October 26, 2021

Carrier Advice: How to Restructure Your Marketing Department

Most insurance companies were setting out on a digital transformation journey with an expected time frame of about three to five years before COVID-19. Then the pandemic accelerated the need for digitization and shortened that time frame drastically—to about six months, in most cases.

Insurance marketing teams were already using digital marketing prior to the pandemic. But as the pandemic created a world mostly void of face-to-face customer interactions, they had to ramp up digital campaigns and touchpoints significantly—and quickly. Marketers had no choice but to mold ad-hoc digital marketing strategies onto existing department structures.

One problem with charging existing teams with new strategies is that they won’t always have the expertise necessary to pull them off. In-house teams might be used to handling copy and visual, as these have been and will continue to be staples of marketing for a long time. As a result of accelerated digitization across the industry, however, managing CRMs, digital marketing platforms and data are now also critical elements of insurance marketing responsibilities.

Can your team support that, or do you need to expand and restructure?

After more than a year of working this way, it’s time for insurance company leaders to take a deep breath and a step back. They need to critically evaluate the function and structure of their marketing departments to determine if they’re well-positioned to fully embrace modern approaches now and into the future. The tips listed below can help insurance company leaders create marketing departments best suited for pulling off excellent digital marketing strategies.

  1. Combine your brand and business unit marketing teams.

The traditional marketing department structure at insurance companies separates brand marketers and business unit marketers into two or more teams. The brand team is responsible for building and strengthening brand identity and recognition and typically measures its marketing success in recall and impression metrics.

The business unit teams, on the other hand, are responsible for supporting each line of business in the company, like property/casualty, life insurance, etc. These teams produce insurance marketing materials that generally aim to drive direct sales of a given product or service. A large part of measuring success for these teams comes down to conversion metrics.
When these teams operate separately, they can too easily become misaligned around goals. Building the brand, especially on digital channels like social media, can also have a direct impact on conversions. Brand marketers need to think with a conversion mindset, and business unit marketers need to consider how traditionally brand-centric tools, like social media, actually can help grow the business. Essentially, you want to centralize your marketing team so every marketer can collaborate and communicate across the business and unify around shared goals.

  1. Democratize digital marketing.

Marketers shouldn’t be the only team members able to drive your digital insurance marketing efforts. Agents, in particular, can have a huge impact on the business when they do marketing from their own social media business accounts. This approach, known as social selling, humanizes the brand and creates stronger connections between prospects and agents. It can help move prospects closer to conversion and continue nurturing customer relationships once they do convert.
If employees are posting brand-related content on social media, however, marketers will need a way to oversee their activity to ensure all electronic communication stays compliant and consistent with brand messaging standards. A content management platform can help. Look for a platform outfitted with permission settings, user roles and governance features to help you democratize content and eliminate any bottlenecks that could stall your social media marketing efforts.

  1. Keep growing your team.

If you’re looking to expand the expertise of your team and bring on more marketers, a natural assumption might be to hire professionals with direct insurance marketing experience. But remember that growth is the imperative behind your digital transformation in the first place, and if you really want to expand, that means expanding the perspectives on your teams as well. Hiring only marketers with industry experience can make your company seem indistinguishable from the rest as content will often look and feel the same.

Instead, consider hiring people with different backgrounds and experiences, even from outside the industry, to shake things up with new perspectives. People from retail or consumer-brand backgrounds, for example, can invigorate your digital marketing strategy with fresh, new ideas and expose your team to different best practices that can help you stand out from the competition. Look into other industries that really seem to understand consumers and consumer behaviors.

  1. Embrace agility.

Traditional marketing department structures at insurance companies can seem rigid and unable to change easily. But if the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that agility in the face of the unexpected is one key to a strong business.
Structure your team in a way that enables you to pivot quickly when necessary—not just in the face of a global pandemic but also with constantly changing consumer preferences. Build a team that can constantly react to the ever-changing market with new digital tactics. And make sure your marketing team is supported by the right tools and marketing technology infrastructure to support such efforts.
Invest in digital platforms that can automate campaign, content and message delivery across channels to keep your reaction nimble and responsive. The last thing you want is to spend weeks trying to get your marketing materials out, only to find they’re now irrelevant due to some market trend.

  1. Make data-informed decisions.

When it comes to essential infrastructure for insurance companies today, remember the importance of data. Data and analytics are critical, and you need the right technology to capture, compile and disseminate data from disparate systems. The insights you can glean from well-organized data analysis can help your insurance marketing team make the best-informed decisions and provide the room to experiment and test messaging based on the most current information.

The pandemic has forced the hand of many insurance marketing executives. Prioritizing digital marketing efforts is imperative today, but if companies want to see the most return from these investments, they need the right marketing structures to support them. Then, properly designed teams with the right tools and technologies in their arsenals can continue responding to changes as they come, constantly evolving digital marketing strategies and driving success.

This article was originally published in Carrier Management.

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October 26, 2021

Carrier Advice: How to Restructure Your Marketing Department

By
Doug Wilber
CEO, Denim Social

Most insurance companies were setting out on a digital transformation journey with an expected time frame of about three to five years before COVID-19. Then the pandemic accelerated the need for digitization and shortened that time frame drastically—to about six months, in most cases.

Insurance marketing teams were already using digital marketing prior to the pandemic. But as the pandemic created a world mostly void of face-to-face customer interactions, they had to ramp up digital campaigns and touchpoints significantly—and quickly. Marketers had no choice but to mold ad-hoc digital marketing strategies onto existing department structures.

One problem with charging existing teams with new strategies is that they won’t always have the expertise necessary to pull them off. In-house teams might be used to handling copy and visual, as these have been and will continue to be staples of marketing for a long time. As a result of accelerated digitization across the industry, however, managing CRMs, digital marketing platforms and data are now also critical elements of insurance marketing responsibilities.

Can your team support that, or do you need to expand and restructure?

After more than a year of working this way, it’s time for insurance company leaders to take a deep breath and a step back. They need to critically evaluate the function and structure of their marketing departments to determine if they’re well-positioned to fully embrace modern approaches now and into the future. The tips listed below can help insurance company leaders create marketing departments best suited for pulling off excellent digital marketing strategies.

  1. Combine your brand and business unit marketing teams.

The traditional marketing department structure at insurance companies separates brand marketers and business unit marketers into two or more teams. The brand team is responsible for building and strengthening brand identity and recognition and typically measures its marketing success in recall and impression metrics.

The business unit teams, on the other hand, are responsible for supporting each line of business in the company, like property/casualty, life insurance, etc. These teams produce insurance marketing materials that generally aim to drive direct sales of a given product or service. A large part of measuring success for these teams comes down to conversion metrics.
When these teams operate separately, they can too easily become misaligned around goals. Building the brand, especially on digital channels like social media, can also have a direct impact on conversions. Brand marketers need to think with a conversion mindset, and business unit marketers need to consider how traditionally brand-centric tools, like social media, actually can help grow the business. Essentially, you want to centralize your marketing team so every marketer can collaborate and communicate across the business and unify around shared goals.

  1. Democratize digital marketing.

Marketers shouldn’t be the only team members able to drive your digital insurance marketing efforts. Agents, in particular, can have a huge impact on the business when they do marketing from their own social media business accounts. This approach, known as social selling, humanizes the brand and creates stronger connections between prospects and agents. It can help move prospects closer to conversion and continue nurturing customer relationships once they do convert.
If employees are posting brand-related content on social media, however, marketers will need a way to oversee their activity to ensure all electronic communication stays compliant and consistent with brand messaging standards. A content management platform can help. Look for a platform outfitted with permission settings, user roles and governance features to help you democratize content and eliminate any bottlenecks that could stall your social media marketing efforts.

  1. Keep growing your team.

If you’re looking to expand the expertise of your team and bring on more marketers, a natural assumption might be to hire professionals with direct insurance marketing experience. But remember that growth is the imperative behind your digital transformation in the first place, and if you really want to expand, that means expanding the perspectives on your teams as well. Hiring only marketers with industry experience can make your company seem indistinguishable from the rest as content will often look and feel the same.

Instead, consider hiring people with different backgrounds and experiences, even from outside the industry, to shake things up with new perspectives. People from retail or consumer-brand backgrounds, for example, can invigorate your digital marketing strategy with fresh, new ideas and expose your team to different best practices that can help you stand out from the competition. Look into other industries that really seem to understand consumers and consumer behaviors.

  1. Embrace agility.

Traditional marketing department structures at insurance companies can seem rigid and unable to change easily. But if the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that agility in the face of the unexpected is one key to a strong business.
Structure your team in a way that enables you to pivot quickly when necessary—not just in the face of a global pandemic but also with constantly changing consumer preferences. Build a team that can constantly react to the ever-changing market with new digital tactics. And make sure your marketing team is supported by the right tools and marketing technology infrastructure to support such efforts.
Invest in digital platforms that can automate campaign, content and message delivery across channels to keep your reaction nimble and responsive. The last thing you want is to spend weeks trying to get your marketing materials out, only to find they’re now irrelevant due to some market trend.

  1. Make data-informed decisions.

When it comes to essential infrastructure for insurance companies today, remember the importance of data. Data and analytics are critical, and you need the right technology to capture, compile and disseminate data from disparate systems. The insights you can glean from well-organized data analysis can help your insurance marketing team make the best-informed decisions and provide the room to experiment and test messaging based on the most current information.

The pandemic has forced the hand of many insurance marketing executives. Prioritizing digital marketing efforts is imperative today, but if companies want to see the most return from these investments, they need the right marketing structures to support them. Then, properly designed teams with the right tools and technologies in their arsenals can continue responding to changes as they come, constantly evolving digital marketing strategies and driving success.

This article was originally published in Carrier Management.

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People buy from people. That fundamental truth is the cornerstone of the insurance industry and is holding true even as the insurance value chain becomes more and more digital. But in a world where customers increasingly avoid in-person interactions — McKinsey’s 2020 U.S. Insurance Agent Survey saw a 65% drop in face-to-face conversations in 2020, with a slow recovery — how do agents adjust? The answer is to meet customers where they are - online.

Insurance professionals likely view social media as a necessary evil, but social media can be a powerful sales tool, putting agents right in the path of their clients and prospects. It’s more than just posting content into a digital void; it’s taking what agents have done for decades to build their business and bringing it to life within the social media landscape. Consider this: GWI research suggests online consumers around the globe spend almost 2.5 hours scrolling through social sites daily.

Putting energy into social media as a sales tool means attracting those eyes and winning more chances to interact with prospects and customers. But where do you start? Here are a few things to consider before leaning into social selling.

  1. Learn exactly what social selling is (and isn’t)

Social selling is using social media to showcase thought leadership and industry expertise, build relationships and, ultimately, connect with new prospects while maintaining trust with existing ones. But a social selling strategy requires much more than having a Twitter account; it requires the same attention as any sales methods do. It’s taking social beyond simply posting regularly. It’s using social as a connection point to identify life events and points of connection with your community. And the good news is, you should see the returns. LinkedIn’s Social Selling data notes that 78% of social sellers outshine their peers who aren’t using social media as a sales tool.

  1. Take stock of your social media accounts

If you hope to capitalize on social selling, you must first take stock of your existing social media accounts and look for opportunities to strengthen your overall social presence.

Whichever social channel mix you’ve decided is right for your business (it’s OK not to be on every social platform!), you always want to make sure your brand is consistent and robust across each channel. That sounds easy, but there are a few things to consider to ensure that your identity is clear and consistent:

  • Profile images: Whether it’s a professionally taken photo, a well-lit high-resolution image taken on a smartphone or your company logo, make sure your profile images reflect how you and your company look today. (For example: Don’t use your headshot from 15 years ago.)
  • Cover images: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter all have a space for a cover or background image. Be sure you have a cover image that is consistent with your brand and that you have the rights to use that image.
  • “About” sections: Today’s consumers use social media for information searches like they use Google, so your bios and “about” sections pages are more important than ever. Sections can vary across social channels, but your information should be accurate and reflect your business on each channel. Pay special attention to your business description, location information and hours of operation.

Rather than jump right into the heavy stuff, it’s important to get these social media ducks in a row first.

  1. Make a plan for posting, engaging and amplifying.

After your social accounts are up to speed, it’s important to have a plan. Regularly posting content is only the foundation of social selling, but it will help keep you top of mind with your followers and give you a place to interact with them. It also sets you up well when you’re ready to start putting money behind your posts with paid social advertising.

Beyond posting, it’s important to keep an eye on those who interact with your posts. Comment back, connect with them or, better yet, give them a call. Social selling really comes to life when you can weave social into your everyday sales practices. Either way, prioritize social just as you would other crucial facets of your business. Post regularly and have a plan for responding and engaging with your existing and potential clients. Then turn those engagements into sales opportunities.

  1. Leverage your resources.

You’re not the only one flexing your social selling muscles, so look to others – even insights from competitors - for help. A good way to begin is to look at the social accounts of others in and out of your sector. What are they writing about? What posts seem to engage followers? How are they branding themselves to be trustworthy experts? Use the information you gather to help you plan your own social selling and content strategy.

The question shouldn’t be if you should start social selling, it’s when. Your existing and potential clients are there, waiting for you. You only must give social selling the time and energy it deserves. As someone in a profession built around risk, you’ll find that social selling is a safe bet.

This article was originally published in Insurance Newsnet.

The insurance industry is built on managing risk — but an aversion to risk may leave executives hesitant to support your more modern (and more effective!) marketing strategies. But failure to adapt means resigning yourself to falling behind competitors.

Even for carriers who ride the digital wave, reliance on legacy systems could be holding them back. For insurance marketers to adopt modern digital strategies — like integrated organic and paid social selling through intermediaries — they must educate decision makers and effectively make the case to adopt supportive technology.

This means marketers must take on the role of educator. The reality is, while many companies may think they already have integrated social strategies, they're often conflating social selling with brand-level social media — and they're leaving opportunity on the table in the process. It's up to marketing leaders, like you, to create a culture around social selling, differentiate from brand-level social, nurture top performers, and adopt the right technology. Sound overwhelming? Here's where to start.

Enabling Intermediaries to Leverage Social Selling

Why is social selling so necessary for insurance agents? It's simple: Social media brings us together. It's where people blend their real lives with their digital lives. While everyone loves a good dancing cat video, social channels facilitate so much more than fleeting entertainment. They serve as a resource for creating connections, building trust, and strengthening relationships. Their connective power makes them the perfect avenue for leveraging insurance marketers' best resource: agents. People buy from people, and enabling insurance agents to use social media as a sales tool not only amplifies your brand-level marketing but allows for deeper, more localized relationship-building.

While it's understandable that some insurance leaders worry about how regulation factors into online activity, remind them that social media doesn't bring a new set of rules to learn. Can't do it in real life? Then don't do it on social media. Though social media is a unique setting, it doesn’t require a new playbook. Your agents' social media behavior shouldn't be any different from how they interact via email or in person. They should be authentic. Let the agents be advisors — just bring them to a new medium.

If you’re a social media marketer in the insurance world, you’re in a great position to advocate for organizational change and bring social selling to your company. By using these strategies, you'll be able to shift your company's view of social selling and overcome long-held misperceptions about social media marketing while also improving your metrics.

1. Build a culture from the inside out.

Want your insurance agents or intermediaries to love social selling? You won’t make inroads until you can show them what social selling is and what it can do. Social in any regulated industry can feel scary and risky, so weaving social selling into sales processes that have “always been done a certain way” will feel like a huge change, both internally and externally. Remember: This is a marathon, not a sprint. Build a solid internal foundation before launch.

