Expanding Your Real Estate Business with Social Media: Step 1
The term social media may roll off the tongue as a common phrase, but drawing down the actual meaning may mean different things to people.
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What do you think social media means? For starters, “Facebook” probably pops in your mind, followed by twitter or LinkedIn. But what do all those platforms actually DO? Or more notably, why do you like using them?
I propose this first, because it will be important to focus on while you develop a framework for what your social media will look like, be like, and who it will attract.
Question #1:) Who is your desired audience?
Let’s pretend your phone rings right now, and it’s Polly Prospect. What would the profile of this person be? Age range, desired outcome, ability to (purchase, be the decision maker, take action)?
For instance, my phone rings and it would be John or Sally Homeowner. They have a house here in Phoenix that is upside down in equity, have a foreclosure notice, are not already working with someone, and are ready to start the paperwork. I can tell from the conversation they are motivated and will be dedicated to the process, and easy to work with. This is my target customer.
Here’s the difference between social media and direct marketing/prospecting though, so take note. When we market directly, we often get or pay for specific information for the people we are targeting. This can be done by geographic location, amount of equity in the house, amount of properties owned, the list goes on.
With indirect marketing (or whatever the proper terminology is), the idea is to connect you with those that could connect you to the people who would be your ideal customers, ie, referrals. In social media land, it becomes more or less a connect -> connect-> connect-> target customer. You can target specifically with advertising, yes, but we’ll approach that later.
The takeaway is that the idea is simply to continuously mix and mingle with your followers/friends/audience online, more for the connection, and less for a sale. Eventually, though, the goal is to create a referral network with you as the “go-to” for your service in the web of connections.
This goes back to the question, why do you like using Facebook? Most likely your answer was because “I like seeing pictures and updates of what my friends and people I know are doing. It helps me feel like I know what they’re up to without having to hang out face to face or talk live all the time.” If you embrace that, know that your audience will feel a lot the same way about connecting with you, even if it’s more on a business level.
Question #2) What will the feel of your business be?
Let’s rid the coined responses like, “successful”, “trustworthy”, or “professional.” I can confidently say no one sets out with the desire to make their business be perceived as an unsuccessful snake-oil trap; your customers expect you to be top-notch.
Let’s go this route. What words come to mind with I say, “Target.” For me, I think chic, affordable, clean. What about Mercedes? Perhaps, high-end, expensive, luxurious? What’s the difference if I had just said, “General store”, or “Car?” It’s the pain-staking and repeated efforts of the companies to manage their brands and influence our perception of them.
In a one-dimensional setting, you have to make the effort to be more inviting, intriguing, and interesting without being invasive. If you don’t have a store-front, (or even if you do), you can still create a sensory experience for your visitors. For instance, I wanted my brand and continue to build my brand to be knowledgeable, approachable, uncomplicated, with high-end customer service.
Now it’s your turn! Take a few minutes to reflect and answer these questions. Although it seems like easy homework, it will set the stage for the future actions you take with your social media persona and platforms.
- What do you like about using Facebook (or other social media outlet) of choice?
- Who’s your ideal customer? Describe them as if you could go to lunch with them. Who would know them? Describe how they would know them (ex: through sports leagues, work connections, etc)
- Pretend you have a large business that is well-known in your community. You stop someone on the street and ask them to describe what comes to mind when they think of your business. What is their response?
Please share yours below, or write down your answers somewhere you can reference. Next week we’ll go through setting up a Facebook fan page for your business, so it’s important to remember your responses.
Utilizing social media for your real estate business can be huge, as the world becomes a smaller and more competitive place with the popularity of online research and reviews. Come along as we go through how to build on your business with an online brand, starting with this very important first step!