Marketing via Social Media
I am an avid user of a variety of social media sites - in particular, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. I have utilized them for both personal and business purposes for several years. Here are a few observations I've made that might help you decide whether or not to begin using them and/or to utilize them differently.
- Frequency of Posts - I won't hog your feed. Please don't monopolize mine.
- Consistency - It is not useful to be a 'binge' social media user. Set aside a few minutes each day to read your feed and to post something pertinent. Remain a regular presence, not a 'hit and run' occasional user.
- Following - What good is it to follow folks if you never read their content? What value is there in following people who add nothing to your objective? If you do not have the time to quickly peruse the posts of all those you follow on a daily basis, follow fewer people. Social media is a tool that should help you grow as a person as well as a tool you utilize to help others grow. Use it wisely.
- Followers - I am often amused when a newcomer to a social media site has made one or two posts and already has 10K followers. Sure, the gunshot approach to marketing may, statistically speaking, reap some benefits, but that really isn't social networking. In fact, if you have purchased all those followers, maybe they are also following just as many 'purchased followers', which means no one is reading anything. Though, for some, a site that boasts a large number of followers may shout 'success', it may also say 'irrelevance' to many others.
- Screen - Just because someone has decided to follow you, does not require you to follow them. Check out their posts. Are they relevant to your objective?
- Use of Pictures - It is still true that a picture is worth a thousand words - but only if the picture is relevant to your stated purpose. Carefully select your pictures. Take the necessary time to capture a moment that entices the interest of those you want to reach. Be sure to check what you have posted - did it post upside down, too large/small, etc.
- Relevance to Objective - What are you really selling? If your objective is to promote you business, then stick to your business. If your followers have to wade through a gob of posts about what you ate, family events, and links to your irrelevant idiosyncratic preferences, I will probably cease following you. Similarly...
- Personal vs Business - Though it is appropriate to occasionally add a personal touch to your business use of social media, it is best to keep non-relevant personal posts to your personal social networking sites rather than to mix the two together. Friends and family may want to know about you, but not your business dealings each day. Your business associates may want to learn from you, but may not want to wade through pictures and posts about your trip to the islands or a series of pictures about your child's daily activities.
- Presenting the Whole Story - What is it that you want others to know about your business? If it is about your service, pictures that show you 'serving' your clients confirm that value. Do your posts regularly reveal all aspects of your business? In other words, for property managers, are there posts/pictures of new properties, of remodeling and/or make ready projects, of unique property features, when the property is available to rent, and notice of when the property has been rented? Post a picture of you attending a NAR conference or a chamber of commerce gathering. Have your camera always ready to tell each part of your story. Have the right apps for the appropriate device(s) installed and ready to use.
- Hashtags - Hashtags are quick and simple ways to nail down the gist of your post. But, before using a hashtag be sure to check out what that hashtag actually leads to. A useful hashtag is one that leads to a specific content. If you aren't careful you may be adding your social media post to a network content that contradicts everything you value. Two or three hashtags are sufficient. Too many distract from your key point.
- Links - There is nothing worse than reading a great headline, clicking the provided link and it doesn't work or sent you to an unrelated site. Also, there is nothing less inviting than, for instance, a Twitter post that merely has a link without any information about what the link is all about. Also, simply saying, 'I really liked this', then adding a link, does not move me to pursue.
- Integrity - Don't bait and switch. If you are tricking people into something, you are also inoculating them against trusting you in everything.
- Learn From Others - If you have chosen to follow someone else, hopefully it is because they provide something that helps you meet your objectives. That being so, take a look at who they follow. Are there new sites you never knew about, sites you can now follow as well?
- Piggybacking - You can market your business not only on your own site, but by participating in discussions on other sites. Those who follow the same site(s) you follow may differ from those who currently follow your site. If you engage discussions on a site you follow, that site's followers learn about you and what you have to offer.
- Re-tweeting/Sharing - As noted above, don't carelessly retweet or share someone else's post simply because it interests you at the moment. First ask, does it pertain to your objective(s) and, even if it does, have you already shared so much today that you are irritating your followers by filling up their feed? Also, be careful not to retweet or share something you haven't yet read.
- Redundancy - You will sometimes come across several sites that post almost the same information or retweet the same posts. Choose the one that is best and eliminate following the others. Time is precious. Keep your feed clean and pertinent.
- Edit - Before you click 'post', carefully reread what you have written. Does it make sense? Is everything spelled correctly? On the other hand, even after carefully editing what I've written before posting it, I often find errors later on. It is a good practice to return at a later date to reread something you have written a few days earlier. Fresh eyes catch previously unnoticed mistakes. Don't rely on your spell checker. Their, there, and they're are all correct spellings, but not interchangeable.
- K.I.S.S. - Keep most of your posts simple. Add links to sites, such as this blog post, for more detailed information. If a post is too busy, it won't get read. If a post is too nebulous, it wont' get read. Use space between posted ideas so that it may be quickly read. Don't try to crowd too much into one post. Most busy folks rapidly breeze through posted content. They want to glean the gist of what is posted as quickly as possible as they look for something they may want to pursue in more depth.
- Advertisements - Frankly speaking, I no longer follow sites that shove advertisements in my face. There are plenty of other sites with good information that are not as obnoxious. If I click on your link, because you have written something that caught my interest, yet you permit a pop-up ad to fill the middle of the screen requiring me to delete it before I can continue to your post, I feel used and coerced. That leads me to doubt your honesty and the kind of service provider you will be to me as a consumer. If your social media or website provider places ads in the middle of your screen, choose another provider. Advertisements ought to be on the side or bottom of a followers screen, allowing readers the choice to click on it our not. Make sure you know how others experience what you have presented. Is it what you intended?
* We'd like to hear from you. What are some of your suggestions regarding the use of social media in the Property Management and/or Real Estate business? Check out our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest sites and let us know what you like or even don't like.