Does Your Insurance Agency Have Any Friends?

7thNov. × ’11

The short answer is yes, of course your insurance agency has friends.  And now, there is a way to count your friends through the number of likes your agency gets on Facebook or the number of Twitter followers you may have.  Confluency Solutions tracks about 6,000 insurance agency Facebook pages and the average number of friends is…(drum roll)…96.*  But whether an agency has 50 friends or 250 friends, there seems to be a limit to social network growth once a certain number of fans has been reached.  Here is a graph snapshot of Facebook friend activity for an agency with 153 fans:

Graph of Facebook Like History - Typical Insurance Agency

What you notice is the sawtooth up-down activity of gaining a friend, losing a friend.  We see this pattern with most agencies.  Some agencies will pick up five or six new likes in a day, but inevitably, they also lose a commensurate number over the next 30 days or so.  It is a rare thing when we see an agency move beyond a core of their personal social network.  When they do, their graph looks more like this one:

Facebook Like graph - insurance agency with network growth

This agency loses a fan once in awhile.  But for every one they lose, they pick up 5 to 10 new likes.  So the question is, what is the difference between what the two agencies are doing?  The goal of social media is to gain new prospects and sales over time through increased awareness of your insurance agency and your value proposition.  So simply having a Facebook page is not enough; you need to build a network and get that network to engage with your Facebook (or other social media) page.  Here are some lessons learned from observing the first kind of agency – the typical graph – vs. the second kind of agency – the exception.

  1. Make sure your agency page can be viewed without requiring someone to first be logged into Facebook.  You can make sure your page is public by not restricting any access in your page permission settings.  Right now, the only restriction option are for country and age.  A number of agents have restricted their page to U.S. viewers only; Facebook doesn’t necessarily know anything about where you are from or how old you are unless you are logged into Facebook.  Using these restrictions will keep a lot of people out of your Facebook page and will also make it invisible to the search engines, which is bad for SEO.
  2. Make sure you post often enough, but not too often.  Three to five times a week is plenty; three to five times a day is too frequent.  Automatic Twitter feeds can really get you into trouble here, especially if you are tweeting with some frequency.  Celebrities and news organizations might be able to get away with multiple short posts every day, but most of us don’t have anything interesting enough to say that often that people will allow you to stay in their news feed (see graph #1 to support this).
  3. Mix up your posts by adding a myth-buster or some interesting factoid once in awhile.  Photos and video get a lot more interest than text posts so try to include this kind of content.  And be careful of sounding too much like a salesman.  People who peruse their news feed aren’t generally looking to buy insurance.  Facebook, and social media in general, is a branding space, not a sales space.
  4. Try some basic contests from time to time and restrict participation to your Facebook network.  This will help you get and keep fans.  Contests can and should be promoted within your Facebook page  – with photos and video if possible.

*The average is calculated by first excluding the small number of agency Facebook pages with fewer than 2 or more than 1,000 likes.

 

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