One of the constant cries we hear about using social media is that it takes too much time. Are you going to stop in the middle of a showing, an offer, or an inspection and tweet, for heaven’s sake? No, and you shouldn’t.
But if you’re going to use social media, you need to be consistent. And you need to know what social media is doing for you. How are you going to manage that, on top of everything else you have to do? Get a social media dashboard.
What’s that? Glad you asked. A social media dashboard allows you to:
- Manage all your social profiles from one place
- Schedule messages in advance, to be posted whenever you choose
- Integrate all your accounts so you can post everywhere from a single submission
There are several different dashboards you can use and most provide a basic, bare-bones service for free. We recommend starting there. Later, if you find you need a higher level of service, more analytics, or additional bells and whistles, you can upgrade for around $10 a month as an individual subscriber.
There are several different dashboards you can use. HootSuite and TweetDeck are the most widely known. TweetDeck, as you might guess from the name, is a service of Twitter but you can use it to manage other social media too. You should check out each site to compare prices and specific features and then pick the one that works for you. I have recently started using Buffer and I love it for simplicity. We’ll keep this article generic, since the basic features are virtually the same.
When you consider the social media most often used by Realtors, you’ll find that most use Twitter to promote listings, Facebook to build a following in the local community, and LinkedIn to connect with colleagues and other professionals. When using one of the dashboards, there are four things you need to do:
- Create filters
- Schedule for maximum impact
- Narrow your focus
- Use analytics
Since social media can get overwhelming fast, you need to focus on what’s most important to your business. You can filter your communication by interests, for example: people interested in buying a home; out-of-towners looking for local information; other agents and professional colleagues; people interested in market data. Once you’ve done that, you save yourself time in two ways. First, you target communication only to those who are interested. Second, you can read the most important stuff first and leave the rest for later or not at all.
Schedule for maximum impact
Maximize your reach by targeting communications when and where people are looking. For example, if you’re having an open house, schedule a series of tweets to let your buyers’ list know where you are and what kind of property you’re showing. Schedule market information to post first thing Monday morning. Schedule community happenings, such as carnivals, shows, or holiday celebrations to post on Fridays, when people are thinking about the weekend.
Narrow your focus
Most dashboards have a geo feature that allows you to see only messages from a geographic area you select. For example, once you have filtered for your area, you can set up a Twitter search for #homebuyer and you’ll see only local prospects in the market for a house. You can filter your outgoing communications in the same way.
Most dashboard programs provide analytics that allow you to determine the success of your social media outreach. For example, analytics will tell you which links on your web site attract the most users, what web source those users came from, and even where they are located geographically. If you have a blog, you can see which blog posts attract the most response. Simply put, you can see what’s successful and do more of it and you can quickly eliminate what’s not working.
Using social media effectively is not easy, but it can be easier. By using a dashboard to organize and analyze your communications, you’ll save yourself time and spend your resources wisely. You could even be posting to your entire network while lying on the beach in Hawaii or riding Splash Mountain at Disneyland. Now that’s multitasking at its best!
So what are you using to make social media easier for you? Leave me a comment below.