August 25, 2020

Creating Powerful Social Media Around Culture, Content, and Compliance

If you’re wondering where content fits into your digital marketing strategy, listen to this enlightening podcast discussion. Denim Social CEO, Doug Wilber, joined the Financial Experience podcast to discuss how financial institutions can leverage the horsepower of employees and why content matters more than ever on social media. In a heavily saturated world of digital tools, Denim Social is staying focused on what matters to financial institutions.

Click to listen and learn more.

RESOURCES

LEARN
August 25, 2020

Creating Powerful Social Media Around Culture, Content, and Compliance

If you’re wondering where content fits into your digital marketing strategy, listen to this enlightening podcast discussion. Denim Social CEO, Doug Wilber, joined the Financial Experience podcast to discuss how financial institutions can leverage the horsepower of employees and why content matters more than ever on social media. In a heavily saturated world of digital tools, Denim Social is staying focused on what matters to financial institutions.

Click to listen and learn more.

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SIMILAR POSTS:

Temps may be on the rise, but interest rates are still historically low. Combined with vaccine-fueled reopenings, the spring 2021 real estate market is hotter than ever. Mortgage loan officers are reaping the rewards of the fast-moving market, but they’re also seeing fierce competition. 

So how does a loan officer stand out and catch the attention of homebuyers? Social media is the answer. Social media has already become an essential part of the mortgage lending business and consumers expect technology to be part of the homebuying process too. 

Now is the time for financial institutions to unlock the power of loan officers on social media. Here’s where to start: 

  1. ACTIVATE LOAN OFFICERS ON SOCIAL MEDIA. Social is all about human connections and audiences pay more attention to individual people on social media than to brands. That’s why a social selling approach, in which individual loan officers share branded messages on their own social media profiles, is essential. Marketers might bristle at the idea of loan officers posting, but the right tools can keep individual postings on strategy, on brand and in compliance.
  1. DRIVE INTEREST WITH PAID SOCIAL MEDIA. We all remember the early days of social media when good organic content was all it took to breakthrough, but the platforms and algorithms have changed -- and your strategy should too. Luckily social media advertising is low budget and high return. Whether it’s proximity-based ads or amplifying posts from your loan officers, paid advertising can ensure your content is served to the right people at the right time.
  1. USE CONTENT TO EDUCATE AND ENGAGE. Your institution’s content is an opportunity for your loan officers to establish trust through social media. Arm them with articles, guidebooks, blog posts, and more to help educate audiences on the unique opportunities in today’s market and how they can save a lot of money.
  1. DRIVE CONVERSIONS WITH A POST-CLICK EXPERIENCE. Don’t create a digital dead end on social media. Instead, build landing pages on your website to correspond with each of your social campaigns and create forms to capture followers’ contact information in exchange for a download. This arms your loan officers with interested leads and the details they need to take the next step. 

With these strategies social media can help your loan officers stand out and stay competitive. Overwhelmed? Tools from Denim Social can help mortgage marketers maximize efficiency and stay compliant.



The pandemic has brought about a lot of change in every industry, but perhaps the most noteworthy trend for property-casualty companies to consider is the renewed emphasis on trust. A 2020 Edelman study revealed that 88% of consumers consider trust a significant factor in their decisions about which brands to buy or use.

At the same time, traditional marketing strategies are growing obsolete. Nearly 70% of respondents in the same Edelman study said they consciously avoid advertising — an increase of five points from 2018. Further compounding the issue is that traditional face-to-face interactions — once so vital to trust-building in the property-casualty sphere — are now mostly off the table during a time of gathering restrictions.

So when customers don’t want to see your ads and your agents can’t meet with them in person, what’s a property-casualty company to do to build trust in this day and age? The following steps can help.


1. Mobilize agents to get active on social media.

While consumer trust in brands might be low, nearly half (45%) of consumers in the Edelman study did say they consider brand employees to be credible. It makes sense: People can relate to other people more than brand names and large companies. If property-casualty companies want to boost trust in their brand name, employees are the best place to start.

Consumers are communicating online more than ever during COVID-19, which means in order for you to meet them where they are with what they want to see, you’ll need to activate your individual agents to speak on behalf of your brand on social media. Consumers don’t want to see sales pitches and promotions from brands on social media; they want to see relatable connection points from real human beings. What’s more, employees have greater reach and can drive stronger engagement than brand pages alone.

If your agents aren’t already using social media professionally, however, mobilizing them to get active can be a challenge, especially for those agents who aren’t digital natives. Your marketing department can make it easier on them by creating a solid social media policy outlining exactly what they can and can’t do on social.

Hold trainings to go over the policy, and highlight all of the ways in which you’ll make social media an easy, effective strategy for agents to begin using. For example, marketers can create preapproved content libraries from which agents can simply choose articles to share on their profiles or with relevant individuals in their networks. Once agents realize that social media can truly be a low-effort, high-return approach, they are likely to warm up to the idea.


2. Give them the right tools to create personalized customer journeys.

Getting your agents to share and engage organically on social media is a necessary first step, and it sets a solid foundation for trust-building connections to come. However, social media algorithms are constantly changing. It’s more difficult today for branded posts to cut through the noise and get in front of intended audiences. What’s more, consumers are largely abandoning traditional means of advertising in search of more targeted, relevant experiences.

Putting money behind your social media strategy can help you break through with more tailored messages. With paid social media ads, you can ensure that agents get in front of exactly the right people in the right place at the right time. Consumers will be happy to see directly useful, relevant content that’s tailored to their personal, specific needs, and agents and marketers can both rest easy knowing their efforts (and advertising dollars) on social media aren’t wasted on the wrong audience.


3. Consider the post-click experience.

Paid social advertising can help get the right audience’s attention on social media, but creating an engaging and personal digital experience doesn’t stop there. To further customize the journey, build mobile-friendly landing pages to lead users from both organic and paid social posts.

Landing pages can be designed around specific services and offerings to give prospects all the information they need in one easily accessible place with videos, infographics, or whitepapers. You can also include an easy way for visitors to set up one-on-one conversations with agents right from the landing page, such as a call-to-action button.

A digital strategy starts with getting people’s attention with relevant, targeted social media, but don’t forget that you must then hold onto that attention until you reach a point of conversion if you want to see a return on your investment. Focus on personalizing the digital customer journey at every touchpoint.


4. Centralize digital marketing controls.

Of course, activating individual agents on social media, creating paid campaigns, and overseeing the whole social strategy can be difficult for marketing departments to handle at scale. But marketers in the property-casualty industry need to have the oversight to ensure every post and interaction is consistently compliant and aligned with the brand’s voice.

