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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Customer relationship-building is one of the greatest value drivers for insurance agents. A benchmark analysis from McKinsey & Co. found agents with deeper customer relationships have higher product density than those lacking in relationships — often cross-selling three or more products per customer.

With that in mind, it’s essential that agents understand how to best leverage their humanity and personality to truly connect with their audiences. In today’s age, this extends to how agents present themselves and connect online.

When prospective clients meet an agent for the first time, they’re asking themselves, “Is this person likable? Can I trust them?” Clients want to feel an authentic connection that gives them peace of mind and assures them that someone has their best interests at heart.

This desire for connection isn’t limited to the insurance industry. In fact, 88% of consumers say that authenticity is a key factor when deciding the brands they like and support, and that trust is vitally important to entering working relationships. That desire for trust grows exponentially when it comes to insurance sales because the business is built around protecting clients’ futures.

Insurance agents have a head start on this — their businesses have always been rooted in authenticity. But as digital transformation in the insurance industry continues, it’s more important than ever that agents assert themselves through authenticity on social media. It’s no different from what agents and other insurance professionals have been doing in person for years. It’s about conveying expertise, building trust, and showcasing industry knowledge — except now it’s within the digital universe. Social media provides a new platform for staying top of mind with customers and prospects alike.

So, how should agents be more authentic on social media? Same as they would offline — with relationships.

Good selling starts with genuinely listening to clients and being authentic, no matter what. Insurance agents are there to identify clients’ life needs and build a solution to protect them against loss. They must genuinely care about clients’ needs to find the right solutions and demonstrate that level of care to earn trust.

Here’s how agents can bring that energy to social media:

View social media as an opportunity to provide value. Marketers and agents alike already know that authenticity is important to customer acquisition. That same authenticity should show up in social media activity.

Agents should still be themselves, just on digital channels. After all, in the insurance business, agents are selling a promise that a consumer may or may not ever see delivery on. If the client never has an accident, they’ll never make a claim.

This means a lot of time can pass between a point of sale and delivery of promise.

With the rise of social media, however, there is a growing opportunity to deliver value in the long term. Whether it’s sharing thought-leadership articles, checking in with clients on social media, or providing digital tools to help educate clients, the digital landscape provides ample opportunity to reinforce proof of agent value on an ongoing basis. Including both paid and organic social media marketing for insurance agents in the mix of sales practices is critical.

This won’t replace traditional tools like phone, email and in-person meetings, but having a mix of organic and paid content alongside them will complement other relationship-building efforts, keep agents top of mind, and continually provide value to clients and prospects.

Lean into the power of real-life experience. There’s a good chance that agents live and work in the communities they serve. Agents should use that advantage with prospective clients when building their authentic brands. Showing on social media what’s happening in their communities and their offices will help foster a sense of belonging and drive interest among followers.

Need more marketing ideas for insurance agents? Look to everyday experiences. If an agent runs into someone at a local event, they should take a selfie and tag the person on Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn. If a client drops off cookies, the agent should post a photo and a heartfelt message about what it meant to the team. Social media followers will connect with those real-life moments far more than they would with a branded post.

Embrace storytelling. Too often, social media marketing for insurance agents consists only of market statistics or limited-time promotions. While this type of content can absolutely be useful and helpful, it’s not enough on its own. Think about the brands you follow: Would statistics and discounts be enough to get you engaged?

Social media is about creating a narrative, not just posting facts or promotions.

Agents should share the true picture of what it’s been like to grow a practice. Tell client stories about how they’ve benefited from your insurance products (with permission and privacy in mind, of course). When agents share authentically, they build trust with clients and prospects.

Be themselves. If agents are only professional and stuffy, audiences won’t connect. Agents and marketers alike shouldn’t be afraid to let a little personality shine through on social media. Thought leadership can create credibility and demonstrate expertise, and it’s always better received when served up by a real-life person.

That’s what social selling is all about.

Posting is only one part of the strategy. Agents should also comment on and engage with clients’ posts as appropriate. Two-way communication is critical to building authenticity. Think about it as if you were having an in-person conversation; there would be plenty of back-and-forth throughout the discussion. Did a client become a grandparent? Their agent should congratulate them. Social selling is all about creating conversation, just like in real life.

Engagement provides the added benefit of personalization. Customers don’t want to feel like marketing collateral. When agents engage with them honestly and authentically, they’re well on their way to creating deep, lasting consumer relationships.

Building authenticity through social media is similar in principle to building authenticity in real life; it’s just using a different medium to do so. When intermediaries share personal stories and helpful content with clients in a way that reflects their true personalities, they’ll build lasting relationships both online and offline that will serve as the foundation of future sales.

*This article was originally published in Insurance Journal.

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.

The insurance industry is abuzz with discussion around digital transformation, with tech topics dominating this year’s Global Insurance Symposium and InsurTech New York agendas. Digitization, automation, and the direct-to-consumer business were on everybody’s lips, and one sentiment was clear: The role of the trusted advisor will always be necessary to the industry because human connection remains central to the insurance transaction.

That said, the way insurance agents interact with customers must evolve alongside technology.

Digitization is meeting people's needs in areas ripe for automation, but it’s also replacing some of the more mundane tasks that agents have traditionally handled. Agents don’t need to sit at their desks to sign papers anymore, but they do need to promptly answer their social media direct messages. This is all part of meeting customers’ changing needs.

