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5 Tips for More Effective Social Media

January 25 2012

Guest contributor Christopher Leo of Leading Agent brings us this article.

What message does your real estate practice convey to your fans and prospects that are socially engaged? Agents can no longer choose to use planned or scripted messages such as "I'm the top 1%" or "[Neighborhood] Real Estate Specialist]." They also cannot choose to simply ignore social media altogether. Socially engaged prospects want you to effectively demonstrate to them what you are all about, while interacting with them across social media.

What does your message really say? Is it consistent, compelling and confident? To market effectively in the social realm, you have to have a consistent brand voice. Here are five ways to share your message comfortably and confidently.

1) Determine Your Brand Personality
Virtually every agent we have worked with has grown his or her real estate practice, one client at a time, over a long period of time. Over this time, they have gained a reputation for how they conduct their business and what a potential client can expect by working with them.

Identifying your distinctive traits and the reasons prospects choose to use you as their REALTORĀ® is key to determining your brand voice. Are you a serious professional? Do you specialize in first time buyers? Are you a quirky REALTORĀ® known for dealing with hard-to-sell properties?

One good way to determine your brand personality is to compare yourself and your real estate practice to a major corporation. Are you Land Rover or a Prius? A Fairmont Hotel or a Holiday Inn? Defining your character in this exercise will help you speak with greater conviction.

2) Identify Your True Audience
One of the problems with social media is that there are SO MANY people interacting with each other. If you don't identify your audience, your message risks falling on deaf ears, and your social media efforts will fail.

Make sure you know your audience. For example, do you primarily do relocation for professors of a medical school or law school of a major University? Or, do you focus on young couples, buying a home for the first time?

Pinpointing your audience will help you pick the right channels to speak to your perspective clients. The relocation agent, for instance, might focus their campaign on LinkedIn, while the first time homebuyer agent may focus their campaign on platforms like Facebook and Google+.

3) Develop A Consistent Tone
With any brand or marketing channel, consistency is king. You MUST be sure to convey a familiar tone when you communicate across your social media channels. There is no right or wrong way to speak. Just be yourself and be congruent.

It would seem strange if you spoke very authoritatively on your LinkedIn page, then posted Anne Frank quotes on your Twitter page and uploaded video clips on your YouTube channel. This "multiple personality" style of brand management WILL NOT work.

If you have an assistant or colleague that is helping you manage your social media, make sure you both have a firm understanding of your brand personality and write from that point of view.

4) Timing Is Everything
Knowing when to speak is crucial to being seen as an "influencer" in your marketplace. Commenting on things too soon, or waiting too long can make you seem out of touch with social media.

There are many tools that can help you with this. Setting Google Alerts on key subjects that are important to your marketplace can help you remain informed and on top of issues. There are also social media management tools, such as our Social.Status5 brand management/social media console that can help you with this as well.

No matter what you choose to monitor things, having this material on hand in a timely fashion will allow you to participate regularly with prospects in your marketplace, without seeming like you are under- or over-communicating. Timely and regular contributions to your social media channels demonstrate that you are actually "in business." If your last blog post or social media update was six months ago, that speaks volumes to potential clients.

5) Practice Makes Perfect
Nothing builds confidence faster and better than practice. The fortunate thing for you is that the Internet provides many opportunities to fine-tune and perfect your brand voice. Don't get overwhelmed. Start with one channel (e.g. your blog, or Facebook Page); begin building it out, showing your voice and marketplace expertise, and then move on to the next channel, expanding your brand reach.

As they say, "Rome wasn't built in a day", and neither will your brand reach. Knowing your brand personality and audience, and speaking consistently at the right times, while constantly honing your message will improve your brand voice and strengthen your identity.

By following these five simple guidelines, you'll feel more at ease, speaking more congruently to your prospects in "their language."

For more from Christopher, check out the Leading Agent blogLeading Agent blog.