Jumping on the Social Media Bandwagon
Taught a class a few weeks ago on social media. It was interesting to me how many people are clueless about closing the gap between their marketing efforts and turning lists into clients.
People ask me all the time, "Is social media really a way to generate business?" Which is usually followed by, "Is Twitter really necessary?" and "Should I have a separate facebook page for my business?" These questions along with the downfall of websites are some of the topics I'd like to discuss.
What gives me the right?
Well, for the past 15 years I've been programming, developing web platforms, marketing, designing, and improving on existing technologies, and for the last decade...much of it has been focused on the real estate industry. I didn't want to go that direction, but I met such great people, so it held my interest. Little did I know that such a boring industry could potentially be so fun.
|The pro's and not-so-pro's.
Social Media and the new paradigm of smart phones can be a curse as much as a blessing. First let me say this, "there are Realtors and then there are people who hold a license." The former understand a few things about the industry, marketing, demographics, personal connection, and professionalism. The latter tend to forever be in classes but never learn anything, are nuisances to their immediate friends and family (about real estate), and are always asking the wrong questions; thus making them ill-prepared when real issues arise. We're addressing only the former in this article. :-)
| The Social Media paradigm.
Question: Should I have two different pages? One for business, one for personal?
Reason: We're currently working on a solution for this (so I don't want to disclose) but for now two pages are good. If you don't want to pay for a business page, get a fan page. Business people should not have access to your personal page anyway. I don't need to tell anyone on ActiveRain the horror stories of stupid social media mistakes. Monitor and lock your Facebook Wall down so that you control all the content. This can be done in the settings. The last thing an agent needs is someone posting the photo from the night before at the bar on your wall which says, "Thanks for the great time!"
2. Should I friend everyone and anyone?
Reason: Limit your facebook friends to only those people you know. First Reason, you don't want your friends feeling their just a number is the masses of your adoring fans. Keep your Facebook Page exclusive. This was the reason it was built in the first place. There are plenty of people out there who just friend everyone to get numbers... but numbers aren't important on facebook, quality is. People will friend you just to spam your page with ads. So why do it? Your social media network winds up being a bunch of spammers spamming each other all day long. I'm not saying you can't try someone out to see what their intentions are...BUT...
3. Unfriending: "Should I unfriend people?"
Reason: If people you don't know are posting spam on your page, unfriend them. Keep your personal and professional pages clean. This way, when people look at your wall, they see useful and entertaining information, not garbage.
4. Twitter - "Is Twitter Useful?"
Reason: Twitter has been described as a cocktail party with people socializing in 30 second snippets. "Can Twitter be useful for business?" Maybe. It depends on how many people follow you and for what reason? It takes work, and potentially months or years to develop a good Twitter following. You may decide there are better avenues to market yourself. However, if you already have a big name in real estate...Twitter may prove beneficial.
|Closing the Gap
My approach is simple in marketing: Shotgun blast, give an opportunity, close the gap.
Anymore, seems like most people just like to use the old shotgun when it comes to marketing. Aim it high, and fire! "Let's see who responds to getting pelted today!?" These approaches have some (but little) value. Magazines, News Papers, Periodicals, Postcards, Radio, TV, etc... are all considered shotgun approaches to marketing. In other words, "Mass Media Publication". These are all good and dandy, and should be used by all to some degree. However, without a personal connection, you'll never get that person to friend you on facebook.
Facebook can become the "closer"; like getting girl's phone number in high school. I always encourage agents to create an event around any shotgun approach to their marketing effort. If you're going to send out a just listed postcard, it should have a time and date for an open house! "Come by, I'd love to meet you in person!" If you just sold a home, throw a little just sold party in the clubhouse and invite the community. Always give people an opportunity to meet you face to face.
"Gettin the number!"
Once you have someone face to face, and some conversation has commenced, you may want to approach the "Do you Facebook?" question. Over time, you'll find out that people are much more receptive to being your friend on facebook than they are giving you a phone number or mailing address. Why? Because they can unfriend you later if they don't like you. However if they do like you, when the times comes, you may find them calling you to be their adviser in a real estate transaction. Over the course of 10 years in business, this could be hundreds of new clients and countless referrals from those clients.
When you begin to develop a facebook following, be diligent in posting every day to your wall. This means getting up and spending a few minutes thinking about what to post. Be funny, be clever, and be entertaining. Don't be stupid, complain, or so personal that no one cares or is embarrassed to read it. No one cares about what kind of cereal you're eating for breakfast. However, they might care about that new omelet recipe you attempted. Point being...keep them coming back day after day. (By the way, this is also how you develop a twitter following on facebook)
Here's the clincher. You've only spent money on the initial campaign. Once you close the gap and bring them into your social media circle; the only debt you have to them is to deliver professionalism on daily basis.