how does social media help small businesses

How to Utilize Social Media to Grow Your Business

You may be wondering why we’re bringing up social media as a networking tool. Gone are the days when social media was reserved for sharing pictures so family and friends can see what you’re up to. In today’s day and age, social media has turned into an excellent way to network with other professionals and client/members. Believe us when we say that social channels have created exceptional ways to communicate with potential and current client/members in your community.

Social Media and Connecting With Client/Members

At Farm Bureau Financial Services, many of our agents use social media as a way to engage with their current or potential client/members. Follow along as we take a look at how agents successfully use social media to network and the many ways one can connect with their client/members.

Stay Engaged

If you’re going to use social media as a way to communicate with your clients, make sure to stay engaged with those who are interacting with your page. For example, say someone commented on your Facebook post about auto insurance facts, and they wanted to know if the insurance you sell covers a particular circumstance. Respond by commenting back and asking him or her to message you directly so you can talk more. By doing this, you’re still engaging with this person on the post, and you’re moving the conversation to a different space where you can talk more about your products and services.

Another easy way to stay engaged with your followers is to interact with different people, schools or businesses in your community. No matter the social media platforms you use, take time each day to like, comment and share content from these kinds of places. For example, does your business sponsor the local baseball team and they won their big game this week? If the school posts about it on their social media, you can engage with this post to show that you care about your community. However, don’t restrict your content just to the organizations that you support; show some love to community efforts or events that your business isn’t directly affiliated with. This shows your involvement isn’t strictly for financial gain or to grow your business. Everyone wants to support their own community since, after all, it’s your community to enjoy, as well.

Share Content That Will Help Your Client/Members

Is there a big shockwave happening in the industry? Keep followers updated by sharing breaking news and let them know they can depend on you to lead them during tumultuous times. Maybe you realize that some of the subject matter of your business isn’t always the easiest to understand. Sharing educational and instructional content that will help them, whether it’s articles from industry sources, videos, white papers or an infographic. By sharing valuable and quality content, you let your client/members know that you understand that they need more information or what a potential change in the industry means.

At Farm Bureau, we provide new articles, videos and additional content each week that agents can share with their current client/members or prospective clients about our insurance products and services. Our content is strategically created to align with our products, promotions and National observances so agents can share the most relevant information on their personal websites and across their social platforms.

The content is educational and can help agents get the word out about how insurance products can protect their client/members in different ways. When sharing content on social media, ensure you always explain how the subject matter will benefit your followers to encourage them to click and read the article.

Maintain a Consistent Posting Schedule

Try to be consistent with how often you post on your social media channels. To make it easier on yourself, create a social media plan outlining the content you’re sharing in advance. By doing this, you can have social copy and images already scheduled for a community event, holiday, or special offer post.

Having a consistent posting schedule can help you stay engaged with your community. If you’re posting great content regularly, your followers may look forward to seeing your posts in their social media feeds which would hopefully lead to more engagement. Plus, regularly posting, no matter if it’s on Facebook or LinkedIn, is a great way to stay in front of current or potential clients.

Use Paid Advertising to Capture Your Target Audience

Nowadays, you have to pay to play the game of social media marketing. Facebook business pages reach less than 2% of the fan audience on non-paid posts, according to vendesocial. This means that your odds of showing up in your client/members’ social media feeds organically (without putting money behind a post) is very slim.

Although you think every single post is very important for your client/members to know, try to be choosy when spending money on your social media posts. For example, curated content from other industry websites is great information to have, but these probably don’t need to be promoted unless it’s explaining urgent insurance updates. Make sure you set a budget and don’t go over the amount of money you spend unless you feel it’s completely necessary. A good strategy to sticking to your social media advertising budget is to set how much you want to spend on each social post when you’re planning your posting schedule.

How to Use Social Media to Network

While in-person networking is still very important, the internet has started to overpower the face-to-face networking scene. Over the past several years, connecting with others on social media has shifted from a niche activity to one where millions of people are doing it daily.

There are several things a person should know when they’re looking to connect or network with others on social media. Here are a few:

Join Different Online Groups

Social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ have group and discussion forums, or communities, for people that have similar interests. To network with others, take a moment to research different groups that best fit your area of extensive knowledge. From there, join roughly a dozen groups or discussion forums and try to engage as often as your schedule allows.

Another benefit of joining groups or communities and engaging with them is you can share your content with a very targeted audience. Plus, these groups of people could be in the hundreds, if not thousands, and could potentially become loyal brand advocates.

Since Farm Bureau encourages our agents to create a professional persona on their social media platforms, we’re going to focus on the most businesslike and useful social media outlet for our insurance agents: LinkedIn.

