Do you have a social media strategy? If so, is it working? If not, how do you get one? Read on!
(Before we get started, let’s define what we mean by social media. We’re talking about Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Circles, YouTube, Tumblr—and other similar but less well-known communication tools.)
Your strategy is not a stand-alone object. It should be carefully integrated into your overall marketing plan. Before you even begin to use social media as a marketing tool, you need to have a few other things in place. Start with a business plan. This means clearly defining what you do to make money, what your income goals are, and what kind of marketing budget you have to support your overall plan.
You also need a good web site. There’s no point in using social media to drive people to your site and get them interested in your properties if your site is dull, boring, static, or otherwise not user-friendly. Combine a good web site with an equally good email delivery program, such as Mail Chimp (which I use) or AWeber. Now you’re ready for prime time.
There are four steps you need to follow in order to maximize your social media success:
- Set your goals
- Investigate your universe
- Plan your schedule
- Evaluate your results
- Set your goals. You’re going to be investing some time and money in this strategy, so decide ahead of time what you want to get out of it. You’re probably not going to sell properties directly from Facebook or Twitter. What you can do is enhance your professional reputation and build awareness of what you have to offer. You can showcase your expertise as well as your properties. You can certainly generate leads by either offering something directly, such as a free report or webinar, or by driving traffic to your web site where people can subscribe to your email list.
- Investigate your universe. This means knowing who’s in your target market and where they are hanging out. For example, if you’re targeting first-time homebuyers, you might be more likely to find them on Tumblr than on Facebook, since that’s where younger people are going these days. If you’re targeting baby boomers or retirees, they will be on Facebook but probably not on Tumblr. You also need to investigate your competition. Check out what they are tweeting, what their Facebook page looks like. Make a list of best practices and use the ideas (but not the content of course) when you implement your strategy.
- Plan your schedule. If you’re not careful, social media can suck up a lot of your time. So before you get addicted to watching dancing dog videos on YouTube or looking up your old high school sweetheart(s) on Facebook, you better have a plan and one you stick too. Use a program that will help you manage your social media posts like Buffer App, TweetDeck or Hootsuite. All of these programs will help by setting times and dates of each post. I use Buffer App for my posts and Tweet Deck for my conversations. What’s important is that you don’t spend hours everyday managing your social media accounts; it’s not what you do. You sell and that is where your time should be spent. You can also hire someone to do it for you if you can’t find time or don’t want to; but don’t not do it, you will lose out.
- Evaluate your results. Most social media sites provide metrics so you can see what’s working and what’s not. Informally, of course, you’ll know by the response you get. When you tweet about a new blog post, do people click over to your web site? When you post a new listing on Facebook, or link to a video tour on YouTube, are you getting Likes and Comments? Do people subscribe to your email or request your market reports?
Beyond that, you can generally see your effectiveness on a daily basis by looking at the site analytics that are provided. These are generally presented in graphs, so you can easily visualize what’s happening every time you post something.Take a step back every month or two and assess how things are going. If a certain kind of blog post gets good response, do more of those. Refine your overall plan at least twice a year.
If you’re not doing social media at all, you might want to start slowly, perhaps with just a blog or a Facebook page. Get into the groove and then add a new outlet each month or two, being careful to integrate each one into your overall plan, so that they feed off each other and begin to build a following. And then give yourself a big pat on the back for doing what most Realtors don’t do—creating and using a social media plan!