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Websites and Social Media

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Effective Websites and Social Media presence are great tools to grow your agency, expand your brand, build relationships, and sell more policies.

New ACT Article:  Great Agency Websites

 

Tools for Building Your Agency Policy for Social Media :

As a first step, check out our Social Media Policy Guide and sample policies section.

Recent Post: Why Google+ should be part of your agency's online strategy

Recent Post: Build Engagement and Reach on Facebook

 

For More Resources on Social Media...

To find all ACT materials and articles related to social media, browse below, or use the search feature to look for specific topics.

 

Given the dominance and relevance of Google, Rockingham Insurance Agency has started to focus some of its social media efforts on the Google+ platform. Agency owner George Robertson has found that Google+ offers several advantages over other social networks.
In this whitepaper, the author Marty Agather discusses the needs for effective and dynamic agency website presence. Mr. Agather details from a non-technical aspect the major components - Design, Attracting visitors, and Encouraging action. This whitepaper provides an overview of the skills required, and options available to independent agents as a part of their website development project.
ACT co-sponsored this agency website survey that ACT member Strategic Insurance Software wanted to conduct through its affiliate Agency Marketing Partners. The results point to several areas where agencies can add features and functionality that will enhance the effectiveness of their websites significantly, often at little additional cost.
This tool consists of three short webinars and a workbook that appeared on George Nordhaus's 'Monday Morning' series.
Ryan Hanley has produced a free Google+ Starter Kit to help agencies use this evolving tool effectively. Ryan believes Google+ will become the most important online tool for agents to use in the future – even more so now that Google has integrated Google+ with YouTube.
The new, interactive Blueprint to An Improved Online Presence – focused on the three major areas of Local Search, agency websites and social media – provides a YouTube curriculum of short “Pro Tips” videos detailing straightforward tactics agencies can use to improve their online presence.
ACT is indebted to Jason Hoeppner and his firm B.H. Burke & Co. once again this year for conducting this social media and marketing survey and for customizing the results for ACT so that it focuses on just the agent and broker results. This page links to the ACT customized version as well as the complete study which includes results for carriers, agents, GAs, vendors and industry groups.
Author Ryan Hanley shares how he uses social media and digital marketing tools to reach “connected” consumers, at a time when traditional marketing approaches do not resonate with this group. Ryan focuses on delivering a steady stream of content valued by consumers which builds a community of supporters who are predisposed to buy from the agency. This content reinforces the role of the agent as a mentor and guide in the insurance buying process and after the sale is made, rather than as just an insurance expert. Ryan also urges agents to get over their fear of using social media, because it is not difficult to learn and use, and because it represents a huge opportunity for agencies to employ to level the playing field with the direct writers.
Participation in Google+ can help an agency considerably in maximizing its local search optimization. Google+ local business pages have replaced Google Places and if a consumer’s search suggests local intent, Google includes Google+ local business pages in the search results. The author provides some great tips as to how an agency can get started with Google+ and use the tool to its full advantage. The article also contains a number of links to very helpful additional information that will help agencies increase their visibility online.
Facebook uses an algorithm called EdgeRank to choose which status updates to display in your fans’ news feeds. As a result, 84 percent of business page fans do not see the page’s posts in their Facebook news feeds! Kevin Ament provides the reader with three easy-to-implement tips that will increase the number of the agency’s fans that see its posts. These tips are essential for agencies to employ to build their reach and engagement on Facebook. The article also provides some great tools for agencies to use to monitor the reach of their posts and to keep up with changes in Facebook’s algorithm.
The author studied the differences between high growth agencies in his territory and those that were not growing or growing only marginally. He determined that a key differentiator for the high growth agencies is that they tracked and acted upon key metrics relating to the origins of their business, close ratios, revenue and policies per client, retention and average client tenure. Based upon his research, the author then outlines the twelve key metrics agencies should track to maximize their marketing efforts and grow their business. He also lays out how agencies can generate those metrics.
It is important for agents to keep abreast of the latest research about online consumer shopping and purchasing. The 2010 comScore survey contains a number of trends that independent agents can use to design their own Internet strategies and to employ available technology tools to duplicate the speed and convenience that the direct carriers provide, while adding the personal advice and service that they uniquely can offer.
