While traditional marketing methods are alive and well, a social media approach can add tons of value to your outreach efforts. Forbes’ Sujan Patel notes a recent Nielsen report estimating that 80 percent of corporations in the United States, “are now leveraging social media to help expand their client base and build relationships with customers.”
Large corporations aren’t the only ones getting in on the fun. Regardless of your company’s size, real estate ventures are in prime position to take advantage of the social media landscape. It won’t necessarily replace other marketing campaigns, but it can certainly supplement them at a cost-effective rate.
Writing for Placester, Bill Gassett is the first to vouch for such a strategy.
I made social media a cornerstone of my online marketing early on and that strategy has paid off handsomely,” Gassett writes. “Along with blogging, being active on social media is one of the best things an agent can do to build their business online. Today, seven-five percent of my leads come from my website and social media accounts.
The real trick is making the most of social media. Setting up a couple of accounts isn’t rocket science, but maintaining those accounts effectively does require a little effort. Fortunately, that effort is entirely worthwhile.
Some of us, however, may not know where to start. We’re here to help.
Develop a Real Estate Social Media Strategy
You probably won’t go far without first having an idea of where you want to go. This means knowing your target audience and catering to its interests. Sure, you primarily want to post about real estate in your area. But you’ll also want to cover things like local community events and anything else that will keep your followers engaged.
It’s also important to think about how you’ll build a following. Posting or sharing blog content is a great way to gain notice on Facebook. Retweeting other users’ posts is an excellent strategy for earning followers on Twitter. Know what makes each social media platform tick, and spend plenty of time and legwork to that end.
Along these lines, you’ll want to assign an employee to manage your social media presence with regular updates and responses to other users. Whatever you do, don’t let your accounts gather too much dust.
It might be worth starting somewhat small. Unless your company can keep up with five different social media accounts, focus on the basic ones like Twitter and Facebook. You’ll likely find more than enough users via those platforms alone. And you’ll run less risk of leaving additional accounts under-managed.
Keep It Local
There’s nothing inherently wrong with posting about events and issues of national interest, but remember that your target audience inhabits a particular area. Ideally, you want to connect with them on the basis on that shared locale.
This will often entail posting or sharing content about what’s happening in a particular neighborhood or city. Because you’re really looking to reach potential clients, stick to those local interest stories as much as possible.
Keep It Visual
People love pictures, especially if they’re looking into real estate. More importantly, people may be more inclined to share or “like” something that’s graphic in nature. That kind of reader engagement is an important step toward building a regular following who will continue to see your messaging.
Strike a Balance Between Promotion and Cool Stuff
Your potential clients are too savvy to enjoy loads of shameless self-promotion. There’s a time and place for getting the unfiltered word out, but it’s not always. Sure, promoting your brand is ultimately the point here. The idea, however, is to do so subtly whenever possible. Offering trending commentary, useful resources and engaging content are great ways to making potential clientele more familiar with you and what you do. Give them a reason to care about what you’re saying.
And then mix in the kind of promotional messaging that generates business.
Yes, use Facebook to post your listings, too,” writes the Wishpond blog. “The golden rule in social media is 80/20. That is—post 80% of your content about lifestyles, customer interests, and other updates; post 20% of your content about you and your product. This keeps your social media social, and engaging.
From moving tips to local news and events, there’s no shortage of helpful tidbits you can share over social media. That kind of strategy can help build and maintain your following. Constantly sharing for the sake of marketing can have the exact opposite effect.
Matthew Bushery echoes Wishpond in a piece for Placester:
Another type of post to avoid with your real estate social media marketing is the overly promotional kind. Yes, sharing your listings, promoting specific offers, and showing homes you sold is great … occasionally. Too many of these posts can make your social media accounts stale and, for some people, even annoying.
Turning followers off is even worse than doing nothing. When assigning social media responsibilities to someone in the company, make abundantly sure they understand this balancing act. A social media calendar is a good way to schedule your social media posts to ensure that you are posting the right information on the best days.
Building the Audience
On Twitter, it’s all about the use of hashtags (#). They ensure that your tweets are more likely to be viewed by those who aren’t already following you. In turn, that increases the likelihood that someone new will decide to follow your account.
It’s also important to interact with others on social media as much as possible, sharing content with them directly in the hope they’ll retweet or re-share it. Whenever possible, you should be especially interested in catching the eye of major influencers with significant followings already built up. When they share something you’ve posted, that can generate a lot of free exposure.
The same function that allows you to tweet at or mention someone specific (@) can also be a good way to stay in touch with your current client base. Sure, it’s less formal than a phone call, but it’s increasingly how people communicate in the modern age.
Engaging the Audience
In a perfect world, you aren’t just adding followers. You’re also adding social media users interested in interacting with you and your posts. So how can you maximize that kind of engagement?
Posing a few questions or polls to your audience never hurts. That’s an explicit invitation for them to sound off.
Sharing at the right times can also be helpful. For Facebook and Twitter, that’s usually in the mid-afternoon between lunch and dinner.
Whenever possible, you should also share original content. While you should do plenty of retweeting in order to build connections, your audience will be more likely to respond to something your company actually generated.
Finally, be sure to actually respond to comments and questions from other users. This is what social media is all about, and your company is missing a golden opportunity if it comes up short on the responsiveness front.
Use All the Great Programs Out There
From Hootsuite to Google Analytics, there are lots of ways to improve your social media strategy. The former allows you to do things like automate and schedule your postings, while the latter can help you keep track of how much those postings are improving your traffic.
While the world of social media software can seem a bit overwhelming at first, it can ultimately reduce your reliance on human resources that may already be overtaxed. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to consult with an expert who can guide you through the details of the process and introduce you to all the available help.
A robust social media presence may represent something of an investment, but it’s likely to be far more cost-effective than traditional marketing campaigns. If you are interest in learning more about how to use social media in your real estate business contact us today. We are certified by Hootsuite and we can answer any questions you may have.