While digital evolution is intimidating for many industry veterans, there is ample opportunity for carriers, marketers, and agents who are open to adopting new technology. And those who embrace change can shape the role of the advisor in the future. From investing in social selling to outsourcing your work (to AI!), here are some of the ways I see digital changes boosting your relevance and success:

1. Prioritize social selling in the prospecting, sales, and retention mix.

What's the biggest change coming to insurance agents? The way they connect with prospects. As the digital age continues, social media needs to be a larger piece of the communication pie. This doesn’t mean tossing out other communication methods, like phone calls, virtual appointments, emails, or in-person meetings. But it does mean agents should be incorporating social selling into their digital marketing and sales strategies.

Social selling is more than just being present on social media. It means giving intermediaries the reins to not only help humanize your brand, but also build personal connections through their own social networks. Why is this so important? Because people buy from people — even in this digital age. Those people are on social media, and when the intermediary is too, they're more likely to sell there. Stats back this up: Almost 80% of social sellers outsell their peers who aren't on social at all.

To stay relevant throughout the buyer's journey, marketers will need to help agents cultivate a healthy mix of organic posts and paid social ads. This will not only keep agents (and the insurance carriers they represent) top-of-mind, but also offer value to potential and current leads through thought leadership, insightful tips, and real-world advice.

Agents can also set aside time to respond to comments, engage with followers, and proactively reach out to audiences on social — after all, the whole point of social selling is adding the human touch to the sales process. Building community and rapport with leads will establish agents as trusted experts in the industry.

2. Use tech to free up time to focus on relationship-building.

As tech gets smarter, we'll see it taking over more repetitive or low-stakes tasks, which will free up workers in the insurance world to complete higher-level work. According to Deloitte's 2022 Insurance Industry Outlook, 74% of insurance provider CIOs say they’re focusing on bringing more AI into their processes. In other words, insurance professionals will increasingly make fewer decisions alone; instead, data and analytics will support and guide them. And in the process, agents are getting more time back to invest in customer relationships.

Sure, you can automate emails and use online scheduling tools — but tech is going so much further. The industry is investing in everything from AI-powered underwriting to telematics, often improving the quality of service in the process.

The bottom line is that with tech on their side, agents and advisors have more time to do what they do best: build relationships and sell their products and services.

3. Don't assume “digital-first” customers don't want an agent’s expertise.

As insurance products modernize and AI and automation make underwriting, pricing, and the entire sales cycle shorter and more accurate, it's important to remember that this doesn't take away the important role of the intermediary. Even consumers who want a digital-first experience still value the guidance of a trusted professional as they're making decisions to protect their futures. Believing digitization is here to work with you, not against you, is key to agents securing their roles within the digital landscape.

Legacy insurance agents and those fresh faces looking to jump into a new career in insurance shouldn't worry! The digital era isn't going anywhere, but it's here to make our lives easier. Lean in and let it work for you, knowing that human connection and advisorship will always be core to the insurance transaction.

This article was originally published in Property Casualty 360.

Independent agents are taking over the scene — 62% of property and casualty premiums in the U.S. were written by independent agents in 2021 — so competition is fiercer than ever. Independent agents who want to stand out need to build up their personal brands online to reach customers and keep relationships strong. When agents use their personal social networks to find prospects, build relationships, and grow their thought leadership, they’re using one of the most powerful strategies available to them: social selling.

Social selling might be a familiar strategy for captive agents who have their carriers’ built-in marketing support, but independent agents must create their business (and relationships) from scratch. More and more, those relationships are built over social media. That’s the challenge for agents in this new landscape, but it’s also the big opportunity. People buy from people, and building personal relationships is what insurance agents have always done best. They just need to translate those rapport-building skills into modern digital spaces with a few key strategies.

Adopt social selling as a go-to strategy.

Social selling unifies sales and marketing, transforming social media into a revenue driver by giving agents an avenue to showcase their thought leadership, engage with potential and existing customers, and build trust and relationships in the process. It is similar to offline selling: Build trust with customers, get to know them, and explain how your product helps solve their problems. But it proves even more powerful — 78% of social sellers outsell their peers who don’t use social media.

To get ahead in social selling, agents must harness the power in their relationships and personal networks. Research shows that content shared by employees gets eight times more engagement than content shared by a brand. A social selling strategy can not only help agents reach more people, but also can also help them humanize their own work and brand.

For independent agents, personal branding can make all the difference. Agents shouldn’t be afraid to be unique and show their authentic selves on social media. From sharing personal photos to comments on client posts, the more clients see agents as personal friends and unique people, the more engaged they will be.

Why does letting personality show matter for agents? Credibility has become increasingly important for customers, with 88% of consumers citing authenticity as a key factor in deciding what brands they like and support. Clients want to know they can trust their agents, especially when making decisions that majorly affect their families and lives, so social selling content should reflect authenticity and relatability.

Understand and accept agents’ evolving roles in the changing landscape of digital insurance.

The sales process has gone digital in many ways, but that does not change the value of human guidance from an insurance advisor — the role of the trusted insurance advisor isn’t going anywhere.

Human connection remains a meaningful part of the insurance transaction. When people’s lives change, their relationships with their agents matter, and the work that agents have put into fostering trust and strong relationships will pay off.

Social media is a crucial tool in keeping intermediaries connected in this digital age and agents need to be comfortable using modern social media marketing and sales strategies.

Don’t go it alone — look for trusted support resources.

