Most retail and service business owners understand that Facebook is a not only a social media platform, but a necessary marketing tool for any industry. Current numbers show that 1.32 billion people log on to Facebook daily, a number that keeps growing every year. With such a large audience, smart business owners know that social media can help reach potential customers, help their business get discovered more easily in a search, and help create a brand identity and develop relationships to promote brand/business loyalty.

Leads for the Insurance Agent

So how do those in the insurance industry leverage these opportunities to generate new leads? Social media provides a huge audience, but simply having a pot of potential clients is not enough. These potential clients aren’t necessarily leads, meaning people who have indicated interest in your business. Maybe you have a solid follower base, and maybe someone likes a post of yours. However, simply liking a post, video or photo isn’t necessarily lead generation and doesn’t necessarily translate to sales. Maybe I liked your post simply because you posted a nice picture and I enjoyed it. The key is to turning your business’ Facebook presence into actual leads.

What kind of leads can Facebook help generate?

One would be a direct lead, or a lead that is generated by sharing content that links directly back to a form on your website where users can give you their information. They are usually enticed to do so by some kind of offer, like a coupon, free ebook, etc. Once you have their information, you have a qualified lead, or someone who is interested in your business and has essentially opened himself or herself up to be contacted for further information. Facebook can also help generate more indirect leads. While customers are not necessarily completing a call to action, utilizing Facebook by posting quality content that can be shared and by building online relationships with potential clients can ultimately pay off. While giving a form on a landing page can be more quantifiable, sometimes your Facebook presence can appear more friendly and helpful if there is a good mix of content and it’s not always “salesy.”

So, would you rather have high traffic to your site without knowing if any of those viewers actually care about your business? Or would you rather have fewer visitors to your site but know they are actual qualified leads and people who already know you from your social media? Here are some ways to capture leads in the digital world:

1. Landing Pages– sending people to landing pages for lead-generating offers is one of the best leads you can generate via Facebook. Making sure you have a good and enticing offer is key to getting someone clicking on your post, but don’t trick your customer. Ensure your verbiage is clear by saying “get your information here” or “download your free ebook.” That way your customer won’t get frustrated when they get to a landing page that has a form to fill out and you will know that your customer is a qualified lead who is interested in what your products and services.

2. Quality Content in the Form of Blogs– One downfall of businesses of all kinds (not just in the insurance industry) is the conundrum of what content to actually post on Facebook. This is why it’s smart to have a well-rounded digital marketing plan and not put all your marketing eggs in one basket. Businesses who have regular, keyword-rich blogs on their websites not only increase their search engine results, but these can also be shared to their social media pages. Making a catchy title and topic is key and keeping it solution-based or informational instead of selling to readers makes it intriguing.

3. Varying Posts by Incorporating Videos– Ever wonder why some posts show up higher in a Facebook feed than others? It all has to do with an algorithm designed to make better experiences for Facebook users. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg equates it to being a “personalized newspaper for every person in the world.” He said, “we’re trying to personalize it and show you the stuff that’s going to be most interesting to you.” Facebook is constantly analyzing user trends and behaviors to see what is most interesting, and they have found that videos generate the most interest. Therefore, videos are weighted heavier in the algorithm that determines where a post shows up in a user’s feed. So, if you are trying to increase your lead generation efforts, you’ll want to start incorporating videos, whether they are offers, events, online courses and tutorials, etc.

4. Run Targeted Ads– Facebook advertising has come a long way since its inception. There are sophisticated targeting options for advertising, which let you target your ads to potential customers based on demographics like their location, age, gender, interests, etc. So running a targeted ad campaign and using Facebook as your medium can broaden your reach and send new audiences your way. There are several placement options as well like right-hand column ads, where ads appear on the right side of a user’s news feed. Advertisers can also pay to “boost” posts and make their ads show up to a larger number of fans. News feed ads also appear directly in a user’s news feed and can be more engaging since they look more like editorial content rather than advertising. No matter which tool you use, there is no doubt that running ads on Facebook will also help generate leads.

About the Author: Misty Hickman

Misty Hickman is the CEO of Blue Cricket Media and Chief Coffee Drinker. She is passionate about marketing and loves helping businesses grow into great success stories. She has more than 10 years working with an IT focus in the multifamily and education industries and truly enjoys working one-on-one with other CEO's to grow their business and increase ROI. You can find her on Twitter to hear about her latest adventure, favorite coffee bars or bragging on her amazing shoe collection.

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