For example, we talk about agents or intermediaries being on social to drive business, but sales and marketing teams need to be there as well. Everyone across sales and marketing needs to be present on social, understand how to optimize their profiles, and participate in the greater digital discourse. People need to use it to understand its value, and people who understand its value will be more encouraged to adopt it. In time, your colleagues will see social selling’s benefits, and you’ll have a better chance at launching a more widespread social selling initiative.

2. Educate your colleagues and intermediaries on social branding versus social selling.

Most insurance professionals understand on some level that digital marketing is important for amplifying brand messaging. What they may not realize is that social selling is a nonnegotiable sales tool in today's digital world. It's up to you as the marketer to take ownership over shifting this narrative — holding the importance of brand messaging in one hand and relationship-building in the other. Social media enables both, and you must utilize both aspects to get the most out of your digital marketing strategies.

While you do this, keep in mind your co-workers' level of digital literacy. Would it be helpful to host general training on social media? Don’t assume that everyone uses it personally or understands its role in business.

A good starting point to drive home the importance of taking social selling seriously is to talk about the next generation of insurance customers. Today, Millennials and Generation Z make up the biggest buying cohort for insurance products. Because they’re more likely to be active on social media, social selling is a natural fit.

3. Find and nurture internal social selling champions.

Building and nurturing an internal culture of social selling puts much of the onus on you, so it's essential to find internal cheerleaders to help get the culture shift started. These internal champions will support your education and promotion efforts and will expand your range of influence. Good places to look for influencers are among your sales leaders and partners who are hungry to try any tactics that will improve lead generation and conversion rates.

Be ready to buy those internal champions a coffee and have conversations about social media. Get them comfortable with it — and give them space to ask questions. Make it feel accessible and understandable. Once you get them in your camp, they'll help you advocate for something bigger. And once your social selling fans are in place, you can work with them to implement social selling into their workflows with social selling tools.

4. Advocate for the tools to make social selling successful.

When brand-only social media and social selling aren't differentiated, neither are the tools used to manage them. Marketers can feel like they have one hand tied behind their backs if they're using the wrong social media management tool for a social selling program.

The easy solution? To launch a true social selling program, companies must invest in the right technology. We don't mean building your own digital tools — though that may be an option for a Fortune 100 company, it's often more trouble than it's worth. Bespoke options are nice, but hiring a whole team of developers to create new software and keeping them on the payroll to maintain it can be a huge sink of resources. While it's understandable to be wary of outside vendors — and wonder whether they can understand the industry and the business's specific challenges — the right platform can ensure that content sourcing, approval workflows, and compliance are easy and scalable for your social selling program.

With an educated team, an open culture, and the right tools, social selling can become a true avenue of business growth. As your agents grow into everyday social sellers, your leads will grow, too. Relationships are your greatest asset; make sure you're utilizing them with social media.

Want to learn more about social selling in the insurance industry? Book a Denim Social demo today.

Make the most of your social media presence by optimizing your images and including essential information about your business on each platform. By giving your customers an optimal digital experience, you will be able to broaden your reach and provide better customer service through your digital platforms.

Facebook

IMAGE SIZING:

Profile picture: 170 x 170px (desktop), 128 x 128px (smartphones)

Cover photo: 820 x 312px (desktop), 640 x 360px (smartphones)

Keep the main content of your image centered. On a desktop the photo will display as 840x312px, but on mobile will size down to 640x360px.

Facebook post image: 1200 x 630px

The ideal width for a Facebook post image is 1200px, but height can vary based on what type of device the image display is optimized for. We recommend keeping it at the recommended size to keep consistency on all devices.

When creating a Facebook Ad graphic, any text should not take up more than 20% of the photo. You can find a cheat sheet here: https://www.facebook.com/ads/tools/text_overlay.

Facebook Video: 1280 x 720px

The optimal length for a short-form video on Facebook is 15 seconds to 1 minute; for a long-form video, it is 3 minutes. The maximum file size is 10GB.

Facebook Link Image: 1200 x 630px

Make sure to claim ownership of your links for the ability to change the link preview photo. You can find more info on that here: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/528858287471922?id=708699556338610.

Carousel Post: 1080 x 1080px

Carousel posts are a great way to display multiple services or features that you offer to your customers. When placing a Facebook ad you can link each carousel photo to a different link, making it easy for people to navigate to your specific products.

Facebook Story: 1080 x 1920px

Make the most of your stories by using all of your space and creating a fullscreen experience.

IMPORTANT PAGE INFORMATION:

Page name:

This is where you can name your Facebook Page, but be sure to keep it shorter than 75 characters.

Page username:

Customize your page URL by adding a username, making it easier for people to locate and navigate people from other digital platforms. Your Facebook URL can include up to 50 characters.

Page call to action:

Facebook gives you a variety of choices on calls to action. For example, if you’d like customers to contact you by email, you can set up a “Send Email” button with your email address connected and ready to go.

LinkedIn

IMAGE SIZING:

Profile picture: 400 x 400px

Upload your business logo here to personalize your profile. If this page is for an individual, this is where you will upload their headshot.

Cover Photo: 1584 x 396px

Having a personalized business cover photo will make your profile look more professional and give you the opportunity to provide page visitors with more of the look and feel of your business. This can include an image related to your business or a graphic with information on services you provide or your business slogan.

LinkedIn post photo: 1200 x 628px (mobile), 1200 x 1200px (desktop)

When targeting an audience on both desktop and mobile, make sure that you optimize for mobile to give people the best experience.

LinkedIn Link Photo: 1200 x 628px (mobile), 1200 x 1200px (desktop)

Providing an image with your link preview can help give viewers a better idea of article content and also communicate your brand look and feel.

LinkedIn Link Video: 4096 x 2304px maximum, 256 x 144 pixels minimum

The optimal video length for LinkedIn is 30-90 seconds and the maximum file size is 5GB.

IMPORTANT PAGE INFORMATION

Page name:

This is where your business name is located, as well as your company industry, location, and number of followers.

Page description:

Add your business slogan, mission, or a short description that tells people what your company, products, and services can do for them.

Twitter

IMAGE SIZING

Profile picture: 400 x 400px

Upload your business logo or headshot to personalize your profile.

Cover photo: 1500 x 500px

Be sure to center your content to give your followers an optimized experience on mobile.

Twitter post photo: 1200 x 675px

Allow your followers to see the entirety of the photo in their feed by adhering to this sizing guideline. The maximum file size is 5MB.

Twitter video: 1280 x 720px (desktop, recommended), 720 x 720px (mobile)

The optimal video length for Twitter is 20-45 seconds and the maximum file size is 512MB.

IMPORTANT PAGE INFORMATION

Underneath your profile photo, your company name and username will be displayed.

Write a short bio to tell people more about your business.

Instagram

IMAGE SIZING

Profile photo: 110 x 110px

Your profile picture will be small, so be sure your image is sized correctly and centered. This is a great place for your company logo.

Profile thumbnail: Displays as 161 x 161px

This is a preview of your large image post, but looks best when the photo posted is square.

Highlight Cover: 1080 x 1920px

Your cover photos should have centered images to give your highlight reel a balanced look. You can also name your highlights, but be concise as they can only be 15 characters long.

Instagram Feed Photo: 1080 x 1080px (square), 1080 x 1350 (portrait), 1080 x 566 (landscape)

The recommended width for all Instagram feed photos is 1080px, but the height can vary. To optimize for your feed display within your profile, we recommend using the sizing listed above to keep your image square.

Instagram Feed Video:  1080 x 1080px (square), 1080 x 1350 (portrait), 1080 x 566 (landscape)

The optimal length for an Instagram video is 30-60 seconds and the max file size is 650MB.

Instagram Feed Ad Photo: 1080 x 1080px

Your ad photo will display the same as a normal feed photo, but with a link attached. When creating an ad in Ads Manager, you’ll be able to upload a separate photo for Instagram to keep your photos optimized for the user experience.

Instagram Story: 1080 x 1920px (portrait), 1080 x 601 (landscape)

Make the most of your stories by using all of your space and creating a fullscreen experience. The maximum length of the story is 15 seconds.

Instagram Reels & Live: 1080 x 1920px

Reels can be used to offer tutorials, demos, or service features. These will be saved under your profile page for viewers to go back and watch at their leisure. The maximum length for Reels is 30 seconds. For Live, this can be used for announcements, events, or other Q&A sessions. These can also be saved for later viewing, and can last up to 4 hours.

What’s in a #Hashtag?
February 9, 2022

Hashtag use is a debatable topic when it comes to posting and engaging on social media. Before 2007 the hashtag symbol was simply known as the “pound” or “number” symbol, but now by putting this symbol in front of words and short phrases in a social media post, they become a “hashtag” – which creates deeper meaning. Hashtags may seem arbitrary because of how widely they are used, but they can add a lot of value to your content strategy if you are intentional about where you use them. The many benefits of hashtags can include content awareness, community building, SEO influence, and more.

Content Strategy

Hashtags bring together content that has shared subject matter that otherwise may never be associated. This gives the reader the opportunity to view content that other people have created around a hashtag and use it to influence your strategy moving forward. For example: If you are interested in creating a social media campaign around “financial freedom,” searching the hashtag #financialfreedom will open the door for you to find questions people have, social posts that have been utilized with this topic, and what other businesses are saying. You may find that someone else has already done a similar social campaign, and it would make sense to change some of your content ideas to differentiate yourself in the market. Getting an understanding of how your content will fit into the conversation can help provide value and drive clicks back to your website.

Community Building

Are you hosting an event, wanting to create synergy between people, or looking for community input on a specific topic? A hashtag is a great way to group together information and  conversations in one easily searchable place. By creating a hashtag unique to your project or event and promoting it for people to use, you’ll be able to find related posts in one feed. For example: you’re planning a mortgage conference and want people to be able to snap a photo of themselves in attendance, then post it to social media. By asking them to include a hashtag – including the name of your conference and year (#MidwestMortgageConference2020) –you’ll be able to see all of the posts from attendees in one place and potentially further connect with attendees in the future.

Is there a trending hashtag related to your business or community? Utilize this hashtag to join the conversation and bring recognition to content you are creating or already have published around a topic. With all posts relevant to a hashtag pulled into one feed, you can easily respond to others and create relationships based on shared interests or topics. For example: Mortgage rates are at an all time low and #homebuying is a trending topic on Twitter. As a mortgage business or loan officer this is a great opportunity to be a part of the conversation and offer insight into how you can bring value to potential homebuyers.

SEO Influence

LinkedIn had an important platform update that is now changing the game for hashtags related to SEO by including the first three hashtags in a published post within the URL. This improves where you show up in a Google search related to those topics, therefore driving traffic back to your post (and ultimately website!). Using hashtags can also bolster your content visibility as they essentially act as keywords on social media platforms. If someone searches for a hashtag and finds your content to be valuable, they may share it, potentially giving you more link clicks and improving visibility. It’s important that you use hashtags that are not only relevant to your content, but also likely to be found by people searching.

Best Practices

It’s important to remember that your post should consist of content that gives context to the hashtags you’re using. A post with only hashtags will likely be confusing and won’t offer any value to your followers. It’s also good to note that using more hashtags isn’t always advantageous. It’s in your best interest, too.

Remember that each social media platform handles hashtags differently:

  1. Twitter, the birthplace of the hashtag, continues to place value in their use and uses them to help you learn about what’s trending on their platform. Get involved in conversations happening on the platform around trending topics by including the hashtag in your post. Click on a hashtag to find a single feed of all posts that have recently added it to their post. Try not to use more than 2 hashtags per tweet.
  2. Instagram groups together posts that utilize the same hashtag in one image feed, showing you both recent and most popular posts. Using a hashtag on Instagram can help people discover your content and increase your following. It may also lead to content shares and profile visits, potentially increasing website traffic. On Instagram posts, feel free to use anywhere from 5 to 10 hashtags per post, and up to 10 in Stories.
  3. LinkedIn as stated above is now allowing you to boost your SEO when you use hashtags within their platform. Knowing what hashtags people are using and searching for commonly will give you an advantage in knowing what types of content to post. LinkedIn also turns hashtags into clickable links that allow you to see a single feed of posts using the same hashtags. For this network, keep hashtags professional and limit the use of them to 2 for each post.
  4. Using a hashtag on Facebook will provide viewers with a clickable link that takes them to more content they may be interested in. Facebook users are generally less likely to be searching for hashtags, but they still provide value in organizing content in one easy to find place. Facebook is also seeing its users shift to more private channels, and hashtags can be useful for grouping content by themes or topics. The optimal number of hashtags to use on Facebook? 1-2 per post.

Hashtags are not going anywhere anytime soon and can bring more depth to your social media posts when used correctly. You can start and participate in conversations, build community & event awareness, gain insight into content strategy, and improve your SEO all by adding the # in front of the keywords within your posts. With all of the benefits of hashtags, why not try including them in your next campaign strategy? Who knows, you just might end up trending!

Insurance companies have long viewed social media efforts in a brand marketing light, leveraging social media for creative messaging and building corporate recognition. This is still a worthwhile endeavor, but it’s time for insurance marketers to add another level to their social media strategies: performance marketing.

Performance marketing focuses on social media as a conversion tool, driving lead generation and sales rather than vanity metrics alone. Instead of tracking a post’s comments or reach, marketers can track how many readers click through to customized landing pages, for instance.

This switch can be challenging for stakeholders to understand and accept at first. Larger organizations may have separate marketing teams for different product lines supporting the overall brand.Within those teams, employees may have separate roles for organic and paid social media. For a successful performance marketing strategy, all teams need to share a vision and commitment to driving conversions through social media.Not every post has to convert readers into leads, but it should be part of the journey to getting them there.

If you’re at the beginning of this cultural shift toward thinking about social media from a more performance-driven angle that puts conversion metrics front and center, try these techniques to move the conversation in the right direction:

1. Prioritize internal team education.
Digital marketing is constantly changing — and changing fast. Marketing leaders must give teams the opportunity, time, and space to learn about the latest trends, tools, and social media marketing strategies. The more extensive their knowledge, the more comfortable they’ll be applying out-of-the-box thinking to social media in general.

One excellent resource is Facebook Blueprint, which offers free classes and certifications around marketing on Facebook. Be sure to complement dedicated social media training with analytics training to ensure that everyone knows how to measure the success of social media efforts. Google Analytics Academy is an excellent resource for getting a grip on basic analytics and then diving into more advanced learnings from there. These courses help everyone get on the same page and more fully understand the breadth of possibilities available onFacebook and other social media platforms. 

2. Emphasize that everyone has a role to play.

Regardless of title or job description, everyone in your organization should work toward the same sales goals and understand that both brand marketing and performance marketing are needed to achieve those objectives.

Marketers should coordinate with all departments to ensure that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities when it comes to both building the brand and converting sales. When creating social media marketing campaigns, marketers should also seek out insights from the specific departments to which campaigns will be driving traffic in order to determine the right content, messaging, and metrics for each campaign.

What’s more, agents who are also sharing branded content on social media should understand how their efforts intertwine with other content to lead users down the sales funnel and closer to conversions. By including all stakeholders in the performance marketing strategy, marketers can help everyone view themselves as extensions of the sales team and increase the focus on driving conversions.

