Q-and-A with Tristen Sutton
Q. What services do you offer, how long have you been in business and why did you pick the insurance industry?
A. My day job is owning an insurance agency in northwest Houston where we’re the 10th-highest producing agency in our sales territory. I’m in my sixth year of agency ownership. I’m developing my company, Tristen Consulting. Currently, I offer a Branding YOUniversity that helps individuals build brands that bring business.
How long were you in business before you started using social media marketing?
It was 2-3 years before I started to consistently use social media to develop my brand and grow my business.
How has social media marketing impacted your business?
It has helped grow my brand within Houston and make me a household name in insurance and financial services. I gain two to four new clients a week via Facebook alone. It gives me access to others and helped me develop great relationships that have led to business opportunities.
Did you have a social media strategy? If yes, how has that helped you?
Definitely! I keep my friend list at 5,000, post once or twice daily and use the 90/10 posting rule, which suggests posting 90 percent personable content and only 10 percent for self-promoting content.
What social media channels have yielded the best return — for instance, money, time, engagement, leads and the like?
Facebook by far is the most effective medium for me. I gear all of my posts toward that audience and simply copy and paste to the other outlets.
Do you have a marketing team? Who is responsible for creating your content and managing your pages?
I handle all content. I have a social media manager who helps me post on all of my pages and groups. Christy Staples, owner of GetLaunched!, does my memes and graphic work. Be sure to check her out if you need memes.
Do you have a marketing background?
I have a degree in marketing, and I’ve been in sales for 14 years.
Do you consider social media advertising expensive?
I believe it’s one of the cheapest ways to get your message and brand in front of thousands, actually millions, of people. When you compare it to media, direct mail and events, nothing can compare.
What’s your favorite social media platform and why?
Facebook. The access it gives your followers and the ability to develop and nurture relationships is unparalleled. You connect more easily on Facebook than the others. More conversation is encouraged there.
What role have hashtags and trending topics played in how you market online?
Hashtags have been great because they’re an efficient way to draw attention to my brand and initiatives. #TeamNoFishPlates became my most popular one and got it’s own “day” in Houston with a proclamation from the mayor’s office. It’s a quick way to get your message out.
How did you develop your brand voice/identity? How you define your brand?
There are several thousand insurance agents and agency owners in the Houston area, so I have a lot of competition. I had to make my brand stand out, so I used a play on my name that also caused intrigue — #TheSuttonImpactExperience.
What marketing tactics — for instance, videos, memes, email campaigns, events and landing pages — have you used? Which work best?
Recently, I’ve gotten into videos, but memes have been a big part of growing my brand recognition. I took real-life situations and found a way to tie insurance products to them with a little bit of comedy sprinkled in.
What do you advise for those looking to expand their marketing efforts online?
Have a strategy, know your target market and how best to communicate with it, know your numbers, be consistent and be creative.