When independent agents are active in social selling, they shouldn’t go it alone. The resources agents have been consulting for years often have active blogs and social accounts from which they can source content. Many carriers and insurance industry thought leaders also offer curated social content that is ready to share and can typically be personalized by the agent.

A social selling strategy powered by a thoughtful content mix can help independent agents not only reach more people, but also reinforce the thought leadership and trust-building they’ve been demonstrating to clients outside of social media for years.

Find the right tools.

Curating content, creating a regular cadence of posting, monitoring multiple social channels — there are a lot of moving pieces in an independent agent’s social selling strategy. Social selling is just one of the many things an independent agent has in their sales repertoire. This makes it so important to have technology built for social selling specifically. The less time agents spend on the organizational aspects of social selling, the more time they have to build customer relationships, communicate authentically and, ultimately, build trust online.

This article was originally published in Insurance Journal.

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.

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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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:

Paid social is one of the most effective ways to introduce people who aren’t yet following your producers, agents, loan officers, or advisors to your financial institution at the right place and the right time.

Paid social is complementary to organic. While organic social builds first-degree connections and facilitates awareness, engagement, and branding, paid social allows you to reach larger, more tailored audiences.

BOK Financial is a financial services partner for consumers, businesses and wealth clients with more than 150 users on the Denim Social platform.

In addition to building brand credibility and establishing loan officer expertise, Denim Social enables their mortgage loan officers to cultivate relationships in social media and organically source leads.

As financial marketers look to the coming year, most are wondering, “what’s next?” While no one can say for sure, our team of experts here at Denim Social are keeping a pulse on what’s new in digital marketing for financial institutions on social media. This guide will not only educate you on the latest trends, but help you make the case for increased investment in social selling and digital marketing strategies at your institution.

Whether you’re in banking, wealth management, insurance or mortgage, relationships are the bedrock of your business.

Considering clients in these industries are handing over the keys to their personal kingdoms, it’s no surprise that trust and connection matter. That’s why successful sales strategies for these industries are focused on building long-term, trusted relationships.

To truly unleash the potential of social, financial institutions need to use social media as a sales tool. It’s called social selling and it works.

The power of social media is undeniable. The ability of banks to engage with and influence customers and prospects via interactive digital channels is an essential tool and a cornerstone of marketing. Gone are the days when it was “nice to have” a presence on platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. Today, these pathways are helping banks to build relationships that were historically cultivated by tirelessly walking up and down Main Street, shaking hands and leaving behind business cards.

In this case study by Denim Social and American Bankers Association, we take a look at how banks are using social media to ramp up digital engagement and build sales.

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.

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
    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:

    Paid social is one of the most effective ways to introduce people who aren’t yet following your producers, agents, loan officers, or advisors to your financial institution at the right place and the right time.

    Paid social is complementary to organic. While organic social builds first-degree connections and facilitates awareness, engagement, and branding, paid social allows you to reach larger, more tailored audiences.

    BOK Financial is a financial services partner for consumers, businesses and wealth clients with more than 150 users on the Denim Social platform.

    In addition to building brand credibility and establishing loan officer expertise, Denim Social enables their mortgage loan officers to cultivate relationships in social media and organically source leads.

    As financial marketers look to the coming year, most are wondering, “what’s next?” While no one can say for sure, our team of experts here at Denim Social are keeping a pulse on what’s new in digital marketing for financial institutions on social media. This guide will not only educate you on the latest trends, but help you make the case for increased investment in social selling and digital marketing strategies at your institution.

    Whether you’re in banking, wealth management, insurance or mortgage, relationships are the bedrock of your business.

    Considering clients in these industries are handing over the keys to their personal kingdoms, it’s no surprise that trust and connection matter. That’s why successful sales strategies for these industries are focused on building long-term, trusted relationships.

    To truly unleash the potential of social, financial institutions need to use social media as a sales tool. It’s called social selling and it works.

    The power of social media is undeniable. The ability of banks to engage with and influence customers and prospects via interactive digital channels is an essential tool and a cornerstone of marketing. Gone are the days when it was “nice to have” a presence on platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. Today, these pathways are helping banks to build relationships that were historically cultivated by tirelessly walking up and down Main Street, shaking hands and leaving behind business cards.

    In this case study by Denim Social and American Bankers Association, we take a look at how banks are using social media to ramp up digital engagement and build sales.

    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.

    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
    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:

    Paid social is one of the most effective ways to introduce people who aren’t yet following your producers, agents, loan officers, or advisors to your financial institution at the right place and the right time.

    Paid social is complementary to organic. While organic social builds first-degree connections and facilitates awareness, engagement, and branding, paid social allows you to reach larger, more tailored audiences.

    BOK Financial is a financial services partner for consumers, businesses and wealth clients with more than 150 users on the Denim Social platform.

    In addition to building brand credibility and establishing loan officer expertise, Denim Social enables their mortgage loan officers to cultivate relationships in social media and organically source leads.

    As financial marketers look to the coming year, most are wondering, “what’s next?” While no one can say for sure, our team of experts here at Denim Social are keeping a pulse on what’s new in digital marketing for financial institutions on social media. This guide will not only educate you on the latest trends, but help you make the case for increased investment in social selling and digital marketing strategies at your institution.

    Whether you’re in banking, wealth management, insurance or mortgage, relationships are the bedrock of your business.

    Considering clients in these industries are handing over the keys to their personal kingdoms, it’s no surprise that trust and connection matter. That’s why successful sales strategies for these industries are focused on building long-term, trusted relationships.