3. Combine social branding with tactical messaging.

Every social media marketing campaign should be cohesive, featuring consistent themes, verbiage, and images. Plus, all the promises made in branding copy should be highlighted in more tactical performance marketing content. In essence, the brand messaging sets the tone, and the performance messaging closes the deal by delivering on the promises.

How does this work? Let’s say your insurance company has launched a social media branding campaign highlighting how easy it is to work with your business instead of with your competitors. The performance marketing aspect of the campaign includes a white paper that outlines your specific value propositions and client testimonials to back them up. You link to the whitepaper landing page from the social media branding campaign posts, viewers input their contact information into a form on the landing page to download the whitepaper, and your sales team gets direct access to primed leads. Brand and performance marketing work together to drive sales.

Social media is harder than it was only a decade ago. Platforms have changed their algorithms to make organic content less visible, and social media marketing strategies that rely only on brand messaging and vanity metrics alone won’t cut through the noise. Instead, financial marketers need to use performance marketing efforts that offer real, tangible value to drive sales.

This was originally published in PropertyCasualty 360.

Instagram stands out as the shining star of social media platforms. While Facebook still reigns supreme, Instagram is quickly catching up fast with more than 1 billion users worldwide today — up by 73.5 million since 2020.

With users under age 34 making up nearly half of this user population, financial services marketers looking to reach younger generations should take note. And with an estimated sum of $68 trillion in wealth expected to transfer from Baby Boomers to Millennials in the next couple of decades, Millennials are a worthwhile target.

Studies predict that, after inheriting wealth, 80% or more young heirs will seek out a new financial advisor. Considering that 9 in 10 accounts follow at least one business on Instagram and 8 in 10 users find new products and services in the app, it’s a safe bet that Instagram will be a place to influence many Millennials. Wise financial services marketers will meet them where they are with strong Instagram marketing strategies, and the following tips can help:

1. Focus on paid ads

Instagram is a visual platform for sharing photos and videos, so it’s important for brand pages to populate their profiles with organic posts. While this presence is important, organic content isn’t what will move the needle on business goals. Financial services aren’t exactly visually interesting, and organic posts tend to have low reach as they only show up in the feeds of a brand’s current followers. Without the ability to include hyperlinks in captions, they also won’t drive any traffic back to your site. If you want to build the type of following needed to generate new business, including paid advertising in your Instagram marketing strategy is your ticket.

With Instagram advertising, institutions and advisors can target ads to land with exactly the right audience — even outside their follower base — and include links in posts to drive more traffic to the brand. With a specific call to action that directs consumers to learn more about a topic, Instagram ads offer a straight-line path to giving customers the valuable information they desire — in their own time and at their own place. What’s more, Instagram advertising is seamlessly integrated directly into Instagram feeds and stories, creating a smoother user experience all around.

2. Connect with consumers on a local level

Instagram marketing on the corporate brand level is a great starting point, but advertising on behalf of your individual advisors can take your strategy to the next level. Think of it this way: If a consumer sees a well-known brand on social media, they might recognize the name, but they won’t feel an intrinsic connection beyond initial familiarity. In contrast, they’ll feel familiarity and an immediate connection when they see a post from an advisor in their own community. Consumers want to build relationships with brands, and a shared community is a great starting point.

Of course, most advisors and other financial services employees are not experts on how to market the business on Instagram. And marketers know they must keep all social media marketing for their financial institutions compliant to avoid heavy regulatory reprimands. To keep posts compliant, save employees time, and help them build relationships with consumers in their physical communities, financial services marketers can set up and run ads on their behalf.

3. Micro-target content to your audience

As big-name brands like Amazon continue to elevate the digital customer experience with seamless customer service, purchasing, and delivery, customer expectations are higher than ever before. When customers evaluate a financial institution, they compare it not only to other organizations in the industry, but also to tech giants in any industry that give them exactly what they need when they need it.

They expect a high level of personalization and convenience, and Instagram marketing with paid advertising can help you give it to them. Match basic behavioral and geographic data to potential customers on Instagram to target ads, and then track clicks, engagements, and post-click actions. These data points don’t indicate much on their own, but together they offer a rich story about what consumers want. Continually refine your strategy with these data points in mind to deliver the kind of highly personalized experiences your audiences want on Instagram.

With a large Millennial user base that engages actively with brands online and the ability to target highly personalized ads to exactly the right audiences, Instagram is a must-have in any financial services marketing strategy. To learn more about how Instagram marketing can work to drive your business forward, download our guide to building stronger customer relationships on Instagram for free today.

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GUIDES

Carrier Advice: How to Restructure Your Marketing Department

Most insurance companies were setting out on a digital transformation journey with an expected time frame of about three to five years before COVID-19. Then the pandemic accelerated the need for digitization and shortened that time frame drastically—to about six months, in most cases.

Insurance marketing teams were already using digital marketing prior to the pandemic. But as the pandemic created a world mostly void of face-to-face customer interactions, they had to ramp up digital campaigns and touchpoints significantly—and quickly. Marketers had no choice but to mold ad-hoc digital marketing strategies onto existing department structures.

One problem with charging existing teams with new strategies is that they won’t always have the expertise necessary to pull them off. In-house teams might be used to handling copy and visual, as these have been and will continue to be staples of marketing for a long time. As a result of accelerated digitization across the industry, however, managing CRMs, digital marketing platforms and data are now also critical elements of insurance marketing responsibilities.

Can your team support that, or do you need to expand and restructure?

After more than a year of working this way, it’s time for insurance company leaders to take a deep breath and a step back. They need to critically evaluate the function and structure of their marketing departments to determine if they’re well-positioned to fully embrace modern approaches now and into the future. The tips listed below can help insurance company leaders create marketing departments best suited for pulling off excellent digital marketing strategies.

  1. Combine your brand and business unit marketing teams.

The traditional marketing department structure at insurance companies separates brand marketers and business unit marketers into two or more teams. The brand team is responsible for building and strengthening brand identity and recognition and typically measures its marketing success in recall and impression metrics.

The business unit teams, on the other hand, are responsible for supporting each line of business in the company, like property/casualty, life insurance, etc. These teams produce insurance marketing materials that generally aim to drive direct sales of a given product or service. A large part of measuring success for these teams comes down to conversion metrics.
When these teams operate separately, they can too easily become misaligned around goals. Building the brand, especially on digital channels like social media, can also have a direct impact on conversions. Brand marketers need to think with a conversion mindset, and business unit marketers need to consider how traditionally brand-centric tools, like social media, actually can help grow the business. Essentially, you want to centralize your marketing team so every marketer can collaborate and communicate across the business and unify around shared goals.

  1. Democratize digital marketing.

Marketers shouldn’t be the only team members able to drive your digital insurance marketing efforts. Agents, in particular, can have a huge impact on the business when they do marketing from their own social media business accounts. This approach, known as social selling, humanizes the brand and creates stronger connections between prospects and agents. It can help move prospects closer to conversion and continue nurturing customer relationships once they do convert.
If employees are posting brand-related content on social media, however, marketers will need a way to oversee their activity to ensure all electronic communication stays compliant and consistent with brand messaging standards. A content management platform can help. Look for a platform outfitted with permission settings, user roles and governance features to help you democratize content and eliminate any bottlenecks that could stall your social media marketing efforts.

  1. Keep growing your team.

If you’re looking to expand the expertise of your team and bring on more marketers, a natural assumption might be to hire professionals with direct insurance marketing experience. But remember that growth is the imperative behind your digital transformation in the first place, and if you really want to expand, that means expanding the perspectives on your teams as well. Hiring only marketers with industry experience can make your company seem indistinguishable from the rest as content will often look and feel the same.

Instead, consider hiring people with different backgrounds and experiences, even from outside the industry, to shake things up with new perspectives. People from retail or consumer-brand backgrounds, for example, can invigorate your digital marketing strategy with fresh, new ideas and expose your team to different best practices that can help you stand out from the competition. Look into other industries that really seem to understand consumers and consumer behaviors.

  1. Embrace agility.

Traditional marketing department structures at insurance companies can seem rigid and unable to change easily. But if the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that agility in the face of the unexpected is one key to a strong business.
Structure your team in a way that enables you to pivot quickly when necessary—not just in the face of a global pandemic but also with constantly changing consumer preferences. Build a team that can constantly react to the ever-changing market with new digital tactics. And make sure your marketing team is supported by the right tools and marketing technology infrastructure to support such efforts.
Invest in digital platforms that can automate campaign, content and message delivery across channels to keep your reaction nimble and responsive. The last thing you want is to spend weeks trying to get your marketing materials out, only to find they’re now irrelevant due to some market trend.

  1. Make data-informed decisions.

When it comes to essential infrastructure for insurance companies today, remember the importance of data. Data and analytics are critical, and you need the right technology to capture, compile and disseminate data from disparate systems. The insights you can glean from well-organized data analysis can help your insurance marketing team make the best-informed decisions and provide the room to experiment and test messaging based on the most current information.

The pandemic has forced the hand of many insurance marketing executives. Prioritizing digital marketing efforts is imperative today, but if companies want to see the most return from these investments, they need the right marketing structures to support them. Then, properly designed teams with the right tools and technologies in their arsenals can continue responding to changes as they come, constantly evolving digital marketing strategies and driving success.

This article was originally published in Carrier Management.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Download Guide
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
ALL GUIDES:

It’s no surprise that social media can help drive results for your mortgage business. In fact, the question for most marketers at mortgage lending institutions isn’t IF they should be doing more social media marketing - it’s HOW. Download to learn how to:

  • Scale your social selling program
  • Plan your content strategy
  • Train your loan officers

AnnieMac is one of the fastest-growing mortgage loan providers in the U.S., serving clients in 42 states. Learn how Denim Social helped their team to streamline its brand’s social media strategy and activate social selling for hundreds of loan officers in just four months.

Instant Download

Find out how more than 400 financial institutions across asset classes, geographies, and more used social media in 2020 to effectively support their business objectives. We’ve also outlined key trends to inform your social media future.

As mortgage demand surges to historic highs, home purchase and refinance markets remain hot. This is excellent news for loan officers, but it also means the environment is more competitive than ever.

So how can marketers ensure that their loan officers stand out? The answer is social media.

Read this guidebook from Denim Social to learn how you can help your loan officers build strong relationships, stand out from the crowd and win more business using social media.

Every Mortgage Marketer Should Ask Themselves

Compliance is complicated, but don’t let it stop your lending team from making the most of social media. Think you’re ready to start social selling? Ask yourself these five questions!

Download this guidebook to learn how marketers are using social media to:

  • Drive business with the lowest digital spend compared to traditional media
  • Position employees as thought-leaders while leveraging their collective reach of their social media presence
  • Ultimately, build trust with their communities and customers that translates to positive business results

Read this guide if you’re asking yourself:

  • Is my social media policy current and comprehensive?
  • How do I ensure social media compliance during M&A?
  • What do I need to consider for direct messaging compliance?

In this guide we will help you think about your all important social media policy and thoughtfully consider how changes in social media tech and even your bank’s structure may impact compliance.

Download this guidebook to learn how marketers are using social media to:

  • Drive business with the lowest digital spend compared to traditional media
  • Position employees as thought-leaders while leveraging their collective reach of their social media presence
  • Ultimately, build trust with their communities and customers that translates to positive business results

Every Financial Services Marketer Should Ask Themselves

Compliance is complicated, but don’t let it stop your lending team from making the most of social media. Think you’re ready to start social selling? Ask yourself these five questions!

Stronger Customer Relationships on Instagram

Financial Services companies should be marketing and advertising on Instagram. We break down why, and help you create a strategy to reach new customers- while continuing to build trust in your brand.

How 6 Financial Marketers Are Creating Value in Social Media

Ever wonder what everyone else is doing in social media? We talked to six leading financial marketers about how they’re succeeding today and planning for the next big thing.

Get their insights on strengthening your social strategies, unlocking the power of employee networks and creating next-level content that drives engagement.

Download this guidebook to learn how 3 mortgage lenders are using social media to:

  • Position themselves in a place the community is already looking ... their social media
  • Empower loan officers to engage in local conversations
  • Turn their institution's loan officers into the voice of their brand
  • Build trust within the community

Which roles do you fill when building your bank's marketing dream team? This guide will show you the following:

  • Who does what
  • The right structure to execute strategy
  • How compliance software can help

Enjoy!

Download this guidebook to learn how marketers are using social media to:

  • Drive business with the lowest digital spend compared to traditional media
  • Position employees as thought-leaders while leveraging their collective reach of their social media presence
  • Ultimately, build trust with their communities and customers that translates to positive business results

ABA Study: The Current State of Social Media

See what nearly 430 bank marketers had to say when asked questions such as:

  • Is it important to equip your sales personnel with social media accounts?
  • Does your bank measure the impact of your social media use?
  • COVID-19 & Bank Social Media

    Times are different and how you connect with customers and potential customers has changed drastically. In a socially distant world, learn to still build lasting relationships.

    Download and learn the guiding principles for using social media to serve both your customers and communities in the midst of a pandemic.

    Evolve Bank & Trust (“Evolve”) is an $700M+ asset institution with nearly 40 Home Loan Centers (HLC) and nearly 500 employees nationwide. See how Denim Social helped Evolve activate Home Loan Center Facebook pages over the course of just a few months.

    Download Here

    As any marketer worth their salt will tell you, analytics should drive your social strategy. The key to success is understanding how to link social media efforts to ROI metrics. Read this guide to learn how to gain insights that matter, optimize your strategy and prove your social success.

    GUIDES

    Carrier Advice: How to Restructure Your Marketing Department

    Most insurance companies were setting out on a digital transformation journey with an expected time frame of about three to five years before COVID-19. Then the pandemic accelerated the need for digitization and shortened that time frame drastically—to about six months, in most cases.

    Insurance marketing teams were already using digital marketing prior to the pandemic. But as the pandemic created a world mostly void of face-to-face customer interactions, they had to ramp up digital campaigns and touchpoints significantly—and quickly. Marketers had no choice but to mold ad-hoc digital marketing strategies onto existing department structures.

    One problem with charging existing teams with new strategies is that they won’t always have the expertise necessary to pull them off. In-house teams might be used to handling copy and visual, as these have been and will continue to be staples of marketing for a long time. As a result of accelerated digitization across the industry, however, managing CRMs, digital marketing platforms and data are now also critical elements of insurance marketing responsibilities.

    Can your team support that, or do you need to expand and restructure?

    After more than a year of working this way, it’s time for insurance company leaders to take a deep breath and a step back. They need to critically evaluate the function and structure of their marketing departments to determine if they’re well-positioned to fully embrace modern approaches now and into the future. The tips listed below can help insurance company leaders create marketing departments best suited for pulling off excellent digital marketing strategies.

    1. Combine your brand and business unit marketing teams.

    The traditional marketing department structure at insurance companies separates brand marketers and business unit marketers into two or more teams. The brand team is responsible for building and strengthening brand identity and recognition and typically measures its marketing success in recall and impression metrics.

    The business unit teams, on the other hand, are responsible for supporting each line of business in the company, like property/casualty, life insurance, etc. These teams produce insurance marketing materials that generally aim to drive direct sales of a given product or service. A large part of measuring success for these teams comes down to conversion metrics.
    When these teams operate separately, they can too easily become misaligned around goals. Building the brand, especially on digital channels like social media, can also have a direct impact on conversions. Brand marketers need to think with a conversion mindset, and business unit marketers need to consider how traditionally brand-centric tools, like social media, actually can help grow the business. Essentially, you want to centralize your marketing team so every marketer can collaborate and communicate across the business and unify around shared goals.

