First off, Jared Bellmund’s sock game is one of the best I’ve seen.

It’s the kind of sock game that always makes you chuckle…and then seriously consider going to the mall just to see if you can find something that will rival him.

(Seriously. I NEED these.)

But ok – you didn’t come here to talk about socks. You came here because you want to hear about Jared’s real game: social media.

Let’s be honest, sometimes it feels like social media and insurance are like oil and water. You post and post and post and no one seems to hear anything. Like when you ask your kids to do something while they’re watching Netflix (Parent = 0, Netflix = 10).

That’s partially because Facebook Business Pages are on a pay-to-play system, meaning they don’t typically appear in people’s newsfeeds unless you pay Facebook some moolah. And it’s partially because people are on social media to be entertained….and insurance isn’t really…uhm…”entertaining.” So, it gets tuned out.

 *crickets*

Then, how did a 2-person formerly-captive agency in Hendersonville, NC find success on social media?

Two words: Facebook Groups.

Jared and I chatted digital marketing for a solid 45 minutes. We talked about Google Local, SEO, Adwords, Snapchat, etc etc etc. But what really caught my attention was his social media strategy revolving around Facebook Groups.

Why? Because he wasn’t focused on posting. He was focused on connecting.

Ok, I want to pause real quick and chat about this idea of connecting. While posting is focused on using Facebook as a platform to blast your message (and hope someone hears you and then acts on what they heard), connecting is different.

Why Facebook Groups Can Be A Local Agent’s Secret Weapon

The reason many businesses enter the world of social media is to try and reach a larger audience: to, in a sense, “go viral,” even if only on a local level. Most businesses rely on posts, aka 2017 billboards, to trigger some local virality. But like we discussed before, unpaid Facebook posts don’t have much reach.

If you’ve ever read The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell, you know about his attempt to codify virality. Granted Malcom didn’t give us The Most Perfect Facebook Roadmap Of All Time – heck, he published The Tipping Point before internet virality was really a thing (smart guy, right?) – but what he does give us is a new way of thinking about how virality is triggered.

Typically, we think of virality very linearly; Bill finds something cool and he tells Jo who tells Sally who tells Martha who tells Hannah, etc etc etc…until a bunch of people (besides your mom and grandma) know. But actually what Malcolm found is that virality requires Connectors. Connectors are people who know a TON of people and love connecting them. So, Bill knows Jo, Sally, Martha and Hannah. Once Bill finds something cool, he tells all of them at once. The beginnings of…virality.

While in the early 2000’s The Tipping Point limited the role of Connector to an actual person, 2017 has digitized the role of Connector. You see this all the time scrolling through your Newsfeed. Videos that have millions of views peaked because they were shared by a social hub, like BuzzFeed or CollegeHumor.

Facebook Groups act in the same way on a smaller scale. For the small business, a Facebook Group is a local social hub, a digital Connector. Engaging inside it can potentially trigger a sort of virality.

Jared Bellmund is a perfect example of this. He joined “the local yard sale Facebook Group, the Henderson County Business Networking Facebook Group, Hendersonville Rugby Facebook Group,” etc etc etc. When he sees someone ask an insurance-related question inside one of the groups and responds to it, he’s marketing to everyone inside the group…not just the one person who asked the question.

Even better, Jared has asked friends of his who are already established inside these groups to tag him in insurance-related posts. That allows him to leverage the social credibility of his friends in responding to someone’s question or concern.

“It doesn’t take too long. I just lightly monitor those groups, ya know when I’m checking Facebook, and when I see someone say something like ‘my insurance didn’t cover this’ or ‘where do you guys get health insurance,’ I’ll ask a friend to quick tag me in it.”

Jared Bellmund, Carolina Living Insurance

Boom.

And Jared isn’t the only agent seeing success from this strategy. Check out this post from a member of our Agency Nation University Facebook community.

Double boom.

Stop posting on Facebook

I’m being half serious.

Don’t stop posting on Facebook altogether, but do try expending some of your posting energy on Facebook Groups and see what happens.

One agent from a 2-agency shop with no CSRs and no account managers in Hendersonville, NC tried it. And killed it.

As always, thanks for reading friends!

Syd

P.S. You should definitely add Carolina Living Insurance on Snapchat. And follow Jared’s legit sock game.

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