Social networks come and go, except Facebook. Even with all its controversies, it remains the biggest and most popular social network in the world. Of its more than 2.27 billion active users worldwide in 2018, 1.49 billion logged in daily, writes the team at Zephoria Digital Marketing.
This makes Facebook a potential goldmine for independent agents. It’s perfect for generating leads, as well as for building long-term trust with customers. For your efforts to be successful, however, you must be aware of some Facebook do’s and don’ts.
Invest in Video Content
Facebook has evolved a lot over the years. Agents are no longer limited to posting simple text-based content. Instead, you can use a variety of different media including photos, video, live video, polls and GIFs. It’s important that you take advantage of this and create media rich content that stands out and entertains your audience.
Video is one of the best ways to go about that. Technology writer TJ McCue reports that over half a billion people watch video on Facebook every day. This level of consumption creates a huge opportunity for independent agents.
Investing in video allows you to intrigue users and make an instant connection. It can also have a major impact on engagement. And Facebook video actually has 135 percent more organic reach than an image alone, explains social media analyst Phillip Ross.
In terms of length, digital marketing expert Clifford Chi says the sweet spot for Facebook videos is about one minute. Short “snackable” content is perfect for people scrolling through their Facebook feeds and will grab their attention without overwhelming them.
Optimize Your Posts
There’s more that goes into effectively posting on Facebook than meets the eye. Optimizing your posts for success will help increase exposure and brand awareness, social media strategist Jennifer Beese writes at Sprout Social. Branded hashtags and tagging other pages, for example, make it easier for your audience to find your content. Beese says 1-2 tags per post tends to work well, but you shouldn’t use more than that as too many will lower engagement.
Writing shorter posts with a max of 50 characters works nicely for capturing users’ attention when scrolling through their feeds. If you’ve got longer content, just add a link in the Facebook post so they can click through to it.
In his timeless infographic, Alexander Peiniger says to use clear and simple wording. The founder and CEO of SaaS service Quintly adds that you should stay away from complicated sentences and insurance jargon, as these can be turnoffs.
Remember to include clear calls to action. Simply adding the word “share” gets content nearly twice as many social actions such as likes, shares and comments.
Find a Consistent Publishing Schedule
“By posting on Facebook inconsistently and inappropriately you tell your audience, ‘Dear customer, we are busy doing more important things, therefore, we have no time to be human and keep you updated about us,’” writes Pius Boachie in a guest post at digital marketing expert Jeff Bullas’ blog. “Organic page reach on Facebook is declining. Now more than ever, engagement should be a top priority.”
It’s vital to maintain consistency with your Facebook posts. Posting sporadically or stopping altogether diminishes trust, and certainly does not keep you top of mind. Fortunately, social media management tools like Hootsuite and Buffer can help you achieve consistency. They allow you to schedule your posts in advance and choose the exact date and time they’re published. That way you can batch tasks and schedule content for weeks or even months in advance.
The best times to post on Facebook are between 12pm and 3pm on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and between 12pm to 1pm on the weekends, writes Hootsuite’s inbound marketing manager Michael Aynsley. These are the times when users are most active and engagement spikes.
Respond Promptly to Questions and Complaints
Time is of the essence when engaging with customers on Facebook. You need to respond quickly to their inquiries and comments. Don’t leave people hanging because it can create friction and potentially result in them turning to a competitor for their insurance needs.
This is especially important when people come to you with complaints.
Digital marketing consultant Jay Baer explains that 39 percent of social media complainers expect a response within an hour. However, it takes the average business five hours to respond.
Unfortunately, it’s simply not possible for most agents to have someone available 24/7 to handle every little issue. So what do you do? Using a tool like MobileMonkey is a great solution: It allows you to create your own chatbot specifically for Facebook Messenger. It’s available 24/7 and can answer FAQs, provide customers with helpful resources or direct them to a human if need be. You can also use it to send “chat blasts” to your contacts to qualify leads.
Don’t Constantly Push Insurance Products
While the purpose of Facebook marketing is to promote your company, you need to keep the “salesiness” in check. At the end of the day, it’s about building relationships and rapport with your audience. Constantly pushing insurance products on people and always going for the sale is no way to do that. It’s obnoxious and can create resentment.
As digital marketing expert Anne DiVitto puts it, you want to sell without the slime. In other words, get the message out there about your insurance company and the products you offer, while being considerate and thoughtful about it.
So how do you do this?
DiVitto says it’s all about being helpful. People often turn to Facebook for information and answers. Maybe they want to learn how renters insurance works or their auto insurance policy will change given their current situation. Rather than trying to sell at that particular moment, focus on providing information that answers key questions. Use your personal knowledge and expertise to educate them.
Also, aim to be entertaining. There’s so much content in a person’s feed that much of it becomes white noise. Being genuinely entertaining helps your insurance agency stand out. Humorous images are great for achieving this end and can make your business seem more personable, says social media marketing consultant Janet Johnson. Questions, quotes, tips and small infographics can also be effective.
Don’t Just Promote Your Own Content
Finding the right balance when posting on Facebook is crucial. A rookie mistake for many independent agents is strictly posting their own content. This can be detrimental because you may come across as being selfish. Instead, strive to create balanced content.
Content marketing expert Matt Byrom recommends using the “5:3:2 rule.” For every 10 posts, create:
- 5 curation posts. These are lists of relevant content from sources like insurance blogs and news outlets.
- 3 creation posts. This should be original content you’ve created.
- 2 humanization posts. This should be fun, personal content.
Don’t Use “Engagement Bait”
Engagement bait is defined as spammy content that attempts to manipulate people into liking, sharing or commenting, Raelene Morey at ReviveSocial explains. It’s content that over promises and under delivers. And it’s something you never want to post on Facebook.
Not only can it readers and customers to mistrust you, but Facebook has actually taken measures to crack down on engagement bait. They began demoting posts that use it. Anything deemed spammy is now being systematically removed from Facebook, Morey adds.
What’s important is that you post authentic content that isn’t in any way misleading and doesn’t sensationalize a topic. Focus on being helpful and deliver legitimate value, and you should be in good shape.
Don’t Ignore Negative Comments
Facebook is a place people go relax and be entertained. But it’s also where many they go to vent their frustrations. Jay Baer points out that Facebook accounts for the vast majority (71 percent) of US social media complaints.
Independent agents may not know what to do when someone leaves a negative comment on their profile, and some may be tempted to simply ignore it. But that’s a big mistake. “The last thing someone wants when they are upset or angry is to be ignored,” marketing specialist Baylor Cherry writes. “They posted something because they want to be heard and they want a reaction.”
In fact, ignoring a complaint or negative comment only causes the situation to escalate and can hurt your overall reputation with other Facebook users.
A better approach is to quickly respond and acknowledge the issue, she adds. Then try to take the conversation to a more private setting where you can deal with the customer personally. This might be via Facebook Messenger, through email or over the phone.