Carol Cole of XS Brokers thought she was applying only for the open marketing rep role at XS Brokers. However, after a brief mention of their social media page in her interview she quickly became the point person for all of XS Brokers social media landing pages. Carol’s social media journey will resonate with just about anyone. With no formal training but an eye for what is interesting Carol has gained a loyal follower base for her company.
Edwin K. Morris (4s):
Welcome to the trusted advisor podcast brought to you by Iroquois group. Iroquois is your trusted advisor in all things insurance. I am Edwin K. Morris. Welcome back to the studio Carol Cole. She is the assistant vice president of business development at Xs brokers and works out of the Philadelphia office. She also is the director of the social media team. Welcome back to the studio. I hear the, you’re the social media queen?
Carol Cole (37s):
No, I hate that term!
Edwin K. Morris (41s):
Somebody said you had a license plate that said that or something.
Carol Cole (44s):
Absolutely not. Now you’re making up stories, Edwin.
Edwin K. Morris (48s):
Okay. So tell me exactly what it is.
Carol Cole (51s):
So basically I handle the social media for our company and I always warn everybody. I am no expert on social media. I had no formal training, but I had been dabbling in social media for awhile. And I interviewed last year in Boston with Xs brokers for my job. So I interviewed with HR. I interviewed with our CEO, our president, and our chief sales officer. And of course they ask what do you know about the company and me and my infinite wisdom, I guess somehow tell them I did some research on your company, however you haven’t posted on social media in a year.
Carol Cole (1m 32s):
Probably would not recommend that approach again, if you’re trying to get a job, but it did work for me. So when I got my formal offer, an HR called me, Christina in HR says, Hey, the CEO would like you to run point on social media, in addition to your regular business development jobs and relationship liaison type jobs in the mid Atlantic region. So I basically now run the social media for the entire company nationwide.
Edwin K. Morris (1m 59s):
With all your professional experience in social media, what do you do every day?
Carol Cole (2m 5s):
Basically, I post, I have three platforms, so I focused on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. So there are other platforms, but those were the three I chose to focus on the most. And so I usually do at least one post daily. Usually Monday through Friday, I’ve been kind of dabbling a little bit on the weekends as well. Posting have gotten some good feedback on the weekends as well.
Edwin K. Morris (2m 27s):
So what’s the biggest payoff, which platform?
Carol Cole (2m 29s):
For us right now? I would say probably LinkedIn. That’s where I’ve gone from about 326 followers to about close to 1200. And we’re hearing good feedback. I’m getting good feedback out of Florida getting good feedback out of Connecticut, New York. In fact, I just got an email the other day, one of our Connecticut team members, he had given me a, a picture he and his surplus lines association they had given a thousand dollars to a college and that college was going to use that in an insurance fund for students studying insurance. And he said to me, he said, Carol, he said, I’m getting so much just positive lift and feedback from these posts. You know, agents are commenting about it and other people in the industry.
Carol Cole (3m 12s):
So basically we’re just trying to brand ourselves, do some top of the mind awareness. And then on Facebook, that’s a little bit more, our employees are on there a little bit more probably than our agents, but what’s been great about that is a lot of the employee family members see things that their employees are doing. So if somebody gets promoted, all of a sudden, a mom or an aunt shares it with the other family members and Oh my gosh, all of a sudden the Facebook explodes. And so that’s been a great morale booster. And then balancing over to Twitter, Twitter has been great. That I’ve probably done more engagement there with other people in the industry, whether it be Buffalo I-Day committee, the PIA, Iroquois.
Carol Cole (3m 53s):
And in fact, last year we got for Buffalo I-Day, we were social media winner for the convention. And basically we just posted a lot. We hashtagged a lot, interjected and engaged with other people that were there. So, so it’s been great. Just getting our name out there.
Edwin K. Morris (4m 11s):
The audiences maybe have the similar framework of they didn’t get hired or they don’t have the expertise to be the social media guru for their outfit, but somebody’s got to do it. So what are the, what are the three top things you would advise somebody that is in that seat? Like, Oh yeah, I should be doing something. What do I do?
Carol Cole (4m 33s):
Number one, just do it. Don’t be afraid. You may look silly once in a while, but just do it. Number two, I’m going to say consistency, don’t overdo it, but at least if you can try to post, you know, once, once a day, you know, maybe try to do five times, you know, a week and then post things that interest you. So for example, I tend to post more about our people. I don’t post a whole lot about product. So I’ll post, you know, maybe a charity event that somebody is doing. I’ll post a convention that we’re at. We have these neat kind of little buffs that have Xs brokers on, and I’ve posted a couple of pictures of our staff. And we actually had one of our underwriters had a cute golden doodle that she has and she put the bandana on and I posted that and believe it or not, agents loved it.
