Using social media for your insurance agency can seem deceptively easy. It literally only takes a few minutes to create an account on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter, and you don’t have to be very computer literate to figure out how to post, add photos, leave comments, etc.

What’s not as easy is building and maintaining a presence that will give others a reason to interact with you once you’re there. This takes time and thought, two things that can be hard to come by. When your primary focus is insurance sales, social media can feel like an afterthought or, worse yet, like a complete annoyance.

So the first question to ask yourself is: how much time and effort am I willing to devote to this? If the answer is “not much,” a third question might be: how much money am I willing to invest to have someone else do it for me?

If outsourcing is an option, that’s great. You can hire a communications expert and let them do most of the heavy lifting. For many agents, though, this type of expense is not in the budget. If you’re in the latter camp, here are a few steps you can take to improve your social media game:

Define Your Identity

As an insurance agent, are you fun, flexible and responsive? Or maybe you’re serious, competent and trustworthy? There’s no right answer, because there’s more than one way to be successful as an agent or agency. Write down a list of adjectives that describe how you operate and/or treat your clients. Then look at your list and choose three or four words that jump out at you as being the most like who you are.

These descriptors are the beginnings of a brand identity. Your social media should always reflect that identity. So before you post anything, run it through the filter of your identity words and see if it fits. If not, consider how you could reword to maintain consistency in your messaging.

Create an Editorial Calendar

Next, brainstorm a list of ideas that you can post about. (It may be helpful to do this with at least one other person who is also in insurance sales.) A good place to start is to think about questions that you are frequently asked; how can you answer them through your social media? Then think about seasonal topics or new developments in the insurance industry that may affect clients or prospects.

Try to come up with a mix of topics that are serious and lighthearted, and that you could create short or long posts about. Invest time creating an editorial calendar where you list upcoming posts, allowing room for flexibility in case there’s a good reason to make an alteration. (I.e., during an Arctic blast might be a good time to post about protecting pipes from freezing.)

Start with six months of posts, then do this quarterly. Your future self will thank you in three months for putting the time in now. You can even create and load posts ahead of time to run on a particular schedule. And don’t worry about repeating topics—there are always plenty of fresh angles to take, and no one is going to notice if a post is similar to something you mentioned six months ago.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Now that you know what you want to say and when you want to say it, it’s time to think about how to present yourself. This means you want to use proper grammar, correct spelling and clean graphics. For your Facebook bio, your agency description should be concise and consistent with how it appears on your website or other social media sites. Make sure the photos you post on Instagram are in focus and well-cropped. Put in the effort to reach out and make connections with others on LinkedIn; don’t assume others will come to you.

Also, recognize that social media can be a bit rough sometimes. Decide how you will handle any negative comments you receive. Will you respond or ignore? Either can be an option; just be sure that if you decide to engage, you don’t let negative emotions like irritation or anger hijack your responses and, consequently, redefine how you are perceived. Stay in control of your identity.

Social media is a largely free way to maintain a constant presence in the world, reinforce your brand identity and potentially find leads. It’s well worth putting in some time, effort and maybe even a little bit of money to get it right. Follow Hometown Quotes on Facebook or Twitter, or sign up for our monthly newsletter to get the latest updates, read helpful articles and ask us questions. Or call us at 800-820-2981.