For realtors, social media is fast replacing more traditional methods of direct marketing such as television advertising and newspaper classifieds. But while most realtors appreciate the need to embrace social media, many are struggling to do so effectively. Realtors typically direct their efforts into developing channels and content, and measuring their return on investments.
What they fail to do however, is develop a sound strategy for engaging with their audience, which is one of the most crucial aspects of social media marketing.
Today, a leading real estate marketing expert outlines the essential elements that any real estate professional must incorporate into their social media strategy if they are to successfully engage with clients and reap the rewards of doing so.Engagement with an audience through social media means communicating and interacting with followers in such a way that they build trust and authority. Content strategy is one thing – it dictates what a real estate agent is going to say – whereas the engagement strategy outlines how that message is going to be put out there.
Realtors need to develop a content strategy that not only promotes their homes and Upper West Side Apartments, but incorporates an engagement strategy. In other words, they need to develop content that encourages a response from followers, whatever the medium used, be it Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or any other platform.
There are four crucial factors that make up an effective engagement strategy, which realtors must incorporate into their content development if they are to successfully build up a fan base:
Level of Participation
Frequency of Posts
Content of Posts
While a real estate agent’s strategy will necessarily differentiate from others due to local factors, the key elements of any social media campaign should remain the same.
Social media is all about building a community, and so the tone needs to be kept personable, inviting and friendly, so that people are encouraged to participate. In addition, realtors should always be positive, even when faced with criticism.
She advises that realtors should always keep the tone conversational. After all, their role is that of the sales person, and personality is the sales person’s most important weapon. Websites such as Twitter and Facebook are very causal in nature – don’t forget that the vast majority of users are there to connect with their friends – and so realtors should act in the same way, try to befriend their followers, whist maintaining an air of professionalism. In addition to being conversational, realtors should strive to come across as fun and enthusiastic about what they are promoting, without going over the top. The idea is that realtors should create the impression that they genuinely enjoy their work, and genuinely trying to help others when they share content and information.
Level of Participation
As far as participation goes, there are three goals – to encourage fans to participate, to maintain a dialogue once they do, and to build trust by sharing the content of loyal fans. In order to encourage fans to participate, the content needs to be crafted in such a way that followers are encouraged to react. This can be done by sparking interest, being controversial, asking questions, etc, etc. There are several methods for doing so, but it’s important that realtors do not focus only on their products and services, but also share other items that are likely to interest people. Realtors are most likely going to be following industry news in any case, so when they find an interesting item that relates to their business, they should absolutely share this – for example, if Britney Spears buys a new Hollywood mansion, this is big news that should be shared immediately. Such items are a great way to generate discussion and engage with people. In addition, once dialogue begins, it’s important to maintain this for as long as possible, which can be done by posing new questions or opinions. Finally, once a relationship has been established, it’s important to nurture that further by sharing their content, something that further develops trust.
Frequency of Posts Matter
There is a direct correlation between number of followers and frequency of posts. Even so, realtors have to be careful not to overdo things – at the most, two or three updates per day. Posting any more than this could be construed as spamming, while failing to post at least once every day could result in realtors “falling off the radar”, so to speak.
Content of Posts
Many realtors make the mistake of only posting content that promotes their services, something that can be fatal. While it’s important for realtors to keep fans updated on their new listings, open houses and other offerings, this should be diluted with other content that is equally interesting to their followers.
Examples of other content include holiday greetings, real estate news, Facebook posts, Tweets and blogs written by fans, general questions that ask followers for their opinion on pertinent issues, and even humorous posts that do nothing more than raise a few chuckles. Finally, realtors need to look at what form their own content takes. The trick is diversity – content should be a healthy balance of general status updates, images, shared links, videos and event updates.