One easy way you can help your marketing team maintain control is by centralizing social media controls through social media management software. A solution that can create efficient and smooth workflows and automate approval processes can help take some pressure off your marketing team, freeing up more of their resources to think about creating personalized digital strategies.

The right software can also store a bank of pre-approved content that agents can pull from, making posting relevant, consistent content a breeze. Plus, a tool that features a data dashboard can allow marketing teams to review the performance of different types of content and adjust messaging as necessary to build trust with customers.

Like most of the world, property-casualty agents have found themselves between a rock and a hard place: Thanks to COVID-19 safety restrictions, the face-to-face business-building they’ve long relied on is off the table, and their traditional marketing strategies aren’t able to serve them as well as they once did. The good news is that a thoughtful and humanized digital engagement strategy can not only help agents meet customer demands, but also provide them with greater insight and actionability for a personalized approach with each prospect and client.

Property-casualty companies that arm their agents with everything they need to prosper in a digital world will reap the rewards in high ROI and heightened brand trust.


Doug’s Something Extra: The notion of intellectual curiosity. “This looks like digging deeper and not presuming that you know the answer. Always ask for the one last ‘why.'”

Facebook boasts a user count of 2.6 billion, making it the most used social media platform worldwide. Chances are, many of your current and future customers are using Facebook frequently throughout the day and it's important to have your brand established within your network. And while having a presence on Facebook is important, knowing how to make the most out of this tool can help you capitalize on growing your network. Check out these best practices to make the most of your Facebook marketing efforts and start achieving real results.

Establish your professional brand

Start by making sure that the page you’re using is a Facebook Business Page. Moving away from your personal page will allow you to better optimize for business specific marketing. Next, carefully check your settings to ensure that your privacy settings are up to date and that the right people can find your page. Continue your page set-up by adding images and information about your business. 

Optimize your profile picture and cover photo:

Update your Facebook Business Page ‘About’ section with this information:

  • Add your NMLS# (if applicable),  website URL, contact information, location and operating hours
  • Create a username that is easily searchable and consistent across networks
  • Add a description 
  • Company information
  • Write a summary containing your value, results, and a call-to-action

A helpful way to engage new visitors is to pin a Welcome Post to the top of your page to let visitors know what to expect on your business.

Build a community and create human connections

A good starting place is inviting your friends and family to like and engage with your business page. You can continue to grow your network by engaging with your audience and other parts of your community by:

  • Staying up to date with notifications and responding where necessary.  
  • Tagging any partners that helped during the process
  • Sharing posts for community events 

You can also create more opportunities for engagement by using hashtag. To learn more about how them implement them into your social strategy visit our blog post: ‘What’s in a #Hashtag?’ for more information. You can also check out this blog post for even more helpful tips: ‘4 Tips for Building a Facebook Business Page Following.’

Consistently post relevant and insightful content

Ask your audience questions to spark comments and interact with them. By gaining insight into pressing problems customers face it can be a help you create educational resources for them.

Find relevant content by checking your Denim Social content library, or search for topics in the Facebook search bar to find inspiration from others in your field. Something to also keep in mind are the best times to post for optimal engagement:

  • Best time: Thursday-Sunday between 1-4pm
  • Single best time: Sunday at 3 pm. 
  • Worst time: Tuesday

Check out our guide in the Help Center for more information.

Best Practices: 

Jumpstart your Facebook business optimization by adding a 30-minute weekly recurring meeting on your calendar to do the following:

  • Schedule content for the week using the 4-1-1 approach
  • Engage with your audience’s content
  • Seek recommendations from customers & share success stories

Now that you've started marketing your business on Facebook, you can continue your growth by creating a follow-up loop and check your page regularly to respond to questions, comments, messages. For a quick reference of these tips, bookmark this infographic.


The insurance industry has historically thrived on face-to-face interactions. A year ago, U.S. life insurance brokers told McKinsey that 90% of their sales conversations and even 70% of their customer follow-ups happened in person. Of course, those numbers plummeted during the pandemic: By May 2020, a follow-up McKinsey survey revealed that in-person interactions had dropped to less than 5%.

To maintain regular interactions with prospects that feel as meaningful and personal as formerly in-person conversations, insurance companies must turn to social media to meet audiences where they’re socializing during the pandemic.

Over the last few years, however, the algorithms that govern organic content’s performance on social media have shifted to make breaking through more difficult for brands. After all, social media platforms exist to make money, and their primary revenue stream is advertising dollars. Insurance companies that used to see engagement simply by posting on their business pages must now begin investing in paid advertising campaigns if they hope to achieve anything resembling earlier organic results.

Unfortunately, this trend is solidifying at a time when most insurance associates — indeed, most people in general — are stretched thin. Life insurance companies are busy handling a significant increase in demand for their services, and property and casualty areas are busy helping customers navigate changes in policies such as low mileage rebates.

Agents simply don’t have the time to focus on marketing themselves right now. In this environment, insurance companies must support them by focusing on social media marketing efforts and examining ways to help agents cut through the noise and foster real, human connections online. These three strategies are excellent places to start.

1. First, equip agents with social selling.

To maximize a paid social strategy, agents need to be engaging with prospects and clients organically on social media first. Enable your agents to practice social selling — which means sharing branded content from their own profiles to their own networks.

A company’s social accounts might offer some brand visibility, but associates have a far greater reach than your brand, and their followers trust their content much more than your company’s content. When agents share helpful information that highlights their expertise, their networks will already begin to see them as trusted resources. This lays a solid foundation for launching a paid campaign with individual agents.

Of course, the last thing any insurance company wants to do is add more demands to their agents’ already full plates. If you want employees to build their social presence organically, you have to make it as easy as possible. Marketing teams can build clear, comprehensive social media policies and train agents on them. Then, they can provide agents with a steady stream of engaging, curated content that aligns with the brand and interests agents’ followers.

2. Then, tailor social selling with paid advertising.

Paid social should absolutely be a part of your 2021 advertising plans, but you should still incorporate elements of your organic social selling strategy — namely, the agents. Put your individual agents front and center in the ads targeted to the audiences in their respective geographic regions.

Consumers today expect this level of personalization. One report found that 72% of consumers will engage only with marketing messaging that’s tailored to their interests, and Accenture confirmed that most are willing to share the data necessary for a more customized experience.

Ultimately, it’s human nature to seek out person-to-person connections. People trust other people more than companies and brand names. Insurance companies should take every step possible to build, maintain and reinforce the human relationships that were the cornerstone of the industry pre-COVID-19, and getting individual agents in front of the right people on social media is a great way to highlight the human element.