This article provides independent agencies with practical guidance on how they can benefit from social networking cost effectively to extend their marketing reach and improve client contact and service. The author outlines the sites and free online tools her agency uses; how she budgets her time spent on social web marketing; and how she ties in her social networking with her website to create an integrated Internet presence and brand.
Many independent agency owners are wary of the hype around online social media, but they should think about them as today’s business-building tools. Younger producers will want to take advantage of them to grow their books. This ACT article outlines some new social media tools and how they are changing our world.
Independent agents should create blogs—a simple, low cost, effective way to create a professional online presence. A blog simply builds a conversation between you and your customers and prospects. This ACT article explains blogs and provides a practical how-to overview.
Like an inviting, easy-to-spot storefront on Main Street, independent insurance agents and brokers must be visible online. Unlike popular belief, most agencies don’t need a big budget to optimize their sites for search engines. This ACT article explains search engine optimization (SEO) and provides a how-to overview.
For agencies that want to commit to creating and managing a modern Web site, here are some ideas. Note that the following is a collection of ideas to get started; it is not intended to be a survey of cutting-edge Web sites. With so many agencies so far behind, it’s easier to start with the basic strategy.
For most of us, the Internet has become the place we look first for goods and services. It is no different for consumers and businesses looking to find a new insurance provider or information from their current agent or company. The fact is the Internet is radically transforming how businesses establish their brands and market their products. Whenever a massive change like this occurs, it creates a genuine opportunity for businesses that seek to understand it and then change their strategies to take advantage of it ahead of competitors.
If you’re like most of us, the first thing you do today when you want to find out about a particular service or product is to search for it on the Internet. This simple fact should be sufficient to cause independent agents and brokers to radically rethink how their agency markets for new customers, and yet most have not done so. Take this simple test. “Google” for a particular type of insurance in your community, or for an insurance agent. Does your agency show up?
Agencies have a great opportunity to build upon the local footprint they have developed using traditional methods by adding digital components to their marketing plans. This article outlines three powerful online marketing strategies that agencies can employ at little or no cost to extend the strong local presence they have developed to online prospects. Carriers, too, have developed tools to help agencies understand and implement these online tools.
This article outlines three levels of involvement for agencies with social media, depending upon the agency’s objectives and the amount of time it wants to dedicate. With each level of involvement, the author recommends specific time-savers that will help agency employees get the greatest impact from the time they spend working on the social web.
The author provides independent agencies with a fast and easy strategy to increase their Internet leads and search engine positioning. Even better, it’s free and makes use of free local search tools provided by the major search engines and online directories. The article then provides agents with the simple steps on how to implement the strategy.
A group of 18-20 Internet savvy agent, carrier and vendor executives gathered at the latest ACT meeting to discuss their experiences and lessons with their websites and uses of social media. What emerged was a consensus on several “best practice” tips for using these online tools, which will be helpful to additional agencies as they seek to build their online presence and brand.
About this article: Katie Herbst provides five easy steps to help agencies get started with social networking. She takes the mystery out of it and shows how independent agencies can easily take their existing networking skills and use them online to attract new prospects and enhance their client communications.
Think of your agency’s Web site as another door to your office. Clients and prospects “stop in” to find out more about business, meet your staff and decide whether they want to talk more. By taking a few steps to encourage them to “come on in,” you can attract new business.
Cut through the hype about social media to get some easy to follow, practical tips on building an effective digital brand that is integrated into your agency’s overall marketing plan. Relationships increasingly have a digital component and learning to effectively use these tools can enhance your offline relationships and build your agency brand.
Social networking reflects a societal transformation that is taking place and it is important for your agency to keep up with it. Learn how other agencies are benefiting from social networking and how you can create and extend trusted relationships with prospects and clients using these tools, while building your agency’s online brand.
A lot has been written about how agencies can use social networking tools to enhance their online marketing and market reach. This article explores how the use of social media can impact the E&O risks agencies face and recommends specific steps agencies can take to mitigate those risks, so that the agency can get the full benefit out of these new tools.
Agency websites have become a core component of the marketing strategy for many independent agencies, but they also may present errors & omissions exposures that must be managed. This article explores some of the major E&O exposures that may arise and provides several E&O tips for mitigating those risks, as well as sample website disclaimers.
