If you’re a 21st century insurance agent and you haven’t yet been considering using social media for your insurance business, its growth and high profits, then I’ve just got to try to get you to rethink the way that you’re doing things. Yes, I know–you’ve been out there networking, shaking hands and getting to know people and giving your business cards to the guys who do the YMCA racquetball thing with you, the nice gals there at the hair stylist’s, and the newly moved-in people who just bought new houses (and took on new mortgages) in your neighborhood. You’re probably great at it, too. But this is, after all, a new century, and using social media for your insurance business is a powerful and dynamic new tool courtesy of the Internet that you can use to take your networking to another level–that is, through the roof!
The new social media on the Internet include forums, groups like Yahoo Groups, content places where you can publish articles for free and have them come up in Internet or site-subject searches, and social bookmarking websites. Oh, and let’s not forget blogging–an insurance agent with a blog these days can really rake the competition over the coals. This is all incredible stuff, and just 10 years ago most of it was impossible and none of it was at the level it is now. In a “plugged-in” world you can reach so many more people all at once than you ever will be able to playing racquetball!
Using social media for your insurance business begins with doing some writing. Remember, you’re an expert in your business, and most people don’t really understand insurance all that well (if they did we sure wouldn’t have this stupid health care crisis in the U.S!). So, you write some dynamic articles all about how insurance works, its intentions, the different kinds, and all that jazz–or, if you’re not so handy with a pen outside of signing off to place policies, hire a ghost writer to write the articles for you. Then, publish them online at places like EZine Articles, Articles Base, Search Warp, and Triond. You can include contact information such as your e-mail, your website if you have one (and if you don’t have one, may I ask why not?), and your blog. Once people start to recognize you as their local insurance expert, they’ll be knocking at your virtual door asking to do business with you (ah, the sweetest of all an insurance agent’s dreams!).
But there’s a way to make those articles even far more powerful and profitable for you. Use social bookmarking. Social bookmarking sites are places where people publish links to articles that they really like or find highly informative–including their own, if they write any. They’re easy to find, because the content sites all have links to some or all of them, and it’s pretty simple to see what to do. You can mass-publish your highly informative articles all over the Internet with these social bookmarking sites, and you can also use them to make scores of new online friends who will get the word out about you or give you business themselves!
Another important way to use social media for your insurance business is to, as I mentioned earlier, visit forums and join online groups that relate to the insurance business or things that personally interest you. As long as you don’t “spam” or make a jackass of yourself, you can pretty much say whatever you want to in these places and you can post your contact information all over them. Forums and groups are a far cry less formal than content places, because you really just write off the cuff, being all conversational. One of the really hot spots for this kind of thing is a site called Linksreferrals dot com, and any insurance professional should check ’em out.