Sam Nudelman is the Agency Success Manager at Agentero, the agency network that gives independent insurance agents carrier access and easy-to-use technology to modernize their agencies. Sam was interviewed by Michael Fiedel, a Managing Director at InsurTech Ohio and Co-Founder at PolicyFly, Inc.
Sam, how can social media be utilized by different players in the insurance industry?
“One thing we have to remember is how many different players there are and who their intended audience is. When I look at industry players, you have two that are customer-centric and customer-focused. Those are agencies and carriers. However, even carriers should count agents and agencies as their customers. You have to remember that you have insurtech vendors, carriers, MGAs, wholesalers, brokers, aggregators, networks, clusters and more. Their end consumer is insurance agents, so when we talk about how to utilize social media, a big part of that is all those industry players knowing how, and where, to reach insurance agents and agency owners.
I often find community missing in all of these industry players' attempts at social media. How do you utilize social media to build a community amongst your agents or consumers? A lot of that is based around creating a brand and turning your customers into super fans. How do you delight your consumers so much that you turn them into your foghorn, screaming your name from the social media mountaintops? When we talk about how to utilize social media in a way that it isn’t being used by everyone now, I’d focus on building a community.”
What are some of the social media options that you think are worth consideration?
“When you're trying to reach your end consumer, you have to be where they are. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, even YouTube can be considered social media channels to utilize in our industry. I don't find as many agents utilizing Twitter to reach their end consumer or carriers using it to reach agents. In these channels, there are different ways to reach people. For example, there are Facebook groups, reels, posts, stories, pages, profiles and ads. You can use all of these in different ways to reach your end consumer, but how do you effectively do it? Where are your ideal end consumers at?
There’s a dichotomy between Facebook and LinkedIn. You have Facebook spending tons of money promoting their groups, filling your news feed with FB group posts, and even creating new notifications specifically to drive FB group engagement. I've seen some of FB’s newest types of notifications show my recent activity in specific groups: ‘Here's a post that you did with this many comments and likes. Here's a comment you shared with a bunch of interactions. Keep going by posting in the group now!’ Facebook is spending time and effort to drive traffic to groups. That’s why if you are in groups, you'll see a lot of your newsfeed pointing you to those Facebook groups.
On the other hand, LinkedIn doesn't put in that effort. They don't direct people to LinkedIn groups, and that’s where they’re missing out on a great opportunity because Facebook groups are a place where the insurance agent community is thriving. So, as we talk about community building, Facebook offers that, they spend time and money promoting it, and the Facebook insurance agent community is already thriving with tens of thousands of agents. If I’m a carrier, vendor, network or even an agent seeking out a community, or looking to build one, FB is the platform actually pushing, and successfully hosting, thriving insurance communities.”
Are there other social media platforms that people need to take advantage of?
“Let's look at some different platforms and how they can be utilized. If you’re comfortable with it, video is probably one of the best ways to reach an audience. Next to Google, YouTube is one of the most searched platforms on the web, especially with ‘how-to’ videos. If you’re a carrier, you can use YouTube to educate agents on your product or system. If you’re a vendor selling technology to insurance agents, use video platforms to demo your tech. Show agents who aren't appointed or aren’t using your solution what they're missing, what's available and how it can be utilized in their agency. If you’re exploring video, there are a ton of best practices to research and follow, so be sure to check out how others in our industry are already finding success.
But, what are some other platforms to focus on, and content to pursue? Look at where you present your videos and how you can reuse those videos, or parts of them, on other platforms. Use other social channels to repost your content. While YouTube is a great channel if you're a carrier or vendor and trying to reach insurance agents with a product that can be demoed, that same video can be reposted or recreated for other channels, like TikTok, FB, Instagram reels or even to a FB group. There is very little, if any, additional effort needed to increase your potential audience. If you’re an insurance agent and comfortable getting on video, there's no reason that you shouldn't be using YouTube and TikTok and reposting that same video content to other channels.
Find something you're willing to record videos about; it doesn't take much to get a good setup nowadays, all you need is a smartphone and a $20 tripod from Amazon. Get out there and start using those channels to reach people. I have a friend who has a YouTube channel with 15,000 subscribers, generating 200 leads for his insurance agency every month. And those videos will stay on YouTube, garnering more views, reaching more prospects, for a long time. Video and channels like YouTube and TikTok work, but only if you use them.”
What are some key approaches that would allow a company to succeed in leveraging these platforms?
“It comes down to finding ways to highlight your brand and doing so where your ideal consumer will see it. You can create a product consumers want to rave about or have a sleek and easy-to-use platform they can’t do without. But, if you’re only ever using LinkedIn to promote it, you’re going to miss out on thousands of personal lines agents who don’t play in the LinkedIn sandbox. Remember where your end consumer is interacting, and again, I’ll point to Facebook, and Facebook groups.
Creating community is next; it helps you stand out, whether it’s through Facebook or LinkedIn. Use groups to connect with and educate your community, especially through video. Carriers put out great videos and webinars, but I rarely find them on social or YouTube. They don’t have small segments from the video on TikTok or Facebook Reels. There are a lot of missed opportunities there.
Another approach to think about is influencing. Have someone or many people who can and are willing to openly speak for your brand on social media. That calls back to the previously mentioned strategy of creating super fans. You can’t create super fans if you don't influence others and create something that they love and are excited to promote.
Finally, the most important is uplift. This is something businesses do, but there are still missed opportunities here. Highlight people, products and successes in a way that shines a light on your team. Social media is prominently used for recruiting and building your brand. If you aren't willing to highlight or uplift your people, you put yourself in a position where you're not putting your best foot forward with prospective consumers or employees.”
What are some examples of successful social media personalities or groups that are focused in the insurance industry?
“Canopy Connect and Glove Box are noteworthy examples. They have Canopy Connectors on Facebook as well as Powered by Glove Box. These are groups that are used to connect with current and future users, share updates, training, collect feedback and share use cases for their technology from other successful users.
There's a lot of opportunity that's being used by these groups to showcase their product and connect with users. They create super fans, and these fans who are in their group are also in other groups on Facebook, where I’ve seen many of them happily promote those two vendors.
There are other groups out there: Insurance Boost, The Insurance Syndicate, Insurance Agents Think Tank, Marketing for Insurance Agents, Insurance Automation and Insurance Soup. These are a few examples of thriving insurance communities on Facebook; there are tons more. They all have different goals and things they highlight, but in the way that matters most, they all have a similar purpose. That's connecting insurance agents and helping them to grow. If you're an agent, vendor or carrier and not already in Facebook groups or connecting with agents, you should definitely check these channels out.”