Last week we talked about mistakes you could be making in your marketing that could hurt your brand. This week let's focus on mistakes in social media that could hurt your agency's brand.
The insurance industry has begun to embrace social media. It's even become the norm to have more than one social media account. (Heck, we have five Twitter accounts, four Facebook Pages, two Google+ accounts and one LinkedIn business page.)
Social media moves quickly. Poorly managed social media accounts could backfire and instead of building relationships and raising your awareness online you could be hurting your agency. How? Here are six things to watch for and take care of immediately.
1. Lack of branding
Brand your social media accounts. For some consumers, this will be their first interaction with you. And if you don't make it easy for them to know who you are, you're doing yourself a disservice. Use your website as a guide. (Don't have one?) Incorporate your logo, agency colors, tagline and value proposition. Also, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn now all allow you to include a larger image on your profile in addition to your profile picture, aka avatar. Take advantage of this space and get creative with it. Just make sure to follow the network's rules when applicable.
2. Not using the right social media networks
The different social media networks are not meant for everyone. Each one has a specific purpose and different atmosphere. You don't have to use all of them. Instead, take some time to learn the differences as well as where you customers are. If your customers are on Facebook, would they like your Facebook Page if you had one? Do a little research and choose the networks that best fit your agency, your audience and what you want to accomplish on social media.
3. No consistency
The easiest way to look bad fast on social media is to ignore your accounts. Develop an editorial calendar of subjects you can post about on a regular basis. Make a commitment to frequently look around the web for news and stories you can share. There are social media applications that will allow you to schedule your posts in advance so you can build up a library of posts that will go out without you having to remember to update your profiles every day.
4. The wrong person is posting
Just because you can hire a college kid or your neighbor to manage your social media marketing doesn't mean you should. Their inexperience could potentially cause problems for you if a tweet they post opens you up to an E&O claim. Have the person (or people) in your office with at least some marketing experience take over your social media. Sometimes it helps to have multiple people posting to your social media profiles. Define who is responsible for posting on which days. Another option would be to get help from trained marketing professionals who understand insurance marketing and social media.
5. Ignoring comments
The beauty of social media and what makes it so popular with consumers is that if someone leaves a comment on your Facebook wall or mentions you in a tweet, she expects you to respond. Social media is not a broadcast medium; it is two-way communication. Would you ignore a ringing phone or someone who has walked into your office? Of course not. Ignoring social media comments would be the same thing. If you schedule your posts ahead of time, make sure you're checking in periodically to see if anyone has left a comment or replied to you. Respond as quickly as possible, and if necessary, follow up with a private message or email.
6. Venting on social media
Using social media as a venue for venting frustration or saying negative things, whether it's about your competition, your customers or your employees, is never a good idea. You and your agency will look bad to your followers. Practice common courtesy. It applies online just like it would at an in-person event.
Social media can make a big impact on your agency. But you have to give in order to get. It takes time and practice to figure out how social media is best going to work for you. Use social media well and avoid these six mistakes and you will begin to see the effects.
What other ways do you see poorly managed social media accounts hurting brands?
About the Author
As vice president of marketing, Becky Schroeder oversees ITC’s growth through marketing and drives the overall marketing strategy for the company and its products. Her specialties include advertising, social media, email marketing, content marketing and public relations. Becky has a master’s degree in integrated marketing communication from Emerson College in Boston and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Texas A&M University. Becky is a big Texas A&M football fan and enjoys cooking, reading and spending time with her husband and their three daughters.Follow on Twitter More Content by Becky Schroeder