Insurance agents do not need a full-time social media marketer.

There is a common misconception among independent insurance agencies that in order to be successful at marketing on social media, there needs to be a staff member dedicated full-time to the work.

Not true.

Success or failure in social media is not determined by whether or not your agency has the resources to hire a full-time social media marketer. Instead, the focus should be on encouraging social sharing and interaction throughout your agency.

The social insurance agency has a culture of marketing.

From the Manager of First Impressions (that was our receptionist’s job title at The Murray Group) to the most tenured principle, simple social interactions built into everyday work will provide the greatest ROI.

When standing in front of an audience of agents, the most common excuse for lack of social media adoption is always resources … lack of time, lack of budget, and/or lack of humans to do the work.

But this perceived lack of resources is based on the idea that one person in the agency must do all of the social media work.

See Also: Social Media Image-Sharing Size Guide for 2015 {Infographic}

Here are nine reasons you shouldn’t hire a full-time social media marketer. When you finish this list, I’ll explain a better path:

1) Less overhead in salary and benefits

Adding a full-time position (even an entry-level position) to your agency is expensive. Not only do you have to pay salary, but you must also consider benefits and  the cost to add equipment such as computers and software. By adding a full-time social media marketer, you’ve taken on an incredible amount of fixed cost without any guarantee of ROI.

2) No lag time learning insurance

Insurance is a complicated and convoluted product. There are very few individuals throughout the entire country who understand insurance and marketing. The ones that do are not going to work at an entry-level salary in your local agency.

This means whoever you hire, they’re going to need insurance training. This training takes time and based on #1 above, time is not a luxury we have when adding fixed costs to our agency.

3) No hand-holding

Trust is an enormous part of running a successful marketing campaign. It doesn’t do an agency principle any good to hire a full-time social media marketer if every message then needs to be reviewed before it’s sent out. It takes significant time to build up trust with new staff members.

See Also: More Reviews, More Business: The Power of Social Media Client Reviews {Infographic}

4) Social media scheduling tools

There are many social media scheduling tools (such as Buffer) which can significantly reduce the time spent on social media. We don’t need to be sitting on Facebook and Twitter all day waiting for a new message to come in. By scheduling new posts and periodically checking for new communications, agencies can provide a more than adequate social experience.

5) Facebook pages are now advertising platforms

Facebook pages were once a community hub to cultivate engagement. Now their value lies in targeted advertising. Facebook is an unequaled advertising platform for putting your message in front of the exact consumer you’re hoping to reach.

You should be budgeting money every month for Facebook ads. You should not be spending vast amounts of time attempting to reach potential clients organically. Organic reach on Facebook is not dead, but it’s only small part of an overall social media marketing strategy.

6) Everyone in your agency should be contributing on social media

The social insurance agency has a culture of marketing. Every member of the agency contributes to the overall social content shared online. By sharing multiple voices from different perspectives throughout the agency, insurance buyers gain a deeper understanding of your agency’s story.

Insurance buyers come for ease of business, competitive price and quality products. They stay for the story.

7) Social media is not a full-time job

There are very few insurance agencies who have the volume need of a full-time social media marketer. Social media isn’t a full-time job at most independent insurance agencies. This changes if you’re a regional, super-regional or national agency brand marketing product across different niche, geographic regions and/or demographics.

The standard single-location local independent insurance agency needs an overall Marketing Directory, not a social media marketer.

8) Your website is more important

Create content on a platform you own first. If you have someone in your office spending time on Facebook at the expense of creating content on your own website, STOP! Stop right now.

Always create content on a platform you own first. Then repurpose and distribute the ideas in that content through social media. Take time to mix in messages that will only be found on social media. But first and foremost, get your website in order before taking on social media.

9) Tweets won’t grow your agency

Here’s a little secret: no matter how many times a day you tweet, it’s not going to grow your agency. This goes for LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and every other social media network. Social media networks are tools. These tools help you tell your story online. Over time, that story attracts insurance buyers who appreciate your method of doing business and the values by which you run your business.

Activity alone has no value. Tweeting to tweet is pointless.

See Also: How to Increase Social Media Marketing Efficiency with Friends+Me

The Rub

To capture the attention of the modern insurance consumer, we must create a social insurance agency, not simply hire a social media marketer.

When one full-time (or part-time) staff member handles all social media content, the reach and power of the message is limited. Even truly great social media marketers struggle to gain traction when operating on an island.

Instead of hiring a full-time staff member, consider hiring a consultant to help create an internal culture of content creation.

What if each new client took a photo with one of your staff members and published it on Facebook?

– Imagine the social proof.

What if your producers regularly took pictures of their visits to client locations?

– An amazing show of appreciation for their business.

What if your customer service staff answered client questions in short videos you posted to Youtube?

– You’d quickly become the insurance resource in your space.

Could one extremely dedicated person do most of this? Yes. But there would still be a ceiling to potential success.

Only by unlocking the social power of the entire staff will the social insurance agency dominate their marketplace.

Thank you and good luck,

Ryan Hanley

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