Many insurance brokers rely on Facebook as a medium for maintaining their online presence; in some extreme cases, it’s their only online channel. It makes sense, there are 2.07 billion active users on the social media channel and the reality is everyone – at some point in life – needs insurance. But, as the saying goes, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Facebook launched an update to their News Feed that has already caused marketers to start scrambling for a solution. The most recent Facebook update harms insurance marketing as well.
Two weeks ago Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, announced via post that their News Feed will shift the type of content users see first, and most often. As announced in the official statement Facebook will be “making updates to ranking so people have more opportunities to interact with the people they care about”. In other words posts from friends and family, rather than posts from “Pages” – like your agency’s Facebook Page.
WHAT IT MEANS FOR BROKERS
Facebook has been very upfront in stating that businesses will be negatively affected by this update – “Pages may see their reach, video watch time, and referral traffic decrease,” as outlined in the official statement. The reality is this Facebook update harms insurance marketing because most broker pages already don’t get much direct engagement. With this update your agency’s page, posts, and content will reach even fewer users.
This Facebook News Feed update is possible due to an algorithm that promotes content with the greatest amount of comments and shares among users. Given this, you might be thinking you can simply adjust your messaging by including CTA’s (Call to Action) like “Share with your friends!” or “Leave a comment!” – you shrewd devil you. Unfortunately, Facebook has already thought of that, and categorizes that type of content as “engagement bait”. The social media giant actually penalizes Pages that use such phrasing in their News Feed rankings (and we’re back to square one).
This all ties into the same concept I’ve spoken about over the last few months regarding companies putting the user experience first. Google has made updates to SEO that revolve around promoting content that has high engagement statistics from users. Now Facebook is clearly updating their channel with a similar philosophy.
WHAT CAN BROKERS DO?
So given all this red tape, what’s a broker to do to maintain their digital presence?
Don’t panic! I’ve got you covered. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – optimize your agency’s buyer experience. The same way giants like Google and Facebook are updating their platforms to revolve around this concept, you must also update your marketing strategy to stay competitive. For as much as this Facebook update harms insurance marketing, it creates an opportunity for you to optimize your marketing strategy. Publish content on Facebook that users will organically comment on and share.
I recently published a blog on Insurance Agency Content Marketing Trends for 2018 that went into detail about content that doesn’t try to sell. According to research from Harvard Business Review, B2B buyers are looking to work with salespeople that can help them run their business and teach them new things. Your insurance content marketing strategy can be used to showcase this trait that your audience is looking for.
According to Facebook, live videos get 6X more engagement than their recorded counterpart. So consider leveraging this free tool. Do live videos that showcase your thought leadership. Discuss employee benefits trends for the new year, give your take on ACA updates, discuss the benefits technology software solution your agency uses. You’re not limited on topics, after all you have years of industry insights under your belt.
I also recently published a blog post containing data from our own survey with employers sharing their preferences for benefits software in 2018. In that post I outlined various marketing strategies brokers can implement based on employer responses. There is no doubt that this Facebook update harms insurance marketing, but following these suggestions will help get your content in front of more leads in 2018.
Take the time to research your audience
Take the time to conduct market research and listen to your audience. There’s no better way to understand your own unique audience than hearing it from the horse’s mouth! Use marketing research tools like surveys to ask your customers and/or prospects what type of content they’d like to see from you on Facebook, and other channels. Check out my blog on Insurance Agency Market Research Tools for some of my favorite resources to gain valuable insights into your target audience.
Diversify your content distribution
As I initially mentioned, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. While Facebook provides a high quantity of potential reach to leads, it’s important to share content through numerous channels and make transitioning through different channels seamless for the consumer. As technology and digital communication becomes a standard of B2B marketing, different generations are starting to have similar values when shopping for solutions for their businesses.
I’ll share some interesting data on how different generations value social media, other digital channels, and what type of messaging influences their purchasing decision. I’ll also provide suggestions on how you can leverage this data to optimize your content marketing strategy in the aftermath of Facebook’s News Feed update.
Millennials value social media the most out of all listed generations, with 65% stating social media is a preferred channel to learn about B2B brands during their buyer journey. This latest Facebook update harms insurance marketing efforts to this demographic, which is significant as Millennials have recently become the largest demographic in the workforce. You’ll need to optimize your Facebook content strategy to ensure you don’t alienate this segment of your target audience.
So how can you maintain reach to Millennials who value social media as an influencing channel for their purchasing decisions? For as much as Millennials value social media, they have even more value for email with 67% stating a brand’s email is important for their purchasing decision. But, standard marketing messaging won’t cut it. Millennials value personalized messaging; in fact 78% of this generation stated being influenced by this type of messaging. Ensure your emails thoughtfully address their business’ needs and pain points.
This data provides a unique potential route to drive engagement on your agency’s Page in the midst of the latest Facebook News Feed update. Use marketing automation software to segment Millennials, and create an email campaign that direct recipients to your Facebook page to view and share content. Of course the content must be something they are organically willing to comment on or share with their network (educational video, incentivized referral post, etc.). Beyond Facebook, utilize LinkedIn as another social media channel to generate leads with thought leadership content.
Research shows that this generation actually has similar values during their B2B buyer journey in comparison to Millennials. Generation X also value social media with 56% sharing that it influences their purchasing decision. Gen Xers also value personalized messaging with 42% saying this type of messaging impacts their purchasing decision.
What this generation values more than personalized messaging is price – they really appreciate a good deal. 55% stated price is a key influence on their purchasing decision, along with quality (45%). Given this, it makes sense to adjust your messaging when marketing to this demographic.
Email is also their preferred mode of communication, so like Millennials, you can execute an email campaign with messaging tailored to the values of Gen Xers (price and quality). To get them to engage with your Facebook Page, consider sharing content that educates and informs on how much time or money they can save through solutions you offer – like your benefits administration software.
This generation has different values for their buyer journey. They don’t have as much value for social media, content, or personalized messaging. They are focused on price and options. They do, however, turn to other similar sources as their counterparts when researching a vendor.
They turn to industry analysis, online reviews, and vendor websites to review and learn more about a B2B brand. Email is also a preferred mode of communication.
While the latest Facebook update harms insurance marketing efforts that target Millennials and Gen Xers, Baby Boomers clearly require a different approach. Rather than attempting to direct Baby Boomers to engage with your content on Facebook, stick to email marketing using straightforward copy that highlights the cost and value of your service.
No matter how you look at it, this latest Facebook update harms insurance marketing. However, at the core of the matter, and modern marketing in general, is that this is the age of the customer. Companies across the board are shifting gears to focus on optimizing the customer experience. In order for brokers to maintain relevance in this changing landscape, you must adapt to this strategy too.
Research the consumer behavior of different demographics to understand how they navigate the buyer journey. Once you understand their preferences, optimize your insurance agency marketing strategy to suit. The tips and data I’ve shared with you today will point you in the right direction to get started, but take the time to research your ideal customers in depth.