By Jose Perez, PCMS Consulting
Why is social marketing important to your business and agents? Imagine if every client you ever had was in a room – a room with not only you, but all of their friends. The truth is, this room exists, yet in the digital sense. When you connect with a current or past customer in a social media setting, you open the doors to one-degree of separation. This means, the great experiences you provide can now be shared with your client’s friends, and their friends, and their friends. This is word-of-mouth on steroids.
The inescapable truth in today’s marketplace is that social marketing generates leads for your business. While everyone knows the Internet has changed the way real estate brokerages and agents communicate with consumers and transact business, most still use the internet as a one-way communications tool, pushing one-size-fits-all information out to their audience.
However, our audience has changed how they live online, and they expect us to keep up! Consumers are no longer content with our outdated online marketing strategies. With the emergence of social networks like Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, consumers are looking to build relationships. They expect phenomenal customer care and information tailored to them. Social marketing is the strategy that allows you to deliver the information and connections consumers are looking for.
For years we’ve focused on building user friendly, appealing websites that help consumers find their home. Then we started getting smart about putting community information on our sites, realizing that most consumers are looking for that information before they are ready to buy a house.
When that wasn’t enough, we started buying leads from the aggregators (and complaining about the cost.) Then social networking started getting big and we randomly began posting things on social sites, wondering all the while if it really works or if it’s worth the effort.
But it’s not just about your website, buying leads or randomly posting content to see what sticks. It’s about your brand and how you create an emotional connection with consumers. Using social marketing creates relationships with consumers, so they consider your company first and foremost when they are ready to make a commitment to buy or sell property.
In most cases, real estate brands are diluted because the brokerage is doing one thing and their agents are doing something else. Furthermore, there is rarely:
1. A consistent look, feel or branding message between whatever meager social efforts are being made, the connection to the broker and agents website.
2. The way the leads are responded to.
3. The way offices look.
4. The way real estate transactions take place.
Without alignment in all these areas it is difficult for a brokerage to create the emotional connection that could set it apart from its competition the way companies such as Apple, Nordstrom, Starbucks, and Zappos do with their customers. Consumers are emotionally connected with these brands, and they stick with them.
So why social marketing and why now?
Because by engaging consumers in conversations before, during and after their home purchase or sale you are weaving consistency, branding and an emotional connection that could make that consumer truly believe you are THEIR trusted advisor in everything having to do with their real estate purchase.
It’s not the only thing brokerages should be doing to create this connection, but it’s certainly an effective way to get your message out to thousands of potential consumers who are increasingly relying on social media for their information and buying decisions.
If you agree with this assessment, you will also recognize that if you are truly to benefit from a greater effort and financial investment in social media, you must do the following:
• You must have a specific social marketing strategy to start conversations and engage consumers. Posting content without a purpose does not create engagement or emotional connection and today’s savvy social consumer sees right through it.
• You must create consistency between your social marketing efforts and everything else you do. This includes your website, your training, your public relations and your office design. Think about how Apple looks and feels the same whether you are in their stores, on their website or using their products.
• You must guide your agents to speak in the same voice so that you don’t dilute your efforts by running with different messaging. Imagine going to one Starbucks and being offered a grande latte and later going to another and being offered a medium latte.
Your social marketing effort needs a specific strategy, execution plan and accountability metrics. In today’s environment, anything less will have you at a disadvantage to someone else in your market that is willing to make the investment and the commitment.
Social marketing allows you and your agents to seamlessly provide relevant information, make emotional connections and build relationships. By prioritizing how they reach consumers, brokerages that embrace social marketing are positioned to dominate in their local markets. Social marketing puts you out in front of your competitors, making your business the first call when someone is ready to purchase or list their home.
Why social, why now? Because it’s that important!
For more information visit www.PCMSconsulting.com.