Private social networks like Nextdoor may be notorious as gossip boards. But by creating an efficient digital communication channel, they also create value by bringing neighbors together in a way that wouldn’t otherwise happen.
These conversations can help an independent agent learn about the neighborhoods they serve, understand the concerns of current and potential customers and possibly provide an entry point to weigh in with advice.
Here are 10 tips for using Nextdoor as a powerful lead generation tool.
1. Create a Robust Business Page
A necessary first step is to create a business page for your insurance agency, which you can do here. “Adding your business information on Nextdoor allows neighbors to easily find you when they’re searching for help or recommendations,” writes the Nextdoor team. “More importantly, you can see recommendations written about your business or services by neighbors.”
Specify that you’re a professional business, add your business name and address and then click “Find your page.” From there, click “Claim” when you see your company’s name to create your business profile.
Marketing consultant Nate Shivar says you should optimize your profile by uploading a professional headshot or company logo, thoroughly filling out your contact information and choosing relevant categories for your agency to ensure prospects can easily find you.
2. Invite Your Neighbors to Join
Nextdoor gives you the option to send invitations to your neighbors to join, says 4rd Marketing founder Joshua Jarvis, and something you’ll definitely want to take advantage of. Send invitations accomplishes three important things.
First, it helps you reconnect with current or previous insurance customers who you may not have spoken to in a while and lets them know you’re thinking about them. Second, it helps you get noticed by more people on Nextdoor, which can help you get recommendations — something we’ll discuss in more detail later on. And third, it helps grow the Nextdoor community.
Remember to share your Nextdoor Business page with your customers through email, newsletter, social media, text or any other relevant materials you send out. Guided marketing solutions platform ThriveHive suggests making your conversations highly personalized to increase your chances of getting a response.
3. Respond to Posts Looking for Insurance Recommendations
Nextdoor is a communication hub for locals who are looking for recommendations on all types of businesses, including insurance agencies. It relies heavily on word-of-mouth — something that 74 percent of consumers say is a key influencer in their purchasing decision, writes Matt Warren, founder and CEO of management platform Veeqo.
When users are asking for top insurance agents in their area, feel free to respond and tag your company, says communication strategist Laura Sims. As long as you make it clear that it is your agency, it is a perfectly acceptable practice and can help you develop a positive reputation within your community.
4. Be Transparent
Because it’s so important, let’s go deeper into the honesty aspect. You never want to be deceptive when responding to insurance-related posts and try to come across as an unaffiliated third-party.
For example, if someone is asking for professional homeowners insurance agents in your neighborhood, you might respond by saying something like,“I’m an independent insurance agent at XXX and can definitely help you find a comprehensive homeowners policy at a reasonable cost.”
If you are seen as being anything other than completely transparent about being an independent agent, it could damage your business and professional standing. Not only would you likely lose valuable qualified leads, you might even lose some existing customers.
5. Ask for Recommendations from Satisfied Customers
“Recommendations are essentially reviews left from members of a Nextdoor community recommending a product or service,” explains content marketing consultant Tony Ho Tran. “If you want your business to perform well on the app, then recommendations are how you’re going to get there.” He suggests contacting your most satisfied customers and asking them to recommend you on Nextdoor.
Timing is everything when doing this, says the Reviews.io team. Ask for a recommendation right after the customer has purchased insurance coverage because the experience is still fresh in their mind and they’re focused on your company.
6. Thank Customers for Their Recommendations
Another great feature of this social network is the “Neighbor comments” tab, which lets you know when someone recommends your business and gives you the chance to reply.
“This is your only opportunity to write to neighbors from your business page,” explains Nick Leffler, owner of web design agency Exprance. You’ll want to keep close tabs on this and be sure to promptly respond, thanking your neighbors any time they leave a recommendation. This strengthens existing relationships and shows other prospects on Nextdoor that you care about your customers’ input.
7. Capitalize on Nextdoor Offers
Another valuable feature on Nextdoor is “Offers.” It’s paid advertising, which allows businesses to offer discounts and promotions to customers in targeted neighborhoods. This provides insurance agents with an effective means of building buzz around their agency and can help grab the attention of new local customers, writes local lead generation services platform LeadsNearby.
For instance, you might offer a free quote or consultation to users in your neighborhood. To maximize your impact, technology and digital marketing professional Adam Dorfman recommends experimenting with targeting audiences across different neighborhoods and seeing which specific locations get the best results.
8. Share Community Events
A big part of being successful as an independent agent is becoming involved in your community. Whether it’s volunteering, participating in fundraisers or joining in on neighborhood meetups, community involvement allows you to get to know others and build a positive reputation.
Nextdoor is an excellent resource for this as well because it allows you to add events to the Events Calendar. Some examples include seminars and workshops where you offer your knowledge and expertise to help your neighbors understand the ins and outs of the insurance world.
Just be sure to follow Nextdoor’s guidelines, so you don’t run into issues when posting an event. For example, you’re not allowed to post a commercial (paid) event to your newsfeed; instead, you should only post it to the event calendar. This limitation does not apply to free events.
For a step-by-step tutorial on how to post an event, check out this page.
9. Don’t Share Unsolicited Content
While it’s fine to recommend your insurance agency as long as you’re transparent about it, you shouldn’t share unsolicited content.
“Nextdoor aims to keep spam out of everyone’s newsfeed,” explains Samantha Gaver, account manager at Aspen Grove Marketing. “If you start posting about your business on your personal profile, your neighbors could be turned off and report you to Nextdoor.”
To avoid having your page suspended, she recommends commenting on neighbors’ posts and recommendations to keep your business name visible and also share information about partner businesses, possibly local real estate or mortgage companies.
10. Monitor Your Reputation
A full 86 percent of consumers read reviews for local businesses, reports Rosie Murphy, research and survey manager at SEO marketing agency BrightLocal. And that’s even higher for people aged 18-34, at 95 percent. So there’s a good chance that potential insurance customers will read what people have said about you on Nextdoor.
That’s great if the reviews are positive. However, this can be a double-edged sword and hurt your reputation if there are negative reviews. This is why it’s crucial to remain diligent about monitoring your reputation on Nextdoor and respond to the not-so-nice comments.
Murphy notes too that 89 percent of customers read businesses’ responses to reviews, so responding can be crucial for keeping your reputation intact.
How Agents Can Generate High Quality Leads with Nextdoor
With a presence in 85 percent of neighborhoods and over four million messages sent per day, Nextdoor is quickly becoming a major social network, says Albizu Garcia, founder and CEO of social media collaboration tool GAIN. It’s not just the increased traffic that’s valuable to independent agents; it’s the aspect of relevancy, stressing local news and the business recommendations you get from neighbors.
The main thing that differentiates Nextdoor from most other social media sites is that it’s a private network designed for hyper-segmented, local communities, notes Beth Worthy, CFO and director of operations at transcription services company GMR Web Team. This makes it ideal for independent agents. By zeroing in on residents in your community, you have the potential to connect with high quality leads seeking insurance coverage.
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