At some point, every entrepreneur comes to the crossroads of whether they should engage in social media marketing or not. The quick answer is – yes!
I know, I know! You don’t have time! You have a dozen appointments on the go, a million tasks on your to-do list and you simply can’t afford the time to learn how to do it! The truth is – You can’t afford not to!
If you are in business to make money, then you will no doubt want to have conversations with prospective clients, right? For realtors, those conversations are embedded within their lead generation systems. Your goal, always, is to have as many conversations as you can, because those conversations translate to leads and those leads translate to appointments and those appointments translate to deals….. get the idea? Now, imagine if you will, that every time you had a “conversation” with someone, you were able to gauge exactly how they feel about you and your services, how often they heard your message, and if they have told anyone else about you and what they have learned. This is the power of Social Media Marketing!
Are you ready to start having “conversations” on the social web, with prospective clients, and have the ability to monitor and track your engagement? Lets go!
10 Tips to Getting Started on Social Media Marketing
1. What is your goal.
What is it that you hope to achieve through these “conversations”. Why do you want to engage? Are you trying to sell a product or service? Stay relevant? Build a brand name? Boost loyalty? Be known as the trusted source for information? Figuring out what you hope to achieve will affect the types of content you publish and what your “voice” will be.
2. Know your audience, Know your audience, Know your audience
This couldn’t be more important. You will be engaging in conversations on the social Web. Make sure that your message and voice match what your target audience wants and needs to hear. Just like in face to face conversations, the goal is to speak WITH people, not speak AT people. Are you a brokerage or realtor trying to communicate with consumers? Or are you trying to communicate with other Realtors? I often see social media accounts where the lines are really blurred. One moment they are posting about how much they love what they do and how happy their clients are, and then the next moment they are complaining about a bad deal or client and posting photos of themselves drinking at bar with the hashtag #FML. Point being, knowing your audience will help you determine what your voice will be and will also help you to identify what your content should look like.
3. Content Management
There is no shortage of content on the web, so the issue is not really about where to find things to post. The question is whether you are able and willing to manage your sites yourself, whether you should hire someone, or whether you should create original content or source it from other places. A few factors come into play when making the decision. First, do you have the budget to hire someone else? If the answer is no (which is usually the case for most realtors, at least at the beginning), then your option is to manage the site yourself. This does not have to be an overwhelming and daunting task. In fact, one could argue that the only person who can speak like you and be you – is well, you! Your number one goal, should always be to connect with people, and you do that by engaging, sharing, and ensuring your message is both relevant and consistent. I don’t think the debate on original content vs shared content will ever end, and depending on who you are talking to, they each have valid points. But remember one thing – your job is to sell, and in order to sell, you can’t be behind a computer for 4 hours a day creating content. Opt for a modest approach to start and then re-evaluate as you go.
4. Create a schedule
It is important, as you move forward in planning your social media marketing campaign, that you identify how often you will be posting. This will help you plan your day and be better prepared to manage your sites. I will always argue that it is quality over quantity. Start with a schedule of 1-2 posts per week, and about 15-20 minutes per day for engaging. By engaging, we mean liking, comment and sharing with your friends/followers/connections. “Conversations” are never a one-way street.
5. Select your platforms
Are you already familiar with specific platforms? Where does your target audience gravitate most? This will help point you in the right direction. Will it be Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat….the list can go on. Pick your preferred platforms and get started on creating your profiles. Remember, this is business, so make sure people will be able to identify what you do and who you are. Oh, and you know the old adage “your first impression is a lasting impression”? Make sure your profile photo is clear and professional. That means, no photo of the dog, or kids or a selfie…. sorry! Your photo is the first thing they will see. Next to that is your profile description. Take a bit of time crafting that description of who you are, and invest in professional photography. Trust me, they will not go to waste!
6. Quality vs Quantity
I referenced this earlier when we were talking about how many posts you should be working towards, but the same rule applies to your audience. As you get started, you may come across apps and tools that promise to bring you thousands of free followers. Remember this – it is better to have 100 engaged followers than 1000 ghost profiles who will never ever turn into potential leads or sources of referrals. The social platforms are moving away from algorithms that force you to see sponsored ads, and more towards relationship and personal engagement. That means, they can detect if you have fake followers, paid subscribers or are using automated third party content. They want “real” people. Which leads to me the next point…
7. Be authentic
When crafting your messages and content and engaging with your audience, be genuine and authentic. No one likes to be “sold”. In a world where we are bombarded with sales pitches and marketing messages, people want “real”. Remember, one day you will hopefully get to meet the people you engage with online, Be sure that you are who they think you are.
8. The 80/20 Rule
Your profiles and accounts should not be 100% business, they are called “social” platforms for a reason. People do business with people they like, know and trust. If you and I have something in common, your like-ability already goes up in my books. If my friends are connected with you, then your perceived trust goes up as well. The 80/20 rule means, that 20% of the time, your message should be focused around what you do, what you are selling and self-promotion. But, 80% of time, you will be engaging, posting relevant messages and information, and creating a perception that you want people to have of you. You see, the true hidden power of social media is that you get to control the perception you are creating. Don’t be afraid to post special family moments, recognition achievements, testimonials, your nature walks with your dog, in addition to your showings, listings, virtual tours etc… all of these things make you who you are, and they also allow people to get to know you. (Well, the parts of you that you choose to share anyways). Do we all have bad days? Yep! Do we all have opinions on politics and world issues? You bet! With the 80/20 rule also comes the rule “be positive”!. No one wants to hear you complaining and venting and treating social media like your “dear diary”. Look where that’s gotten Trump! (again, I digress…)
9. Post and Watch
Most of the online social platforms offer you a variety of analytics and metrics to evaluate your engagement. How many people visited your site, watched your video, comments left, likes received, number of shares etc.. As you begin to post, start evaluating your effectiveness. Don’t be too quick to judge. If you only have 10 people on your account, it might not be a large enough sample to evaluate whether your message is effective or not. But the key is to watch and take notes. Start to listen to your audience. Notice their likes, clicks, comments and shares as they will tell you a lot about what they want to hear. Allow them to control the conversation in that sense. Once you identify topics or posts that they enjoyed, repeat!
Like everything in life, too much of one thing is not always good. Sales is not an easy job, and facing objections, deals that fall apart and people that say no, can take its toll. It is no wonder why more and more realtors choose to hide behind their screens. But, social media is NOT a replacement for real conversations. It is an enhancement. Design your strategy, stick to a schedule and stay focused on what is really important to building a business. Don’t get caught up in the world of social marketing. You don’t need a Blog, and a VLOG, and a YouTube Channel, and Live FB show, and Instagram, and Twitter, and LinkedIn, and Snapchat, and Pinterest and… you get the idea. Yes, they are all valuable, but if you are finding that most of your time is spent behind a computer or staring at your phone then I can almost guarantee you are not “in business”.
Contributor: Michelle Risi, President of the Real Estate Academy