5 Ways to Build a Brand and Stay Compliant
5 Ways to Build a Brand and Stay Compliant
As an insurance agent, it is vitally important to build your online brand. Unfortunately, insurance agents have very few things going for them when they decide to do online branding of their business. It may not sound fair, but the reality of the situation is you are a licensed insurance professional. As such you are required to be aware of, understand and comply with rules and regulations of state insurance departments and the insurance carriers that you represent.
The best way to stay compliant? Simply focus on you and your insurance business. And limit your online activity to only positive behavior that promotes you and your brand.
Here are 5 Ways to Build a Brand and Stay Compliant
Tip #1: Understand Rule and Regulations: As a licensed insurance agent, you need always to be aware of regulations that affect your online activities. That includes rules and regulations for both the carriers that you represent and the state insurance departments in all states where you do business.
Tip #2: Avoid Vague Unverifiable Public Statements: You may think a simple statement like “my agency represents XYZ Carrier, and their products are the best choice for…” That is a no-no without verifiable proof that XYZ carrier is in fact “the best” at whatever you are saying they are. Both the carrier and your state insurance department could take issue with these statements.
Tip #3: Never Go Negative Online: On the flip side of this issue is the idea of “going negative.” Never, never, never, never go negative. At best, it makes you look unprofessional and childish. At worst, you could lose your insurance carrier appointments or state insurance license for unethical or unprofessional behavior. The best idea is to simply never to do this. Negative statements are hard to prove. It’s also a violation of most insurance regulations to make negative public statements about other insurance carriers, agents, and their products. Look, there are plenty of trolls out there who love nothing better than to pull random people into fights with them online. Do not do this. The world can see all your activities online and the things you say and do never go away. Ever. So, the next time you are contemplating doing something negative, imagine yourself having to defend your behavior in front of an insurance department licensing panel that is deciding whether or not to let you keep your license. Don’t put yourself in this situation.
Tip #4: Focus on You: I’ve listed all these things you should not be doing. So, what CAN you do? Stay positive, talk about you, your business and the reasons people should work with you. Your goal with your online branding efforts is to establish you as the expert in your local area. If you want to discuss industry news or events, do so without mentioning carriers, their specific products, other agents or providing specific advice that would normally be discussed privately with a client.
For example, you can talk about all the ways that disability insurance can help people without mentioning specific carriers or product names. You can also mention vague generalities related to pricing as long as you add disclaimers. Better yet, leave that to carrier quoting systems or tell your readers to call or email you for a no obligation, no pressure quote.
Tip #5: Get Yourself Online: It’s hard to build an online presence if you aren’t online. You don’t have to be everywhere to accomplish this. Create a free Facebook page for your business. I have one you can check out if you like, it’s @Copybrander on Facebook. Twitter is another free account that you should have. I have one for @Copybrander and another for me @LanceGurganus. LinkedIn is another great resource, especially if you work in the B2B (business to business) market. My username on LinkedIn is simply “Gurganus.” Do you have a website? You should. Do you own your domain? You should. Domains and websites will start to cost you a little money, but it’s so worth it for building your brand online. Just remember, you are building YOUR brand, not insurance carriers. Don’t ever mention any part of an insurance carrier’s name in your online accounts. That’s a sure-fire way to get your account shut down and possibly lose your appointment with the carrier.
Regardless of how you get started online, the important part is just to get started. If an insurance buyer is looking for an agent, how can they find you if you aren’t online? And I’m not talking about having some free listing on the website of one the carriers you represent. Then you get lumped together with all the other people that carrier has contracted with in your area. The idea here is to separate yourself from the pack. Developing your online brand is important. You should never leave that to a cookie cutter website that lumps you in with thousands of other agents.
Start today. Get social media. Get a website. Buy a domain. All of these steps are important, but the most important one is just getting started. Do it now!
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