3. Use software to control and expand your efforts.

Insurance companies can no longer rely on mass channels and one-size-fits-all campaigns to establish trust and convert clients. Personalized marketing efforts are increasingly complex, and they’re best handled by marketers with central authority.

As agents deal with the same changes that are rocking the broader industry, they’re relying on marketers to implement complex paid campaigns at the brand, branch and agent levels. That’s a lot for one marketing team to handle, but social media management software exists to make it easier. The right tool can streamline and automate workflows, making sure no ad ever publishes without the correct approvals. This helps ensure each post is compliant and in line with your brand’s style and voice. Software can also allow marketing teams to reach more people on more platforms with simultaneous multi-Personal Connections Via Social Media platform features, allowing campaigns to scale with ease.

With the operational details of executing a social strategy taken care of, marketers can focus more on arming agents with everything they need to create the types of meaningful, human connections that will foster trust and set the stage for strong relationships to come.

The insurance industry upheaval brought on by COVID-19 has necessitated a stark shift in the industry’s approach to advertising. Organizations must strive to build personal relationships and connections from a distance, but a branded organic strategy won’t meet social advertising needs as algorithms evolve. Instead, the insurance companies that pivot to social selling, human content and solutions at scale will rise to the top of the news feed in the coming year.

Denim Social was present at the creation of what now constitutes St. Louis' tech-startup ecosystem. 

The software company, then called Gremln, was among the first tenants in the original T-Rex technology incubator. It was an inaugural participant in the Capital Innovators accelerator program, and the first St. Louis investment made by financial-technology fund SixThirty. It was also an early investment for venture fund Cultivation Capital

Now, after nearly a decade of being nurtured and molded by local investors and institutions, Denim Chief Executive Doug Wilber says the software company has reached a point where it could grow rapidly. 

Its revenue jumped 60% last year, fueled by an acquisition and $4 million of new capital. Wilber said he expects to raise more money within a year and will add to the 20-person staff, about half of whom work at the downtown St. Louis headquarters. 


Denim's software helps banks, insurance companies and other regulated firms manage their employees' social media posts. It's a tough industry to break into: A handful of larger, better-funded software firms have the biggest banks locked into multi-year contracts. 

Recently, Denim has won a couple of head-to-head competitions against those big rivals. “If we get an opportunity to compete, which is our biggest challenge right now, we tend to win more than our share,” Wilber said. 

One selling point is that Denim is the only social media management platform endorsed by the American Bankers Association. Another is that its software includes a compliance function to make sure posts don't run afoul of regulations. 

Paul Lewis, chief marketing officer at Commerce Trust Co., said his company used to tell its financial advisers to avoid social media. It was too difficult to police whether an offhand remark about the stock market might violate some rule. 

Now, using Denim's software, 75 Commerce trust officers and advisers are posting regularly on LinkedIn. Each reaches hundreds or thousands of clients and potential clients. 

“What excites us is that it allows us to streamline our advisers' sharing of compliance-approved content with their own networks,” Lewis said. “I also like the fact that it's easy to use.” 

West Community Credit Union, based in O'Fallon, Missouri, recently signed its mortgage loan officers up with Denim. “We really want to grow our social media engagement,” said Koren Greubel, vice president of marketing, “but there are a significant number of regulations that tie in with any mortgage advertising.” 

Benjamin F. Edwards & Co., a Clayton-based brokerage, found social media — and Denim — especially important during the coronavirus pandem

“We wanted to make it easy for advisers to stay connected with their clients,” said Doug Rubenstein, the firm's chief operating officer. “With Denim Social, advisers could get subject matter up almost immediately. It was great for them to be able to stay connected when they weren't meeting face to face.” 

Wilber, a veteran payments industry executive, moved to St. Louis from Chicago seven years ago and became Denim's CEO in 2018. He's been impressed, he said, by the resources available to early-stage companies here, and Denim has taken advantage of many of them. 

Wilber believes St. Louis' roster of large companies, from Reinsurance Group of America to Mastercard to Edward Jones, make it an especially good place to launch a financial technology company. “We're a poster child for what happens when you get a fin-tech embedded into the financial services community at a very early stage,” he said. 

This article was originally published by the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

GUIDES

Creating Powerful Social Media Around Culture, Content, and Compliance

If you’re wondering where content fits into your digital marketing strategy, listen to this enlightening podcast discussion. Denim Social CEO, Doug Wilber, joined the Financial Experience podcast to discuss how financial institutions can leverage the horsepower of employees and why content matters more than ever on social media. In a heavily saturated world of digital tools, Denim Social is staying focused on what matters to financial institutions.

Click to listen and learn more.

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Download Guide
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ALL GUIDES:

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 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!

Stronger Customer Relationships on Instagram

Financial Services companies should be 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.

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?
  • 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!

    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.

    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.

    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!

    RESOURCES

    NEWS
    August 25, 2020

    Creating Powerful Social Media Around Culture, Content, and Compliance

    If you’re wondering where content fits into your digital marketing strategy, listen to this enlightening podcast discussion. Denim Social CEO, Doug Wilber, joined the Financial Experience podcast to discuss how financial institutions can leverage the horsepower of employees and why content matters more than ever on social media. In a heavily saturated world of digital tools, Denim Social is staying focused on what matters to financial institutions.

    Click to listen and learn more.

    Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest sent to your inbox.
    Thank you for subscribing!
    Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
    OTHER NEWS:

    Temps may be on the rise, but interest rates are still historically low. Combined with vaccine-fueled reopenings, the spring 2021 real estate market is hotter than ever. Mortgage loan officers are reaping the rewards of the fast-moving market, but they’re also seeing fierce competition. 

    So how does a loan officer stand out and catch the attention of homebuyers? Social media is the answer. Social media has already become an essential part of the mortgage lending business and consumers expect technology to be part of the homebuying process too. 

    Now is the time for financial institutions to unlock the power of loan officers on social media. Here’s where to start: 

    1. ACTIVATE LOAN OFFICERS ON SOCIAL MEDIA. Social is all about human connections and audiences pay more attention to individual people on social media than to brands. That’s why a social selling approach, in which individual loan officers share branded messages on their own social media profiles, is essential. Marketers might bristle at the idea of loan officers posting, but the right tools can keep individual postings on strategy, on brand and in compliance.
    1. DRIVE INTEREST WITH PAID SOCIAL MEDIA. We all remember the early days of social media when good organic content was all it took to breakthrough, but the platforms and algorithms have changed -- and your strategy should too. Luckily social media advertising is low budget and high return. Whether it’s proximity-based ads or amplifying posts from your loan officers, paid advertising can ensure your content is served to the right people at the right time.
    1. USE CONTENT TO EDUCATE AND ENGAGE. Your institution’s content is an opportunity for your loan officers to establish trust through social media. Arm them with articles, guidebooks, blog posts, and more to help educate audiences on the unique opportunities in today’s market and how they can save a lot of money.
    1. DRIVE CONVERSIONS WITH A POST-CLICK EXPERIENCE. Don’t create a digital dead end on social media. Instead, build landing pages on your website to correspond with each of your social campaigns and create forms to capture followers’ contact information in exchange for a download. This arms your loan officers with interested leads and the details they need to take the next step. 

