Digital Marketing and the Rise of the Independent Agent

By Nola Morris | October 17, 2022

Independent agents are taking over the scene — 62% of property and casualty premiums in the U.S. were written by independent agents in 2021 — so competition is fiercer than ever. Independent agents who want to stand out need to build up their personal brands online to reach customers and keep relationships strong. When agents use their personal social networks to find prospects, build relationships, and grow their thought leadership, they’re using one of the most powerful strategies available to them: social selling.

Social selling might be a familiar strategy for captive agents who have their carriers’ built-in marketing support, but independent agents must create their business (and relationships) from scratch. More and more, those relationships are built over social media. That’s the challenge for agents in this new landscape, but it’s also the big opportunity. People buy from people, and building personal relationships is what insurance agents have always done best. They just need to translate those rapport-building skills into modern digital spaces with a few key strategies.

Adopt social selling as a go-to strategy.

Social selling unifies sales and marketing, transforming social media into a revenue driver by giving agents an avenue to showcase their thought leadership, engage with potential and existing customers, and build trust and relationships in the process. It is similar to offline selling: Build trust with customers, get to know them, and explain how your product helps solve their problems. But it proves even more powerful — 78% of social sellers outsell their peers who don’t use social media.

To get ahead in social selling, agents must harness the power in their relationships and personal networks. Research shows that content shared by employees gets eight times more engagement than content shared by a brand. A social selling strategy can not only help agents reach more people, but also can also help them humanize their own work and brand.

For independent agents, personal branding can make all the difference. Agents shouldn’t be afraid to be unique and show their authentic selves on social media. From sharing personal photos to comments on client posts, the more clients see agents as personal friends and unique people, the more engaged they will be.

Why does letting personality show matter for agents? Credibility has become increasingly important for customers, with 88% of consumers citing authenticity as a key factor in deciding what brands they like and support. Clients want to know they can trust their agents, especially when making decisions that majorly affect their families and lives, so social selling content should reflect authenticity and relatability.

Understand and accept agents’ evolving roles in the changing landscape of digital insurance.

The sales process has gone digital in many ways, but that does not change the value of human guidance from an insurance advisor — the role of the trusted insurance advisor isn’t going anywhere.

Human connection remains a meaningful part of the insurance transaction. When people’s lives change, their relationships with their agents matter, and the work that agents have put into fostering trust and strong relationships will pay off.

Social media is a crucial tool in keeping intermediaries connected in this digital age and agents need to be comfortable using modern social media marketing and sales strategies.

Don’t go it alone — look for trusted support resources.

When independent agents are active in social selling, they shouldn’t go it alone. The resources agents have been consulting for years often have active blogs and social accounts from which they can source content. Many carriers and insurance industry thought leaders also offer curated social content that is ready to share and can typically be personalized by the agent.

A social selling strategy powered by a thoughtful content mix can help independent agents not only reach more people, but also reinforce the thought leadership and trust-building they’ve been demonstrating to clients outside of social media for years.

Find the right tools.

Curating content, creating a regular cadence of posting, monitoring multiple social channels — there are a lot of moving pieces in an independent agent’s social selling strategy. Social selling is just one of the many things an independent agent has in their sales repertoire. This makes it so important to have technology built for social selling specifically. The less time agents spend on the organizational aspects of social selling, the more time they have to build customer relationships, communicate authentically and, ultimately, build trust online.

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Insurance Journal October 17, 2022
October 17, 2022
Insurance Journal National Magazine

Agency Technology & InsurTech; Markets: Habitational / Dwellings, Commercial Property