Social Media Marketing
Are you thinking about growing (or even beginning) your social media presence? If not, you might want to start. In today’s increasingly digital world your ability to grow your business and engage prospects will depend on your ability to be found.
If you don’t know where to start you aren’t alone. According to a recent Social Media Examiner study, 85% of business owners aren’t sure which social media platform they should be using.
Growing numbers of seniors 65+ are utilizing social media and leveraging social media effectively can make growing your business much easier.
Be Aware of the Rules
Before you get started make sure you are following the Medicare Communication and Marketing Guidelines (MCMG). In 2019, CMS defines “Communications” as a new category of materials and activities to provide information on MA/PD Plans to current and prospective enrollees. “Marketing” is a subset of “communications” and the definition of “marketing” was updated to include only materials that are most likely to lead to a beneficiary to make an enrollment decision. CMS review is required only for marketing materials. The difference between communication and marketing activities and materials is based on the intent and content of what is being conveyed.
Marketing requires CMS review. Communications does not. An example of “Communications” would be activities/materials that promote awareness of MA plans in general, and you (or your agency) offering that type of plan. A brochure or social media ad that provides specific details about a plan’s benefits, cost sharing or ranking standards would be considered “Marketing”.
Communication activities and materials are distinguished from marketing activities and materials based on both intent and content.
Intent – the purpose of marketing activities and materials is to draw a prospective or current enrollee’s attention to a plan or group of plans to influence a beneficiary’s decision when selecting and enrolling in a plan or deciding to stay in a plan (retention-based marketing).
Content – based on the exclusions in the definition of marketing and marketing materials and the type of information that would be intended to draw attention to a plan or influence a beneficiary’s enrollment decision, marketing activities and materials include:
- Information about benefits or benefits structure;
- Information about premiums and cost sharing;
- Comparisons to other Plan(s)/Part D sponsor(s);
- Rankings or measurements in reference to other Plan(s)/Part D sponsor(s); and/or
- Information about Star Ratings
Keep It Generic
Generic content will give you the most flexibility when posting about your business on social media. Stay away from naming specific products (i.e. Aetna Coventry Advantra Freedom PPO) and giving plan details (i.e. plan benefits and premiums). Generic information includes your business contact details, the types of products you sell (i.e. Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan, Medicare Supplements, etc.), and posts that don’t provide specific details about Medicare plans.
Strategy for Social Media
In order to be successful you have to have a goal. Posting “stuff” on a social platform at random times will get you nowhere, but this doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Quality is better than quantity when it comes to posting on social media.
If educating your clients and prospects with one post or article per week is your goal, then hold yourself accountable and make sure your content achieves that. Don’t forget to keep the information relevant. Look at what others in your area are doing. You will see that people are sharing relevant news articles, links to helpful resources, original articles, videos and more. Find a way to do this with your own flair.
As an insurance agent you already have a good idea what your prospects are looking for, the challenges they face, and the information they require to decide to move forward.
Create a list of questions that your client base would ask and write an article answering each of those questions. Take your time and create conversational articles that educate your customers and answer important questions. Keep it simple at first but stay true to your goal.
Social media marketing is a long-term process. Each article you create is a drip of information that will continue to grow and benefit your potential customers. Don’t rush if it means compromising the quality of service you provide.
Just because you have a social media page doesn’t mean you will suddenly get a rush of followers, leads or customers. You should treat a social platform simply as a means of communication used to build a relationship with an audience. You can start building that relationship with your potential customers by providing information they are looking for, related to senior insurance. You will let them find you by providing breadcrumbs of information that they find interesting or relevant. In this way you will be seen as an important resource to your clients. Tailor the information to your specific niche and ensure each subsequent interaction is targeted specifically to your audience. If you get lazy and start wandering out of relevancy, you will find your audience wandering away as well.
Remember to be human with your interactions. Don’t come off sounding like a text book. Break down the information into small understandable chunks and use conversational language to make it easier for them to understand. You will find Facebook is also very image friendly. You will benefit by using images and using them tastefully will also increase engagement with your content.
Within the 65 and better demographic Facebook is the most used platform. According to Pew, 62 percent of internet users ages 65 and older use Facebook, and 72 percent of 50 to 64-year-olds use Facebook. If you’re looking to connect with seniors, then engaging them on Facebook should be a part of your marketing strategy. The senior audience is also growing on Twitter, just not with the same numbers as Facebook. Feel free to explore different platforms and see what works for you. Facebook just happens to be the most prominent platform for the senior demographic at this time, so that is where we will place our focus.
There are several ideas on the best times during the day to post on Facebook.