    To truly unleash the potential of social, financial institutions need to use social media as a sales tool. It’s called social selling and it works.

    The power of social media is undeniable. The ability of banks to engage with and influence customers and prospects via interactive digital channels is an essential tool and a cornerstone of marketing. Gone are the days when it was “nice to have” a presence on platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. Today, these pathways are helping banks to build relationships that were historically cultivated by tirelessly walking up and down Main Street, shaking hands and leaving behind business cards.

    In this case study by Denim Social and American Bankers Association, we take a look at how banks are using social media to ramp up digital engagement and build sales.

    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.

    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
    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:

    Paid social is one of the most effective ways to introduce people who aren’t yet following your producers, agents, loan officers, or advisors to your financial institution at the right place and the right time.

    Paid social is complementary to organic. While organic social builds first-degree connections and facilitates awareness, engagement, and branding, paid social allows you to reach larger, more tailored audiences.

    BOK Financial is a financial services partner for consumers, businesses and wealth clients with more than 150 users on the Denim Social platform.

    In addition to building brand credibility and establishing loan officer expertise, Denim Social enables their mortgage loan officers to cultivate relationships in social media and organically source leads.

    As financial marketers look to the coming year, most are wondering, “what’s next?” While no one can say for sure, our team of experts here at Denim Social are keeping a pulse on what’s new in digital marketing for financial institutions on social media. This guide will not only educate you on the latest trends, but help you make the case for increased investment in social selling and digital marketing strategies at your institution.

    Whether you’re in banking, wealth management, insurance or mortgage, relationships are the bedrock of your business.

    Considering clients in these industries are handing over the keys to their personal kingdoms, it’s no surprise that trust and connection matter. That’s why successful sales strategies for these industries are focused on building long-term, trusted relationships.

    To truly unleash the potential of social, financial institutions need to use social media as a sales tool. It’s called social selling and it works.

    The power of social media is undeniable. The ability of banks to engage with and influence customers and prospects via interactive digital channels is an essential tool and a cornerstone of marketing. Gone are the days when it was “nice to have” a presence on platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. Today, these pathways are helping banks to build relationships that were historically cultivated by tirelessly walking up and down Main Street, shaking hands and leaving behind business cards.

    In this case study by Denim Social and American Bankers Association, we take a look at how banks are using social media to ramp up digital engagement and build sales.

    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.

    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

    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:

    When trusted relationships are the bedrock of the industry, most smart financial services marketers see the opportunity in social media. A corporate social media presence is the norm, and many brands are investing in paid social media campaigns — but that’s only scratching the social media surface. For teams looking to transform social media into a sales tool, it’s time to start social selling.

    Social selling is so much more than encouraging your sellers to have a social presence. Having a company page on Facebook and a LinkedIn profile are table stakes. If Instagram, Twitter, or even TikTok make sense for your business, it’s important to be there, too. But social selling is so much more than just “being there.” Financial services marketers who embrace social selling empower their teams of intermediaries, such as agents and loan officers, to create lead-generating content that builds trust. Brands that get social selling right can expect to see a 45% increase in sales opportunities and a 51% higher chance of hitting sales goals, according to LinkedIn.

    So, why haven’t all financial services marketers launched social selling for their institutions yet? For one, many marketers are hesitant to jump into a process that involves monitoring and amplifying social media content for dozens, hundreds, or thousands of intermediaries. Even for seasoned marketers, it can seem intimidating. (Spoiler alert: With a platform like Denim Social, it’s much easier than it sounds!)

    Social selling also takes time. Organic social media growth ramps up over time, no matter how many social sellers a brand activates at once. But just because you might not see an immediate jump in KPIs doesn’t mean you’re not moving the needle. With patience and investment in the right social selling tools, social selling can transform your institution’s marketing strategy and results.

    You’re ready to launch social selling for your brand, but where do you get started? Check out these helpful tips from our team of experts at Denim Social:

    1. Identify internal social selling champions.

    Social selling needs widespread buy-in between marketing, sales, and other key departments. The most effective way to encourage buy-in is to get influential players in these groups on board with social selling. Explain to them how social selling works and its social media reach potential — and how to use the right social selling tools to protect compliance.

    By cultivating cheerleaders within your financial institution, these motivated individuals can be an example for their peers and showcase the value of social selling. The more buy-in you can get to your overall social selling program, the faster you’ll be able to demonstrate how valuable social selling is as a marketing strategy. Have patience and stay the course; your determination will pay off as you earn the support of more internal champions.

    2. Pick a solid social selling platform.

    Managing a social selling strategy could be your full-time job as a marketer, but it doesn’t have to be. The right social selling tech solution will help optimize your efforts without tossing another burden onto your team. We designed our platform to meet these needs with extensive compliance features, a library of preapproved content, and streamlined workflows that make publishing as easy as clicking a button. A social selling platform should make life easier for all its users; if it doesn’t, it’s not the right platform for you.

    When evaluating social selling tools, keep a few critical questions in mind: Does the vendor understand the nuances of the financial services industry? What kind of compliance coverage does the platform offer? How will you create content, and how will the platform help you do that? Asking these questions will point you in the right direction so that you can find a social selling platform that works best for your institution’s needs.

    3. Spend time training your social sellers and their support teams.

    The loan officers, agents, advisors, and other producers who will become your social selling team might or might not be familiar with how to be present on social to grow their business. Even if they’re active on social media personally, they might not understand the concept of social selling or how to make it work for them. It’s your job to teach them (you’re the expert, after all!).

