In the last several years social media as an engagement tool for more than personal relationships has skyrocketed in significance. News outlets, public service organizations, and now, even the White House uses social media to communicate, almost daily, with the world. Business owners today can no longer ignore the significance of social media tools in the engagement of clients and prospects. Although you may not be @POTUS, tweeting to the world, your publication strategy and social media responsiveness can have a serious impact on your brand.
Why does your agency need to engage in social media?
Social media tools are now replacing the morning and nightly news, which used to be the most sought after and expensive slots for advertising...because that’s where the audience was. Today 6-in-10 Americans get their news from social media, according to a recent Pew Research study.
Your prospects and clients are on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and frankly, they expect you to be as well.
In addition to increased traffic, social media outlets are also an alternative engagement tool to email and traditional postal mail. Email marketing is still an absolutely vital tool, however, due to increased levels of communication, and unfortunately, abuse of that avenue by less than savory “marketing groups”, email boxes are getting cluttered and unmanageable for many people. Instead of going through every email in their inbox every morning, people are beginning to transition to scrolling social media news feeds. While the prevalence of this shift is most noticeable in younger generations, don’t think this does not apply to 50+ clients and prospects. Check out this collection of data on social media usage in the U.S., again from The Pew Research Center:
Social Media Use Over Time
Social means engagement
The definition of social, as the word is used in social media, is: tending to form cooperative and interdependent relationships with others. This, of course, is not how all social media usage turns out, however, the intent behind the term is about creating and/or nurturing relationships. Unlike static posts or billboards, positive social media relationships require engagement by both the poster and the consumer. Ultimately, the businesses who realize increased positive brand awareness apply attentiveness and timely responses to likes, shares, follows and comments.
Why does it matter?
If you don’t understand how social media interaction effects your clients and prospects, you are significantly constraining your ability to build and maintain your brand. Article after article, and study after study has demonstrated that the average human brain’s reaction to social media triggers a dopamine response. This dopamine response is so strong that studies have shown tweeting is harder for people to resist than cigarettes and alcohol.
In addition to the strong dopamine response that can occur, an equally powerful human response hormone triggered by social media engagement is oxytocin, sometimes referred to as “the cuddle chemical” because it’s released when you kiss or hug.
Below are a couple of examples of my own experience with responsive social media brands:
If you actively engage your social media audience and respond to their engagements in a positive and timely manner, your brand value will gain considerably. There is a stronger feeling of loyalty that is grown when a brand responds to you directly as an individual in a public forum. It feels good. And remember, your brand is not your logo, colors or name. As my favorite author, Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Your brand is simply how people feel about you. Use social media to make that good feeling, great.
For a more in-depth look at how to use social media to grow your agency brand, download our free eBook, Social Media for the Insurance Agent.