    1. Democratize digital marketing.

    Marketers shouldn’t be the only team members able to drive your digital insurance marketing efforts. Agents, in particular, can have a huge impact on the business when they do marketing from their own social media business accounts. This approach, known as social selling, humanizes the brand and creates stronger connections between prospects and agents. It can help move prospects closer to conversion and continue nurturing customer relationships once they do convert.
    If employees are posting brand-related content on social media, however, marketers will need a way to oversee their activity to ensure all electronic communication stays compliant and consistent with brand messaging standards. A content management platform can help. Look for a platform outfitted with permission settings, user roles and governance features to help you democratize content and eliminate any bottlenecks that could stall your social media marketing efforts.

    1. Keep growing your team.

    If you’re looking to expand the expertise of your team and bring on more marketers, a natural assumption might be to hire professionals with direct insurance marketing experience. But remember that growth is the imperative behind your digital transformation in the first place, and if you really want to expand, that means expanding the perspectives on your teams as well. Hiring only marketers with industry experience can make your company seem indistinguishable from the rest as content will often look and feel the same.

    Instead, consider hiring people with different backgrounds and experiences, even from outside the industry, to shake things up with new perspectives. People from retail or consumer-brand backgrounds, for example, can invigorate your digital marketing strategy with fresh, new ideas and expose your team to different best practices that can help you stand out from the competition. Look into other industries that really seem to understand consumers and consumer behaviors.

    1. Embrace agility.

    Traditional marketing department structures at insurance companies can seem rigid and unable to change easily. But if the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that agility in the face of the unexpected is one key to a strong business.
    Structure your team in a way that enables you to pivot quickly when necessary—not just in the face of a global pandemic but also with constantly changing consumer preferences. Build a team that can constantly react to the ever-changing market with new digital tactics. And make sure your marketing team is supported by the right tools and marketing technology infrastructure to support such efforts.
    Invest in digital platforms that can automate campaign, content and message delivery across channels to keep your reaction nimble and responsive. The last thing you want is to spend weeks trying to get your marketing materials out, only to find they’re now irrelevant due to some market trend.

    1. Make data-informed decisions.

    When it comes to essential infrastructure for insurance companies today, remember the importance of data. Data and analytics are critical, and you need the right technology to capture, compile and disseminate data from disparate systems. The insights you can glean from well-organized data analysis can help your insurance marketing team make the best-informed decisions and provide the room to experiment and test messaging based on the most current information.

    The pandemic has forced the hand of many insurance marketing executives. Prioritizing digital marketing efforts is imperative today, but if companies want to see the most return from these investments, they need the right marketing structures to support them. Then, properly designed teams with the right tools and technologies in their arsenals can continue responding to changes as they come, constantly evolving digital marketing strategies and driving success.

    This article was originally published in Carrier Management.

    Download the Guide

    Thank you! Your submission has been received!
    Download Guide
    Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
    Download Guide
    ALL GUIDES:

    It’s no surprise that social media can help drive results for your mortgage business. In fact, the question for most marketers at mortgage lending institutions isn’t IF they should be doing more social media marketing - it’s HOW. Download to learn how to:

    • Scale your social selling program
    • Plan your content strategy
    • Train your loan officers

    AnnieMac is one of the fastest-growing mortgage loan providers in the U.S., serving clients in 42 states. Learn how Denim Social helped their team to streamline its brand’s social media strategy and activate social selling for hundreds of loan officers in just four months.

    Instant Download

    Find out how more than 400 financial institutions across asset classes, geographies, and more used social media in 2020 to effectively support their business objectives. We’ve also outlined key trends to inform your social media future.

    As mortgage demand surges to historic highs, home purchase and refinance markets remain hot. This is excellent news for loan officers, but it also means the environment is more competitive than ever.

    So how can marketers ensure that their loan officers stand out? The answer is social media.

    Read this guidebook from Denim Social to learn how you can help your loan officers build strong relationships, stand out from the crowd and win more business using social media.

    Every Mortgage Marketer Should Ask Themselves

    Compliance is complicated, but don’t let it stop your lending team from making the most of social media. Think you’re ready to start social selling? Ask yourself these five questions!

    Download this guidebook to learn how marketers are using social media to:

    • Drive business with the lowest digital spend compared to traditional media
    • Position employees as thought-leaders while leveraging their collective reach of their social media presence
    • Ultimately, build trust with their communities and customers that translates to positive business results

    Read this guide if you’re asking yourself:

    • Is my social media policy current and comprehensive?
    • How do I ensure social media compliance during M&A?
    • What do I need to consider for direct messaging compliance?

    In this guide we will help you think about your all important social media policy and thoughtfully consider how changes in social media tech and even your bank’s structure may impact compliance.

    Download this guidebook to learn how marketers are using social media to:

    • Drive business with the lowest digital spend compared to traditional media
    • Position employees as thought-leaders while leveraging their collective reach of their social media presence
    • Ultimately, build trust with their communities and customers that translates to positive business results

    Every Financial Services Marketer Should Ask Themselves

    Compliance is complicated, but don’t let it stop your lending team from making the most of social media. Think you’re ready to start social selling? Ask yourself these five questions!

    Stronger Customer Relationships on Instagram

    Financial Services companies should be marketing and advertising on Instagram. We break down why, and help you create a strategy to reach new customers- while continuing to build trust in your brand.

    How 6 Financial Marketers Are Creating Value in Social Media

    Ever wonder what everyone else is doing in social media? We talked to six leading financial marketers about how they’re succeeding today and planning for the next big thing.

    Get their insights on strengthening your social strategies, unlocking the power of employee networks and creating next-level content that drives engagement.

    Download this guidebook to learn how 3 mortgage lenders are using social media to:

    • Position themselves in a place the community is already looking ... their social media
    • Empower loan officers to engage in local conversations
    • Turn their institution's loan officers into the voice of their brand
    • Build trust within the community

    Which roles do you fill when building your bank's marketing dream team? This guide will show you the following:

    • Who does what
    • The right structure to execute strategy
    • How compliance software can help

    Enjoy!

    Download this guidebook to learn how marketers are using social media to:

    • Drive business with the lowest digital spend compared to traditional media
    • Position employees as thought-leaders while leveraging their collective reach of their social media presence
    • Ultimately, build trust with their communities and customers that translates to positive business results

    ABA Study: The Current State of Social Media

    See what nearly 430 bank marketers had to say when asked questions such as:

  • Is it important to equip your sales personnel with social media accounts?
  • Does your bank measure the impact of your social media use?
  • COVID-19 & Bank Social Media

    Times are different and how you connect with customers and potential customers has changed drastically. In a socially distant world, learn to still build lasting relationships.

    Download and learn the guiding principles for using social media to serve both your customers and communities in the midst of a pandemic.

    Evolve Bank & Trust (“Evolve”) is an $700M+ asset institution with nearly 40 Home Loan Centers (HLC) and nearly 500 employees nationwide. See how Denim Social helped Evolve activate Home Loan Center Facebook pages over the course of just a few months.

    Download Here

    As any marketer worth their salt will tell you, analytics should drive your social strategy. The key to success is understanding how to link social media efforts to ROI metrics. Read this guide to learn how to gain insights that matter, optimize your strategy and prove your social success.

    GUIDES

    Carrier Advice: How to Restructure Your Marketing Department

    Most insurance companies were setting out on a digital transformation journey with an expected time frame of about three to five years before COVID-19. Then the pandemic accelerated the need for digitization and shortened that time frame drastically—to about six months, in most cases.

    Insurance marketing teams were already using digital marketing prior to the pandemic. But as the pandemic created a world mostly void of face-to-face customer interactions, they had to ramp up digital campaigns and touchpoints significantly—and quickly. Marketers had no choice but to mold ad-hoc digital marketing strategies onto existing department structures.

    One problem with charging existing teams with new strategies is that they won’t always have the expertise necessary to pull them off. In-house teams might be used to handling copy and visual, as these have been and will continue to be staples of marketing for a long time. As a result of accelerated digitization across the industry, however, managing CRMs, digital marketing platforms and data are now also critical elements of insurance marketing responsibilities.

    Can your team support that, or do you need to expand and restructure?

    After more than a year of working this way, it’s time for insurance company leaders to take a deep breath and a step back. They need to critically evaluate the function and structure of their marketing departments to determine if they’re well-positioned to fully embrace modern approaches now and into the future. The tips listed below can help insurance company leaders create marketing departments best suited for pulling off excellent digital marketing strategies.

    1. Combine your brand and business unit marketing teams.

    The traditional marketing department structure at insurance companies separates brand marketers and business unit marketers into two or more teams. The brand team is responsible for building and strengthening brand identity and recognition and typically measures its marketing success in recall and impression metrics.

    The business unit teams, on the other hand, are responsible for supporting each line of business in the company, like property/casualty, life insurance, etc. These teams produce insurance marketing materials that generally aim to drive direct sales of a given product or service. A large part of measuring success for these teams comes down to conversion metrics.
    When these teams operate separately, they can too easily become misaligned around goals. Building the brand, especially on digital channels like social media, can also have a direct impact on conversions. Brand marketers need to think with a conversion mindset, and business unit marketers need to consider how traditionally brand-centric tools, like social media, actually can help grow the business. Essentially, you want to centralize your marketing team so every marketer can collaborate and communicate across the business and unify around shared goals.

    1. Democratize digital marketing.

    Marketers shouldn’t be the only team members able to drive your digital insurance marketing efforts. Agents, in particular, can have a huge impact on the business when they do marketing from their own social media business accounts. This approach, known as social selling, humanizes the brand and creates stronger connections between prospects and agents. It can help move prospects closer to conversion and continue nurturing customer relationships once they do convert.
    If employees are posting brand-related content on social media, however, marketers will need a way to oversee their activity to ensure all electronic communication stays compliant and consistent with brand messaging standards. A content management platform can help. Look for a platform outfitted with permission settings, user roles and governance features to help you democratize content and eliminate any bottlenecks that could stall your social media marketing efforts.

    1. Keep growing your team.

    If you’re looking to expand the expertise of your team and bring on more marketers, a natural assumption might be to hire professionals with direct insurance marketing experience. But remember that growth is the imperative behind your digital transformation in the first place, and if you really want to expand, that means expanding the perspectives on your teams as well. Hiring only marketers with industry experience can make your company seem indistinguishable from the rest as content will often look and feel the same.

    Instead, consider hiring people with different backgrounds and experiences, even from outside the industry, to shake things up with new perspectives. People from retail or consumer-brand backgrounds, for example, can invigorate your digital marketing strategy with fresh, new ideas and expose your team to different best practices that can help you stand out from the competition. Look into other industries that really seem to understand consumers and consumer behaviors.

    1. Embrace agility.

    Traditional marketing department structures at insurance companies can seem rigid and unable to change easily. But if the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that agility in the face of the unexpected is one key to a strong business.
    Structure your team in a way that enables you to pivot quickly when necessary—not just in the face of a global pandemic but also with constantly changing consumer preferences. Build a team that can constantly react to the ever-changing market with new digital tactics. And make sure your marketing team is supported by the right tools and marketing technology infrastructure to support such efforts.
    Invest in digital platforms that can automate campaign, content and message delivery across channels to keep your reaction nimble and responsive. The last thing you want is to spend weeks trying to get your marketing materials out, only to find they’re now irrelevant due to some market trend.

    1. Make data-informed decisions.

    When it comes to essential infrastructure for insurance companies today, remember the importance of data. Data and analytics are critical, and you need the right technology to capture, compile and disseminate data from disparate systems. The insights you can glean from well-organized data analysis can help your insurance marketing team make the best-informed decisions and provide the room to experiment and test messaging based on the most current information.

    The pandemic has forced the hand of many insurance marketing executives. Prioritizing digital marketing efforts is imperative today, but if companies want to see the most return from these investments, they need the right marketing structures to support them. Then, properly designed teams with the right tools and technologies in their arsenals can continue responding to changes as they come, constantly evolving digital marketing strategies and driving success.

    This article was originally published in Carrier Management.

    Download the Guide

    Thank you! Your submission has been received!
    Download Guide
    Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
    Download Guide
    ALL GUIDES:

    It’s no surprise that social media can help drive results for your mortgage business. In fact, the question for most marketers at mortgage lending institutions isn’t IF they should be doing more social media marketing - it’s HOW. Download to learn how to:

    • Scale your social selling program
    • Plan your content strategy
    • Train your loan officers

    AnnieMac is one of the fastest-growing mortgage loan providers in the U.S., serving clients in 42 states. Learn how Denim Social helped their team to streamline its brand’s social media strategy and activate social selling for hundreds of loan officers in just four months.

    Instant Download

    Find out how more than 400 financial institutions across asset classes, geographies, and more used social media in 2020 to effectively support their business objectives. We’ve also outlined key trends to inform your social media future.

    As mortgage demand surges to historic highs, home purchase and refinance markets remain hot. This is excellent news for loan officers, but it also means the environment is more competitive than ever.

    So how can marketers ensure that their loan officers stand out? The answer is social media.

    Read this guidebook from Denim Social to learn how you can help your loan officers build strong relationships, stand out from the crowd and win more business using social media.

    Every Mortgage Marketer Should Ask Themselves

    Compliance is complicated, but don’t let it stop your lending team from making the most of social media. Think you’re ready to start social selling? Ask yourself these five questions!

    Download this guidebook to learn how marketers are using social media to:

    • Drive business with the lowest digital spend compared to traditional media
    • Position employees as thought-leaders while leveraging their collective reach of their social media presence
    • Ultimately, build trust with their communities and customers that translates to positive business results

    Read this guide if you’re asking yourself:

    • Is my social media policy current and comprehensive?
    • How do I ensure social media compliance during M&A?
    • What do I need to consider for direct messaging compliance?

    In this guide we will help you think about your all important social media policy and thoughtfully consider how changes in social media tech and even your bank’s structure may impact compliance.

    Download this guidebook to learn how marketers are using social media to:

    • Drive business with the lowest digital spend compared to traditional media
    • Position employees as thought-leaders while leveraging their collective reach of their social media presence
    • Ultimately, build trust with their communities and customers that translates to positive business results

    Every Financial Services Marketer Should Ask Themselves

    Compliance is complicated, but don’t let it stop your lending team from making the most of social media. Think you’re ready to start social selling? Ask yourself these five questions!

    Stronger Customer Relationships on Instagram

    Financial Services companies should be marketing and advertising on Instagram. We break down why, and help you create a strategy to reach new customers- while continuing to build trust in your brand.

    How 6 Financial Marketers Are Creating Value in Social Media

    Ever wonder what everyone else is doing in social media? We talked to six leading financial marketers about how they’re succeeding today and planning for the next big thing.

    Get their insights on strengthening your social strategies, unlocking the power of employee networks and creating next-level content that drives engagement.

    Download this guidebook to learn how 3 mortgage lenders are using social media to:

    • Position themselves in a place the community is already looking ... their social media
    • Empower loan officers to engage in local conversations
    • Turn their institution's loan officers into the voice of their brand
    • Build trust within the community

    Which roles do you fill when building your bank's marketing dream team? This guide will show you the following:

    • Who does what
    • The right structure to execute strategy
    • How compliance software can help

    Enjoy!

