Smart Social: Strategy From Our Social Guru

by Jenna Allen

Business owners barely have enough hours in the day to do the basics for their business, so trying to run a stuffed social media strategy can seem overwhelming. Our social media guru Hope Linker talks about starting small and taking simple steps in the right direction to make an impact for your business on social.

1. Give me an elevator pitch on who you are and what you do for COUNTRY Financial.

My name is Hope Linker, and I’ve been here for a little over a year and a half as a Social Content Specialist. I manage our online community – which includes our COUNTRY Financial Connect blog and corporate social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. I also create social content for our financial representatives. I work with a lot of different teams to partner on content to ensure we’re featuring all sides of the company, different types of people, and a variety of charities and organizations we work with.

2. There are a lot of other social media platforms, can you give me your insight into why we’re using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and not others?

I think the reason why we’re on those channels right now is because that’s where our customers are. Each channel has a specific purpose, and we reach our customers in different ways through each channel. And those are the most popular channels as of today too, so that’s a big part of it as well.

3. Tell me a little bit more about Instagram, and why our company is branching out onto that platform.

Instagram is all about inspiration. So the goal here is to really make that channel stand out from the others. You’ll never see the same content on that channel as you would on the others. We might tackle the same topic on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, but Instagram will have a more personal, more relatable story behind it. We might do a video on Facebook, a link to a speech, whitepaper, or article on LinkedIn, a few live moments on Twitter, but our Instagram strategy will be more personal, highlighting the person or the story we’re talking about. On Instagram, inspiration is really what thrives.

4. Do you often use the same story in different ways across channels or do you try and use each platform for different pitches?

For the most part, we do try to tackle the same topic on each individual channel in a different way. However, there are situations where we do not. Some content may not play well on Facebook, but would be a perfect fit for LinkedIn. It’s all about learning what your customers are looking for on each channel.

5. Is that to save time?

It's not necessarily to save time, but since our audience is fairly similar on each channel, there’s not a huge variety in demographics. We try to cater to the specific person that’s on LinkedIn, as well as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. So we’re just trying to think about each user’s behavior on the specific channel and try to tweak the message or tweak the medium that we are presenting it in.

6. What advice do you have for other teams working for small business social?

Within the first few months of working here I learned that the more personal the content is, the more engaging it will be. In order for people to invest in your social media channels, they need to see what’s unique to your company. For example, if you’re going to do a “Happy Mother’s Day” post, you can’t just post a stock photo of a mom with her children. It has to have a brand tie-in. Ask yourself, "Why do we care about Mother’s Day?”  If you can find a specific reason why your company is touching on this topic, it will appear more genuine and relatable to your audience. Therefore, the engagement will rise. 

That would probably be my main piece of advice: Just to be human, be personal, and really show the faces and stories behind the people of your organization.

COUNTRY Financial® is the marketing name for the COUNTRY Financial family of affiliated companies (collectively, COUNTRY), which include COUNTRY Life Insurance Company®, COUNTRY Mutual Insurance Company®, and their respective subsidiaries, located in Bloomington, Illinois.