Don’t get too caught up in trying to time it perfectly, just be aware of the busier times. The heat map below from Sprout Social is a good general look at the times that could lead to the best engagement.
- Thursday is the highest recommended day to post.
- Afternoon on Wednesday and Thursday are the most engaged times on Facebook.
- You’re generally safe to post weekdays between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Saturday is the least engaged day of the week.
- The least recommended times include early mornings and late nights.
- If you are just starting off writing and sharing content on Facebook, you may want to start with short,
- Keep things short and to the point and be sure to add images that support the narrative as Facebook is very image friendly.
- Articles can be written on a blog or website and shared as a link within Facebook. A click on the link in Facebook will drive traffic to your website where it matters most.
- When visitors are taken to your article, they should have an option to either subscribe to a blog, or some other “offer” in exchange for their contact info.
- Get creative. If you have a short message, reminder or quote, you can add it to an image for more impact. There are many tools that can help you with this. Canva (https://www.canva.com/) is a great example of a simple application for this.
- Many images on Canva are free, some at a low cost. There are plenty of templates and fonts to choose from. You don’t need to be a designer with an app like Canva, just pick a style template and add text. You can then download your image, ready to post on Facebook.
- Remember to share more than just work-related articles. It’s important to keep it light on your Facebook page. Show your personality by sharing information not directly related to your business. People want to know who they are doing business with.
- Bear in mind, the common theme of your posts should be aligned in some way. They should all be pieces of a larger picture that describes who you are. And that picture should show a picture of someone your audience wants to do business with.
- Share images, memes or other posts that are somehow relevant and reflect your brand without always sounding like you’re selling something. Don’t be afraid to get personal on Facebook.
- Be sure to use imagery that supports your content. Your articles will have a theme, so make sure the images you use echo that in some way. Again, stay relevant and stick to your story.
- Offer free, quality content that drives prospects to a landing page where you can then collect email addresses. Once a prospect shows the interest by giving you their contact information, you can then send them additional relevant content, solidifying yourself as a valuable resource.
Even though we are focusing on Facebook as the preferred platform, it would be a mistake not to include video in the discussion. Video has quickly become the preferred way to consume information. 80% of viewers remember a video ad they’ve seen in the last 30 days. Far fewer people remember text or image ads they see for very long. Video is memorable, influential, and continues to gain steam, especially among seniors – 54% of seniors watch videos online, and three in four seniors have taken action because of watching online video.
Videos are great for engagement and shares. Videos that have more than 30 seconds per view will get an additional boost from Facebook. Short videos are fine but keep them at least 30 seconds long in order to take advantage of the Facebook 30 second boost. Also note, the average percentage of video viewed is highest with shorter videos. If your goal is to get your entire video seen, keep it short and to the point. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also make longer videos.
If there is important information that you know people are looking for, make the video the length that is required to do the subject justice. Charts like the one above provide good insight, but you know your customers best. Add value by answering popular questions seniors may have. For example, make a 2-3-minute video giving tips and helping them understand the ins and outs of Medicare. This can be the same information you wrote about in your blog, only in a different form.
You can upload your video direct to your YouTube channel, if you have one, as well as to your Facebook page, making use of both channels. Your videos should be captioned as Facebook videos are more often viewed without sound. If you have a YouTube channel, remember to use the space in the description of the video on YouTube to link to your Facebook page, blog posts, or social media links. Link all of your content to each other so you can be found on several channels.
If your video showcases a product or service you offer, this is your opportunity to link to a website landing page or blog with similar information where they could subscribe to your blog or newsletter.
If you don’t want to go the YouTube route, no worries. You can still create videos and upload them directly in Facebook or on your website. The point is, video is a big part of social media and will only help your reach.
Measure your results and adjust appropriately. Try different subjects, lengths, and forms of content. Learn what gets the best response from your audience and keep fine tuning for success. Facebook offers some tools to help analyze your ad campaign. Clicking into a campaign will show the performance of each ad in your campaign in more detail. Remember to keep your main goal in mind when analyzing the information. If you’re trying to get leads from a form on a web page, then don’t get caught up in how many likes the campaign may have generated.
If you’re trying to build followers, then review the appropriate information to see how many followers were gained. It’s easy to get bogged down with information that doesn’t really matter. If you’re not satisfied with a campaign, try a different ad and continue to analyze until you narrow down what resonates with your audience.
We tried to narrow it down to the most important points to provide you with a good overview of marketing with social media. Technology is always changing, and you will need to stay informed on those changes moving forward. We will continue to provide helpful information to help make the process easier.
We hope you will branch out and test the waters with other platforms like Twitter, and LinkedIn to broadcast your message and build your brand. We wish you the best of luck.