    Keep in mind that social selling isn’t only the responsibility of your localized producers. It’s important to loop in anyone in your organization who supports your sales efforts. This means sales executives, regional sales leaders, and even marketing leadership. As part of your social selling launch, take the time to train your broader social selling support group, regardless of their department. 

    Broadened education and buy-in mean stickiness and support for the folks your organization is relying on to drive business at the local level: your true social sellers. Start with social channel basics and regular organic posting. Then, you can teach them how to feel comfortable generating their own content and engaging with their social networks. Does this mean all your employees need to become social media experts? Not even close. But a deeper understanding of social media in general lays the foundation for successful social selling as your teams get comfortable using it every day.

    At Denim Social, we’re passionate about helping your financial institution drive business results with social selling. Not only have we designed our platform to make administering a social selling program easy, but we also provide strategic support from day one, helping you educate and support your sales teams.

    Our platform offers several essential features that will help drive your ROI: (Hint: They can also help you implement the above three steps.)

    • Customized Onboarding and Team Training. Onboarding onto a new platform shouldn’t be a cookie-cutter process; every team and marketer is different. Tailoring our onboarding and training means that your team (and execs) know they’re getting a bespoke experience for the institution’s specific needs. When you’re getting started, Denim Social can help craft vital internal communication to encourage adoption, leaving no questions unanswered. Once you’ve got the basics down and your first champions are ready to dive in, you can check out our train-the-trainer sessions or our online academy to further grow your team’s expertise. From start to finish, you’ll have an invested partner.
    • Content-Rich, Customized Libraries. How will you keep up with content just for your social sellers? Denim Social works with you and UpContent to develop an extensive library of ready-to-use content for your social sellers’ unique needs and interests. Your teams will always have something to say on social, keeping them top of mind with their networks — with the peace of mind of staying compliant.
    • Scalable Paid Advertising. Though the foundation of your social selling strategy starts with empowering your intermediaries with organic social content, the most robust social selling programs also integrate localized paid advertising. Although the organic content you cultivate through your individual champions will work to add nuance and humanity to your brand, putting your ad dollars behind your producers will reach consumers looking to connect with real, local humans who can guide them through their next financial decisions. We recommend that marketers drive this side of the social selling strategy, and our platform makes it easy. With Denim Social, one marketer can launch and scale tailor-made paid social campaigns delivered on behalf of your local producers to their local communities.
    • Compliance-Focused Features. When you work in financial services marketing, you’re guided by numerous rules, regulations, and laws. Denim Social is engineered to find and flag compliance-related issues before any content goes live. This robust filtering proactively recognizes potential problems so you can sleep better at night.

    As part of our compliance-driven culture, our platform provides continuous compliance training through constant feedback. As your team notices which posts are approved or unapproved, they’ll gain valuable insights into the nuances of social media compliance for the industry. Plus, your team can rely on the curated, preapproved content within your Denim Social library, so you can be sure everything posted is compliant (and compelling). An added upside to our compliance feature is that our social selling platform tracks and records all published content, so it can be used for audits whenever you need it.

    Are you curious and looking to level up your digital marketing strategy? Or maybe you’re ready to dive in head-first and experience the benefits of social selling firsthand? Either way, social selling is a great way to get started empowering your team and increasing your reach.

    Check out Denim Social’s comprehensive social selling guide to learn more!

    As a financial marketer, you know that the past 12 months have been a prime time for social selling. Social media usage has been on trajectory to rise 7.8% in 2022, with steady growth expected to continue over the next five years. This growth is fueled by consumers increasingly consulting social media for help making decisions — a habit that offers big opportunities for financial institutions.

    As the new year rapidly approaches, it’s a great time to plan your future social selling strategies with the latest social media trends in mind. Wondering what’s popular on social networks? How should trends inform your social selling strategy in the coming year? Here’s what you need to know as you plan for 2023 and beyond:

    1. Video content is taking over.

    Videos, particularly shorter clips, are having a major moment on YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram Reels. Social users are increasingly consuming short-form (call it “snackable”) content, even on legacy social networks. For example, bite-sized videos earned 57% of YouTube views in the second quarter of 2022, versus just 21% the year before.

    Many of these videos attract viewers by seamlessly blending education and entertainment. Financial concepts are perfect for the “edutainment” treatment, too. Think about it: With more than 89% of TikTok users actively trying to learn more about finance, it only makes sense to add financial video “edutainment” into your social selling strategy.

    That said, not every social selling post needs to contain a video, and not every video needs to be a highly produced affair. Easy-to-consume content is the name of the game, so think short and concise. Quick, pithy videos such as selfie commentaries or quick tips from your social sellers can make your content feel more authentic. No matter what video style you pursue, short clips will stop scrollers and make them more likely to engage with your intermediaries’ posts.

    2. Financial advice influencer culture opens up social selling opportunities.

    Social media probably seems like the last place most people would turn to for advice about money, yet finance-focused influencers are attracting lots of interest, particularly from younger social media consumers. Gen Zers are five times likelier than older Millennials and Generation Xers to get their money management suggestions on social media. With consumers seeking answers to their business and personal questions via online influencer personalities, you can’t afford not to put your intermediaries on social media to engage these audiences thirsty for (and often unable to find) credible information.

    If you haven’t already, plan to empower your producers (agents, loan officers, financial advisors, and other rock stars at your organization) to share their expert advice on social media. When they do, your social sellers’ audiences can build up their financial literacy with insights from qualified professionals. Those prospects’ and customers’ lives will improve, and their loyalty will grow.

