You are here:HomeMember BenefitsPublicationsAgent to AgentBuilding Your Facebook Community, Click by Click

Agent to Agent: Building Your Facebook Community, Click by Click

By Gary Hall, President
Hall, Mahar & Associates

Facebook. Just the word alone seems to illicit immense power and strength. Maybe it’s because there are over 500 million active users, 50% of which log-on to the portal in any given day. Everyone’s heard of Facebook; maybe even seen the award-winning movie “The Social Network”—but besides its unstoppable popularity amongst Gen-Y and beyond, how does the social site really work to benefit a business?

It all boils down to building a genuine, active social community.

There are two very key words in that sentence—social and community. To be social you must initiate and foster conversation, spark curiosity and continuously engage both your current customers as well as potential clients. This results in the community part; a group of committed, interested individuals, who believe in your mission, connect to you as a local business leader and inevitably need your products or services.

As a local independent California insurance agency, we had to develop a way in which we could stand out amongst the myriad of brokerages found across such a vast state. We needed a way to connect with clients and potentials on a more modern level, something that appealed to them and didn’t come across as overly sales driven—exactly why we turned to Facebook.

Building our community has certainly not been easy, we’re still in the very beginning stages, yet there are some great fundamentals we’ve picked up along the way. While further developing our agency’s brand and growing our community, through our Facebook Fan Page, we’ve tried to stick to these common best practices:

  • Use Facebook to humanize your agency, show that you do much more than just sell insurance.

You’ll notice that not only are we promoting our own informative, insurance-specific blog posts but we are also sharing links to other great professional articles and resources. Additionally, we strive to engage our community by posting “consumer-friendly” content such as recent Memorial Day Weekend tips from Food Network Star Guy Fieri, local news about upcoming restaurant openings and even the weekly forecast for our hometown of Anaheim. We don’t want our Facebook community to think all we care about is selling insurance policies; we want to brand ourselves as influential community leaders too!

  • Engage in conversation; proactively take part in discussions and network.

One of the most important things to do is to actually use Facebook to communicate. Whether it’s commenting on a Wall Post that a Fan left on our page or reciprocating by replying to a question posed by a fellow Facebook user on his or her status, we make sure that we are actively replying, responding and creating conversation. Keep in mind, if you actually take the time to initiate the dialogue, you’re 3x more likely to continue it, which will surely help build your social following.

  • Reach out to other local businesses, cultivate mutually beneficial relationships.

We have found it very easy – and very fun – to network with other local businesses. Whether it’s our favorite fast-food joint, a local sports team or hotel or fitness center, by connecting with area businesses we are showing the Anaheim community that we’re much more than insurance agents; we’re individuals with community-based interests who care about what is happening locally.

Still unsure about how to navigate Facebook? Start slow—begin by filling out your Fan Page with as much detail and information as possible. Make sure to have all the necessary contact information so that your customers can reach you. Then start locally; search for your favorite restaurant, local charity or shopping center and see what they are saying. What are they posting? Can you leave a comment or “like” their status? Taking these small steps to communicate will certainly pay off in a big way.

June 10, 2011