    With these strategies social media can help your loan officers stand out and stay competitive. Overwhelmed? Tools from Denim Social can help mortgage marketers maximize efficiency and stay compliant.



    The pandemic has brought about a lot of change in every industry, but perhaps the most noteworthy trend for property-casualty companies to consider is the renewed emphasis on trust. A 2020 Edelman study revealed that 88% of consumers consider trust a significant factor in their decisions about which brands to buy or use.

    At the same time, traditional marketing strategies are growing obsolete. Nearly 70% of respondents in the same Edelman study said they consciously avoid advertising — an increase of five points from 2018. Further compounding the issue is that traditional face-to-face interactions — once so vital to trust-building in the property-casualty sphere — are now mostly off the table during a time of gathering restrictions.

    So when customers don’t want to see your ads and your agents can’t meet with them in person, what’s a property-casualty company to do to build trust in this day and age? The following steps can help.


    1. Mobilize agents to get active on social media.

    While consumer trust in brands might be low, nearly half (45%) of consumers in the Edelman study did say they consider brand employees to be credible. It makes sense: People can relate to other people more than brand names and large companies. If property-casualty companies want to boost trust in their brand name, employees are the best place to start.

    Consumers are communicating online more than ever during COVID-19, which means in order for you to meet them where they are with what they want to see, you’ll need to activate your individual agents to speak on behalf of your brand on social media. Consumers don’t want to see sales pitches and promotions from brands on social media; they want to see relatable connection points from real human beings. What’s more, employees have greater reach and can drive stronger engagement than brand pages alone.

    If your agents aren’t already using social media professionally, however, mobilizing them to get active can be a challenge, especially for those agents who aren’t digital natives. Your marketing department can make it easier on them by creating a solid social media policy outlining exactly what they can and can’t do on social.

    Hold trainings to go over the policy, and highlight all of the ways in which you’ll make social media an easy, effective strategy for agents to begin using. For example, marketers can create preapproved content libraries from which agents can simply choose articles to share on their profiles or with relevant individuals in their networks. Once agents realize that social media can truly be a low-effort, high-return approach, they are likely to warm up to the idea.


    2. Give them the right tools to create personalized customer journeys.

    Getting your agents to share and engage organically on social media is a necessary first step, and it sets a solid foundation for trust-building connections to come. However, social media algorithms are constantly changing. It’s more difficult today for branded posts to cut through the noise and get in front of intended audiences. What’s more, consumers are largely abandoning traditional means of advertising in search of more targeted, relevant experiences.

    Putting money behind your social media strategy can help you break through with more tailored messages. With paid social media ads, you can ensure that agents get in front of exactly the right people in the right place at the right time. Consumers will be happy to see directly useful, relevant content that’s tailored to their personal, specific needs, and agents and marketers can both rest easy knowing their efforts (and advertising dollars) on social media aren’t wasted on the wrong audience.


    3. Consider the post-click experience.

    Paid social advertising can help get the right audience’s attention on social media, but creating an engaging and personal digital experience doesn’t stop there. To further customize the journey, build mobile-friendly landing pages to lead users from both organic and paid social posts.

    Landing pages can be designed around specific services and offerings to give prospects all the information they need in one easily accessible place with videos, infographics, or whitepapers. You can also include an easy way for visitors to set up one-on-one conversations with agents right from the landing page, such as a call-to-action button.

    A digital strategy starts with getting people’s attention with relevant, targeted social media, but don’t forget that you must then hold onto that attention until you reach a point of conversion if you want to see a return on your investment. Focus on personalizing the digital customer journey at every touchpoint.


    4. Centralize digital marketing controls.

    Of course, activating individual agents on social media, creating paid campaigns, and overseeing the whole social strategy can be difficult for marketing departments to handle at scale. But marketers in the property-casualty industry need to have the oversight to ensure every post and interaction is consistently compliant and aligned with the brand’s voice.

    One easy way you can help your marketing team maintain control is by centralizing social media controls through social media management software. A solution that can create efficient and smooth workflows and automate approval processes can help take some pressure off your marketing team, freeing up more of their resources to think about creating personalized digital strategies.

    The right software can also store a bank of pre-approved content that agents can pull from, making posting relevant, consistent content a breeze. Plus, a tool that features a data dashboard can allow marketing teams to review the performance of different types of content and adjust messaging as necessary to build trust with customers.

    Like most of the world, property-casualty agents have found themselves between a rock and a hard place: Thanks to COVID-19 safety restrictions, the face-to-face business-building they’ve long relied on is off the table, and their traditional marketing strategies aren’t able to serve them as well as they once did. The good news is that a thoughtful and humanized digital engagement strategy can not only help agents meet customer demands, but also provide them with greater insight and actionability for a personalized approach with each prospect and client.

    Property-casualty companies that arm their agents with everything they need to prosper in a digital world will reap the rewards in high ROI and heightened brand trust.


    Doug’s Something Extra: The notion of intellectual curiosity. “This looks like digging deeper and not presuming that you know the answer. Always ask for the one last ‘why.'”

    The insurance industry has historically thrived on face-to-face interactions. A year ago, U.S. life insurance brokers told McKinsey that 90% of their sales conversations and even 70% of their customer follow-ups happened in person. Of course, those numbers plummeted during the pandemic: By May 2020, a follow-up McKinsey survey revealed that in-person interactions had dropped to less than 5%.

    To maintain regular interactions with prospects that feel as meaningful and personal as formerly in-person conversations, insurance companies must turn to social media to meet audiences where they’re socializing during the pandemic.

    Over the last few years, however, the algorithms that govern organic content’s performance on social media have shifted to make breaking through more difficult for brands. After all, social media platforms exist to make money, and their primary revenue stream is advertising dollars. Insurance companies that used to see engagement simply by posting on their business pages must now begin investing in paid advertising campaigns if they hope to achieve anything resembling earlier organic results.

