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Should You Hire a Social Media Consultant?

September 19 2012

Guest contributor Obeo says:

obeo social consultantThis post is purely my opinion. I do not have numbers and stats to back it up, but I do have six intense years of working in the marketing departments of some of the top real estate firms in Florida, and nine years working for Obeo, where four of those years have been devoted to learning and teaching what works and doesn't work within the world of Social Media. I decided to write this post because I have been asked by many REALTORS® if they could hire me to do their social media. Honestly, I am way too busy working for Obeo and having fun with my family to take on any additional work. But I also know that it would never work. I know they will not be successful if I do all the posting.

Over the years, I have seen many real estate professionals and other small business professionals tackle social media in a variety of ways, most of which have not been successful. I've also been honored to see a few do it right.

Let me preface what I'm about to say with this--I consider myself to be a Social Media Consultant. I believe I provide a very valuable service to Obeo. Obeo is a company made up of hundreds of salespeople, photographers, customer service reps, etc. So, Obeo needs someone to be the "face" of the company. A real life human (me!) that posts on their behalf and humanizes the Obeo Brand to thousands of people across various social media sites.

As a real estate professional, you represent a company of one (in most cases). Some of you may have a team, but your brand represents YOU, not a company of hundreds like Obeo. For you, social media should be used primarily as a networking tool. Pretend Facebook is a big networking party at a public location. (That means I think you should post publicly most of the time) You simply make the rounds, talking with as many people as possible. You tell jokes, share stories, look for common ground. But you wouldn't dream of handing out listing flyers at a party, right? The party is fun! And Facebook should be fun, too! Your goal is to be friendly, meet as many people as possible, make new friends, deepen existing relationships, engage in conversations, and find common interests. A social media consultant, or an assistant posting on your behalf, cannot do this. It will not work. Only YOU can genuinely create that personal engagement.

Another key to social media success is to remember that it's not all about YOU. It all starts with reaching OUT. Pay it forward. Head over the the walls of old friends, new friends, school friends you haven't seen in 20 years, and post on their walls. Start a conversation with them. Ask them about their kids, or their career, or their parents. Take an interest in THEM. I suggest you reach out to at least two or three people every single day. It's called networking.

What about your listings? Social media is not a tool to market your listings. There, I said it. However, it should be a very important part of your marketing strategy and it could absolutely lead to selling one of your listings, or grabbing the attention of someone that wants to list their home. Social media is an extension of you! It's for marketing YOU, not your listing. It extends your personal touch beyond your physical world. It allows you to reach out to potential new friends and curious onlookers who might lead to something more than just a "like" on one of your posts. These social media "friends" can potentially lead to referrals and closed deals.

All of this does not mean a social media consultant is not important. It simply means that a small business person who thinks they can hire a consultant to do it ALL is mistaken. YOU need to be the one networking. But a good social media consultant can still be very important to your social media plan. Here are a few things I recommend hiring a professional for:

  • Account setup. This would include setting up your social media accounts, uploading photos, adding bios, links, contact information, optimizing privacy settings, creating banners, background images/skins and more.
  • Training and Consulting. A good consultant can help you set expectations, choose the sites that are best for you, teach you the ins and outs of each site, and really help you to achieve your goals.
  • Sharing Content. Some social media platforms, like Facebook Business Pages and Twitter, are great for sharing Real Estate and Community related content. A good social media consultant can not only provide you with great content to share, but they can even post it on your behalf. (But YOU still have to do the networking and the engaging!)
  • Finding the Right People to Friend/Follow. This really needs to be an on-going process, and can be very time consuming and tedious. Let a professional consultant do this for you.

Simply put, I just want to make sure small business owners understand that there really is no short cut to social media success. YOU have to do the networking and create the relationships. No one can do that for you. Social media consultants are fabulous for providing and posting industry and community related content, which can be an important part of SEO and social media, but it's not essential. You can be very successful without ever posting real estate or community content. The only things essential to social media success are the networking and engagement that you must do. And in my opinion, your Facebook Profile page is the best place to do that.

So... Did I answer the question "Should I hire a Social Media Consultant?" Only you can answer that question!

To view the original article, visit the Obeo blogObeo blog.