If you’re like many brokers, social media may be something that you flat out don’t want to worry about. It’s a place where kids share selfies. It’s where you keep up with your grandkids. It’s where people spout off. That may all be true, but social media is also an increasingly important business forum. Your clients will expect you to have a presence, and you’ll be losing out if you’re not there. So before you shrug social media, you should consider the many benefits that you’ll receive if you pick your spots and use social media wisely. Here’s what social media can do for you:
- Create new relationships: Today, when people are looking for something, they’re likely to start by searching online. That’s true whether they’re looking for a new TV, a dentist, an SUV, a plumber – or an insurance broker. So you’ll want your company to show up on the first page of a Google search, and not as the one-millionth listing. One way to improve your standing is by having a social media presence, which search algorithms take into account.
- Reach the millennial generation: Move over, Baby Boomers. Millennials – those born between the early 1980’s and the early aughts – are now the largest U.S. demographic cohort. And the workplace is increasingly dominated by these “digital natives,” who have grown up with the Internet, are tech savvy, and live and work online. They expect that those they work with to be there as well.
- Strengthen existing relationships: As a broker, your business is all about relationships. One way to make sure that your relationships stay strong is through social media. The platforms that make up social media provide opportunities to stay in light touch with your clients in ways that provide value, engage your clients, and keep you top of mind. Here are two examples of quick and effective use of social media:
- If you have a blog post on a topic of interest to a particular client, send them an email with a link to your post, inviting them to comment
- If you notice that one of your clients is marking an occasion on their FaceBook page – an anniversary, an acquisition, a big new account – write a note of congratulation on their wall
Small gestures like these take very little time, and help strengthen relationships with your clients.
- Learn about your clients and prospects: An excellent way to learn about your clients and prospects, and identify opportunities where you can be of help, is by monitoring their social media presence. What are they talking about? What’s going on in their shop?
- Educate your clients: In the broker world, there are always things that you need to teach your clients about. There are new offerings that need to be explored, new rules and regulations that need to be explained. You’re the expert here, and social media is an excellent way to communicate that expertise. This does NOT mean that you have to be the original author of every communication. There’s a lot of value in pointing out a link – via LinkedIn, Twitter, your blog – and calling out a highlight or two from it.
- Do some competitive sleuthing: Monitoring your competitors social media presence will help you keep on top of what new services they’re offering, and where they’re heading. This is information you want and need to have in hand, before your clients or prospects ask you about it.
- Build your brand: What you have to say for yourself on social media, and how you say it, is a powerful way to let the world what you’re like, and what it might be like to work with you. Social media gives you multiple opportunities to express your company’s personality, expertise, and experience. At the same time, a total lack of presence in social media may be conveying the impression that you’re not up to date, especially when it comes to millennials.
- Keep an eye on your reputation: People talk online about the products and services they use. What they’re saying about you may be enhancing your reputation. In which case, make note of who’s saying something positive about you, and be sure to thank them for it. If they’re taking to social media to complain about you, that’s good information to have. And social media gives you a good platform to respond to those complaints. (As long as you stay positive)
Social media is where much of today’s relationship building and marketing is happening. If you don’t have a presence, you’re be missing out.