Insurance agents are “the local heroes of America,” said Chris Paradiso, owner of Paradiso Insurance in Stafford Springs, Conn.
But they don’t publicize it like they should, he quickly added. In an era where young people are likely to snap a breakfast Instagram, a morning commute Twitter chat followed by a Facebook roundup – insurance agents are on the outside looking in.
By choice, Paradiso said.
“I don’t care where you go, independent agents, and it’s captive agents too, they are the people that are supporting local and supporting the community,” he said.
But insurance agents and advisors have long been loath to incorporate social media. If they do, it’s generally a tame attempt that demonstrates little personality.
According to a recent survey by Practical Perspectives, agents and advisors are often hampered from exploring social media with any depth because of the strict compliance functions imposed by their firms.
But even with those restrictions, most advisors only dabble in social media channels like Twitter and LinkedIn.
When Paradiso started his agency 10 years ago, he went a different route. Paradiso Insurance, as well as his marketing firm, Paradiso Presents, both have big Twitter personalities. Paradiso employees are also big into Facebook and Pinterest.
If you follow Paradiso on Twitter, you’ll see news and upbeat messages from various Paradiso employees, maybe even a happy pet or two. Paradiso himself recently tweeted out his family’s Rhode Island vacation, sharing several photos of his two young children.
— Paradiso Insurance (@paradisoins) July 27, 2016
It’s all part of the agency’s effort to share more of its personal lives with the public, he said.
“People want to know who I am and what I stand for before they do business with me,” Paradiso said. “You got to stand for something.”
The agency goes beyond simply socializing its brand. Paradiso has been known to tweet at people as a way to make contact. The days of the brick-and-mortar insurance office that closed for lunch is over, he added.
“The fact of the matter is it works,” he said. “It’s what the younger generation wants for an experience. They want to pay their bills on their time, not on our time.”
Seventy-five percent of financial advisors said they expect to increase their use of social media this year, the Practical Perspectives’ survey found. They said they will be more active on social media even if their usage is likely to remain modest and nowhere near enough to have any impact on key metrics of their practices, the survey found.
Paradiso concedes that his model is not for every agency. He has 20 employees, which makes it easier to control the message.
The agency does $20 million in premium and allocates 25 percent of its gross revenues for marketing, most of that social media. The agency has one to two full-time marketing people.
Paradiso works with consultants and has guidelines for social media usage. The agency has learned what works and what doesn’t.
“I believe that content is queen and visual content marketing is king,” Paradiso explained. “Without visuals, your content is never going to be read. You can have the greatest content in the world, but if you don’t create visuals and have a visual strategy, you’re in trouble.”
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Editor John Hilton has covered business and other beats in more than 20 years of daily journalism. John may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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