    Note that your social selling team members don’t have to become superstar influencers for this strategy to work, either. Micro-influencers in their communities also gain plenty of loyalty — and sales as a result. Because social algorithms favor individuals over brands, it’s time to get more of your brand representatives to highlight their expertise on social channels.

    3. Social networks as search engines enhances discoverability.

    Social is the new search engine. Almost 40% of Generation Z searchers go to apps such as Instagram and TikTok first for search capabilities. In other words, they bypass Google in favor of social networks. That’s huge. And we at Denim Social think this online behavior is sure to catch on across generations. We also think the best way to make use of this trend is to have social sellers active on social media. When more of your employees are on social networks, you’re more discoverable.

    Another surefire way to take advantage of the social search trend is to make sure your social selling strategies include both organic and paid tactics. When organic and paid elements work together, you can be where consumers need you at the time they need you.

    Otherwise, optimizing for search on social isn’t much different from any other SEO work you’ve encountered. A fast way to enhance the discoverability of social selling copy is to ensure that it incorporates strategic hashtags, including nods to trending topics. Remember, it’s fine for social posts to include numerous hashtags, as long as they all make sense. SEO keywords can also fit nicely into social selling content and ad copy, just as they do in website copy and blog posts. All that optimization drives the social media search engine, ensuring users find your content when they’re seeking information that could lead them to decisions.

    Social media has changed the game for marketing and has made person-to-person communication (and selling!) an essential strategy. As with any social media strategy, being up to date on trends is critical for social selling success. Guiding your intermediaries to add short videos, credible advice, and search-boosting features to content will strengthen your social selling strategy for 2023.

    A financial conversation is already happening online, and your institution needs to be part of it. It’s time to launch a social selling program if you haven’t already. And if you have, let these trends be a clear sign that it’s time to expand your efforts. People are choosing to work with financial professionals they find on social media, and your intermediaries can meet them there. Want more insider knowledge about applying social selling techniques? Download our exclusive 2023 Denim Social Trend Report today.

    Smart financial marketers know social media and social selling are essential  to effectively reach and build trust with today’s consumers. But how does your digital marketing strategy measure up against competitors?

    Denim Social is here to help. We collected social media data from 177 institutions across banking, mortgage, wealth management and insurance to help you get the pulse on the social media performance. Take a look and see how your institution stacks up.

    Ready to learn how you can adopt these trends? Book a demo to learn more.

    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.

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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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    For any marketer planning a social selling program, proving return on investment to leadership is key to ongoing success. Sometimes proving the profitability of social media can be tricky, but there’s a solution. Paid social media advertising is an effective way to show clear, measurable results in real time. 

    Marketers looking to make the case for their budgets are often faced with questions about impact: whether time and money spent on social selling is actually bringing in leads or new business. After all, it takes training, resources, and ongoing user adoption to make it work. Smart marketers know that having their intermediaries engage on social media is useful for brand awareness and building connections, but paid advertising can show exactly how many new customers come directly from those efforts. 

    Some marketers might balk at the idea of paid social media advertising (it’s pay to play), but the right strategy is worth the investment. Paid ads will guide audiences along the buying journey, leading them to make the final purchase decision in a targeted, intentional way. With the help of metrics that paid ads provide, marketers can feel confident in promoting social selling as a viable and worthy strategy to leaders .

    Looking for the best way to prove value? Here are four paid social media advertising metrics that can help financial marketers to show off social selling success: . 

    1. Impressions: Impressions are the number of times content was seen on a given network. When marketers create paid advertisements, this is one of the first ways to assess the level of interest in a given campaign. Impressions are a clear measure that paid ads are getting eyeballs. It often takes multiple exposures before audiences start to recognize or notice content, so the more impressions, the better. For institutions with many social sellers, paid advertisements can multiply awareness across many regions and to an even wider audience. It may feel like posting content on social media networks is inconsequential; many marketers post and cross their fingers that it will be seen. With paid impressions, there’s no question about how often a paid ad is generating awareness and boosting social selling efforts. 
    2. Reach: Reach is the number of people who saw your content. While having a large number of impressions is important, it’s just as important to have those impressions spread across a wide audience. If an institution has agents, loan officers, advisors, or other intermediaries in a variety of geographic locations, reaching the right audiences supports social selling in a specialized way. The ability to target with paid content is one of the greatest strengths over organic publishing. For marketers, knowing the reach of an ad provides key insight into the number of available leads for any social seller’s campaign.
    3. Click Through Rate (CTR): CTR is the number of clicks on an ad divided by the number of impressions. Basically, it shows how often something was seen in order for an audience member to click the call to action. Even if an institution runs ads for many different social sellers, links and landing pages can be unique to each one, giving marketers more leverage to customize based on a variety of factors. Knowing the click through rate shows marketers how relevant an ad is to its audience. For financial services, a good CTR can be anywhere from 0.5%-3%; over time, this will clearly show how successful ads are at sparking interest and driving viewers to to take action. 
    4. Conversion Rate: Conversion rate is the percentage of audience members that saw an advertisement, clicked on it, and completely followed through with the call to action. More often than not, ads lead to a form or gated content to collect prospect information.This step is the most exciting for marketers and social sellers, because with these new leads come new opportunities to grow relationships and close more deals. This way, intermediaries know exactly how much their own business brings in from paid outreach. It’s also a step that requires patience and personalization, because it takes time and effort for the cumulative effect of impressions, reach, and clicks to drive audiences forward. For leadership, this is an important metric to prove that ads can and will bring the right business in at the brand and individual team member levels.

