In the last 10 years, social media use has grown exponentially. Now, it is an essential part of our daily lives. We use it to connect and reconnect, and to research and learn. We also use it for business, like buying and selling goods and services.

In fact, since the birth of social media, the world of online marketing has skyrocketed. According to the Pew Research Internet Project, in 2005 only 8 percent of adults who were online said they used social media. In 2013, this percentage climbed to an astounding 72 percent. Today, the percentage continues to rise as more people use social media not just for pleasure, but also for business.

We spend so much more time on social media—let alone the Internet—than we think.  Americans between the ages of 18 to 64 spend on average about 3.2 hours a day on social media. 

As they search for interesting web content, insurance agents are searching for marketing opportunities. Once you connect with prospects, it is your goal to sell them your products.

If you want to market yourself to this audience, you need to increase your social media presence. Cast your bait where you know there are plenty of hungry fish.

Social media has changed how we communicate and conduct business. Many would say that Facebook was first to spark this change. Alongside Facebook, social media websites like Twitter and LinkedIn are also great for selling insurance.

Facebook

Facebook is an ideal place to begin creating a social media presence. Making a Facebook profile is easy. It can be done in just a few minutes. Once you've created an account, start adding to your profile.

Set your profile picture as your agency's logo. You can also use a professional photo of yourself representing the company. Your profile may already exist, but you still have some work to do before it's fully marketable.

In order to achieve this, you must make it visually appealing. Post reminders for your clients about renewing policies; advertise deals that only last for a limited time to give them value. Share links to articles that provide helpful tips and information about insurance.

Keeping your current and potential customers informed will show your dedication to providing good service. If you do this, customers are more likely to want to do business with you.

Don't create a profile with only basic contact information. It'll sit there and gather dust like an unread book on a shelf.  A consistently updated social media profile shows great communication and marketing skills.

Twitter

Twitter is a simple platform to use to attract customers. Its 140-character limit makes it short, sweet, and to the point, just the way many business people like it. It's also a useful way to grab attention with the "hashtag" and "follow" features.

After you make an account, follow other insurance agents and look at their tweets. See what they tweet, how often, and their relationships with their followers. For tweets containing an article or website link, include a shortened URL like Bit.ly.  

The Hashtag feature is one of the best ways to get noticed on Twitter. Hashtag key words like "insurance," "marketing," or your company's name so other Twitter users can find you when they search those hashtags.

However, patience is important for Twitter marketing. It can take months to gain a decent amount of followers, but once you do, the returns and benefits are worth it.

LinkedIn

Since its launch in 2003, LinkedIn has been a center for online professional networking. Almost all insurance agents have LinkedIn profiles nowadays, but many don't realize their full potential.

Having a LinkedIn account can provide you with many marketing benefits. Like Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn can connect you with people and let you share articles and posts. It also has the unique feature of publishing articles. By sharing an article you wrote about life insurance, you can use LinkedIn as both a marketing and content platform.

LinkedIn also allows you to link with people who work in related fields. Your connections have connections too, which means more opportunities for leads and referrals. Make sure to connect with all of your current clients who have LinkedIn accounts.

While expanding your social media sphere, keep in mind that the process can be slow. As an insurance agency, your content may not exactly go viral. 

That should not discourage you, though, as it still has potential and value. Focus on providing good service and useful information. Mark your agency as a reliable resource for people who may need insurance.

In the insurance industry, when you have a lead, you act on it as soon as possible. Just like lead generation, social media can relay and advertise information quickly.

We humans desire instant gratification. Social media feeds this desire. It's called social media for a reason: it exists to connect us and get us communicating. When changes occur, you and your prospects can communicate through social media quickly and easily. Direct messaging or tagging options allow for instant communication and quick customer service.

One of the main reasons social media is so beneficial for marketing is its use of visual content. According to an article from Inc.com, visual content is most commonly used on social media with blogging as a close second.

People can gather information from reading, but they can also learn by seeing. Having the facts in the form of charts and graphs is visually appealing, more so than a dense article or lengthy podcast. 

Using these online platforms can help enhance your social media presence. Social media is not only valuable because of how many people use it. It is also more engaging than traditional media.

Traditional media tends to be more passive, while social media is more active. Social media lets you create connections with people regardless of distance.