How to build a larger business network with Facebook groups

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When looking to social media to build a business, many people immediately think of LinkedIn as the primary location for professional social networking. While LinkedIn is a strong online source for people looking for a job, promoting a product or sharing a new business story, one insurance agency owner in particular looked to Facebook to expand his business and generate over a 4,000% ROI in the process.

Dave Jackson, owner of Jackson Insurance, spoke at the Insurance Agent Summit to share some of the tools and tricks he used to make his business the largest in his area in just three years.

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Jackson said he initially created a Facebook group because he had just moved to a new town in Arizona with his wife and wanted to find a way to meet his neighbors and make new friends.

“Our rule was simple: you must live in the neighborhood and be nice to your neighbors once you were added into the group,” Jackson said. “I recruited a neighbor that I did know who was a mom and was very well connected and that is where I hit pay dirt.”

Jackson said with the help from his well-connected neighbor, he had 300 members in just two days. Since then, Jackson has grown his group from the 300 members he started with, to roughly 1,900 members.

With almost 2,000 members in his Facebook group, Jackson wanted to think of a way he could promote his business without coming off as just another average salesman. This was when Jackson began to learn about all the rules and regulations around his neighborhood’s HOA and also began to provide free services at his office for the community such as shredding, notary services and occasionally giving out free donuts to the neighbors.

“We became almost like celebrities, going out once a month delivering donuts to our neighbors, and it got crazy,” Jackson said. “It got to a point to where we added coffee from the local Starbucks and we had to scale that back a little bit.”

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Many of the services Jackson provided were from the help of community members that cost them almost nothing to provide these services and in return were generating attention to all of their businesses.

“In just a short period of time, almost two and a half years, I developed a superior relationship and reputation, specifically as an agency people naturally came to discover that I owned an agency,” he said. “I dropped hints occasionally like, ‘courtesy of the nicest insurance agency in Arizona,’ or things of that nature, but I never talked about products because nobody wants to hear about that, especially not on social media.”

Because of these services Jackson provided, he began to notice more and more people contacting his agency to do business with him because of the reputation he had developed for himself, both online and in person around the community.

“We have surpassed about 15% of the market, just in that neighborhood, our average premium in a household in our area is about $2,300, from a typical household income with a mom, dad and kids; and we average about 3.2 policies per household,” Jackson said. “As an agency owner, to help get our name out there and get instant recognition and allow them to know, like and trust not just me but our agency is great, and I had no intent on doing it but that’s how it turned out."

Jackson said out of all of the services he provided to the community for free, he spent 10 cents on the dollar for what he got in return and Jackson determined his ROI was at 4,000% because at the start his agency was a one-man show and he was the star.

“It’s the cost of your time, put whatever dollar amount you deem necessary, and if you work it backwards it’s a huge ROI that you just can’t beat,” Jackson said.

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