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My Social Media Experiment | Business

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My Social Media Experiment
Business
My Social Media Experiment

Back in the fall of 2010 I sat quietly in the back of a room waiting for a seminar on Social Media to begin. Actually, I didn’t know how watching TV news with a bunch of friends was going to help my business. While the take away message from that little seminar was “Pitch your products to your 23 Facebook friends”, I caught a glimpse of how Social Media could work for me.

Without too much preparation, I dove into the Social Media swimming pool hoping that it was not empty. Over the next several months I went to numerous free Social Media talks and spent hours trying to understand the applications on the computer and smartphone.

To date, I am currently using the following applications.

Facebook: Personal Kevin Knauss, Fan Page: Insure Me Kevin
Website: www.insuremekevin.com that hosts my blog Health & Life Thoughts
Twitter: @insuremekevin
You Tube: insuremekevin
Plus, Linked In, Four Square, Instagram, Hootsuite, and I am still fiddling with Google +.
While I am on all these applications, that doesn’t necessarily mean I have leveraged them to their fullest potential. I am still learning how best to integrate all the applications to drive traffic to my website and connect with people in a positive manner.

As an independent insurance agent I am fortunate enough to have the time and few restrictions to pursue a Social Media strategy for my business. Insurance prospecting is also highly specialized with lots of marketing avenues. For instance, I have the ability to purchase insurance leads from companies that capture consumer information entered at insurance quoting websites. (For my take on these scams see my blog post Beware Insurance Quoting Websites) These leads cost between $8 – $15 for a health insurance prospect. This gives me a general benchmark figure for the cost of lead acquisition. Consequently, I know that the average cost of a lead through Social Media must be below the $10 level to be a competitive marketing strategy.

Early on I set out my expectations and goals for Social Media marketing. First, I never expected that I would make direct sales from any application. Second, Social Media was to augment existing marketing efforts such as mailers and seminars. Lastly, while there was a faint goal of generating leads, I really just wanted to get my name and brand out into the community and generate traffic for my web site. As an aside, I have spent thousands of dollars on pay per click ads with virtually no results. I gravitated towards using Social Media because it fit my personality of being gregarious, sharing and conversational.

After a year of using Social Media, going from zero to maybe 45 mph, I am having positive and meaningful results. The overall statistics associated with my website have increased: hits, page views, searches, and requests for quotes. Most of the traffic is driven by my blog posts, which is a part of my website. My Word Press site statistics tell me, key word searches that brought people to my site, if they clicked on any out bound links, downloaded information and who was the referring application: Facebook, Linked In, Twitter or other. The statistics continue to increase as I integrate more Social Media into my overall marketing strategy.

The activity I am getting from Social Media is a confirmation that people are responding to me and not advertising. Similar to when I am at networking function, I never mention what I do. The last thing anyone wants is an elevator speech from an insurance guy or a ‘Buy, Buy, Buy’ pitch on Social Media. People want interesting content not drivel posing as sales spam. If you follow me on any of the Social Media sites you know that I sometimes break the rules. It may be bad for my ‘Brand’ to re-tweet certain political comments, but heck, have you read some of my blog posts?! From my perspective, when it comes to something as personal as health or life insurance, people want to work with folks they share common interests with. After reviewing my Social Media and web site and a potential client decides not to engage me, that is a win for both of us.

Social Media has allowed me not only to generate leads, but to stay in touch with prospects. I sincerely dislike follow up phone calls in most situations. If a business prospect (that I may have quoted) has a Facebook fan page, I will ‘Like’ it. In this manner, I keep in touch with the prospect, sharing posts or adding comments, which increases the reach of their business and I am not intrusive with phone calls. (“Are you ready to buy yet, huh, huh, you ready?”) This support for other people and their businesses has led to closed business for me.

Social Media is not a one-way street. I have purchased goods and services from people I have connected with through Social Media. It is fun getting to know the person or business through Social Media. I also want to support those I have a common marketing interest with. Every week I learn a little more about how to upgrade, integrate, leverage and maximize Social Media for my business. I can see it becoming one of the primary drivers of my marketing and lead generation in the near future.

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