Reach a wide audience with paid advertising and by boosting your posts
It shouldn’t be news to any of us that marketing has gone digital. Our customers have needs and problems, and they want answers and solutions now. Advances in technology and the amazing capabilities of the smartphone let people find solutions in a matter of seconds online.
The customer’s journey starts with a problem. Often, their first step in finding a solution entails looking for word-of-mouth referrals from family or friends. After that, they go online to discover solutions through search engines, social media, or other digital avenues.
As independent insurance agents, we are fighting a constant battle with our competition to be discovered first in the digital world. Many factors play a role in that process. These include your agency’s website, social media networks, email marketing, search engine optimization, and more. With the right strategy applied consistently, you will be able to dominate the online space.
In this column I’ll explain some of the social media strategies we use at our agency, Paradiso Insurance.
Social media is a powerful tool when it comes to being discovered online, nurturing client relationships, and retaining customers. The purpose of social media is to put you in front of your audience.
The first key metric is how many people liked, commented on, shared, or engaged on your posts without your having to pay for the engagement. You can also “pay to play” for your posts, or reach wider audiences by paying Facebook.
There are multiple forms of paid content on Facebook, which we we’ll discuss. In the end, however, it’s critical to understand that you can reach a very wide audience using a minimal budget.
Boosting your posts
The first method of “paying to play” on Facebook is to sponsor your content, or boost your posts. At the corner of each post you put on Facebook is a boost button, and when you click it, you have many options to choose from when sponsoring your content. First you can select the age demographic you’d like to target, as well as the gender. From there you can select interests, which narrows down whom you’re targeting and ensures that your posts will be seen by those who can truly appreciate the nature of your content.
Boosting is incredibly important to your online presence in the social media world. When it comes to social media, one of our ongoing objectives is to expand our reach, or the overall size of our audience. Boosting allows you to do just that, because Facebook makes the rules and it is after our money as any good salesperson would be. If you aren’t boosting already, you can assume your competition probably isn’t either. This is a chance for you to get ahead and hit more numbers on social media than you could in the past.
In addition to extending your reach, boosting offers other advantages. When it comes to marketing, everything branches out from your agency’s brand, and the more people who experience your brand (whether it’s through your branded messages, branded visuals, or other means), the stronger it will become. Boosting is a great way to strengthen your brand if you tailor your posts and content to be 100% “in brand,” then reach a large number of people with that content through boosting.
When selecting what to boost, it’s important
for your posts to be friendly and welcoming with a personal tone. If you boost a bunch of posts on your agency’s Facebook page that are strictly about your products, services, or other insurance-related topics, who in the social media world would want to follow you? Liven up your posts with advice for families, inspirational/motivational quotes, or even photos of your agency and staff that show what it’s like to be a customer of your agency.
Overall, boosting is a great way to increase your traction quickly in the social media world, and you can experiment by starting off with a small budget. Once you have a chance to experience boosting, you can measure what works and what doesn’t work and make adjustments accordingly. Always tailor your content to your targeted audience, and you’ll be astounded by the results.
Paid advertising via Facebook
In addition to boosting, Facebook offers other options, including promoting your page to get more likes, reaching people near your business demographically, or increasing your brand awareness.
To get started with Facebook ads, simply log on to your Facebook page, then look for the arrow down options in the upper right hand corner of yourscreen (to the right of your notifications). In the drop-down list you’ll see an option that says “Create Ads,” which will take you to the advertising interface to start building your first ad.
Facebook is designed to help you build the most optimal ad to accomplish specific tasks or goals. For instance, let’s say that your current objective is to persuade more of your customers to install your agency’s mobile app on their smartphones. First you’ll log in to the advertising dashboard, then look at the available options. You’ll notice that one of your options is “Get installs of your app.” Select this option, and Facebook will guide you through every step of the process. You’ll be asked for a download URL for your app and who your targeted audience is, based on demographics (such as gender, location, age, and more), and then you’ll be guided through the steps of building the ad content.
Most advertising media on Facebook work in a similar fashion in that you simply define your objective and then Facebook guides you through the process. The advertising dashboard offers many options, so it’s important to explore them all with your marketing team to see what works best for your agency. Always measure your performance so you can hit it even harder the next time.
At the end of the day, the major difference between boosting and Facebook ads is that boosting is intended to get many more eyes on your posts and reach a wider audience, while Facebook ads are designed for a specific purpose or objective.
The question is: Should your agency use boosts, Facebook ads, or both? The simple answer is that both have their own strengths and capabilities, and your agency should aim for a healthy balance between the two. At our agency we find that about 25% of our pay-to-play budget on Facebook goes to ads while the remaining 75% goes to boosting.
To agents and brokers everywhere, I wish you the best in paying to play on Facebook. Happy marketing!
Chris Paradiso, CPIA, is president of Paradiso Financial & Insurance Services, headquartered in Stafford Springs, Connecticut. His agency won PIA National’s Excellence in Social Media Award in 2013. He also heads up Paradiso Presents, LLC, which provides social media consulting, seminars, and workshops to help independent insurance agencies thrive in the online marketing world. Email Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org.