    It can be hard to prove ROI of a social selling program, but paid ads provide marketers with the metrics they need to prove success.  With the proof  paid advertisement metrics provide, leaders can rest easy  knowing that resources are being put to the best use possible. Even better, knowing these metrics can help to pivot based on performance, continually improving value. 

    Want to learn more about social media ads? Download our guide, Getting Started with Paid Advertising.

    Compliance regulations are the bedrock of the financial services market, and for good reason: They are the gateways to gaining customers’ trust. In today’s increasingly digital market, however, compliance comes with unique challenges. How can an institution position its brand honestly online?

    How can it effectively engage with customers while still maintaining strict compliance standards? As financial institutions continue to adopt digital marketing strategies in a complex and shifting environment, they are beginning to run into even more compliance challenges.

    Take J.P. Morgan Securities’ recent settlement over record-keeping violations, for example. U.S. regulators fined the company $200 million for failing to archive communications as employees conducted business over WhatsApp and other personal devices. The result was a significant penalty by the SEC and a reminder to digital marketers throughout the industry that compliance matters. As financial institutions dive deeper into social media marketing and become active on new platforms, teams need to be vigilant and nimble.

    Two trends are essential to watch. First, the digital rules of the road are changing: Government agencies are modernizing their financial marketing oversight. Though it took six decades, the SEC gave its marketing regulations for financial advisors a much-needed overhaul in 2021. The updated SEC playbook dictates how advisors can advertise, and these new rules are under enforcement as of Nov. 4. In addition, the updated rules signal that regulators are evolving to meet the demands of the current digital landscape.

    Disciplinary action is also on the rise. Existing rules are being enforced at a record pace as regulators “lace up their gloves.” For example, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority issued 60 percent more fines in 2021 than in 2020, despite fewer overall cases. FINRA’s increase in “supersized” penalties serves as a reminder that regulators won’t tolerate marketing and communications noncompliance.

    Every financial institution is on a unique marketing path. Still, smart marketers are expanding their channel sets, increasing social media volumes, and growing the number of associates engaged in social selling. If your institution has not already, it is time to take a fresh look at compliance in the digital age.

    To stay ahead of the regulatory curve, it is essential to create collaboration among relevant departments, adopt supportive technology, and bring your teams along with updated training. Here’s how to do it:

    1. Open the lines of communication between marketing and compliance teams.

    Digital channel expansion shows no signs of slowing down. Marketing and compliance teams must work together if they want to adopt new channels and marketing tools at the same rate. Though financial institutions cannot control the evolution of the digital landscape, both marketing and compliance can and should control how institutions navigate it.

    Marketing and compliance teams should work together to find compliant approaches to new digital communications. There’s a lot to juggle in this process, including adapting to meet customer needs and expectations, keeping an eye on regulations and researching channels. Early and frequent communication is key.

    One way to improve that communication is by offering ongoing compliance education to the team. The right technology can help compliance send that feedback to marketing as the teams compliantly adopt new modes of customer communication.

    2. Adopt tech tools to help manage the change.

    Marketing teams need the right tools to manage effective digital marketing strategies. Social selling, which leverages associates to build relationships on social media, is a perfect example. The strategy is a great way to build organic reach, but financial institutions need to closely monitor associate activity to ensure posts are on-brand and compliant. In other words, financial institutions must ensure that posts are vetted to protect the institution against risk—no matter who posts or where posts appear.

    How can banks be certain that associates only post compliant marketing materials to their social media networks? Manual review is one way to monitor content, but it is inefficient and unscalable. Not to mention, it creates bottlenecks and delays in the review process. Smart software solutions can streamline content approvals and provide compliance protection at scale.

    In an ideal state of omnichannel marketing, a financial institution is posting to brand pages, targeting paid social advertising, empowering producers to social sell, responding to direct messages, and employing many other tactics. To be scalable—and avoid drawing attention from regulators— institutions need to consider how all these tactics are reviewed, approved and archived.

    3. Train associates to understand the part they play.

    Education remains a powerful solution to preventing problems. One of the best ways financial marketers can set themselves up for success is by sharing that knowledge with their peers and co-workers.

    Every associate needs to understand their unique role in digital marketing compliance. It’s a good practice to empower everyone through education on compliance-related topics, such as how to respond to direct messages, get approval for outgoing content and ensure all communications is archived.

    No matter the author or channel, noncompliant marketing materials should not see the light of day. It was true for Facebook posts five years ago and it’s equally relevant for TikTok videos today. The digital landscape will continue to change, but this industry truth will remain steadfast. By opening up communication, adding the right tech to your tool belt and empowering associates, you can continue engaging with your customers online without compliance getting in the way.

    *This article was originally published in ABA Bank Marketing Journal.

    Paid social is one of the most effective ways to introduce people who aren’t yet following your producers, agents, loan officers, or advisors to your financial institution at the right place and the right time.

    Paid social is complementary to organic. While organic social builds first-degree connections and facilitates awareness, engagement, and branding, paid social allows you to reach larger, more tailored audiences.

    For many financial marketers and social sellers, Twitter is something of an enigma. It has a different format and structure than other popular social media networks, so it can be difficult to create the right social selling strategy. 