Carol Cole (5m 22s):
And it gets agents talking about you.
Edwin K. Morris (5m 24s):
Another thing is that, how do you decide or how do you strategize what the content should be or is it just happenstance? The dog walked in.
Carol Cole (5m 33s):
So, so basically what I do is I send emails out to my team and I say, Hey, listen, this is what I’m trying to accomplish. I’m trying to get some brand awareness out there, you know, and I give them tips and ideas and what I want to do, I say, I want to do a bio, send me some bios and giving you tips and hints. So I basically give them tips and hints. And so my, one of my underwriters just said, Hey, Carol, she said, would this be doable, you know, are you interested? And I’ll say yay or nay. And, and we do have a vetting committee as well. I kind of cheat once in a while and don’t always run stuff through my vetting committee sometimes just because it’s time sensitive. I just need to get it posted.
Edwin K. Morris (6m 11s):
It’s good to be the queen
Carol Cole (6m 14s):
Well the more positive feedback I get, the more likely I’m like, Oh, I can break some rules.
Edwin K. Morris (6m 18s):
Yeah. Right. Yeah, exactly. See that worked, that worked. Love it.
Carol Cole (6m 24s):
Yeah. I mean, and sometimes you throw stuff out there and it doesn’t always get quite as much traction. Like, I’ll be honest right now when we post about a job, everyone’s gonna laugh. That gets our least amount of engagement. And that’s actually how LinkedIn started. Really. I think people went to LinkedIn to look for jobs, but now LinkedIn has really evolved into other things and just gaining relationships going on LinkedIn. So, so we’ve had some great success and our engagement has been double digits. So it’s been awesome.
Edwin K. Morris (6m 51s):
One last question, are you ready? It’s not multiple choice. So yes, when you’re building this community, right. Cause that’s what you’re doing. You’re talking about what you post, but how much do you weave into interactions with other posts as your entity or your instance, right. Your representation of the company. So does that, does that enter into this too?
Carol Cole (7m 20s):
Yeah. So I definitely try to include other people. So I’ll hyperlink, for example, you know, if we’re at the, the Metro rap Big I event, I’ll hyperlink those guys. So that way it’ll go on to their, into their page and they’ll see it even, we were in Boston at an event. And so I tagged in the hotel that we were at and I’ll try to tag in our employees. If I’ve got a picture with five of our employees in it, I’ll tag them. If I’ve got an agent in it, I’ll tag the agent. I even tagged Iroquois the other day. In fact, it was funny. My team, some of the people are super, super into the social media and I’ve got other people that I’m kind of having to drag with me. So I’m on LinkedIn.
Carol Cole (8m 0s):
And I know my teams at Metro rap and I don’t see anything, any pictures from my team, but I see Iroquois has got a picture. They’ve got Marshall glass, one of their managers in times square. So I take the picture and I sent it to Marshall and I copy my 10 team members that are at this event. And I said, Marshall, I absolutely love this picture of you in times square. And can you please tell my team to step up their photo game? All of a sudden, my team’s like sending photos, they’re like we got photos, we have photos! And we even got a cool picture of Marshall, actually the Iroquois rep, he actually took pictures of my team and they sent them to me and then he took a selfie. So I used his selfie in my collage of photos and I tagged Marshall and I tagged Iroquois and we just had some great fun with it.
Carol Cole (8m 45s):
So yeah. So I’m just trying to kind of make it that insurance can be fun. And I even sometimes will hashtag insurance is fun.
Edwin K. Morris (8m 54s):
That was going to be my next question. What’s your favorite hashtag?
Carol Cole (8m 58s):
Lately I’ve been using insurance is fun. Work hard, play hard. Cause we do. We’re a fun group. You know, we really do work hard. We work more than a nine to five, especially in the E&S type world that we work, but we like to have some fun too.
Edwin K. Morris (9m 13s):
Well, that sounds like a lot of fun and I wish you well on your social media endeavors.
Carol Cole (9m 18s):
Thank you so much, Edwin. And thank you for having me.
Edwin K. Morris (9m 20s):
Thanks for listening to this edition of the trusted advisor podcast brought to you by Iroquois group. Iroquois, your trusted advisor for all things insurance, and remember get out of the office and sell. This program was recorded live at the Cohen multimedia studio on the grounds of Chautauqua institution. I am Edwin K. Morris, and I invite you to join me for the next edition of the trusted advisor podcast.