About this article: 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.
By Kevin Ament
When working with agents in a recent Progressive social media workshop, several participants asked how they could get their Facebook posts to new audiences. Fortunately, Facebook offers a few easy tools for expanding your reach beyond current fans, enabling you to tap into their networks of hundreds, even thousands of prospects.
Tool One: Tagging
What is it?
Tagging creates a connection between your agency’s Facebook page and the Facebook page of another local business you reference in your status update. There are two benefits of tagging rather than simply typing the business’s name in your status update. First, when you tag, not only does your status update appear in your News Feed and on your wall, but it also posts directly to the wall of your subject’s Facebook page, making it visible to anyone who visits your subject’s Facebook page. Secondly, the tag creates a link between your page and theirs; your fans can click the tag within your update to visit your subject’s page, and your subject’s fans can click the wall post to visit your page for more information.
How do you do it?
Before you can tag, you must use your agency page to “like” the subject’s business page. Once you’ve liked their page, you can now tag them in a status update. When referring to your subject, type the “@” symbol and their Facebook page name. You’ll see a drop-down menu of potential subjects you can tag. Once you post your update, it will appear on your wall and theirs, and the subject will receive a notification.
You recently joined the Townsville Chamber of Commerce, and at your first monthly meeting, you meet several small business owners in your area. Searching on Facebook, you find business pages for both the Townsville Chamber of Commerce and fellow Chamber member Bill’s Bikes, a popular motorcycle dealership. Both pages have 500 fans. After using your agency page to “like” the pages for the Chamber and Bill’s Bikes, you type the following status update:
Great meeting today at the @Townsville Chamber of Commerce. Met Bill Miller from @Bill’s Bikes. Planning to stop by this weekend to see what’s on the showroom floor and drop off a few business cards for his customers.
By tagging their Facebook pages, 1,000 additional fans (primarily small business owners and motorcycle owners) have the opportunity to see your update. The Chamber and Bill’s Bikes benefit from your call-out, and fans of the Chamber and Bill’s Bikes can click the update to visit your page and learn more about commercial auto and motorcycle insurance from your agency.
Tool Two: Questioning
What is it?
Using the Question tool (rather than simply asking a question in a status update) enables your question to spread to the individual walls and News Feeds of anyone who answers. As your question moves through your fans’ social networks and beyond, many more users have the opportunity to answer your question and learn more about your agency.
How do you do it?
On your agency’s Facebook page, click the “Question” tab, then type the question you’d like to pose to your fans.
Check “Add poll options” to create a list of potential answers, and check "Allow anyone to add options" to enable participants to add to your poll. Doing so creates more opportunity for engagement and can help circulate your agency name far beyond your original fan base as others add options to your list.
Your agency participates in a number of charity events in your town, including several 5K walks. This year, three of the walks fall on the same Saturday, and your agency can attend only one. You’re having trouble choosing, so you ask your
Facebook fans to vote on their favorite cause by posting the following Question:
XYZ Agency will be sponsoring one of the 5K walks below. Help us decide which one by voting for your favorite.
[Option 1] Townsville Walk for Wishes
[Option 2] Walk for the Cure in downtown Townsville
[Option 3] Walk for Hunger supporting the Townsville Food Bank
As your fans vote, the poll posts to their individual News Feeds, bringing your philanthropic message to their friends and family. The poll not only gives you a free way to promote your agency beyond your fan base, but aligns your agency with a popular cause or local business. If these events (or the groups organizing them) have Facebook pages, you can “tag” these pages in the list of options you post, building additional awareness for your agency.
Tool Three: Contests
What is it?
Using a third party vendor, Facebook allows you to host contests on your agency’s page. You can choose from several different types, including photo, video, sweepstakes, trivia and more. These contests can be used to build Facebook fans, generate customer engagement, and leverage your fans’ networks to generate prospects and build broader awareness of your agency.
How do you do it?
Select a third party vendor (Progressive uses Wildfire) that offers turnkey Facebook contests. There are a number of affordable options, some charging just $5 per campaign with an additional $1 a day while the contest is live. Create your contest online, using the vendor’s web interface. You’ll need to provide details on timing, official rules, the winner selection process, and information you want to collect from your participants. Once you’ve built your contest, you can publish it to your agency’s page and website, and you can promote it to your customers through email, Facebook, or any other medium, using the unique contest URL. As your fans participate in the contest, they can post their submission to their own Facebook pages and invite their friends to vote on an entry, building engagement and awareness. Vendors offer detailed measurement and data export functionality, so you can easily capture leads while monitoring traffic, submissions, engagement (comments and votes), and the effectiveness of your promotional communication.
Say you want to promote a pet related coverage to pet lovers in your community. You hope to leverage your customers’ social networks to reach their friends and family, so you host a Pet Photo Contest on Facebook to spread the word. Customers can submit their pet pictures online in two categories—pet/owner look-alike and cutest pet—then vote on their favorites. After setting up the contest, you email the link to your customers, asking them to upload pictures of their pets and encourage their friends and family to vote for their submission. Customers invite their friends and family to vote on the contest site, which includes information about pet related coverage and contact information for your agency. The contest engages customers who are passionate about their pets, and as they ask their friends and family members to vote, helps build awareness of your agency and collect valuable leads you can target with future marketing.
These three tools, when used strategically and creatively, extend your reach on Facebook, engage existing fans and build connections with other businesses in your community. Be sure to incorporate these tools into your Facebook strategy and learn how to use all the resources available to get the greatest return from your social media investment.
Note: See the “Websites & Social Media” page on the ACT website (www.iiaba.net/act
)for additional articles and recorded webinars to assist your agency with your digital marketing strategies and implementation.
Kevin Ament, Marketing Communications Manager at Progressive Insurance, can be reached at John_K_Ament@Progressive.com . Kevin produced this article for ACT (www.iiaba.net/act ). It reflects his views and should not be construed as an official statement by ACT.