    Unfortunately, this trend is solidifying at a time when most insurance associates — indeed, most people in general — are stretched thin. Life insurance companies are busy handling a significant increase in demand for their services, and property and casualty areas are busy helping customers navigate changes in policies such as low mileage rebates.

    Agents simply don’t have the time to focus on marketing themselves right now. In this environment, insurance companies must support them by focusing on social media marketing efforts and examining ways to help agents cut through the noise and foster real, human connections online. These three strategies are excellent places to start.

    1. First, equip agents with social selling.

    To maximize a paid social strategy, agents need to be engaging with prospects and clients organically on social media first. Enable your agents to practice social selling — which means sharing branded content from their own profiles to their own networks.

    A company’s social accounts might offer some brand visibility, but associates have a far greater reach than your brand, and their followers trust their content much more than your company’s content. When agents share helpful information that highlights their expertise, their networks will already begin to see them as trusted resources. This lays a solid foundation for launching a paid campaign with individual agents.

    Of course, the last thing any insurance company wants to do is add more demands to their agents’ already full plates. If you want employees to build their social presence organically, you have to make it as easy as possible. Marketing teams can build clear, comprehensive social media policies and train agents on them. Then, they can provide agents with a steady stream of engaging, curated content that aligns with the brand and interests agents’ followers.

    2. Then, tailor social selling with paid advertising.

    Paid social should absolutely be a part of your 2021 advertising plans, but you should still incorporate elements of your organic social selling strategy — namely, the agents. Put your individual agents front and center in the ads targeted to the audiences in their respective geographic regions.

    Consumers today expect this level of personalization. One report found that 72% of consumers will engage only with marketing messaging that’s tailored to their interests, and Accenture confirmed that most are willing to share the data necessary for a more customized experience.

    Ultimately, it’s human nature to seek out person-to-person connections. People trust other people more than companies and brand names. Insurance companies should take every step possible to build, maintain and reinforce the human relationships that were the cornerstone of the industry pre-COVID-19, and getting individual agents in front of the right people on social media is a great way to highlight the human element.

    3. Use software to control and expand your efforts.

    Insurance companies can no longer rely on mass channels and one-size-fits-all campaigns to establish trust and convert clients. Personalized marketing efforts are increasingly complex, and they’re best handled by marketers with central authority.

    As agents deal with the same changes that are rocking the broader industry, they’re relying on marketers to implement complex paid campaigns at the brand, branch and agent levels. That’s a lot for one marketing team to handle, but social media management software exists to make it easier. The right tool can streamline and automate workflows, making sure no ad ever publishes without the correct approvals. This helps ensure each post is compliant and in line with your brand’s style and voice. Software can also allow marketing teams to reach more people on more platforms with simultaneous multi-Personal Connections Via Social Media platform features, allowing campaigns to scale with ease.

    With the operational details of executing a social strategy taken care of, marketers can focus more on arming agents with everything they need to create the types of meaningful, human connections that will foster trust and set the stage for strong relationships to come.

    The insurance industry upheaval brought on by COVID-19 has necessitated a stark shift in the industry’s approach to advertising. Organizations must strive to build personal relationships and connections from a distance, but a branded organic strategy won’t meet social advertising needs as algorithms evolve. Instead, the insurance companies that pivot to social selling, human content and solutions at scale will rise to the top of the news feed in the coming year.

    Denim Social was present at the creation of what now constitutes St. Louis' tech-startup ecosystem. 

    The software company, then called Gremln, was among the first tenants in the original T-Rex technology incubator. It was an inaugural participant in the Capital Innovators accelerator program, and the first St. Louis investment made by financial-technology fund SixThirty. It was also an early investment for venture fund Cultivation Capital

    Now, after nearly a decade of being nurtured and molded by local investors and institutions, Denim Chief Executive Doug Wilber says the software company has reached a point where it could grow rapidly. 

    Its revenue jumped 60% last year, fueled by an acquisition and $4 million of new capital. Wilber said he expects to raise more money within a year and will add to the 20-person staff, about half of whom work at the downtown St. Louis headquarters. 


    Denim's software helps banks, insurance companies and other regulated firms manage their employees' social media posts. It's a tough industry to break into: A handful of larger, better-funded software firms have the biggest banks locked into multi-year contracts. 

    Recently, Denim has won a couple of head-to-head competitions against those big rivals. “If we get an opportunity to compete, which is our biggest challenge right now, we tend to win more than our share,” Wilber said. 

    One selling point is that Denim is the only social media management platform endorsed by the American Bankers Association. Another is that its software includes a compliance function to make sure posts don't run afoul of regulations. 

    Paul Lewis, chief marketing officer at Commerce Trust Co., said his company used to tell its financial advisers to avoid social media. It was too difficult to police whether an offhand remark about the stock market might violate some rule. 

    Now, using Denim's software, 75 Commerce trust officers and advisers are posting regularly on LinkedIn. Each reaches hundreds or thousands of clients and potential clients. 

    “What excites us is that it allows us to streamline our advisers' sharing of compliance-approved content with their own networks,” Lewis said. “I also like the fact that it's easy to use.” 

    West Community Credit Union, based in O'Fallon, Missouri, recently signed its mortgage loan officers up with Denim. “We really want to grow our social media engagement,” said Koren Greubel, vice president of marketing, “but there are a significant number of regulations that tie in with any mortgage advertising.” 

    Benjamin F. Edwards & Co., a Clayton-based brokerage, found social media — and Denim — especially important during the coronavirus pandem

    “We wanted to make it easy for advisers to stay connected with their clients,” said Doug Rubenstein, the firm's chief operating officer. “With Denim Social, advisers could get subject matter up almost immediately. It was great for them to be able to stay connected when they weren't meeting face to face.” 

    Wilber, a veteran payments industry executive, moved to St. Louis from Chicago seven years ago and became Denim's CEO in 2018. He's been impressed, he said, by the resources available to early-stage companies here, and Denim has taken advantage of many of them. 

    Wilber believes St. Louis' roster of large companies, from Reinsurance Group of America to Mastercard to Edward Jones, make it an especially good place to launch a financial technology company. “We're a poster child for what happens when you get a fin-tech embedded into the financial services community at a very early stage,” he said. 

    This article was originally published by the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

    Bank customers were leaning more toward digital experiences long before COVID-19. By 2017, 80% of all customer touchpoints already occurred through digital channels, and mobile banking transactions were poised to grow 121% between 2017 and 2022. Now, the pandemic has accelerated customers’ adoption of digital tools as they search for new ways to connect outside of face-to-face interactions.

