I’m concerned about the social media activity I see from so many benefits and insurance agencies. In the quest to say “we’ve gone social!”, unfortunately many have gotten off on the wrong path because they got started without really understanding what they were getting started doing.
It is like a relationship – two people have to actively participate and be interested in one another in order to make it work.
It isn’t a one-way marketing activity where we just put our promotional information out for others to see and hear.
Have you ever been in a meeting or maybe at a dinner party where you just sit and say nothing because the other person does all the talking? They don’t really care what you have to say, and don’t even need any social queues to keep going.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m in a situation like this, I often end up not listening because my mind has moved on to any thought that doesn’t involve the current “conversation”.
When people or companies choose to participate in social media and they don’t understand that it’s a two-way relationship, then they are guilty of committing this very same social flaw.
Take an assessment of your own or your company activity
If all you do on social media sites is log on, Tweet or post your seminar information, blog post, or most recent charity contribution, and then log off, you really don’t understand the purpose of social media. You’re losing out on valuable opportunities to connect with others, build relationships, and keep current with your clients.
Interact with others
When you log on, you can do each of those things I mentioned, but you should also:
- read what your clients are doing and saying.
- read what your industry partners are doing and saying.
- check out your center of influence folks and see what they’re up to.
What are these people looking for? What’s going on in their worlds? What kind of needs do they have or things to offer?
Once you’ve read this information – you should respond. Say something.
- Tell them congratulations.
- Click the Like button.
- Tweet or share their article - tell others to check it out.
- Comment on the importance, relevance, or interest of their topic.
Share your ideas
Your stream of activity tells a story. A story about you and what you’re like – as a person, as a businessperson, or as a business if you’re tweeting under the company name.
Be intentional about what that story says. Have a plan.
- Decide who your target reader is on the platform. Maybe you share B2B information on LinkedIn and Twitter and share your personal lines/individual information and tips on Facebook.
- Decide what topics you want to be sure to cover. For what topics do you want to be known as the go-to resource? Sure you can have other information included – we like it when you mix it up a bit, but have some type of continuity.
Ideally, you want to provide ideas and share articles that compel people to read it and hopefully respond to you. Challenge people by making them think about ideas they’ve not previously considered.
What story are you telling?
Look at your own stream of activity. If you were a client, would you find it interesting and compelling? Would you learn something new? Would you recommend a friend also follow because what you share is so relevant to their business and makes them think?
If it doesn’t immediately catch your attention as being interesting and interactive, then you’re probably being glossed right over as people take a few minutes to catch up on activity. There are people you follow who you know always have something interesting to say.
And then there are those whose avatars you see and skip right past without reading because you know they have nothing interesting to say – they’re the infomercials of social media and thankfully you’ve got the TiVo remote.
Let’s look at an example
If you chose workers’ comp as a regular topic and talked about it, shared your ideas and thoughts, offered helpful tips, and found relevant articles then you’d be building your story as being a go-to resource for workers’ comp. Then when you wrote a related blog post I’d want to read it because it’s obviously in your niche. And if you were holding a seminar or webinar, I’d be interested in attending. Because you’ve proven you are genuinely interested in this topic, find it important, and want to help me improve my situation. Now your information is interesting to me as a reader.
Don’t make your own business promotion the center of your activity.
Instead, build your base of contextual information for your go-to topics and then you can share your own business information around that established foundation of relevant and useful topics.