    Download this guidebook to learn how marketers are using social media to:

    • Drive business with the lowest digital spend compared to traditional media
    • Position employees as thought-leaders while leveraging their collective reach of their social media presence
    • Ultimately, build trust with their communities and customers that translates to positive business results

    ABA Study: The Current State of Social Media

    See what nearly 430 bank marketers had to say when asked questions such as:

  • Is it important to equip your sales personnel with social media accounts?
  • Does your bank measure the impact of your social media use?
  • COVID-19 & Bank Social Media

    Times are different and how you connect with customers and potential customers has changed drastically. In a socially distant world, learn to still build lasting relationships.

    Download and learn the guiding principles for using social media to serve both your customers and communities in the midst of a pandemic.

    Evolve Bank & Trust (“Evolve”) is an $700M+ asset institution with nearly 40 Home Loan Centers (HLC) and nearly 500 employees nationwide. See how Denim Social helped Evolve activate Home Loan Center Facebook pages over the course of just a few months.

    Download Here

    As any marketer worth their salt will tell you, analytics should drive your social strategy. The key to success is understanding how to link social media efforts to ROI metrics. Read this guide to learn how to gain insights that matter, optimize your strategy and prove your social success.

    GUIDES

    Carrier Advice: How to Restructure Your Marketing Department

    Most insurance companies were setting out on a digital transformation journey with an expected time frame of about three to five years before COVID-19. Then the pandemic accelerated the need for digitization and shortened that time frame drastically—to about six months, in most cases.

    Insurance marketing teams were already using digital marketing prior to the pandemic. But as the pandemic created a world mostly void of face-to-face customer interactions, they had to ramp up digital campaigns and touchpoints significantly—and quickly. Marketers had no choice but to mold ad-hoc digital marketing strategies onto existing department structures.

    One problem with charging existing teams with new strategies is that they won’t always have the expertise necessary to pull them off. In-house teams might be used to handling copy and visual, as these have been and will continue to be staples of marketing for a long time. As a result of accelerated digitization across the industry, however, managing CRMs, digital marketing platforms and data are now also critical elements of insurance marketing responsibilities.

    Can your team support that, or do you need to expand and restructure?

    After more than a year of working this way, it’s time for insurance company leaders to take a deep breath and a step back. They need to critically evaluate the function and structure of their marketing departments to determine if they’re well-positioned to fully embrace modern approaches now and into the future. The tips listed below can help insurance company leaders create marketing departments best suited for pulling off excellent digital marketing strategies.

    1. Combine your brand and business unit marketing teams.

    The traditional marketing department structure at insurance companies separates brand marketers and business unit marketers into two or more teams. The brand team is responsible for building and strengthening brand identity and recognition and typically measures its marketing success in recall and impression metrics.

    The business unit teams, on the other hand, are responsible for supporting each line of business in the company, like property/casualty, life insurance, etc. These teams produce insurance marketing materials that generally aim to drive direct sales of a given product or service. A large part of measuring success for these teams comes down to conversion metrics.
    When these teams operate separately, they can too easily become misaligned around goals. Building the brand, especially on digital channels like social media, can also have a direct impact on conversions. Brand marketers need to think with a conversion mindset, and business unit marketers need to consider how traditionally brand-centric tools, like social media, actually can help grow the business. Essentially, you want to centralize your marketing team so every marketer can collaborate and communicate across the business and unify around shared goals.

    1. Democratize digital marketing.

    Marketers shouldn’t be the only team members able to drive your digital insurance marketing efforts. Agents, in particular, can have a huge impact on the business when they do marketing from their own social media business accounts. This approach, known as social selling, humanizes the brand and creates stronger connections between prospects and agents. It can help move prospects closer to conversion and continue nurturing customer relationships once they do convert.
    If employees are posting brand-related content on social media, however, marketers will need a way to oversee their activity to ensure all electronic communication stays compliant and consistent with brand messaging standards. A content management platform can help. Look for a platform outfitted with permission settings, user roles and governance features to help you democratize content and eliminate any bottlenecks that could stall your social media marketing efforts.

    1. Keep growing your team.

    If you’re looking to expand the expertise of your team and bring on more marketers, a natural assumption might be to hire professionals with direct insurance marketing experience. But remember that growth is the imperative behind your digital transformation in the first place, and if you really want to expand, that means expanding the perspectives on your teams as well. Hiring only marketers with industry experience can make your company seem indistinguishable from the rest as content will often look and feel the same.

    Instead, consider hiring people with different backgrounds and experiences, even from outside the industry, to shake things up with new perspectives. People from retail or consumer-brand backgrounds, for example, can invigorate your digital marketing strategy with fresh, new ideas and expose your team to different best practices that can help you stand out from the competition. Look into other industries that really seem to understand consumers and consumer behaviors.

    1. Embrace agility.

    Traditional marketing department structures at insurance companies can seem rigid and unable to change easily. But if the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that agility in the face of the unexpected is one key to a strong business.
    Structure your team in a way that enables you to pivot quickly when necessary—not just in the face of a global pandemic but also with constantly changing consumer preferences. Build a team that can constantly react to the ever-changing market with new digital tactics. And make sure your marketing team is supported by the right tools and marketing technology infrastructure to support such efforts.
    Invest in digital platforms that can automate campaign, content and message delivery across channels to keep your reaction nimble and responsive. The last thing you want is to spend weeks trying to get your marketing materials out, only to find they’re now irrelevant due to some market trend.

    1. Make data-informed decisions.

    When it comes to essential infrastructure for insurance companies today, remember the importance of data. Data and analytics are critical, and you need the right technology to capture, compile and disseminate data from disparate systems. The insights you can glean from well-organized data analysis can help your insurance marketing team make the best-informed decisions and provide the room to experiment and test messaging based on the most current information.

    The pandemic has forced the hand of many insurance marketing executives. Prioritizing digital marketing efforts is imperative today, but if companies want to see the most return from these investments, they need the right marketing structures to support them. Then, properly designed teams with the right tools and technologies in their arsenals can continue responding to changes as they come, constantly evolving digital marketing strategies and driving success.

    This article was originally published in Carrier Management.

    Download the Guide

    Thank you! Your submission has been received!
    Download Guide
    Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
    ALL GUIDES:

    It’s no surprise that social media can help drive results for your mortgage business. In fact, the question for most marketers at mortgage lending institutions isn’t IF they should be doing more social media marketing - it’s HOW. Download to learn how to:

    • Scale your social selling program
    • Plan your content strategy
    • Train your loan officers

    AnnieMac is one of the fastest-growing mortgage loan providers in the U.S., serving clients in 42 states. Learn how Denim Social helped their team to streamline its brand’s social media strategy and activate social selling for hundreds of loan officers in just four months.

    Instant Download

    Find out how more than 400 financial institutions across asset classes, geographies, and more used social media in 2020 to effectively support their business objectives. We’ve also outlined key trends to inform your social media future.

    As mortgage demand surges to historic highs, home purchase and refinance markets remain hot. This is excellent news for loan officers, but it also means the environment is more competitive than ever.

    So how can marketers ensure that their loan officers stand out? The answer is social media.

    Read this guidebook from Denim Social to learn how you can help your loan officers build strong relationships, stand out from the crowd and win more business using social media.

    Every Mortgage Marketer Should Ask Themselves

    Compliance is complicated, but don’t let it stop your lending team from making the most of social media. Think you’re ready to start social selling? Ask yourself these five questions!

    Download this guidebook to learn how marketers are using social media to:

    • Drive business with the lowest digital spend compared to traditional media
    • Position employees as thought-leaders while leveraging their collective reach of their social media presence
    • Ultimately, build trust with their communities and customers that translates to positive business results

    Read this guide if you’re asking yourself:

    • Is my social media policy current and comprehensive?
    • How do I ensure social media compliance during M&A?
    • What do I need to consider for direct messaging compliance?

    In this guide we will help you think about your all important social media policy and thoughtfully consider how changes in social media tech and even your bank’s structure may impact compliance.

    Download this guidebook to learn how marketers are using social media to:

    • Drive business with the lowest digital spend compared to traditional media
    • Position employees as thought-leaders while leveraging their collective reach of their social media presence
    • Ultimately, build trust with their communities and customers that translates to positive business results

    Every Financial Services Marketer Should Ask Themselves

    Compliance is complicated, but don’t let it stop your lending team from making the most of social media. Think you’re ready to start social selling? Ask yourself these five questions!

    Stronger Customer Relationships on Instagram

    Financial Services companies should be marketing and advertising on Instagram. We break down why, and help you create a strategy to reach new customers- while continuing to build trust in your brand.

    How 6 Financial Marketers Are Creating Value in Social Media

    Ever wonder what everyone else is doing in social media? We talked to six leading financial marketers about how they’re succeeding today and planning for the next big thing.

    Get their insights on strengthening your social strategies, unlocking the power of employee networks and creating next-level content that drives engagement.

    Download this guidebook to learn how 3 mortgage lenders are using social media to:

    • Position themselves in a place the community is already looking ... their social media
    • Empower loan officers to engage in local conversations
    • Turn their institution's loan officers into the voice of their brand
    • Build trust within the community

    Which roles do you fill when building your bank's marketing dream team? This guide will show you the following:

    • Who does what
    • The right structure to execute strategy
    • How compliance software can help

    Enjoy!

    Download this guidebook to learn how marketers are using social media to:

    • Drive business with the lowest digital spend compared to traditional media
    • Position employees as thought-leaders while leveraging their collective reach of their social media presence
    • Ultimately, build trust with their communities and customers that translates to positive business results

    ABA Study: The Current State of Social Media

    See what nearly 430 bank marketers had to say when asked questions such as:

  • Is it important to equip your sales personnel with social media accounts?
  • Does your bank measure the impact of your social media use?
  • COVID-19 & Bank Social Media

    Times are different and how you connect with customers and potential customers has changed drastically. In a socially distant world, learn to still build lasting relationships.

    Download and learn the guiding principles for using social media to serve both your customers and communities in the midst of a pandemic.

    Evolve Bank & Trust (“Evolve”) is an $700M+ asset institution with nearly 40 Home Loan Centers (HLC) and nearly 500 employees nationwide. See how Denim Social helped Evolve activate Home Loan Center Facebook pages over the course of just a few months.

    Download Here

    As any marketer worth their salt will tell you, analytics should drive your social strategy. The key to success is understanding how to link social media efforts to ROI metrics. Read this guide to learn how to gain insights that matter, optimize your strategy and prove your social success.

    RESOURCES

    NEWS
    October 26, 2021

    Carrier Advice: How to Restructure Your Marketing Department

    By
    Doug Wilber
    CEO, Denim Social

    Most insurance companies were setting out on a digital transformation journey with an expected time frame of about three to five years before COVID-19. Then the pandemic accelerated the need for digitization and shortened that time frame drastically—to about six months, in most cases.

    Insurance marketing teams were already using digital marketing prior to the pandemic. But as the pandemic created a world mostly void of face-to-face customer interactions, they had to ramp up digital campaigns and touchpoints significantly—and quickly. Marketers had no choice but to mold ad-hoc digital marketing strategies onto existing department structures.

    One problem with charging existing teams with new strategies is that they won’t always have the expertise necessary to pull them off. In-house teams might be used to handling copy and visual, as these have been and will continue to be staples of marketing for a long time. As a result of accelerated digitization across the industry, however, managing CRMs, digital marketing platforms and data are now also critical elements of insurance marketing responsibilities.

    Can your team support that, or do you need to expand and restructure?

    After more than a year of working this way, it’s time for insurance company leaders to take a deep breath and a step back. They need to critically evaluate the function and structure of their marketing departments to determine if they’re well-positioned to fully embrace modern approaches now and into the future. The tips listed below can help insurance company leaders create marketing departments best suited for pulling off excellent digital marketing strategies.

    1. Combine your brand and business unit marketing teams.

    The traditional marketing department structure at insurance companies separates brand marketers and business unit marketers into two or more teams. The brand team is responsible for building and strengthening brand identity and recognition and typically measures its marketing success in recall and impression metrics.

    The business unit teams, on the other hand, are responsible for supporting each line of business in the company, like property/casualty, life insurance, etc. These teams produce insurance marketing materials that generally aim to drive direct sales of a given product or service. A large part of measuring success for these teams comes down to conversion metrics.
    When these teams operate separately, they can too easily become misaligned around goals. Building the brand, especially on digital channels like social media, can also have a direct impact on conversions. Brand marketers need to think with a conversion mindset, and business unit marketers need to consider how traditionally brand-centric tools, like social media, actually can help grow the business. Essentially, you want to centralize your marketing team so every marketer can collaborate and communicate across the business and unify around shared goals.

    1. Democratize digital marketing.

    Marketers shouldn’t be the only team members able to drive your digital insurance marketing efforts. Agents, in particular, can have a huge impact on the business when they do marketing from their own social media business accounts. This approach, known as social selling, humanizes the brand and creates stronger connections between prospects and agents. It can help move prospects closer to conversion and continue nurturing customer relationships once they do convert.
    If employees are posting brand-related content on social media, however, marketers will need a way to oversee their activity to ensure all electronic communication stays compliant and consistent with brand messaging standards. A content management platform can help. Look for a platform outfitted with permission settings, user roles and governance features to help you democratize content and eliminate any bottlenecks that could stall your social media marketing efforts.

    1. Keep growing your team.

    If you’re looking to expand the expertise of your team and bring on more marketers, a natural assumption might be to hire professionals with direct insurance marketing experience. But remember that growth is the imperative behind your digital transformation in the first place, and if you really want to expand, that means expanding the perspectives on your teams as well. Hiring only marketers with industry experience can make your company seem indistinguishable from the rest as content will often look and feel the same.

    Instead, consider hiring people with different backgrounds and experiences, even from outside the industry, to shake things up with new perspectives. People from retail or consumer-brand backgrounds, for example, can invigorate your digital marketing strategy with fresh, new ideas and expose your team to different best practices that can help you stand out from the competition. Look into other industries that really seem to understand consumers and consumer behaviors.

    1. Embrace agility.

    Traditional marketing department structures at insurance companies can seem rigid and unable to change easily. But if the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that agility in the face of the unexpected is one key to a strong business.
    Structure your team in a way that enables you to pivot quickly when necessary—not just in the face of a global pandemic but also with constantly changing consumer preferences. Build a team that can constantly react to the ever-changing market with new digital tactics. And make sure your marketing team is supported by the right tools and marketing technology infrastructure to support such efforts.
    Invest in digital platforms that can automate campaign, content and message delivery across channels to keep your reaction nimble and responsive. The last thing you want is to spend weeks trying to get your marketing materials out, only to find they’re now irrelevant due to some market trend.

    1. Make data-informed decisions.

    When it comes to essential infrastructure for insurance companies today, remember the importance of data. Data and analytics are critical, and you need the right technology to capture, compile and disseminate data from disparate systems. The insights you can glean from well-organized data analysis can help your insurance marketing team make the best-informed decisions and provide the room to experiment and test messaging based on the most current information.

    The pandemic has forced the hand of many insurance marketing executives. Prioritizing digital marketing efforts is imperative today, but if companies want to see the most return from these investments, they need the right marketing structures to support them. Then, properly designed teams with the right tools and technologies in their arsenals can continue responding to changes as they come, constantly evolving digital marketing strategies and driving success.

    This article was originally published in Carrier Management.

    Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest sent to your inbox.
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    OTHER NEWS:

    People buy from people. That fundamental truth is the cornerstone of the insurance industry and is holding true even as the insurance value chain becomes more and more digital. But in a world where customers increasingly avoid in-person interactions — McKinsey’s 2020 U.S. Insurance Agent Survey saw a 65% drop in face-to-face conversations in 2020, with a slow recovery — how do agents adjust? The answer is to meet customers where they are - online.

