3 Trends that Will Change Your Social Media Strategy Forever

I am what's known as a late adopter of social media platforms. I was four years late on Facebook, two years late on Twitter, and was forced into Instagram for a college class.

Regardless, I'm up and running now. Your insurance agency's social media should be too. Why?

Your agency needs to take part in the conversations that matter to your audience. If your agency provides answers to questions, you will earn their trust over time. This is where social media can be valuable as a two-way conversation channel.

This process is called creating brand awareness. Social media is the perfect tool for strategically placing your brand in front of audiences who otherwise might never have heard of your agency. Many executives are putting social media at the core of their digital marketing strategies precisely for this reason.

But 2020 was a unique year. In five years, we'll look at 2020 with reverence and analyze how the effects of this pandemic changed digital marketing forever. We foresee exponential growth in adoption rates of social media, online shopping, and digital literacy.

So, what did we learn from 2020? What are the social media trends we need to know for 2021?

 

Social Media Will be the Key to Positive Customer Experience

According to Hootsuite's 2021 Social Trends survey, 73% of all marketers ranked "increased acquisition of new customers" as their top outcome for social in 2021, compared to only 46% last year.

That same study points out that only 23% of marketers cited "improving customer experience" as a goal for 2021. Even more troubling is marketers surveyed at only 15% for "improve customer insights." This is a backward way of thinking, especially considering the year we've just emerged from.

We're seeing a drastic increase in shifts to short-term, ROI accountable tactics, although we can understand why.

For the most part, in 2021, the walk-in customer experience was not a thing. Many insurance agencies closed their offices to in-person visits due to the pandemic. So, agencies shifted to digital channels to supplement the lack of in-person sales.

Here's something that resonates with me when it comes to earning trust digitally.

Transactions don't establish memorable brands or long-term growth. Customer experience and interactions do. And you shouldn't sit and wait for things to go back to normal.

Some might spend this year trying to get their numbers back, which, again, is understandable. However, if this year has shown us anything, it's that investment in online consumer experiences is going to be what creates long term ROI.

Why?

As the whole world sheltered in place, you know who won the year? Amazon.

Amazon has a 3-step buying process and 24-hour delivery (sometimes shorter) for anything anyone could want. They generated a net total sales of just over 96 billion dollars in Q3 of 2020. That's about 26 billion more than in the same quarter of 2019.

Now, as an example, take a look at Amazon's Twitter account.

Do they talk about their products? No, they don't. On a much larger scale than what should be expected of us, they talk about what they do and how they help people.

They talk about funding equitable housing, aiding climate change, and how a Ring device saved a puppy from a burning fire.

Amazon understands that social media is about creating a connection with as many people as possible because that connection is the foundation of a relationship leading to sales.

Social media has become a center of the cultural and national conversation. Those agencies who take part can create memorable, positive interactions with their audience. 

Adding to the conversation means taking the short-term strategies off the table. Avoid "here's what my agency can do for you" and replace it with "here's how what's happening that can affect you." 

Telling a story is the most impactful thing you can do when marketing your insurance agency. Scientists have learned that stories release cortisol, dopamine, and oxytocin in the brain. So, provide personal anecdotes. Put your agents in front of your audience with short videos. 

Most of all, do it everywhere you can. The rule of thumb for marketing is and always will be, go where your audience is.

That means 2021 needs to be the year you adopt that new platform.

 

Instagram Should Be Your Next Social Media Platform

Yes, your kids love TikTok. You might even love TikTok. But if you're looking to add a new social media platform in 2021, Instagram, not TikTok, should be your next endeavor.

Why? First, consider your audience. Are they more likely to be on TikTok or Instagram?

Furthermore, where would they be more receptive to learning about insurance?

Now, there's no denying TikTok is the hot social media channel on the block. Ninety percent of users access the app at least once per day. Yes, I said it… 90%! They already have 60 million active users and those users spend an average of 52 minutes per day on the app. (Statusphere)

Those are impressive statistics, but your goal here should be to maximize your investment of time by engaging with a social media channel that can reach receptive consumers. Right now, Instagram is still a more attractive investment of your time.

Let me tell you why.

Although this is a stark difference from their competitors at TikTok, 63% of Instagram users log in once a day. Five hundred million people use Instagram Stories per day, and 130 million users tap on a shopping post every month. Instagram's potential advertising reach is a staggering 849.3 million users. (Statusphere)

TikTok's ad strategy is still in its infancy as it relates to reaching an audience receptive to an offer. On the other hand, Instagram has an audience with more buying power and the ad tools to engage them. Again, this is all about creating awareness, so when your email marketing campaigns come in, they're not reaching a cold lead. Instagram Stories is an excellent tool for brand discovery using trackable hashtags and swipe up links for prospects to learn more.

More than 60% of marketers said they would increase their investment in Instagram in 2021. Why? User growth. And where are all those users coming from? Baby boomers.

 

Baby Boomers Have Arrived on Social Media!

I cannot tell you how many times I have had to connect hook up my mom's Apple TV for her. Every time I go home, it's one of her first requests. Now, my mom is not unfamiliar with technology. She is an executive at an advertising agency and exceptionally adept at using social media.

So, why can't she hook up her Apple TV but at the same time maintain profiles on almost every social platform?

The answer is as simple as supply and demand.

When she couldn't figure out her Apple TV, she switched to watching her favorite movies and TV on DirectTV. There is an infinite supply of tech that provides my mom with on-demand entertainment.

However, social media plays an influential role in our lives, both professionally and personally. These facts were only further expedited, with many of us were forced online during the pandemic.

Regardless of what platform she decides to use or what setting she's using it in, there is a demand for her to understand how to use social media and build her presence. Therefore, she invested her time in learning how to use it.

Baby boomers are late-adopters, and, guess what; they've adopted social.

This trend doesn't mean shifting focus away from millennials and Gen Z as one of your target audiences. I'm saying you need to ensure you're appealing to all of your audience.

Here's a quote from a recent Hootsuite study that I love. "The past year has been a tipping point for baby boomers online. Increased time with social media, digital video, gaming, and mobile payments have yielded new forms of digital literacy that are turning into habits to outlast the pandemic."

Plus, baby boomers are more financially literate and are showing less financial fragility due to the pandemic. So, when planning out your strategy for Facebook this year, tailor your content for them.

How? Switch your content strategy to passions and hobbies for baby boomers. Avoid stereotypes because not all members of a generation are the same. Include reviews in your content because baby boomers specifically are influenced by reviews when making buying decisions.

 

Conclusion

Recent events have given us a new normal, and business might never fully return to how they were. 2021 should be the year that you make new leaps. Look to invest long term in social media and use it as a foundation to create a better customer experience with your brand. TikTok… don't do it yet. Stick with Instagram for the time being but be ready when the time comes. And hey, boomers are back! Make sure you have a plan to reach them with your marketing this year.

About the Author

Zach Weeks

As Content Marketing Specialist, Zach Weeks manages and implements ITC's marketing efforts, spanning customer communications, social media, content, and email marketing. He has a bachelor's degree in editing, writing, and media from Florida State University. Zach enjoys sports writing, competitive gaming, and spending time with his family and pets.

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