Twitter Take: Outrun Your Competitors Online Like The Zebra / Social Media / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

The Zebra uses social media to market directly to the consumer-driven car insurance market, a sleepy $220 billion industry.

The Zebra is the Austin, Texas-based tech startup that connects customers with car-insurance companies that can provide them immediate savings.

Take a look at how they used Twitter to boost their brand: Twitter badge on their homepage, timely tweets that discuss hot topics in their industry, and direct conversations with their favorite brands (some of whom happen to be product providers).

More than 307 million people in the United States are using Twitter every day. Sound like a lot? I would bet that your future customers are tweeting about their favorite activities and sharing their thoughts on the world around them right now.

The Zebra uses social media to market directly to the consumer-driven car insurance market, a sleepy $220 billion industry. Unlike any of its competition, its news blog, Quoted, syndicates directly to Google’s news feed like any other digital media outlet.

Related Article:Follow These Rules For Following People on Twitter

Fox Rent A Car Tweet about TheZebraCo

The company is a magnet for repeatable news events given an investment from billionaire Mark Cuban that made a second wave in the news surrounding The Zebra’s Series A funding round that raised an additional $17 million. In an interview with Fortune, The Zebra CEO Adam Lyons said he plans to spend the latest round of funding on marketing and on growing its team of insurance agents, a requirement for anyone who wants to broker a car-insurance policy.

The company is also building out its online policy fulfillment capabilities so that consumers can avoid the usual phone call most consumers face when they want to renew or begin a car insurance policy.

So far, its strategy has been working: in 2015 The Zebra grew at a 35 percent clip month-over-month in 2015, serving 3.5 million customers. We garnered a few tips you can borrow from The Zebra to outrun your competition.

Related Article:Social Media Head-to-Head: How Do Twitter and Google+ Differ?

Hashtag It Up: Be an Original

Okay, so you’ve finally stopped calling it a “pound sign”, and “hashtag” is firmly rooted in your marketing vocabulary. Great. So now let’s use hashtags to extend the reach of your advertisements. Don’t just copy the most popular hashtags trending daily on twitter. Be an original. The Zebra uses targeted, relevant terms that relate to news articles it Tweets whether those are about car insurance rates for minivans or New Hampshire’s unique car-insurance requirements.

In fact in 2014 it fooled major media with Time Magazine admitting its claim that left-handed people made better drivers was the best April Fool’s joke of that year.

Jason Jepson tweet about Time Magazine best April Fools Day prank of 2014

Creating your own branded hashtags is an excellent way to drive engagement around your brand, and help users quickly find information about your products and services. Just don’t forget to make sure the hashtags aren’t already in use for things that run contrary to your brand’s values. 

Twitter Cards: The Ultimate Twitter Ad Format Guide

Advertising on Twitter is a great way to connect your brand with the most connected people in our country: Millennials. Don’t worry, older people use Twitter too. Because Twitter has such a diverse range of users, it’s important to make sure that your ads are laid out effectively so that they quickly communicate your message.

A Twitter Card is a template for your ad on twitter that allows for the embedding of HTML code, as well as video and other graphics. The layout of a Twitter Card has been proven to increase the number of leads companies receive from their ads on twitter by as much as 55 percent.

Focus Your Budget

Cost is the biggest factor that holds brands back from reaching their potential in advertising. To better allocate your company’s limited resources, take advantage of the regional ad-budget features that Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Adwords allows companies to use in their campaigns. Setting different ad budgets in different cities, countries and regions allows for your ads to be targeted to your most profitable markets.

Around events like The Zebra’s latest Series A funding round, it makes sense to get outside help even when your in-house team excels. “Focused earned-media firms have relationships that can give a news event extra legs and reach a wider audience,” says Jordan French of Notability Partners, a concierge marketing firm that has worked with The Zebra. “On Twitter retweet news articles not just when they publish but also when their content is topically relevant,” French added.

Related Article: 5 Ways to Use Twitter for Social Selling (No Twitter Account Required!)

Create a Sense of Urgency

Advertising is an incredible opportunity for the artistic talents of your team, and the copy skills to shine, allowing your ads to jump off the page. If you really want your advertising to convert, you need to create a sense of urgency. A great ad that creates a sense of urgency would be something like: “1 Hour Left to Save 50 percent on this Spring’s hottest deals.”

Don’t let customers just keep scrolling through your news or social media feeds. Excite them with new information and then get them to immediately take action by creating a sense of urgency and an emotional response.

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