    They also expect financial institutions to be connecting digitally in new, meaningful ways: A special report from Edelman revealed that 84% of people want brands to use social media channels to build a sense of community by offering social support during this time. As customers increasingly flock to digital and online tools, banks must meet them there. Bank employees who can blend a digital approach with a human touch can fully engage their customers across their digital banking journeys and become go-to financial resources for their communities.

    Here are a few ways banks can enable employees to help customers along their digital banking journeys:

    1. Promote the value of social selling to employees.

    The financial services industry is based on relationships, but the pandemic has strained connection points between financial services providers and their customers. Social media can be an excellent tool to fill in the gaps and provide the human touch that strengthens relationships and propels businesses.

    This strategy is most effective when employees engage directly with customers from their own social channels. In fact, 41% of customers don’t trust brand marketing to be accurate, especially on social media. People trust people, not brands, and when employees share content on social media, it receives twice as many click-throughs as the same content shared through a brand’s social media page. This trust is what makes social selling, or bank employees engaging with customers from their own social media profiles, essential for banks.

    When bank employees become brand ambassadors on social media, they can humanize the brand and build relationships to maintain connections with current customers and guide prospective customers to conversion. Considering that sharing quality content on social media can contribute to salespeople surpassing their quotas, becoming social media ambassadors can be especially valuable for loan officers and financial advisors looking to grow their businesses.

    2. Amplify their reach with paid social advertising.

    In the early days of social media marketing, all it took was great content to make a viral hit. But the landscape has changed. While your customers will appreciate employees’ organic social media presence, social platforms have updated their algorithms to make branded content less visible.

    If you want employees to get branded content in front of the right people on social, social media advertising is key. The value in social media now is being able to target highly segmented audiences with personal messages at a minimal cost. You may see some of the strongest results by focusing first on proximity-based marketing. If employees serve only specific geographic areas, limit paid social ads to only those areas for the highest return.

    3. Consider the post-click experience, too.

    Whether it’s through organic, paid, or a blend of both social selling tactics, getting prospects’ attention is only the beginning of the overarching goal. Once you have it, don’t waste it. Instead of employees driving customers straight back to the bank’s website or banking app from their social media posts and interactions, consider enabling a more personalized experience.

    Build a mobile-friendly landing page that aligns with the social media content employees are sharing, and encourage employees to lead their social connections back to the landing page. The page can include more detailed information in the form of videos, infographics, or whitepapers, and you can add a convenient and easy way for customers to set up a one-on-one conversation. The goal is to guide them to the next step with as much care and effort as you put into getting their attention in the first place.

    A customers’ banking journey varies across many different digital touchpoints, from social media to mobile banking apps. The bottom line is that customers expect a digital experience, but they still value the human connection and relationships that have long been a centerpiece of the financial services industry. Empower your employees to be active social media ambassadors, and they can connect with customers in meaningful ways along every step of their digital journeys.

    RESOURCES

    VISION
    August 25, 2020

    Creating Powerful Social Media Around Culture, Content, and Compliance

    If you’re wondering where content fits into your digital marketing strategy, listen to this enlightening podcast discussion. Denim Social CEO, Doug Wilber, joined the Financial Experience podcast to discuss how financial institutions can leverage the horsepower of employees and why content matters more than ever on social media. In a heavily saturated world of digital tools, Denim Social is staying focused on what matters to financial institutions.

    Click to listen and learn more.

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    Temps may be on the rise, but interest rates are still historically low. Combined with vaccine-fueled reopenings, the spring 2021 real estate market is hotter than ever. Mortgage loan officers are reaping the rewards of the fast-moving market, but they’re also seeing fierce competition. 

    So how does a loan officer stand out and catch the attention of homebuyers? Social media is the answer. Social media has already become an essential part of the mortgage lending business and consumers expect technology to be part of the homebuying process too. 

    Now is the time for financial institutions to unlock the power of loan officers on social media. Here’s where to start: 

    1. ACTIVATE LOAN OFFICERS ON SOCIAL MEDIA. Social is all about human connections and audiences pay more attention to individual people on social media than to brands. That’s why a social selling approach, in which individual loan officers share branded messages on their own social media profiles, is essential. Marketers might bristle at the idea of loan officers posting, but the right tools can keep individual postings on strategy, on brand and in compliance.
    1. DRIVE INTEREST WITH PAID SOCIAL MEDIA. We all remember the early days of social media when good organic content was all it took to breakthrough, but the platforms and algorithms have changed -- and your strategy should too. Luckily social media advertising is low budget and high return. Whether it’s proximity-based ads or amplifying posts from your loan officers, paid advertising can ensure your content is served to the right people at the right time.
    1. USE CONTENT TO EDUCATE AND ENGAGE. Your institution’s content is an opportunity for your loan officers to establish trust through social media. Arm them with articles, guidebooks, blog posts, and more to help educate audiences on the unique opportunities in today’s market and how they can save a lot of money.
    1. DRIVE CONVERSIONS WITH A POST-CLICK EXPERIENCE. Don’t create a digital dead end on social media. Instead, build landing pages on your website to correspond with each of your social campaigns and create forms to capture followers’ contact information in exchange for a download. This arms your loan officers with interested leads and the details they need to take the next step. 

    With these strategies social media can help your loan officers stand out and stay competitive. Overwhelmed? Tools from Denim Social can help mortgage marketers maximize efficiency and stay compliant.



    The pandemic has brought about a lot of change in every industry, but perhaps the most noteworthy trend for property-casualty companies to consider is the renewed emphasis on trust. A 2020 Edelman study revealed that 88% of consumers consider trust a significant factor in their decisions about which brands to buy or use.

    At the same time, traditional marketing strategies are growing obsolete. Nearly 70% of respondents in the same Edelman study said they consciously avoid advertising — an increase of five points from 2018. Further compounding the issue is that traditional face-to-face interactions — once so vital to trust-building in the property-casualty sphere — are now mostly off the table during a time of gathering restrictions.

    So when customers don’t want to see your ads and your agents can’t meet with them in person, what’s a property-casualty company to do to build trust in this day and age? The following steps can help.


    1. Mobilize agents to get active on social media.

    While consumer trust in brands might be low, nearly half (45%) of consumers in the Edelman study did say they consider brand employees to be credible. It makes sense: People can relate to other people more than brand names and large companies. If property-casualty companies want to boost trust in their brand name, employees are the best place to start.

    Consumers are communicating online more than ever during COVID-19, which means in order for you to meet them where they are with what they want to see, you’ll need to activate your individual agents to speak on behalf of your brand on social media. Consumers don’t want to see sales pitches and promotions from brands on social media; they want to see relatable connection points from real human beings. What’s more, employees have greater reach and can drive stronger engagement than brand pages alone.