    Insurance professionals likely view social media as a necessary evil, but social media can be a powerful sales tool, putting agents right in the path of their clients and prospects. It’s more than just posting content into a digital void; it’s taking what agents have done for decades to build their business and bringing it to life within the social media landscape. Consider this: GWI research suggests online consumers around the globe spend almost 2.5 hours scrolling through social sites daily.

    Putting energy into social media as a sales tool means attracting those eyes and winning more chances to interact with prospects and customers. But where do you start? Here are a few things to consider before leaning into social selling.

    1. Learn exactly what social selling is (and isn’t)

    Social selling is using social media to showcase thought leadership and industry expertise, build relationships and, ultimately, connect with new prospects while maintaining trust with existing ones. But a social selling strategy requires much more than having a Twitter account; it requires the same attention as any sales methods do. It’s taking social beyond simply posting regularly. It’s using social as a connection point to identify life events and points of connection with your community. And the good news is, you should see the returns. LinkedIn’s Social Selling data notes that 78% of social sellers outshine their peers who aren’t using social media as a sales tool.

    1. Take stock of your social media accounts

    If you hope to capitalize on social selling, you must first take stock of your existing social media accounts and look for opportunities to strengthen your overall social presence.

    Whichever social channel mix you’ve decided is right for your business (it’s OK not to be on every social platform!), you always want to make sure your brand is consistent and robust across each channel. That sounds easy, but there are a few things to consider to ensure that your identity is clear and consistent:

    • Profile images: Whether it’s a professionally taken photo, a well-lit high-resolution image taken on a smartphone or your company logo, make sure your profile images reflect how you and your company look today. (For example: Don’t use your headshot from 15 years ago.)
    • Cover images: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter all have a space for a cover or background image. Be sure you have a cover image that is consistent with your brand and that you have the rights to use that image.
    • “About” sections: Today’s consumers use social media for information searches like they use Google, so your bios and “about” sections pages are more important than ever. Sections can vary across social channels, but your information should be accurate and reflect your business on each channel. Pay special attention to your business description, location information and hours of operation.

    Rather than jump right into the heavy stuff, it’s important to get these social media ducks in a row first.

    1. Make a plan for posting, engaging and amplifying.

    After your social accounts are up to speed, it’s important to have a plan. Regularly posting content is only the foundation of social selling, but it will help keep you top of mind with your followers and give you a place to interact with them. It also sets you up well when you’re ready to start putting money behind your posts with paid social advertising.

    Beyond posting, it’s important to keep an eye on those who interact with your posts. Comment back, connect with them or, better yet, give them a call. Social selling really comes to life when you can weave social into your everyday sales practices. Either way, prioritize social just as you would other crucial facets of your business. Post regularly and have a plan for responding and engaging with your existing and potential clients. Then turn those engagements into sales opportunities.

    1. Leverage your resources.

    You’re not the only one flexing your social selling muscles, so look to others – even insights from competitors - for help. A good way to begin is to look at the social accounts of others in and out of your sector. What are they writing about? What posts seem to engage followers? How are they branding themselves to be trustworthy experts? Use the information you gather to help you plan your own social selling and content strategy.

    The question shouldn’t be if you should start social selling, it’s when. Your existing and potential clients are there, waiting for you. You only must give social selling the time and energy it deserves. As someone in a profession built around risk, you’ll find that social selling is a safe bet.

    This article was originally published in Insurance Newsnet.

    In today’s origination and refi environment, most mortgage loan officers are finding it’s no longer fish in a barrel. That means every loan officer needs to consider their competitive edge. And when bargain-basement rates are no longer the decision driver for prospects, relationships matter more than ever.

    Everyone knows a successful sales strategy is focused on building long-term, trusted relationships, but today, that means building relationships online. Social media has long been regarded as a brand builder, but the real power of social is using it as a sales tool. It’s called social selling and it works.

    Social selling is just what it sounds like: using social media to sell a product or service. It’s leveraging social to build personal relationships, showcase thought leadership, engage with prospects, interact with existing customers, and ultimately build trust and rapport that will eventually lead to deals.

    An active social selling strategy can not only help build ongoing relationships, but keep you top of mind with contacts when opportunities open up – and in this rate environment, that can be short-lived.

    Social selling requires continual care and management, but it’s worth the investment of time, and effort when you’re using social to drive business results. A daily social selling routine helps loan officers in so many ways and managing a program doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Here’s where to start:

    Optimize Your Profile

    Before you even get to posting, it’s important to take a look at your profiles to ensure your brand is consistent across channels. Ensure you have a current and easily recognizable profile picture. If you haven’t already, upload a cover image and update the about section to be your descriptions, location and hours are current.

    Post Meaningful and Relevant Content

    It’s not only important for you to be posting regularly, you need to be posting with purpose. Your social profiles should be an extension of who you are in real life. Authenticity always wins in social media.

    There is no magic formula for how often you should post, but consistency is key. Successful social selling programs offer a variety of organic content. The mix looks different for every loan officer, but commonly a healthy and informed mix includes brand, industry and most importantly, personal/community content.

    Interact with the Community

    Social media is a two-way conversation and that means you need to be interacting with followers. In other words, don’t post and ghost. Social selling is about listening, responding and engaging. It’s a conversation, so you should be promptly responding to comments and direct messages, showing connections that their inquiries and concerns matter.

    When every deal matters, so does every relationship. If you’re looking to build trust and connection with customers and prospects alike, make sure your profiles are up to date, post regularly and interact with your followers. A social selling strategy can help you make the most of social media opportunities in a competitive environment.

    This article was originally published in MBA Newslink.

    The insurance industry is built on — and amazing at! — assessing risk. But the industry’s risk aversion has put insurance marketers between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, modern customer expectations mean agents need to leverage their relationship-building skills to gain ground online. On the other, unfamiliarity and fears about compliance are driving slow social selling adoption across the industry. While the concept may seem novel to some insurance leaders, that doesn't mean their competition is standing on the sidelines. After all, rival carriers aren’t twiddling their thumbs; many are jumping headfirst into social selling strategies and generating the new business to show for it.

    The good news is that adopting social selling doesn’t mean the industry has to reinvent the wheel. Rather, it should feel natural because this kind of digital communication is simply an extension of what agents are already doing. Instead of viewing digital marketing and social selling as an entirely new strategy, remember that it’s built on the same bread-and-butter relationship skills that trusted insurance advisors have always used with their customers. Insurance leaders must acknowledge social media as a sales channel, just like cold calling and in-person meetings, and must integrate social selling into the fabric of their organizations.

    How to Advocate for Social Selling

    Social media isn’t going anywhere. It’s where consumers are interacting with each other, looking for advice, and learning new things. This means intermediaries have to be there, too. Insurance agents need to reach their clients and prospects alike on social media, and the carriers and agencies they’re part of can help.

    With this in mind, insurance marketers and leaders must advocate for social selling throughout the organization. And everyone has a role to play. While marketers will stay busy coordinating paid ad campaigns to reach new target audiences and managing the branded social media, agents and other representatives of the brand must be on board as well: They need to be posting, liking, and replying to build relationships and bring a human touch to the broader social media strategy. Getting this buy-in means bridging the gap between sales and marketing — and educating them on why social selling works. If you're ready to sell-in social selling, here are four ways to get started:

    1. Get Everybody on the Same Page

    While some marketers may already be comfortable with the concept, social selling is still a recent marketing innovation for the insurance industry. Marketers need to get up to speed on strategy and execution, while also educating the organization (especially intermediaries — have we mentioned how important they are?).

    Start by defining social selling. This is our shorthand definition:

    Social selling is using social media to sell a product or service. It’s using social to:

    · Showcase thought leadership

    · Engage with potential customers

    · Interact with existing customers

    · Build trust and relationships

    Sounds pretty straightforward, right? While the execution can be trickier — think balancing paid and organic advertising, tracking analytics to calculate ROI, and overseeing the social media accounts of all the intermediaries — starting simple helps ease everyone into the process. This is especially important for advisors with limited social media experience. Lead with empathy to help them adjust to the new face of insurance marketing.

    2. Speak Their Language — With Stats to Back You Up

    Intermediaries want to build relationships and drive results — and social selling can help them do it — but only if they understand its potential. Highlight the value social selling has for both the company and individual intermediaries. Thankfully, this is one of the easier parts of selling social selling: The stats can do all the heavy lifting.

    Gather good information from trustworthy sources. If you’re going to be persuasive, you have to paint the picture of what social selling can do. Some of our favorite data comes from LinkedIn. Sales reps scoring higher on LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index experience:

    · 45% more sales opportunities

    · 51% higher likelihood to hit quotas

    · 78% outselling peers who don’t use social media

    And don’t be afraid to share the success you’ve had with brand social media, too. Brand social media and intermediary social selling, paid social ads, and organic social media content: All of these are chapters in the greater narrative of successful digital marketing strategies.

    3. Seriously, Bring Up the Data

    Raw numbers are well and good, but case studies marry data and narrative in a uniquely compelling way. Countless other industries have had success with social selling, and insurance needs to pay attention. Share these stories about what social selling has accomplished for so many other businesses. The housing industry, for one, has been particularly astute with social selling in recent years, especially when it comes to mortgage lending.

    In addition to formal case studies, bring the concept to life with experiences anyone can understand or has likely seen in their personal social media feeds. Local real estate agents are great examples of an industry that’s exemplary at utilizing social selling tools. Instead of starting from scratch, look to adjacent regulated industries to guide the way.

    4. Create a Culture of Q&As

    Don’t assume leaders know that social media is a sales channel — but also, don’t talk down to them when explaining the state of digital marketing. This means creating safe spaces where pros can ask questions (and not feel silly). Have a coffee; grab lunch. Give someone permission to be vulnerable and learn. Their aversion is likely rooted in misunderstanding. And remember, more experienced professionals may never have used social media for anything other than personal sharing. Empathy is your best friend. Walking alongside leaders and agents as they dip their feet into social selling will be so much more effective than talking down to them from the podium of knowledge. Building a strong foundation of understanding and a desire to learn will go a long way toward activating a social selling strategy.

    Social media marketing for insurance intermediaries may seem like a radical concept, but it’s more radical to not be using social as a sales tool. Sure, it may be new and feel risky, but educating the team and arming them with resources will make social selling feel not only prudent but necessary. To learn more about how social selling can help you reach your audience, request a demo today.

    The insurance industry is built on managing risk — but an aversion to risk may leave executives hesitant to support your more modern (and more effective!) marketing strategies. But failure to adapt means resigning yourself to falling behind competitors.

    Even for carriers who ride the digital wave, reliance on legacy systems could be holding them back. For insurance marketers to adopt modern digital strategies — like integrated organic and paid social selling through intermediaries — they must educate decision makers and effectively make the case to adopt supportive technology.

    This means marketers must take on the role of educator. The reality is, while many companies may think they already have integrated social strategies, they're often conflating social selling with brand-level social media — and they're leaving opportunity on the table in the process. It's up to marketing leaders, like you, to create a culture around social selling, differentiate from brand-level social, nurture top performers, and adopt the right technology. Sound overwhelming? Here's where to start.

    Enabling Intermediaries to Leverage Social Selling

    Why is social selling so necessary for insurance agents? It's simple: Social media brings us together. It's where people blend their real lives with their digital lives. While everyone loves a good dancing cat video, social channels facilitate so much more than fleeting entertainment. They serve as a resource for creating connections, building trust, and strengthening relationships. Their connective power makes them the perfect avenue for leveraging insurance marketers' best resource: agents. People buy from people, and enabling insurance agents to use social media as a sales tool not only amplifies your brand-level marketing but allows for deeper, more localized relationship-building.

    While it's understandable that some insurance leaders worry about how regulation factors into online activity, remind them that social media doesn't bring a new set of rules to learn. Can't do it in real life? Then don't do it on social media. Though social media is a unique setting, it doesn’t require a new playbook. Your agents' social media behavior shouldn't be any different from how they interact via email or in person. They should be authentic. Let the agents be advisors — just bring them to a new medium.

    If you’re a social media marketer in the insurance world, you’re in a great position to advocate for organizational change and bring social selling to your company. By using these strategies, you'll be able to shift your company's view of social selling and overcome long-held misperceptions about social media marketing while also improving your metrics.

    1. Build a culture from the inside out.

    Want your insurance agents or intermediaries to love social selling? You won’t make inroads until you can show them what social selling is and what it can do. Social in any regulated industry can feel scary and risky, so weaving social selling into sales processes that have “always been done a certain way” will feel like a huge change, both internally and externally. Remember: This is a marathon, not a sprint. Build a solid internal foundation before launch.

    For example, we talk about agents or intermediaries being on social to drive business, but sales and marketing teams need to be there as well. Everyone across sales and marketing needs to be present on social, understand how to optimize their profiles, and participate in the greater digital discourse. People need to use it to understand its value, and people who understand its value will be more encouraged to adopt it. In time, your colleagues will see social selling’s benefits, and you’ll have a better chance at launching a more widespread social selling initiative.

    2. Educate your colleagues and intermediaries on social branding versus social selling.

    Most insurance professionals understand on some level that digital marketing is important for amplifying brand messaging. What they may not realize is that social selling is a nonnegotiable sales tool in today's digital world. It's up to you as the marketer to take ownership over shifting this narrative — holding the importance of brand messaging in one hand and relationship-building in the other. Social media enables both, and you must utilize both aspects to get the most out of your digital marketing strategies.

    While you do this, keep in mind your co-workers' level of digital literacy. Would it be helpful to host general training on social media? Don’t assume that everyone uses it personally or understands its role in business.

    A good starting point to drive home the importance of taking social selling seriously is to talk about the next generation of insurance customers. Today, Millennials and Generation Z make up the biggest buying cohort for insurance products. Because they’re more likely to be active on social media, social selling is a natural fit.

    3. Find and nurture internal social selling champions.

    Building and nurturing an internal culture of social selling puts much of the onus on you, so it's essential to find internal cheerleaders to help get the culture shift started. These internal champions will support your education and promotion efforts and will expand your range of influence. Good places to look for influencers are among your sales leaders and partners who are hungry to try any tactics that will improve lead generation and conversion rates.

    Be ready to buy those internal champions a coffee and have conversations about social media. Get them comfortable with it — and give them space to ask questions. Make it feel accessible and understandable. Once you get them in your camp, they'll help you advocate for something bigger. And once your social selling fans are in place, you can work with them to implement social selling into their workflows with social selling tools.

    4. Advocate for the tools to make social selling successful.

    When brand-only social media and social selling aren't differentiated, neither are the tools used to manage them. Marketers can feel like they have one hand tied behind their backs if they're using the wrong social media management tool for a social selling program.

    The easy solution? To launch a true social selling program, companies must invest in the right technology. We don't mean building your own digital tools — though that may be an option for a Fortune 100 company, it's often more trouble than it's worth. Bespoke options are nice, but hiring a whole team of developers to create new software and keeping them on the payroll to maintain it can be a huge sink of resources. While it's understandable to be wary of outside vendors — and wonder whether they can understand the industry and the business's specific challenges — the right platform can ensure that content sourcing, approval workflows, and compliance are easy and scalable for your social selling program.

