Instagram may seem like it is not an insurance agency-friendly place. It is where influencers roam, Gen Z scrolls, and companies with highly visual product offerings thrive. It may seem like insurance agencies are not capable of Instagram success.
But you would be mistaken.
Instagram has 700 million active users, a 1,400 percent increase in the last five years. Instagram Stories boasts 250 million daily active users. So there’s a lot of people your agency could reach.
The thing is, users love using Instagram to interact with brands. For comparison, 32 percent of people regularly engage with brands on Facebook. That seems like a pretty good figure, right? On Instagram, the number is 68 percent. The fact of the matter is people don’t just engage with brands on Instagram, they want to. And your agency is a brand!
This is where Instagram Stories comes into play. Stories is the most engaging area of Instagram. For your agency, it is the easiest and fastest way to Insta-success.
What are Instagram Stories?
Stories is a feature within the Instagram platform. You can post photos and videos to your Story to be viewed one after the other in a slideshow format. The most notable part is your Story disappears after 24 hours.
Stories are ephemeral content. They are here today, gone tomorrow. This urges users to view Stories before the content disappears forever. And that is why Stories are so good at engaging users.
Stories are also the first thing users see when they log into the app, positioned above the main feed. This allows your agency to stay top of mind – if you share to Stories often, of course.
Instagram used to rank Stories by how new they are. But recently, they began using an algorithm to put accounts a user engages with most at the front of the lineup too.
For example, one of the accounts I tap through most often is Costco Does It Again. It appears at the front of my Story lineup often, too.
How can your agency use Stories?
The obvious question here is how does a business, whose product is not visual, share to a visual platform?
As a heavy Instagram user at the time of this blog post, I want to offer some insight. Your main Instagram feed does need to be visual. Posts to your main feed need to be well crafted and intentional. But your Stories don’t. They need to be engaging. Visuals come second.
Luckily, the functionality of Instagram Stories continues to deepen. You can add music, stickers, gifs, drawings, geotags, filters, and more to your photos or videos. You can post only text if you want. You can poll followers, quiz them, even tag them by @mentioning them. And they can share your story onto their account too, exposing your agency to more followers.
With all these features, your creativity is your only limitation. And because Stories are so versatile, they are perfect for non-visual businesses.
Once you post your story, you can start measuring engagement. Followers can reply to your story and the message will go to your Instagram Direct Messages. Keep your eye on the number of views and direct messages your Stories generate. You can view these metrics even after a story expires.
What should your insurance agency post?
Like with most social media messaging, it’s best to not focus on the hard sell. The more your followers get to know you, they more their loyalty deepens with your brand. Sure, they can eventually convert into customers. But you’ll get something else when they do, something much harder to get: Their loyalty and evangelism.
Like the name suggests, use the platform to share your agency’s story. Try these types of posts and see which gains the most traction with your audience.
- Take followers behind the scenes at your agency with a series of day-in-the-life videos
- Promote upcoming events you agency hosts or participates in
- Poll your followers with the Poll feature
- Ask for, and then answer, questions with the Q&A feature
- Share safety information for an upcoming holiday or impending severe weather
- Show off your company culture
- Post new client photos (and tag them, too)
- Link to your insurance website with a Swipe Up call to action (This is only available after 10,000 followers.)
- Ask for user generated content from followers
- Share the history of your agency
- Post before and after photos of property damage and repairs, asking users to Tap to fix
- Build awareness for new lines of business, services, special hours, and more
- Record short how-to videos on how to submit a claim or how to know when your policy expires
- Run contests or giveaways
- Go live and start streaming live video
Is there something you do at your agency, maybe behind the scenes, that is particularly interesting, unknown and visual? It’s time to think of Instagram Stories as your platform for sharing those things. Clients love to see what's behind the scenes of your business. You’re the storyteller.
Best Practices & Tips
We are only scratching the surface of Instagram Stories. But, you should have a good idea of what they are and what to post. Here are a few more best practices to keep in mind.
- Yes, Stories can disappear after 24 hours...if you don’t save them to your profile, that is. Your Stories can live on forever in your Story Highlights.
- Hashtags are searchable in Stories, too. Add hashtags to your Stories to put your agency on the Instagram map.
- Make the content on your Instagram Stories different than what you post on your feed. This allows viewers to engage with more content. It is also considered poor etiquette to post the same content in both Stories and your main feed.
- Engage with followers by always responding to their messages. They can see when you read their message, so you might as well respond.
- Post often to your followers get the opportunity to engage often. Depending on how active you are on social media, aim for three to four times per week at minimum.
Some of the most popular agency marketing blog posts on ITC’s Agent Resource Center are our Instagram blog posts. I can only take that as a sign that other insurance agents are taking the Instagram plunge. Will you?