    If your agents aren’t already using social media professionally, however, mobilizing them to get active can be a challenge, especially for those agents who aren’t digital natives. Your marketing department can make it easier on them by creating a solid social media policy outlining exactly what they can and can’t do on social.

    Hold trainings to go over the policy, and highlight all of the ways in which you’ll make social media an easy, effective strategy for agents to begin using. For example, marketers can create preapproved content libraries from which agents can simply choose articles to share on their profiles or with relevant individuals in their networks. Once agents realize that social media can truly be a low-effort, high-return approach, they are likely to warm up to the idea.


    2. Give them the right tools to create personalized customer journeys.

    Getting your agents to share and engage organically on social media is a necessary first step, and it sets a solid foundation for trust-building connections to come. However, social media algorithms are constantly changing. It’s more difficult today for branded posts to cut through the noise and get in front of intended audiences. What’s more, consumers are largely abandoning traditional means of advertising in search of more targeted, relevant experiences.

    Putting money behind your social media strategy can help you break through with more tailored messages. With paid social media ads, you can ensure that agents get in front of exactly the right people in the right place at the right time. Consumers will be happy to see directly useful, relevant content that’s tailored to their personal, specific needs, and agents and marketers can both rest easy knowing their efforts (and advertising dollars) on social media aren’t wasted on the wrong audience.


    3. Consider the post-click experience.

    Paid social advertising can help get the right audience’s attention on social media, but creating an engaging and personal digital experience doesn’t stop there. To further customize the journey, build mobile-friendly landing pages to lead users from both organic and paid social posts.

    Landing pages can be designed around specific services and offerings to give prospects all the information they need in one easily accessible place with videos, infographics, or whitepapers. You can also include an easy way for visitors to set up one-on-one conversations with agents right from the landing page, such as a call-to-action button.

    A digital strategy starts with getting people’s attention with relevant, targeted social media, but don’t forget that you must then hold onto that attention until you reach a point of conversion if you want to see a return on your investment. Focus on personalizing the digital customer journey at every touchpoint.


    4. Centralize digital marketing controls.

    Of course, activating individual agents on social media, creating paid campaigns, and overseeing the whole social strategy can be difficult for marketing departments to handle at scale. But marketers in the property-casualty industry need to have the oversight to ensure every post and interaction is consistently compliant and aligned with the brand’s voice.

    One easy way you can help your marketing team maintain control is by centralizing social media controls through social media management software. A solution that can create efficient and smooth workflows and automate approval processes can help take some pressure off your marketing team, freeing up more of their resources to think about creating personalized digital strategies.

    The right software can also store a bank of pre-approved content that agents can pull from, making posting relevant, consistent content a breeze. Plus, a tool that features a data dashboard can allow marketing teams to review the performance of different types of content and adjust messaging as necessary to build trust with customers.

    Like most of the world, property-casualty agents have found themselves between a rock and a hard place: Thanks to COVID-19 safety restrictions, the face-to-face business-building they’ve long relied on is off the table, and their traditional marketing strategies aren’t able to serve them as well as they once did. The good news is that a thoughtful and humanized digital engagement strategy can not only help agents meet customer demands, but also provide them with greater insight and actionability for a personalized approach with each prospect and client.

    Property-casualty companies that arm their agents with everything they need to prosper in a digital world will reap the rewards in high ROI and heightened brand trust.


    Doug’s Something Extra: The notion of intellectual curiosity. “This looks like digging deeper and not presuming that you know the answer. Always ask for the one last ‘why.'”

    Facebook boasts a user count of 2.6 billion, making it the most used social media platform worldwide. Chances are, many of your current and future customers are using Facebook frequently throughout the day and it's important to have your brand established within your network. And while having a presence on Facebook is important, knowing how to make the most out of this tool can help you capitalize on growing your network. Check out these best practices to make the most of your Facebook marketing efforts and start achieving real results.

    Establish your professional brand

    Start by making sure that the page you’re using is a Facebook Business Page. Moving away from your personal page will allow you to better optimize for business specific marketing. Next, carefully check your settings to ensure that your privacy settings are up to date and that the right people can find your page. Continue your page set-up by adding images and information about your business. 

    Optimize your profile picture and cover photo:

    Update your Facebook Business Page ‘About’ section with this information:

    • Add your NMLS# (if applicable),  website URL, contact information, location and operating hours
    • Create a username that is easily searchable and consistent across networks
    • Add a description 
    • Company information
    • Write a summary containing your value, results, and a call-to-action

    A helpful way to engage new visitors is to pin a Welcome Post to the top of your page to let visitors know what to expect on your business.

    Build a community and create human connections

    A good starting place is inviting your friends and family to like and engage with your business page. You can continue to grow your network by engaging with your audience and other parts of your community by:

    • Staying up to date with notifications and responding where necessary.  
    • Tagging any partners that helped during the process
    • Sharing posts for community events 

    You can also create more opportunities for engagement by using hashtag. To learn more about how them implement them into your social strategy visit our blog post: ‘What’s in a #Hashtag?’ for more information. You can also check out this blog post for even more helpful tips: ‘4 Tips for Building a Facebook Business Page Following.’

    Consistently post relevant and insightful content

    Ask your audience questions to spark comments and interact with them. By gaining insight into pressing problems customers face it can be a help you create educational resources for them.

    Find relevant content by checking your Denim Social content library, or search for topics in the Facebook search bar to find inspiration from others in your field. Something to also keep in mind are the best times to post for optimal engagement:

    • Best time: Thursday-Sunday between 1-4pm
    • Single best time: Sunday at 3 pm. 
    • Worst time: Tuesday

    Check out our guide in the Help Center for more information.

    Best Practices: 

    Jumpstart your Facebook business optimization by adding a 30-minute weekly recurring meeting on your calendar to do the following:

    • Schedule content for the week using the 4-1-1 approach
    • Engage with your audience’s content
    • Seek recommendations from customers & share success stories

    Now that you've started marketing your business on Facebook, you can continue your growth by creating a follow-up loop and check your page regularly to respond to questions, comments, messages. For a quick reference of these tips, bookmark this infographic.


    The insurance industry has historically thrived on face-to-face interactions. A year ago, U.S. life insurance brokers told McKinsey that 90% of their sales conversations and even 70% of their customer follow-ups happened in person. Of course, those numbers plummeted during the pandemic: By May 2020, a follow-up McKinsey survey revealed that in-person interactions had dropped to less than 5%.

    To maintain regular interactions with prospects that feel as meaningful and personal as formerly in-person conversations, insurance companies must turn to social media to meet audiences where they’re socializing during the pandemic.

