Recently, Benepath sent out a social networking blurb. I am a “fan” of social networking, but sometimes I fall short since the task of managing several forms of social media can be time consuming. This is true especially when the number one thing on any given day is the all important transaction that occurs when we sell something. In fact, a perfect day can be described as one where I receive 1) a good lead, 2) a completed application that was previously sent out, 3) notice of a pending case just approved, and 4) notice that an issued case just “went paid.” That would mean that all of my efforts are paying off.
So, how does social media or networking figure into all of that? One way that it works for me is that I post articles and other items that appear online, such as at MoneyTips.com. This is a portal where consumers ask questions and I answer them. A couple of my articles appear there, too. But more to the point of getting sales moved forward, I use those articles and Q & A sessions as online items of credibility. I also use them as my in-house email auto-responder messages when I receive a lead and the prospect does not pick up the phone. They are used in follow up messages later, as well, to keep the dialogue open or to compel an action.
We all want to encourage those to whom we’ve sent an application to return it. Rather than simply say “Hey, send that app back already!”, I send them a link to my article on “Simplifying life insurance products”, or the one on “How to get meaningful and accurate life insurance quotes.” Will she read it? She may, or she may not. But, having sent it, I’ve pointed to a well written topical item that this expert has posted on an objective web portal. I’ve kept my proposition from dying a quiet death by staying in front of her, and I did so without actually saying to her that it has been 5 weeks and it is time to get off the dime and send that application back.
The point is this: social networking supported by fresh content that sits on the web will give those who see my name something more to connect to. My approach to insurance, my picture, my intelligence, and my willingness to share useful tips and advice are all right there – in my own voice. The definition of a personal network is “a set of human contacts known to an individual, with whom that individual would expect to interact at intervals to support a given set of activities.” That interaction at intervals will require content that you wish to share across the network so that you don’t just say “Hello, it’s me”, but rather “Hello, it’s me. This is what I do when I am helping others. It may be the case that I can help you, or someone that you know. In the meantime, here is something that I’d like to share.” Next month, something new is there to share. Think of it as a message arc that spans weeks and months, and it is your job is to supply interesting stuff for those who are interested.
Am I a social networking expert? No. Am I a person who understands the power of effective marketing? Yes. Right message, right medium, right audience = marketing. Combining social networking with business objectives amounts to just that; marketing – but with a self propelling element that makes it so that you show up in places you never thought you would. Previous to now, your business card got stuck in a wallet and that was the end of the trail. Now, your message goes out and has the potential to keep on going. One day, I know that I will get a new prospect and when I ask “how did you hear about us?” I will likely hear an answer that I could not have guessed, since I have no idea how far (or where) the message went. My first thought will be “Perfect!”