To Improve Client Relationships, Agents’ Digital Strategies Should Reflect Authenticity

By Nola Morris | November 21, 2022

Customer relationship-building is one of the greatest value drivers for insurance agents. A benchmark analysis from McKinsey & Co. found agents with deeper customer relationships have higher product density than those lacking in relationships — often cross-selling three or more products per customer.

With that in mind, it’s essential that agents understand how to best leverage their humanity and personality to truly connect with their audiences. In today’s age, this extends to how agents present themselves and connect online.

When prospective clients meet an agent for the first time, they’re asking themselves, “Is this person likable? Can I trust them?” Clients want to feel an authentic connection that gives them peace of mind and assures them that someone has their best interests at heart.

This desire for connection isn’t limited to the insurance industry. In fact, 88% of consumers say that authenticity is a key factor when deciding the brands they like and support, and that trust is vitally important to entering working relationships. That desire for trust grows exponentially when it comes to insurance sales because the business is built around protecting clients’ futures.

Insurance agents have a head start on this — their businesses have always been rooted in authenticity. But as digital transformation in the insurance industry continues, it’s more important than ever that agents assert themselves through authenticity on social media. It’s no different from what agents and other insurance professionals have been doing in person for years. It’s about conveying expertise, building trust, and showcasing industry knowledge — except now it’s within the digital universe. Social media provides a new platform for staying top of mind with customers and prospects alike.

So, how should agents be more authentic on social media? Same as they would offline — with relationships.

Good selling starts with genuinely listening to clients and being authentic, no matter what. Insurance agents are there to identify clients’ life needs and build a solution to protect them against loss. They must genuinely care about clients’ needs to find the right solutions and demonstrate that level of care to earn trust.

Here’s how agents can bring that energy to social media:

View social media as an opportunity to provide value. Marketers and agents alike already know that authenticity is important to customer acquisition. That same authenticity should show up in social media activity.

Agents should still be themselves, just on digital channels. After all, in the insurance business, agents are selling a promise that a consumer may or may not ever see delivery on. If the client never has an accident, they’ll never make a claim.

This means a lot of time can pass between a point of sale and delivery of promise.

With the rise of social media, however, there is a growing opportunity to deliver value in the long term. Whether it’s sharing thought-leadership articles, checking in with clients on social media, or providing digital tools to help educate clients, the digital landscape provides ample opportunity to reinforce proof of agent value on an ongoing basis. Including both paid and organic social media marketing for insurance agents in the mix of sales practices is critical.

This won’t replace traditional tools like phone, email and in-person meetings, but having a mix of organic and paid content alongside them will complement other relationship-building efforts, keep agents top of mind, and continually provide value to clients and prospects.

Lean into the power of real-life experience. There’s a good chance that agents live and work in the communities they serve. Agents should use that advantage with prospective clients when building their authentic brands. Showing on social media what’s happening in their communities and their offices will help foster a sense of belonging and drive interest among followers.

Need more marketing ideas for insurance agents? Look to everyday experiences. If an agent runs into someone at a local event, they should take a selfie and tag the person on Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn. If a client drops off cookies, the agent should post a photo and a heartfelt message about what it meant to the team. Social media followers will connect with those real-life moments far more than they would with a branded post.

Embrace storytelling. Too often, social media marketing for insurance agents consists only of market statistics or limited-time promotions. While this type of content can absolutely be useful and helpful, it’s not enough on its own. Think about the brands you follow: Would statistics and discounts be enough to get you engaged?

Social media is about creating a narrative, not just posting facts or promotions.

Agents should share the true picture of what it’s been like to grow a practice. Tell client stories about how they’ve benefited from your insurance products (with permission and privacy in mind, of course). When agents share authentically, they build trust with clients and prospects.

Be themselves. If agents are only professional and stuffy, audiences won’t connect. Agents and marketers alike shouldn’t be afraid to let a little personality shine through on social media. Thought leadership can create credibility and demonstrate expertise, and it’s always better received when served up by a real-life person.

That’s what social selling is all about.

Posting is only one part of the strategy. Agents should also comment on and engage with clients’ posts as appropriate. Two-way communication is critical to building authenticity. Think about it as if you were having an in-person conversation; there would be plenty of back-and-forth throughout the discussion. Did a client become a grandparent? Their agent should congratulate them. Social selling is all about creating conversation, just like in real life.

Engagement provides the added benefit of personalization. Customers don’t want to feel like marketing collateral. When agents engage with them honestly and authentically, they’re well on their way to creating deep, lasting consumer relationships.

Building authenticity through social media is similar in principle to building authenticity in real life; it’s just using a different medium to do so. When intermediaries share personal stories and helpful content with clients in a way that reflects their true personalities, they’ll build lasting relationships both online and offline that will serve as the foundation of future sales.

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Insurance Journal West November 21, 2022
November 21, 2022
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