Okay, so this post marks the 4th installment in this series on 'Developing a Social Media Strategy.'
So far, we've realized that "Social Media is a Conversation, not an Advertisement!"
We've answered "The 'WHY' of Social Media?" (Why We should Make it Part of our Annual Marketing Plan)
And, the importance of "Taking AIM" (Audience, Image/Brand, and Message)
This week, we're going to start to unwrap the various tools that are available for you to create, package, and serve up your message so that it reaches your intended audience(s).
Serving Up Social Media Sushi
Samurai Real Estate Professional
Anyone who knows me will tell you that my favorite food is sushi (next to fresh cracked crab, of course!).
In a former life, I was the Export Sales Manager for a mid-sized corporation and traveled to the Pacific Rim on business. During that time, I made two trips to Japan which I thoroughly enjoyed. The Japanese people have a fascinating, time-honored culture, but more importantly, they have TONS of sushi! Just about every street has a restaurant that contains a conveyor belt packed full with every conceivable kind of fresh sushi. Each plate is color-coded to determine the cost of the sushi. You simply pull a plate off the conveyor, pork out, and the waitress tallys up the stack of empty plates when you're finished.
As Real Estate professionals, utilizing the various Internet technology tools, we become masterful sushi chefs serving up delicious platters of fresh social media content!
To Blog or Not to Blog
One of the first basic steps in developing your social media strategy will be to determine how you're going to generate/publish your content, and then how that valued content will be distributed effectively. Authoring a blog isn't for everyone. Like any kind of effective marketing method, it takes time, effort, and commitment.
In my own journey, I started blogging back in 2005. I created a blog on Blogger.com and also posted articles on MySpace (although, I don't think MySpace really counts). I doubt anyone ever read any of my posts on either platform. For the most part, it felt like I was talking to a brick wall.
ActiveRain, the Change Agent
However, during the Summer of 2006, things changed dramatically when I joined the newly launched ActiveRain network. ActiveRain offered a fun, encouraging, non-threatening environment to learn the blogging ropes. In those early days, even before we reached our first 1000 members, it was like the TV show 'Cheers' where everyone knew your name.
From there, another ActiveRain member, Mark Flanders, and I went on to create our own local WordPress blog SOUNDBITEBLOG. Eventually, I created a 3rd blog, CrabbingInTheHood, to share about one of my favorite recreational pastimes.
Now obviously, given the fact that you're reading this article, you're probably a member of ActiveRain, and have already begun your blogging adventure! You've made an excellent choice of where to begin, especially if you've elected to upgrade to RainMaker status. Not that there isn't enough value as it is with a free membership, but RainMaker status enables your blog content to be crawled and indexed by the search engines, thereby dramatically improving your chances for consumers/potential clients to find you through organic search results.
Those 'Other' Networks
Still yet, for those of who aren't necessarily involved only in the real estate business, there are some additional blogging platforms for your consideration:
What you'll find is that some blogging networks don't provide you with very much exposure or ranking with the search engines. You can advertise and promote your blogsite URL (Uniform Resource Locator - the Internet address for your blogsite), and achieve some measure of traffic. But your 'Find-a-bility Factor' - the chances of having your content/articles pull up on consumer searches will be greatly limited.
WordPress isn't a Dirty Word
Ultimately, one long-term goal you might want to set for yourself would be to eventually have your own WordPress.org site. Granted, not everyone has the necessary technical skill-set to successfully create, launch, and maintain their own WordPress blog. It can be a rather daunting undertaking. There are many resources here on ActiveRain to explore this possibility. Well-known AR veteran, Maureen McCabe, founded the group "WordPress Blog." You can also access the "Where to Start" page at WordPress.org.
And then there are those folks who either don't have the time or don't want to bother with all the techie stuff, and will pay someone to build them a custom blogsite, such as The Real Estate Tomato.
Right as Rain
But for less than $500 a year, becoming a RainMaker here on ActiveRain simply makes good sense, especially in the formative stages of your social media journey, and is tough to beat. In addition, you'll benefit greatly by the relationships you develop with potential referral partners, and the sheer wealth of valuable knowledge being shared freely everyday!
Your blog on the ActiveRain network is an excellent place to begin generating your own unique content, and can serve as the Social Media conveyor belt to distribute your appetizing articles to consumers/potential clients who are hungry for quality, relevant, and practical information. Bon Apetite!
For Additional Articles in this series:
To Access the entire 'Blog Tips for Rain Drips' series, go HERE.
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Rich Jacobson is a licensed real estate professional providing knowledgeable empowerment and relentless representation for his clients of residential properties and vacant land throughout all of Kitsap County WA and portions of Pierce, Mason, and Jefferson Counties. You can also find him at KitsapLife.com, SOUNDBITEBLOG, Crabbing in the Hood, Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org