different policies, promotions, news and dry commentary, then social media is not for you — best of luck! Otherwise, make sure you and your partners are clear on how you’re trying to position your brand. Whichever angle you choose, it should be paired with the point that your customers need to know you’re human and can maybe find a common interest to latch on to. If you’re a small town agent inserting occasional Tweets that congratulate the local Little League champs, expressing your excitement about the big Fleetwood Mac show hitting the area this weekend, or asking for yoga recommendations, that could be just enough to push a customer into your corner.    Don’t Underestimate LinkedIn Though Facebook and Twitter typically grab the most attention when it comes to businesses promoting themselves on social media, LinkedIn is a fast-growing tool that should not be underestimated. It allows producers to easily stay in touch with consumers in a work-centric setting (as opposed to the more personal Facebook or the less personal and message-friendly Twitter) and also provides an opportunity for a producer on an account to locate the appropriate decision-maker — a huge time-saver on larger, more commercial policies. Additionally, LinkedIn can serve as an effective recruiting platform for young and upcoming industry talent in your area or nationally.   Be Proactive and Engage With Potential Leads… Insurance producers were the forefathers of social networking, always hyperaware of potential customers, their needs, and any room for a professional relationship or added word-of-mouth. So when it comes to modern social networking in the technological sense, it’s simply not enough at the end of the day to be complacent with a nice set of “likes” and followers. These are potential leads who need to be engaged with. If you replied to a local business’ Facebook post about the best pizza place in town, they might think of you weeks later when they’re in need of a new policy. If you see someone’s post saying that their company is rehauling their insurance framework, find the appropriate colleague on LinkedIn to touch base with.   …But Follow The Rules Given the delicate nature of the insurance industry’s work, there is a persistent and legitimate paranoia of both employee misuse and consumer misunderstanding in regards to social media. More so than in most other industries, insurance companies often lay out strict social media guides and guidelines on how they should and shouldn’t represent themselves and their business. Make sure that whatever you’re posting, it doesn’t include any confidential details or explicit recommendations—or to simplify it even further, just follow the rules!   Utilize Technology Thankfully, technology can help you manage all these social media conversations in one place. Your agency may already have a platform you can use, such as our product, Rallyverse. Sure, it will take you an hour or two to set up your account the first time, follow your relevant area outlets like your local papers, TV, and radio stations, and input your key search terms for different types of changes in law, technology, business, or local news. But once you are up and running, checking in a few times a day for a few minutes should be enough. Any time spent honing your skills in social media could quickly become the most valuable investment you can make to grow your customer base.

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