    With an educated team, an open culture, and the right tools, social selling can become a true avenue of business growth. As your agents grow into everyday social sellers, your leads will grow, too. Relationships are your greatest asset; make sure you're utilizing them with social media.

    Want to learn more about social selling in the insurance industry? Book a Denim Social demo today.

    In the digital age, convenience is king. Digital channels are accessible for customers and scalable for banks, but the lack of emotional connection means clients are less likely to develop brand loyalty. Unsurprisingly, a large percentage of millennials and Gen Xers have no issue switching retail banks.

    There’s no fighting the digital revolution, but this doesn’t mean you should stop prioritizing customer experience. If anything, digital places an even higher value on reevaluating customer needs and creating a human-centric approach to connect with them.

    We’re past the age of greeting customers with coffee in the bank lobby. Rather than in-person communication, one-to-one omnichannel marketing focuses on using many channels to connect with customers. No two consumers have the same media habits, so it’s essential to personalize their interactions by integrating their preferred channels to create seamless service interactions.

    What does this look like for banks? It starts with a diverse range of channel options to meet the preferences and needs of unique customers, and then to translate those human relationships to meet the needs of the channel.

    Reaching your customers on their level sounds expensive but can help banks save money in the long run: Increasing retention rates by just 5% can lead to a 25% profit boost, and banks with superior customer satisfaction grow deposits at a faster rate than their competitors.

    Here are three guidelines for shaping a personalized omnichannel strategy.

    Engage on the customer’s preferred channel: Customers say communicating via their preferred method is the second-most important factor in their business decisions. While the size of today’s media landscape means banks need to be active on multiple channels, data insights can help you identify which ones are worth putting resources into.

    Another benefit of using your future customer’s preferred platform is trust. When a bank customer feels heard and catered to, the relationship will be built more on trust. Regardless of which platforms your institution is on, interacting with customers on the one they trust and prefer can also build their trust in you.

    Humanize your customer interactions: In financial services, people buy from people. Relationships are the bedrock of the industry, so transform those relationships for the digital age. Use social selling to help by having bank employees to work front and center in digital outreach. When customers interact with your bank, are they relating it to a specific person or just a brand?

    Promotional emails from a person instead of a generic brand address is a start, but personal communication goes much deeper. Use social media to enable social selling for associates.

    Prioritizing social selling can be more efficient by capitalizing on employees’ social reach.

    Customize your messaging: It can be easy to send a mass-marketing email to a collection of potential marketing leads — but what’s easy isn’t always what’s effective. Operating on different channels requires understanding the rules of communication for each platform.

    Instagram is a visual platform, so it would be out-of-touch for a bank to post word-heavy content there. Instead, use infographics and other image-based material. Taking stock of different social media methods better prepares you to reach audiences effectively.

    Banks need to make each communication platform work for the needs of their audience, taking into account the user base and the nature of their business. Design campaigns based around each customer and offer personalization options to tailor these messages further. For example, messages or imagery related to legacy planning may not be well-received on Instagram, a platform dominated by younger users. Similarly, older audiences would likely be uninterested in first-time home buyer content.

    It is estimated that for every $100 billion in assets a bank has, it can achieve as much as $300 million in revenue growth by personalizing its customer interactions, so it’s well worth the time investment.

    The efficacy of investing in omnichannel marketing will be reflected in customers gained. By investing in personalizing your online experience, the benefits will compound over time as your bank stays front of mind with customers. Personalize your marketing, bring value with empathetic interactions, and humanize every touchpoint to retain your most valued customers.

    This article was originally published on BAI.

    Banks that do not adapt to the digital world are leaving opportunities on the table. Organic social media is a great way to build a brand and awareness, but that is only a fraction of the potential that lies in fully integrated digital marketing. Banks that utilize omnichannel marketing create a seamless experience regardless of where leads are engaged and wherever they are in the buyer’s journey.

    Omnichannel bank marketing is the future—bank marketers meeting people on the channel of their choice, and that means investing in social media. Most customers do not operate off a singular social channel. Rather, financial institutions win when they provide a seamless experience to customers across multiple social platforms in order to maximize their social marketing strategies.

    Organic social media is great for creating awareness, but institutions need to be more purposeful in content engagement, consideration, and conversion stages. Rates are not what drive customers to change their financial institution. Emotions are more likely to be the impetus. This is why personalization in digital bank marketing is such a necessity.

    There are four crucial steps to take to avoid falling behind the curve while answering the question: What does omnichannel marketing look like for banks?

    1. Use paid advertising to engage your audience

    Organic content is the foundation of a good social selling marketing strategy, but algorithms will often work against you. Paid social media advertising ensures your content makes it in front of the right eyes.

    There is another benefit to going the paid route: Organic reach is often limited to those who are already aware of your institution in some capacity. Paid advertising lets you reach previously untapped audiences and guide them toward the top of your marketing funnel.

    To increase your chances of success, use intelligent targeting to focus your ads on the customer’s specific needs. Paid advertising allows for extremely specific targeting, which should be factored into your strategy. Ads for first-time homebuyer mortgages should be in front of those 20- and 30-somethings looking into housing, while retirement ads are better off with the 55+ crowd. The best marketing in the world won’t work if it’s at the wrong time in the wrong place. Identify where in the funnel customers are and target them (on their preferred platform!) with paid advertisements tailor-made to their current need.

    2. Guide the audience’s next steps

    Social media marketing is just a singular step in a larger walk, so make sure you leave breadcrumbs for leads to follow. Social reach means little if you’re not actually creating conversions. Regardless of whether you use organic posts or paid, don’t forget to include some form of landing page to guide readers back to your brand’s website. There should be no “digital dead ends” in your social strategy. Every piece of the puzzle should connect your audience to another way to engage.

    When deciding what landing page to use, curate the page to the post. If your advisor is posting about retirement funds, link to a specific ebook on the subject. Gated content will educate the customer while also providing you with the information needed to start nurturing a lead. It’s a win-win situation.

    3. Retarget to convert and retain

    Once customers have engaged with your institution, retain that data to inform future interactions, i.e., use retargeting to your advantage by connecting with consumers based on previous engagements. Sometimes, customers may need a nudge to close the conversion. Make sure your marketing allows for that. The right CRM tools will guide retargeting efforts by notifying customers ripe for retargeting. They can also automate messages to send out to your audience, such as email drip campaigns, making sure you reach out at just the right time.

    Even after you’ve converted a lead, don’t stop nurturing. The customer journey is cyclical, and new customers will eventually become brand ambassadors in their own right if you give them an experience warranting it. You’ll retain loyal customers and potentially gain references through them.

    4. Use technology to scale

    Omnichannel marketing addresses the customer’s individual needs during each step of the journey. But undertaking personalization for every customer is a Herculean task, so it needs to be automated and streamlined. This can be more basic, such as setting up newsletters to nurture leads that are automatically sent out at regular intervals, but it doesn’t have to be. The right tools can create connections between your digital marketing strategies and CRM records and automatically keep each other updated.

    You also need to consider regulatory compliance with social media posts. A proper social media manager should screen posts for you, flagging any that may contain non-compliant content. Social selling relies on empowering intermediaries to connect with customers directly, so having a good management software in place to oversee all this activity is essential. Technology allows for omnichannel marketing in banks of all sizes. The more tasks you can automate, the more time you allow for higher-level responsibilities.

    Omnichannel marketing is a highly effective strategy, but only if it’s implemented wisely. By using technology to their advantage, banks can target a multitude of audiences, allowing for greater reach and more conversions. Effectively utilizing paid ads and understanding how omnichannel allows for more personalized messaging will keep your bank ahead of competitors.

    This article was originally published in ABA Bank Marketing.

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    October 26, 2021

    Carrier Advice: How to Restructure Your Marketing Department

    By
    Doug Wilber
    CEO, Denim Social

    Most insurance companies were setting out on a digital transformation journey with an expected time frame of about three to five years before COVID-19. Then the pandemic accelerated the need for digitization and shortened that time frame drastically—to about six months, in most cases.

    Insurance marketing teams were already using digital marketing prior to the pandemic. But as the pandemic created a world mostly void of face-to-face customer interactions, they had to ramp up digital campaigns and touchpoints significantly—and quickly. Marketers had no choice but to mold ad-hoc digital marketing strategies onto existing department structures.

    One problem with charging existing teams with new strategies is that they won’t always have the expertise necessary to pull them off. In-house teams might be used to handling copy and visual, as these have been and will continue to be staples of marketing for a long time. As a result of accelerated digitization across the industry, however, managing CRMs, digital marketing platforms and data are now also critical elements of insurance marketing responsibilities.

    Can your team support that, or do you need to expand and restructure?

    After more than a year of working this way, it’s time for insurance company leaders to take a deep breath and a step back. They need to critically evaluate the function and structure of their marketing departments to determine if they’re well-positioned to fully embrace modern approaches now and into the future. The tips listed below can help insurance company leaders create marketing departments best suited for pulling off excellent digital marketing strategies.

    1. Combine your brand and business unit marketing teams.

    The traditional marketing department structure at insurance companies separates brand marketers and business unit marketers into two or more teams. The brand team is responsible for building and strengthening brand identity and recognition and typically measures its marketing success in recall and impression metrics.

    The business unit teams, on the other hand, are responsible for supporting each line of business in the company, like property/casualty, life insurance, etc. These teams produce insurance marketing materials that generally aim to drive direct sales of a given product or service. A large part of measuring success for these teams comes down to conversion metrics.
    When these teams operate separately, they can too easily become misaligned around goals. Building the brand, especially on digital channels like social media, can also have a direct impact on conversions. Brand marketers need to think with a conversion mindset, and business unit marketers need to consider how traditionally brand-centric tools, like social media, actually can help grow the business. Essentially, you want to centralize your marketing team so every marketer can collaborate and communicate across the business and unify around shared goals.

    1. Democratize digital marketing.

    Marketers shouldn’t be the only team members able to drive your digital insurance marketing efforts. Agents, in particular, can have a huge impact on the business when they do marketing from their own social media business accounts. This approach, known as social selling, humanizes the brand and creates stronger connections between prospects and agents. It can help move prospects closer to conversion and continue nurturing customer relationships once they do convert.
    If employees are posting brand-related content on social media, however, marketers will need a way to oversee their activity to ensure all electronic communication stays compliant and consistent with brand messaging standards. A content management platform can help. Look for a platform outfitted with permission settings, user roles and governance features to help you democratize content and eliminate any bottlenecks that could stall your social media marketing efforts.

    1. Keep growing your team.

    If you’re looking to expand the expertise of your team and bring on more marketers, a natural assumption might be to hire professionals with direct insurance marketing experience. But remember that growth is the imperative behind your digital transformation in the first place, and if you really want to expand, that means expanding the perspectives on your teams as well. Hiring only marketers with industry experience can make your company seem indistinguishable from the rest as content will often look and feel the same.

    Instead, consider hiring people with different backgrounds and experiences, even from outside the industry, to shake things up with new perspectives. People from retail or consumer-brand backgrounds, for example, can invigorate your digital marketing strategy with fresh, new ideas and expose your team to different best practices that can help you stand out from the competition. Look into other industries that really seem to understand consumers and consumer behaviors.

    1. Embrace agility.

    Traditional marketing department structures at insurance companies can seem rigid and unable to change easily. But if the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that agility in the face of the unexpected is one key to a strong business.
    Structure your team in a way that enables you to pivot quickly when necessary—not just in the face of a global pandemic but also with constantly changing consumer preferences. Build a team that can constantly react to the ever-changing market with new digital tactics. And make sure your marketing team is supported by the right tools and marketing technology infrastructure to support such efforts.
    Invest in digital platforms that can automate campaign, content and message delivery across channels to keep your reaction nimble and responsive. The last thing you want is to spend weeks trying to get your marketing materials out, only to find they’re now irrelevant due to some market trend.

    1. Make data-informed decisions.

    When it comes to essential infrastructure for insurance companies today, remember the importance of data. Data and analytics are critical, and you need the right technology to capture, compile and disseminate data from disparate systems. The insights you can glean from well-organized data analysis can help your insurance marketing team make the best-informed decisions and provide the room to experiment and test messaging based on the most current information.

    The pandemic has forced the hand of many insurance marketing executives. Prioritizing digital marketing efforts is imperative today, but if companies want to see the most return from these investments, they need the right marketing structures to support them. Then, properly designed teams with the right tools and technologies in their arsenals can continue responding to changes as they come, constantly evolving digital marketing strategies and driving success.

    This article was originally published in Carrier Management.

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    People buy from people. That fundamental truth is the cornerstone of the insurance industry and is holding true even as the insurance value chain becomes more and more digital. But in a world where customers increasingly avoid in-person interactions — McKinsey’s 2020 U.S. Insurance Agent Survey saw a 65% drop in face-to-face conversations in 2020, with a slow recovery — how do agents adjust? The answer is to meet customers where they are - online.

    Insurance professionals likely view social media as a necessary evil, but social media can be a powerful sales tool, putting agents right in the path of their clients and prospects. It’s more than just posting content into a digital void; it’s taking what agents have done for decades to build their business and bringing it to life within the social media landscape. Consider this: GWI research suggests online consumers around the globe spend almost 2.5 hours scrolling through social sites daily.

    Putting energy into social media as a sales tool means attracting those eyes and winning more chances to interact with prospects and customers. But where do you start? Here are a few things to consider before leaning into social selling.

    1. Learn exactly what social selling is (and isn’t)

    Social selling is using social media to showcase thought leadership and industry expertise, build relationships and, ultimately, connect with new prospects while maintaining trust with existing ones. But a social selling strategy requires much more than having a Twitter account; it requires the same attention as any sales methods do. It’s taking social beyond simply posting regularly. It’s using social as a connection point to identify life events and points of connection with your community. And the good news is, you should see the returns. LinkedIn’s Social Selling data notes that 78% of social sellers outshine their peers who aren’t using social media as a sales tool.

    1. Take stock of your social media accounts

    If you hope to capitalize on social selling, you must first take stock of your existing social media accounts and look for opportunities to strengthen your overall social presence.

    Whichever social channel mix you’ve decided is right for your business (it’s OK not to be on every social platform!), you always want to make sure your brand is consistent and robust across each channel. That sounds easy, but there are a few things to consider to ensure that your identity is clear and consistent:

    • Profile images: Whether it’s a professionally taken photo, a well-lit high-resolution image taken on a smartphone or your company logo, make sure your profile images reflect how you and your company look today. (For example: Don’t use your headshot from 15 years ago.)
    • Cover images: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter all have a space for a cover or background image. Be sure you have a cover image that is consistent with your brand and that you have the rights to use that image.
    • “About” sections: Today’s consumers use social media for information searches like they use Google, so your bios and “about” sections pages are more important than ever. Sections can vary across social channels, but your information should be accurate and reflect your business on each channel. Pay special attention to your business description, location information and hours of operation.

    Rather than jump right into the heavy stuff, it’s important to get these social media ducks in a row first.

    1. Make a plan for posting, engaging and amplifying.

    After your social accounts are up to speed, it’s important to have a plan. Regularly posting content is only the foundation of social selling, but it will help keep you top of mind with your followers and give you a place to interact with them. It also sets you up well when you’re ready to start putting money behind your posts with paid social advertising.

    Beyond posting, it’s important to keep an eye on those who interact with your posts. Comment back, connect with them or, better yet, give them a call. Social selling really comes to life when you can weave social into your everyday sales practices. Either way, prioritize social just as you would other crucial facets of your business. Post regularly and have a plan for responding and engaging with your existing and potential clients. Then turn those engagements into sales opportunities.