Independent Agent Mike Foy asked his daughter Lauren, currently in college, to comment on a recent Independent Agent article, “Marketing to Millennials,” by Michael Fleischner (MarketingScoop.com). Lauren provided a very interesting perspective as a future insurance consumer on how she views and uses social media, commercials and the Internet to shop. She also comments on the continuing importance of personal relationships.
Often when I speak with an agency owner, COO, or marketing manager about social media, I get asked about the results other agencies are seeing, in particular their return on investment (ROI).
Agencies have a great opportunity to build upon the local footprint they have developed using traditional methods by adding digital components to their marketing plans. This article outlines three powerful online marketing strategies that agencies can employ at little or no cost to extend the strong local presence they have developed to online prospects. Carriers, too, have developed tools to help agencies understand and implement these online tools.
How does your agency extend its reach on Facebook beyond current fans? This article explains step by step how you can use the Tagging, Questioning and Contests tools to create new potential business and individual prospects on Facebook.
Several agencies, carriers and associations did an outstanding job keeping their clients and members informed in the East Coast disasters using social media and e-newsletters. This article discusses what these agencies and associations did and also outlines the opportunity the Independent Agency System has to build on what has been done to-date by creating a national disaster communications plan and resources, perhaps through Trusted Choice®, to deliver a coordinated approach and messages that agencies and state agent associations across the country could access during disaster situations.
Think of your agency’s Web site as another door to your office. Clients and prospects “stop in” to find out more about business, meet your staff and decide whether they want to talk more. By taking a few steps to encourage them to “come on in,” you can attract new business.
If you’re like most of us, the first thing you do today when you want to find out about a particular service or product is to search for it on the Internet. This simple fact should be sufficient to cause independent agents and brokers to radically rethink how their agency markets for new customers, and yet most have not done so. Take this simple test. “Google” for a particular type of insurance in your community, or for an insurance agent. Does your agency show up?
Last month’s ACT article observed that for most consumers, the Internet has become the place we ordinarily look first for information, goods and services. It discussed the importance of optimizing Web sites for search engines and making an agency’s site “sticky”—getting a visitor to stay long enough to make a purchase or inquiry. A recent report by Boston-based research firm Celent found that within five years, the Web will be a major influencer for nearly all sales of personal auto and individual life and health products. Other coverages aren’t far behind.
Independent agents should create blogs—a simple, low cost, effective way to create a professional online presence. A blog simply builds a conversation between you and your customers and prospects. This ACT article explains blogs and provides a practical how-to overview.
Like an inviting, easy-to-spot storefront on Main Street, independent insurance agents and brokers must be visible online. Unlike popular belief, most agencies don’t need a big budget to optimize their sites for search engines. This ACT article explains search engine optimization (SEO) and provides a how-to overview.
There is growing acceptance that agents and brokers can benefit from effective use of the social web. Yet, the opportunity presented by the social web is not without risk. There are traditional concerns surrounding such issues as privacy, errors and omissions, security, and protecting proprietary information, and new issues surrounding the concepts of transparency and personal vs. company brand.
The purpose of this Social Networking/Media policy (hereinafter referred to as the policy) is to establish clear and reasonable guidelines for the use of social media and networking sites.
The goal is to become a part of the industry conversation and promote web-based sharing of ideas and exchange of information. Social Media is to be used to convey information about company products and services, promote and raise awareness of AGENCY’S brand, search for potential new markets, communicate with employees and customers to brainstorm, issue or respond to breaking news or negative publicity, and discuss corporate, business-unit and department-specific activities and events.
For most of us, the Internet has become the place we look first for goods and services. It is no different for consumers and businesses looking to find a new insurance provider or information from their current agent or company. The fact is the Internet is radically transforming how businesses establish their brands and market their products. Whenever a massive change like this occurs, it creates a genuine opportunity for businesses that seek to understand it and then change their strategies to take advantage of it ahead of competitors.
Many independent agency owners are wary of the hype around online social networking, but they should think about them as today’s business-building tools. Younger producers will want to take advantage of them to grow their books. This ACT article outlines some new social networking tools and how they are changing our world