    However, it is still a great place to connect with customers and share thought leadership, service offerings, and authentic, real-time content. 

    Follow these Twitter best practices to drive results and show up in a meaningful way. 

    Need more social media content? Check out our guidebook on social media trends for financial services.

    Customer relationship-building is one of the greatest value drivers for insurance agents. A benchmark analysis from McKinsey & Co. found agents with deeper customer relationships have higher product density than those lacking in relationships — often cross-selling three or more products per customer.

    With that in mind, it’s essential that agents understand how to best leverage their humanity and personality to truly connect with their audiences. In today’s age, this extends to how agents present themselves and connect online.

    When prospective clients meet an agent for the first time, they’re asking themselves, “Is this person likable? Can I trust them?” Clients want to feel an authentic connection that gives them peace of mind and assures them that someone has their best interests at heart.

    This desire for connection isn’t limited to the insurance industry. In fact, 88% of consumers say that authenticity is a key factor when deciding the brands they like and support, and that trust is vitally important to entering working relationships. That desire for trust grows exponentially when it comes to insurance sales because the business is built around protecting clients’ futures.

    Insurance agents have a head start on this — their businesses have always been rooted in authenticity. But as digital transformation in the insurance industry continues, it’s more important than ever that agents assert themselves through authenticity on social media. It’s no different from what agents and other insurance professionals have been doing in person for years. It’s about conveying expertise, building trust, and showcasing industry knowledge — except now it’s within the digital universe. Social media provides a new platform for staying top of mind with customers and prospects alike.

    So, how should agents be more authentic on social media? Same as they would offline — with relationships.

    Good selling starts with genuinely listening to clients and being authentic, no matter what. Insurance agents are there to identify clients’ life needs and build a solution to protect them against loss. They must genuinely care about clients’ needs to find the right solutions and demonstrate that level of care to earn trust.

    Here’s how agents can bring that energy to social media:

    View social media as an opportunity to provide value. Marketers and agents alike already know that authenticity is important to customer acquisition. That same authenticity should show up in social media activity.

    Agents should still be themselves, just on digital channels. After all, in the insurance business, agents are selling a promise that a consumer may or may not ever see delivery on. If the client never has an accident, they’ll never make a claim.

    This means a lot of time can pass between a point of sale and delivery of promise.

    With the rise of social media, however, there is a growing opportunity to deliver value in the long term. Whether it’s sharing thought-leadership articles, checking in with clients on social media, or providing digital tools to help educate clients, the digital landscape provides ample opportunity to reinforce proof of agent value on an ongoing basis. Including both paid and organic social media marketing for insurance agents in the mix of sales practices is critical.

    This won’t replace traditional tools like phone, email and in-person meetings, but having a mix of organic and paid content alongside them will complement other relationship-building efforts, keep agents top of mind, and continually provide value to clients and prospects.

    Lean into the power of real-life experience. There’s a good chance that agents live and work in the communities they serve. Agents should use that advantage with prospective clients when building their authentic brands. Showing on social media what’s happening in their communities and their offices will help foster a sense of belonging and drive interest among followers.

    Need more marketing ideas for insurance agents? Look to everyday experiences. If an agent runs into someone at a local event, they should take a selfie and tag the person on Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn. If a client drops off cookies, the agent should post a photo and a heartfelt message about what it meant to the team. Social media followers will connect with those real-life moments far more than they would with a branded post.

    Embrace storytelling. Too often, social media marketing for insurance agents consists only of market statistics or limited-time promotions. While this type of content can absolutely be useful and helpful, it’s not enough on its own. Think about the brands you follow: Would statistics and discounts be enough to get you engaged?

    Social media is about creating a narrative, not just posting facts or promotions.

    Agents should share the true picture of what it’s been like to grow a practice. Tell client stories about how they’ve benefited from your insurance products (with permission and privacy in mind, of course). When agents share authentically, they build trust with clients and prospects.

    Be themselves. If agents are only professional and stuffy, audiences won’t connect. Agents and marketers alike shouldn’t be afraid to let a little personality shine through on social media. Thought leadership can create credibility and demonstrate expertise, and it’s always better received when served up by a real-life person.

    That’s what social selling is all about.

    Posting is only one part of the strategy. Agents should also comment on and engage with clients’ posts as appropriate. Two-way communication is critical to building authenticity. Think about it as if you were having an in-person conversation; there would be plenty of back-and-forth throughout the discussion. Did a client become a grandparent? Their agent should congratulate them. Social selling is all about creating conversation, just like in real life.

    Engagement provides the added benefit of personalization. Customers don’t want to feel like marketing collateral. When agents engage with them honestly and authentically, they’re well on their way to creating deep, lasting consumer relationships.

    Building authenticity through social media is similar in principle to building authenticity in real life; it’s just using a different medium to do so. When intermediaries share personal stories and helpful content with clients in a way that reflects their true personalities, they’ll build lasting relationships both online and offline that will serve as the foundation of future sales.

    *This article was originally published in Insurance Journal.

    Instagram is a great way for financial institutions to showcase their authenticity and highlight the human side of the business, but have you incorporated best practices into your social selling strategy?

    There’s no doubt that this highly visual social media network is a great place to reach audiences and connect with customers, especially for social sellers like insurance agents, mortgage loan officers, and financial advisors. 

    As you plan content and interact with followers, be sure to follow these best practices for a better Instagram marketing strategy.

    Need more Instagram inspiration? Download our guidebook, Stronger Customer Relationships on Instagram.

    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