    Over the last few years, however, the algorithms that govern organic content’s performance on social media have shifted to make breaking through more difficult for brands. After all, social media platforms exist to make money, and their primary revenue stream is advertising dollars. Insurance companies that used to see engagement simply by posting on their business pages must now begin investing in paid advertising campaigns if they hope to achieve anything resembling earlier organic results.

    Unfortunately, this trend is solidifying at a time when most insurance associates — indeed, most people in general — are stretched thin. Life insurance companies are busy handling a significant increase in demand for their services, and property and casualty areas are busy helping customers navigate changes in policies such as low mileage rebates.

    Agents simply don’t have the time to focus on marketing themselves right now. In this environment, insurance companies must support them by focusing on social media marketing efforts and examining ways to help agents cut through the noise and foster real, human connections online. These three strategies are excellent places to start.

    1. First, equip agents with social selling.

    To maximize a paid social strategy, agents need to be engaging with prospects and clients organically on social media first. Enable your agents to practice social selling — which means sharing branded content from their own profiles to their own networks.

    A company’s social accounts might offer some brand visibility, but associates have a far greater reach than your brand, and their followers trust their content much more than your company’s content. When agents share helpful information that highlights their expertise, their networks will already begin to see them as trusted resources. This lays a solid foundation for launching a paid campaign with individual agents.

    Of course, the last thing any insurance company wants to do is add more demands to their agents’ already full plates. If you want employees to build their social presence organically, you have to make it as easy as possible. Marketing teams can build clear, comprehensive social media policies and train agents on them. Then, they can provide agents with a steady stream of engaging, curated content that aligns with the brand and interests agents’ followers.

    2. Then, tailor social selling with paid advertising.

    Paid social should absolutely be a part of your 2021 advertising plans, but you should still incorporate elements of your organic social selling strategy — namely, the agents. Put your individual agents front and center in the ads targeted to the audiences in their respective geographic regions.

    Consumers today expect this level of personalization. One report found that 72% of consumers will engage only with marketing messaging that’s tailored to their interests, and Accenture confirmed that most are willing to share the data necessary for a more customized experience.

    Ultimately, it’s human nature to seek out person-to-person connections. People trust other people more than companies and brand names. Insurance companies should take every step possible to build, maintain and reinforce the human relationships that were the cornerstone of the industry pre-COVID-19, and getting individual agents in front of the right people on social media is a great way to highlight the human element.

    3. Use software to control and expand your efforts.

    Insurance companies can no longer rely on mass channels and one-size-fits-all campaigns to establish trust and convert clients. Personalized marketing efforts are increasingly complex, and they’re best handled by marketers with central authority.

    As agents deal with the same changes that are rocking the broader industry, they’re relying on marketers to implement complex paid campaigns at the brand, branch and agent levels. That’s a lot for one marketing team to handle, but social media management software exists to make it easier. The right tool can streamline and automate workflows, making sure no ad ever publishes without the correct approvals. This helps ensure each post is compliant and in line with your brand’s style and voice. Software can also allow marketing teams to reach more people on more platforms with simultaneous multi-Personal Connections Via Social Media platform features, allowing campaigns to scale with ease.

    With the operational details of executing a social strategy taken care of, marketers can focus more on arming agents with everything they need to create the types of meaningful, human connections that will foster trust and set the stage for strong relationships to come.

    The insurance industry upheaval brought on by COVID-19 has necessitated a stark shift in the industry’s approach to advertising. Organizations must strive to build personal relationships and connections from a distance, but a branded organic strategy won’t meet social advertising needs as algorithms evolve. Instead, the insurance companies that pivot to social selling, human content and solutions at scale will rise to the top of the news feed in the coming year.

    Denim Social was present at the creation of what now constitutes St. Louis' tech-startup ecosystem. 

    The software company, then called Gremln, was among the first tenants in the original T-Rex technology incubator. It was an inaugural participant in the Capital Innovators accelerator program, and the first St. Louis investment made by financial-technology fund SixThirty. It was also an early investment for venture fund Cultivation Capital

    Now, after nearly a decade of being nurtured and molded by local investors and institutions, Denim Chief Executive Doug Wilber says the software company has reached a point where it could grow rapidly. 

    Its revenue jumped 60% last year, fueled by an acquisition and $4 million of new capital. Wilber said he expects to raise more money within a year and will add to the 20-person staff, about half of whom work at the downtown St. Louis headquarters. 


    Denim's software helps banks, insurance companies and other regulated firms manage their employees' social media posts. It's a tough industry to break into: A handful of larger, better-funded software firms have the biggest banks locked into multi-year contracts. 

    Recently, Denim has won a couple of head-to-head competitions against those big rivals. “If we get an opportunity to compete, which is our biggest challenge right now, we tend to win more than our share,” Wilber said. 

    One selling point is that Denim is the only social media management platform endorsed by the American Bankers Association. Another is that its software includes a compliance function to make sure posts don't run afoul of regulations. 

    Paul Lewis, chief marketing officer at Commerce Trust Co., said his company used to tell its financial advisers to avoid social media. It was too difficult to police whether an offhand remark about the stock market might violate some rule. 

    Now, using Denim's software, 75 Commerce trust officers and advisers are posting regularly on LinkedIn. Each reaches hundreds or thousands of clients and potential clients. 

    “What excites us is that it allows us to streamline our advisers' sharing of compliance-approved content with their own networks,” Lewis said. “I also like the fact that it's easy to use.” 

    West Community Credit Union, based in O'Fallon, Missouri, recently signed its mortgage loan officers up with Denim. “We really want to grow our social media engagement,” said Koren Greubel, vice president of marketing, “but there are a significant number of regulations that tie in with any mortgage advertising.” 

    Benjamin F. Edwards & Co., a Clayton-based brokerage, found social media — and Denim — especially important during the coronavirus pandem

    “We wanted to make it easy for advisers to stay connected with their clients,” said Doug Rubenstein, the firm's chief operating officer. “With Denim Social, advisers could get subject matter up almost immediately. It was great for them to be able to stay connected when they weren't meeting face to face.” 

    Wilber, a veteran payments industry executive, moved to St. Louis from Chicago seven years ago and became Denim's CEO in 2018. He's been impressed, he said, by the resources available to early-stage companies here, and Denim has taken advantage of many of them. 

    Wilber believes St. Louis' roster of large companies, from Reinsurance Group of America to Mastercard to Edward Jones, make it an especially good place to launch a financial technology company. “We're a poster child for what happens when you get a fin-tech embedded into the financial services community at a very early stage,” he said. 

    This article was originally published by the St. Louis Post Dispatch.