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The Ultimate Social Media Cheat Sheet

March 24 2015

Sharing useful content on your social networks, also known as inbound marketing, is, as I have previously written, an effective way for real estate agents to promote their businesses and generate leads. But not all social media posts are created equal. The content you share and the way you share it makes a world of difference.

At CityBlast, my colleagues and I have created over 1.5 million social media posts for real estate agents. When you do something over 1.5 million times, you tend to get pretty good at it. This experience has taught us that all successful social media posts share a common structure. By including these five basic elements in your posts, you can ensure that your social media posts are generating leads:

1) Share New and Useful Links

Inbound marketers are curators, offering value to their networks by finding and highlighting the best content on the Internet. At CityBlast, our social media experts read thousands of articles every day in order to identify the items that our RealtorĀ® clients haven't read yet. We do this because real estate agents who share new information stand out and offer the most value to their social networks. As TopRank Online Marketing's Lee Odden explainsexplains, the point of content marketing is to "be the best answer." Sharing new content achieves that goal and helps you ensure that your posts are prominently featured in Facebook's newsfeed.

2) Always Use Visuals

On social media, a picture is definitely worth a thousand words. Every post we create at CityBlast includes an image. Because humans process visuals more quickly than texthumans process visuals more quickly than text and images take up more screen space in Facebook's newsfeed, images make your posts stand out. Indeed, research showsresearch shows that photo posts generate 53% more likes and 104% more engagement on Facebook. If you're writing a post, always include a picture and, if you're sharing a link, make sure a preview picture is visible.

3) Keep your Posts Brief

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In order to generate leads on social media, you want to start conversations but never drown out other voices. That's why it's best to accompany the content you share with a message short enough to pique its readers' curiosity and that leaves enough unsaid for people to comment. Research showsResearch shows that posts that are shorter than 250 characters generate 60% more engagement than their longer counterparts. Cutting a 250-character post to 80 characters produces a further 66% increase in engagement. At CityBlast, we count the characters of every post we write in order to stay in the statistical sweet spot. You can do the same by writing your messages in a word processor and then pasting them into Facebook or, if that's too onerous, make a point of never writing more than two sentences.

4) Ask Questions

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If you want people who see your social pages to become clients, you need to encourage them to talk with you. That means you need to ask questions. Virtually every post we create at CityBlast includes a question. We do this because research shows that posts with questions receive up to 100% more comments. Comments are extremely valuable because responding to them allows you to prove that you are a knowledgeable real estate professional who is attentive to clients' concerns. Soliciting comments with questions is an important first step in turning your social audience into leads.

5) Timing Matters

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A perfectly written post will produce different results at different times of the day. It is therefore imperative that you publish your posts at the time when the largest possible audience will see them. According to studiesstudies, the best time to post to Facebook is at the beginning and end of the workday. At CityBlast, our social media experts only post during the day, at times when most people are in front of their computers. You may be night owl or an early riser but posting outside of peak hours limits the reach of your marketing efforts. You can achieve similar results by using Facebook Insightsusing Facebook Insights to find the optimal times to share posts with your following. Now that Facebook lets you schedule posts in advance, you have no excuse for posting at a bad time.

Wrapping It All Up

No matter how different they may appear, all successful Facebook posts share the same structure. By following CityBlast's proven and research-backed method, you can start reaping the benefits of inbound marketing today!

If you haven't had 1.5 million posts worth of practice, it may take a while to master these elements. Indeed, experts recommend that business owners devote an hour each day to their social media efforts. You can save time and improve your results by outsourcing to a social media expert who can implement these strategies on your behalf and free you up to do what you do best: meeting clients and closing deals.

To view the original article, visit the Tech Savvy Agent blogTech Savvy Agent blog.