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10 Golden Rules of Social Media Marketing

June 21 2012

There’s so much to read about social media, so many “experts” spouting daily advice. I don’t know about you, but I get tired of it all and a little overwhelmed. So, I’m taking on an intimidating task today, I’m going to try to boil it all down into 10 golden rules that I see most often. Feel free to add onto my list in the comments section below.

Rule #1: Start a conversation with your connections.
Social media is about interaction and making connections. You can’t have a conversation if there’s only one person talking. So, ask questions and respond when others ask questions of you. Encourage comments and provide feedback to the comments that are made. Even if others speak disrespectfully, keep your cool and rise above. Maintain a consistently polite and professional tone.

Rule #2: Provide value.
Give them a reason to keep coming back. Use social media as an exclusive outlet for contests, games, and other incentives. The key is providing value, so useful information also counts as an incentive to keep visitors coming back.

 

Rule #3: Use and effectively leverage all major social media outlets.
Don’t be among those who say, “Sure, I have a Twitter profile, but I don’t like Facebook.” If you truly want to succeed with social media, you need to understand the differences between the major social media sites and build an effective presence on (and strategy for) each of them. The big names in social media are: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube. If you’ve got the energy and the inclination, you may also want to consider Pinterest, StumbleUpon, and any other social media sites that interest you.

Rule #4: Understand the etiquette.
I said it best in my article, “Don’t Be Spam.” Your social media profiles are YOUR real estate and it’s up to you what gets posted there. However, when it comes to the Facebook Pages of others, you need to show more restraint. Don’t post your listings on someone else’s Page unless you’re absolutely certain they’re appropriate there.

Rule #5: Help people find you.
If you want to build a following on social media, you need to spread the word about your presence there. That’s why you should take every opportunity to include links to your profile on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Some great places to do this are: business cards, email signatures, numerous locations on your website, your blog, and other promotional materials.

Rule #6: Blogs are social media – so get blogging!
Blogs fall under the umbrella of social media. A blog can be an effective marketing channel for real estate agents. Many websites will include a blog, or you can explore other options for building one (such as Real Estate Tomato and others). You can also post your articles on external sites such as Active Rain.

The key to blogging is to post regularly. Here’s some recommended reading to inspire your writing:

Rule #7: Seek out your target audience where they “live.”
You’re probably familiar with the concept that marketing messages are more effective if they’re targeted to a specific audience. This is certainly true on social media. Rather than trumpeting to the world at large, seek out your target audience. That may be in Facebook groups, Twitter meet-ups, and on real estate social media hangouts such as Trulia Voices, Active Rain, Zillow Real Estate Advice, or Ask a REALTOR on REALTOR.com.

Rule #8: Send traffic to your website.
Although there are a variety of objectives involved in social media marketing, one of your primary goals should be to generate leads. In order to do this, you’ll want to send social media visitors back to your website where you can further interest them in your services and listings, as well as capture their contact information. After all, your website should be your strongest sales tool. Need some help spicing it up? Consider these widgets. Or, look into the companies that offer website design services.

Rule #9: Become a resource.
Think about it – how much do you enjoy people that only talk about themselves? After a while, you stop listening and, eventually, you start to avoid them altogether. If you want to market effectively via social media, you need to talk about more than just your business and your listings. Provide useful content about real estate in general and your specific community.

Rule #10: Know when to ask for help.
Most people agree – social media matters for real estate agents. So, understanding how to leverage it effectively is extremely important. If you’ve done the research and put in the time, but you still can’t seem to make a success of it, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’re ready to get started, you can seek out resources in our product directory.