Cold calls are a thing of the past and the way insurance agents used to reach out to consumers has changed. If you are making calls and knocking on doors but still not seeing results, it may be because your methods are out dated.

What if instead of commenting on a picture of a friend’s new baby or posting that picture of your steak dinner, you were reaching out and engaging with potential leads? Not sure how to incorporate social media into your business plan? Don’t worry, we’ve got 11 ways to get you there.

1. Create a business page. Don’t post business from your personal page. Consumers need to see you in a professional light. They all know you have a personal life. They just don’t want to see it. No matter what platform you are using, separate the two. (Learn how to create a Facebook Business Page here:

2. Follow local and national news/businesses. Surround yourself with useful information. This is another reason you want to create a business page. During the week it’s important to be fed constant information pertaining to your work, but maybe on the weekend you’d prefer to see only pictures of your friend’s trip to Cancun. A couple of pages/sites we would suggest to get you started are, and Bankers Insurance Facebook Page.

3. Share content from 3rd party sources. Now that you have a flood of news (no pun intended), share it with consumers. If you’ve learned something new then there is a very good chance the people you intend to reach could learn from it as well. This shows not only that you are constantly educating yourself but that you also understand the information, which is important to someone who trusts you to do just that.

4. Comment and engage with popular events and news stories. It’s not only important to share information but also to engage with it as well. Let it be known that you understand the information by commenting about the article. If it’s a popular piece that is being shared by many then your knowledge is visible to a larger group of people than you could have reached from your own pages.

5. Use the 80/20 rule. You are obviously out there to sell your services but don’t get too carried away. You will quickly lose followers if you are constantly soliciting. 80% of your content should be valuable information that your consumers can learn from. This information includes news stories, insurance updates and anything other stories pertaining to the business. 20% of your content should be selling your services. By using this rule, you will insure that people will continue to follow you and you will gain the reputation of being an “expert” in your field.

6. Be personal. Okay, this probably sounds like it contradicts everything above, but it doesn’t. As you are sharing and posting content, add in a personal touch by including your educated opinion in a tone that represents you best. Show that there is a person behind the page. After all, this is why consumers come to you as an agent versus call up the company directly.

7. Reach out to consumers. Don’t just wait for them to come to you, go out and look for them. How? Hashtags. Yes they are useful for more than being overused. On Twitter and Google+, hashtags are used to categorize content. If someone is unhappy with their #insurance company, you can find them by searching for the hashtag “insurance”. Think outside the box and search for relatable words as well. When you find someone who is unhappy with their current service, approach them about how you may be able to help.

8. When necessary, target only those who show interest. Yet another reason you need a business page. Through your business page on Facebook, you can promote your posts to people specifically in your area, who are a certain age, and who have shown interest in insurance coverage. It’s like buying an outdoor billboard that guarantees everyone who drives past the board has an interest in insurance.

9. Don’t neglect Google+. What is Google+? It’s okay if you don’t know but you need to. It’s growing fast and if Google has anything to do with it, you’ll need a page to exist, period. (Here is where you should start: Google+ is a great place to build your credibility. Commenting on Facebook and Twitter posts are great ways to engage but Google+ has groups specific to certain subjects. These are prime places for you to share your knowledge of the insurance world. It’s also a more professional platform than Facebook. Keep in mind its important to be present on both to reach a wide range of potential clients and gain resources.

10. Keep it general. Insurance can be tricky. It’s important not to carry on a full on conversation with a consumer via Facebook comments. Keep it simple and save the detailed talk for when you get them in your office.

11. Stay consistent. Your content is important, but how often you post is important as well. Think about it. If you go to a business page and see they haven’t posted for over 3 weeks, will you think as highly of that company as one that posts daily or every other day?

Social media plays a huge role in the research of making purchases these days. 1 in 3 people who use social media prefer interacting with companies via Twitter, Facebook or another network than via phone. Use these tips to put yourself above your competitors and become personal in a business way.

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