Benefits of Creating a Great LinkedIn Profile

It may seem overwhelming when you’re first putting together your LinkedIn presence. However, LinkedIn is a powerful tool to connect with individuals in your industry, as well as your community.

Through your LinkedIn connections, you can meet potential new client/members and continue to grow your Farm Bureau business. By actively building relationships with your LinkedIn connections, both online and off, the possibility of being introduced to new people (and potential new client/members) grows exponentially.

LinkedIn easily allows users to display their work and volunteer experience, credentials and testimonials from others. Plus, if you’re looking for a new opportunity, hiring managers often view a potential candidate's LinkedIn profile. By taking the time to list out any certifications, volunteer experience or specials skills, you’ll be one step ahead.

Follow industry news sources, leaders and joining groups to stay in the know. Plus, share this news to enhance your profile, as well as demonstrate that you’re staying on top of what is happening in the industry.

You’ll reap the benefits if you take the time to create and maintain your LinkedIn profile. Watch as you begin building new relationships, gaining new members for your business and increasing your brand awareness.

Gaining Quality Connections on LinkedIn

If you’re looking for quality contacts on social media, start with sites like LinkedIn. On LinkedIn, look for people known as high-level networkers (HLN). These people have around 500 connections and are typically decision makers, executives, media or thought leaders in your industry.

If you want to connect with a HLN but don’t know them personally or professionally, don’t let that deter you from reaching out to them. Send them an invite to connect and share with them why you’re hoping to connect. Let this person know how you can help them, not how they can help you.

Outside of high-level networkers, pay attention to your target market connections, or the consumers that may be interested in your product or service. This type of user is interested in chatting and learning information by posting their questions online. More or less, these people are seeking you in hopes of finding answers to their inquiries. The key to finding these people is joining different groups.

How to Harness the Power of LinkedIn to Grow Your Business

If you’re ready to take your LinkedIn presence to the next level, here are tips to maximize your profile and make the most of the platform:

Post Frequently and Engage with Others

To stay present in followers’ feeds, you should post on LinkedIn at least three times per week or 10-12 times per month.

Furthermore, engage with others by commenting, liking or sharing their content. Make sure that you’re engaging with posts and people that are relevant to your industry. You’ll likely be able to grow your connections because your comments and likes can be viewed on posts, so others in your industry may be interested in having you as a connection.

You may be asking the question: what should I post on LinkedIn? This social platform is focused more on networking and professional connections than others, so you should only share professional news, updates or events. It’s critical to remember that your connections are not coming to LinkedIn to see personal information. Share content that will help educate your connections, whether that’s news from an industry leader or a blog from your website.

Join LinkedIn Groups

There are vast communities on LinkedIn that focus on different industries or interests. For example, the general interest group called Insurance Professionals has over 175,000 members. In this group, you can learn new information about the insurance industry or find resources for different insurance issues.

There are also special interest groups, such as the Insurance Underwriter’s Professional Network, which has 20,000 members. This group discusses relevant industry information and the market with the goal of helping members grow in their careers.

Keep Your Network Involved with LinkedIn Messaging

If you’re hosting an event or want to stay connected with those in your network or groups, send them messages with LinkedIn Messaging. This way, you can connect in a one-on-one manner or personally invite a connection to an event you may be hosting.

Offer to Write Recommendations or Give Endorsements

While on LinkedIn, you may have noticed that some of your connections have written recommendations or given endorsements to his or her connections. Not only does endorsing or recommending a connection show that you recognize his or her skills, but you’ll also likely receive an endorsement or recommendation in return. It’s important to note that only first degree connections can provide an endorsement on a person’s profile.

The benefits of recommendations and endorsements can also be taken offline. If a connection endorses or writes a recommendation for you, reach out to them to grab lunch or coffee to continue networking and building the relationship.

Have a Keyword-Rich Profile

LinkedIn, which was purchased by Microsoft, can function as a search engine. This means that you should include important keywords related to your industry in your LinkedIn profile. That way, when someone searches for a particular keyword, your profile will be more likely to appear than a competitor’s.

Farm Bureau Helps Agent with Social Media

At Farm Bureau, we know that agents may need a hand when it comes to diving into social media. That’s why we offer our agents the technology to make it easier. Hearsay Social is a platform created for financial services and allows agents to efficiently engage with their clients across different social media platforms, like Facebook and LinkedIn.

Grow Your Career with Farm Bureau

Are you ready to take control of your career? Look no further than becoming a Farm Bureau insurance agent. We offer our agents the ability to run their own business, competitive financing, training, marketing support and much more. Learn more about becoming a Farm Bureau agent and hear what other agents had to say!

 

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