    1. Leverage your resources.

    You’re not the only one flexing your social selling muscles, so look to others – even insights from competitors - for help. A good way to begin is to look at the social accounts of others in and out of your sector. What are they writing about? What posts seem to engage followers? How are they branding themselves to be trustworthy experts? Use the information you gather to help you plan your own social selling and content strategy.

    The question shouldn’t be if you should start social selling, it’s when. Your existing and potential clients are there, waiting for you. You only must give social selling the time and energy it deserves. As someone in a profession built around risk, you’ll find that social selling is a safe bet.

    This article was originally published in Insurance Newsnet.

    Mortgage professionals know: the industry is undergoing digital transformation, and it’s more important than ever for lenders to have access to the latest financial technology tools. Here at Denim Social, we want to empower mortgage marketers and loan officers with social selling resources that will help pave their way into a bright and people-centric future. To stay ahead of the curve, our team attended the National Mortgage News Digital Mortgage Conference to connect with our mortgage colleagues and learn more about how we can successfully guide customer social media strategies.  

    We learned a lot, but here were my three top takeaways: 

    1. Technology solutions are helping institutions better serve customers. 

    Mortgage companies, banks, and credit unions are transforming how they interact with consumers. Technology is helping marketers learn more about consumers, so that lenders can provide the right product at the right time and decrease the time it takes to close a loan. This is drastically reducing the friction for the consumer, because it’s now as easy as clicking a button to connect with a loan officer and go through the entire approval process. 

    1. The home buying process looks different than it used to. 

    Leaders in mortgage are recognizing that the next generation of homebuyers want and expect the buying process to be different from beginning to end. Today’s buyers expect that information will be readily available online and on social media, and communications between involved parties will be instantaneous and casual. Having a strong online presence signals trust and credibility that is needed for customers to feel confident in their decisions. 

    1. Appearances matter, and it’s essential to look the part. 

    Sure, it’s important to have a strong back office system and process in place so that the mortgage business runs smoothly, efficiently, and dependably. However, now that the boom of the last couple of years is coming to a close, it’s time for many lenders to refocus that effort into the front office. Time, effort, and budget must be allocated to making a good impression and catering strategies to meet customers where they already are and on their terms.  It’s a big shift from the old ways of doing things, but loan officers who commit to social selling and create a strong social presence will come out ahead of those reluctant to make the shift. 

    The bright side of these industry transformations is that now financial institutions will have more opportunities than ever to grow their brands and personalize their approach to customer interactions and sales. Loan officers especially have more resources than ever to interact with their communities. Social media is the perfect way to stay top of mind, and tools like Denim Social are here to support mortgage lenders, banks, and other services seeking to strengthen their social selling capabilities.

    If you are posting the same content on every social media network, you might be missing out on key engagement opportunities for your social selling strategy. What gets the most attention and engagement on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn isn’t universal, and financial marketers would be wise to seek a more nuanced strategy than just casting a wide net and hoping for the best. While there are general best practices to posting on social, making just a few distinctions to how you approach each of your networks can help you beat the dreaded social media algorithms and build credibility and expertise at the brand and individual producer levels. Let’s take a look at each network and how banks, wealth management firms, insurance agencies, and mortgage lenders can customize their strategies to the unique needs of each network to achieve growth and success. 

    Facebook: This is what you should know about our financial institution. 

    Despite the emergence of new networks and the inevitable departure of Gen Z and Millennials, Facebook is still the most popular social media network, and it’s a non-negotiable for any business. For community banks and other smaller financial businesses, it is the perfect medium to connect with local communities. This network will be one of the first places many customers look for a business, so having updated and branded profile information is essential. It’s ideal for sharing important dates or events, announcements, or anything customers need to be in the know about. Utilize brand pages for general information, and allow your agents, advisors, or employees to curate more personalized content on their individual business pages. 

    How To Succeed:

    • Share a wide variety of content geared towards informing and connecting with audiences
    • Post content related to the local community and partnerships with other business or organizations
    • Take advantage of user-generated content to build and maintain relationships with customers at the brand and producer levels

    Twitter: Talking about our #financialinstitution. 

    Sometimes Twitter seems like a mystery with its unique format, hashtag content, and 280-character limit. Like any other network, customers and prospects will consult a company’s account to find information they need to know; but more importantly, Twitter is a network people go to in order to hear news and opinions - and share their own. It is primarily a resource for sharing thought leadership and staying informed about industry updates. To be set up for success, brands and producers should follow relevant accounts like competitors, local businesses, and industry leaders. Hashtags are a useful way to learn about the broader conversations happening- plus, they provide insight into the hashtags marketers should be incorporating as well. Like any other network, brands engaging in social selling will enjoy the benefit of more engagement and awareness opportunities. 

    How To Succeed:

    • Prioritize engaging in existing conversations, rather than creating original content
    • Retweet relevant information for your customers and your brand, and utilize the mention function to increase visibility
    • Follow and use hashtags related to your industry to stay connected to current events and other thought leaders

    LinkedIn: This is what our financial institution wants you to know, and why.

    Branded as the professional social network, LinkedIn is perhaps the most important place for financial services brands and employees to be when it comes to social selling. This is a great way for brands to grow their reach by tapping into the power of user connections through sharing thought leadership and need-to-know information regarding their industry. Plus, authenticity is increasingly important on LinkedIn, with customers preferring to interact with brands that seem more relatable. Marketers and individual producers can use LinkedIn to share those values and insights into company culture that make people feel connected: photos, videos, and important awards or achievements can help boost engagement and brand awareness. With the power of a brand page combined with employee advocacy through social selling, LinkedIn should be a main focal point for any financial institution. 

    How To Succeed:

    • Share images of community and in-person interactions and events with context on what it means to your business
    • Follow local businesses from your actual business page (such as: local library, schools, industry competitors, local figures) and engage with their posts from your business page
    • Share high-performing posts from industry thought leaders and other local businesses; this boosts their engagement and gets visibility for both of you

    Instagram: Here’s a photo or video of what our financial institution values. 

    As a highly popular and visually-appealing social media network, Instagram is ideal for demonstrating a more human side to any financial brand, which is especially important for connecting with younger customers. This network is meant to be fun and entertaining for followers, while also staying on brand for financial companies and still informative. Of all the networks, Instagram is going to be the easiest way to reach younger audiences and get creative with content. For brands engaging in social selling, it’s a fun way to give producers a chance to show their personality and connect with customers on a more casual level. Instagram is also very dynamic and visual: the Reels and Stories functions provide alternative ways to share and engage quickly with video, which provides more opportunities to get in front of audiences within the platform than image posts alone.

    How To Succeed:

    • Post images from community or in-person interactions; share important posts to brand and producer Stories, then save to Highlights
    • Use emojis in copy and keep text light and fun; it’s all about the visuals on this network
    • Follow other businesses/industry thought leaders; engage with their content and share posts to your own stories

    While every network has its own charms and best practices, there are a few overall things to keep in mind when launching a social selling program: stay authentic and non-salesy; keep compliance matters in mind; know how to maintain a balanced and informed feed; and finally, don’t forget that paid advertising can boost organic efforts on any network. Knowing what to post on each social media network can be overwhelming, but understanding the best way to approach social selling at the brand and individual levels on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn will translate to more engagement, better brand awareness, and increased trust from industry leaders and customers. With a little fine-tuning and support for your team, you can see the difference a network-based content approach can make for your financial institution. 

    In today’s origination and refi environment, most mortgage loan officers are finding it’s no longer fish in a barrel. That means every loan officer needs to consider their competitive edge. And when bargain-basement rates are no longer the decision driver for prospects, relationships matter more than ever.

    Everyone knows a successful sales strategy is focused on building long-term, trusted relationships, but today, that means building relationships online. Social media has long been regarded as a brand builder, but the real power of social is using it as a sales tool. It’s called social selling and it works.

    Social selling is just what it sounds like: using social media to sell a product or service. It’s leveraging social to build personal relationships, showcase thought leadership, engage with prospects, interact with existing customers, and ultimately build trust and rapport that will eventually lead to deals.

    An active social selling strategy can not only help build ongoing relationships, but keep you top of mind with contacts when opportunities open up – and in this rate environment, that can be short-lived.

    Social selling requires continual care and management, but it’s worth the investment of time, and effort when you’re using social to drive business results. A daily social selling routine helps loan officers in so many ways and managing a program doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Here’s where to start:

    Optimize Your Profile

    Before you even get to posting, it’s important to take a look at your profiles to ensure your brand is consistent across channels. Ensure you have a current and easily recognizable profile picture. If you haven’t already, upload a cover image and update the about section to be your descriptions, location and hours are current.

    Post Meaningful and Relevant Content

    It’s not only important for you to be posting regularly, you need to be posting with purpose. Your social profiles should be an extension of who you are in real life. Authenticity always wins in social media.

    There is no magic formula for how often you should post, but consistency is key. Successful social selling programs offer a variety of organic content. The mix looks different for every loan officer, but commonly a healthy and informed mix includes brand, industry and most importantly, personal/community content.

    Interact with the Community

    Social media is a two-way conversation and that means you need to be interacting with followers. In other words, don’t post and ghost. Social selling is about listening, responding and engaging. It’s a conversation, so you should be promptly responding to comments and direct messages, showing connections that their inquiries and concerns matter.

    When every deal matters, so does every relationship. If you’re looking to build trust and connection with customers and prospects alike, make sure your profiles are up to date, post regularly and interact with your followers. A social selling strategy can help you make the most of social media opportunities in a competitive environment.

    This article was originally published in MBA Newslink.

    The insurance industry is built on — and amazing at! — assessing risk. But the industry’s risk aversion has put insurance marketers between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, modern customer expectations mean agents need to leverage their relationship-building skills to gain ground online. On the other, unfamiliarity and fears about compliance are driving slow social selling adoption across the industry. While the concept may seem novel to some insurance leaders, that doesn't mean their competition is standing on the sidelines. After all, rival carriers aren’t twiddling their thumbs; many are jumping headfirst into social selling strategies and generating the new business to show for it.

    The good news is that adopting social selling doesn’t mean the industry has to reinvent the wheel. Rather, it should feel natural because this kind of digital communication is simply an extension of what agents are already doing. Instead of viewing digital marketing and social selling as an entirely new strategy, remember that it’s built on the same bread-and-butter relationship skills that trusted insurance advisors have always used with their customers. Insurance leaders must acknowledge social media as a sales channel, just like cold calling and in-person meetings, and must integrate social selling into the fabric of their organizations.

    How to Advocate for Social Selling

    Social media isn’t going anywhere. It’s where consumers are interacting with each other, looking for advice, and learning new things. This means intermediaries have to be there, too. Insurance agents need to reach their clients and prospects alike on social media, and the carriers and agencies they’re part of can help.

    With this in mind, insurance marketers and leaders must advocate for social selling throughout the organization. And everyone has a role to play. While marketers will stay busy coordinating paid ad campaigns to reach new target audiences and managing the branded social media, agents and other representatives of the brand must be on board as well: They need to be posting, liking, and replying to build relationships and bring a human touch to the broader social media strategy. Getting this buy-in means bridging the gap between sales and marketing — and educating them on why social selling works. If you're ready to sell-in social selling, here are four ways to get started:

    1. Get Everybody on the Same Page

    While some marketers may already be comfortable with the concept, social selling is still a recent marketing innovation for the insurance industry. Marketers need to get up to speed on strategy and execution, while also educating the organization (especially intermediaries — have we mentioned how important they are?).

    Start by defining social selling. This is our shorthand definition:

    Social selling is using social media to sell a product or service. It’s using social to:

    · Showcase thought leadership

    · Engage with potential customers

    · Interact with existing customers

    · Build trust and relationships

    Sounds pretty straightforward, right? While the execution can be trickier — think balancing paid and organic advertising, tracking analytics to calculate ROI, and overseeing the social media accounts of all the intermediaries — starting simple helps ease everyone into the process. This is especially important for advisors with limited social media experience. Lead with empathy to help them adjust to the new face of insurance marketing.

    2. Speak Their Language — With Stats to Back You Up

    Intermediaries want to build relationships and drive results — and social selling can help them do it — but only if they understand its potential. Highlight the value social selling has for both the company and individual intermediaries. Thankfully, this is one of the easier parts of selling social selling: The stats can do all the heavy lifting.

    Gather good information from trustworthy sources. If you’re going to be persuasive, you have to paint the picture of what social selling can do. Some of our favorite data comes from LinkedIn. Sales reps scoring higher on LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index experience:

    · 45% more sales opportunities

    · 51% higher likelihood to hit quotas

    · 78% outselling peers who don’t use social media

    And don’t be afraid to share the success you’ve had with brand social media, too. Brand social media and intermediary social selling, paid social ads, and organic social media content: All of these are chapters in the greater narrative of successful digital marketing strategies.

    3. Seriously, Bring Up the Data

    Raw numbers are well and good, but case studies marry data and narrative in a uniquely compelling way. Countless other industries have had success with social selling, and insurance needs to pay attention. Share these stories about what social selling has accomplished for so many other businesses. The housing industry, for one, has been particularly astute with social selling in recent years, especially when it comes to mortgage lending.

    In addition to formal case studies, bring the concept to life with experiences anyone can understand or has likely seen in their personal social media feeds. Local real estate agents are great examples of an industry that’s exemplary at utilizing social selling tools. Instead of starting from scratch, look to adjacent regulated industries to guide the way.

    4. Create a Culture of Q&As

    Don’t assume leaders know that social media is a sales channel — but also, don’t talk down to them when explaining the state of digital marketing. This means creating safe spaces where pros can ask questions (and not feel silly). Have a coffee; grab lunch. Give someone permission to be vulnerable and learn. Their aversion is likely rooted in misunderstanding. And remember, more experienced professionals may never have used social media for anything other than personal sharing. Empathy is your best friend. Walking alongside leaders and agents as they dip their feet into social selling will be so much more effective than talking down to them from the podium of knowledge. Building a strong foundation of understanding and a desire to learn will go a long way toward activating a social selling strategy.

    Social media marketing for insurance intermediaries may seem like a radical concept, but it’s more radical to not be using social as a sales tool. Sure, it may be new and feel risky, but educating the team and arming them with resources will make social selling feel not only prudent but necessary. To learn more about how social selling can help you reach your audience, request a demo today.

    3 Steps to Social Selling
    September 16, 2022

    What is social selling and how does your financial institution get started?

    Social selling is just what it sounds like: using social media to sell a product or service. It’s leveraging social to build personal relationships, showcase thought leadership, engage with prospects, interact with existing customers, and ultimately build trust and rapport that will eventually lead to sales.

    Social selling is the perfect crossroads of marketing and sales. It enables intermediaries – like loan officers, financial advisors and insurance agents – to add value to the customer journey where there wouldn’t otherwise be an opportunity.

    If you're wondering where to get started, check out Denim Social's latest infographic to learn more.

    Ready to learn more? Click here to meet with the Denim Social team.

    Connect & Convert on Social

    Successfully scale conversion optimized campaigns across all social media channels with built-in compliance, publishing tools, and more.
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    Connect & Convert on Social

    Successfully scale conversion optimized campaigns across all social media channels with built-in compliance, publishing tools, and more.
    Book a Demo

    Connect & Convert on Social

    Successfully scale conversion optimized campaigns across all social media channels with built-in compliance, publishing tools, and more.
    Book a Demo