As you begin to create your social media strategy for your real estate business, and integrating it with your WordPress real estate website, it is important to understand:
Social media is not about selling. No where in the terminology does it say sell. The focus is on social, and that translates to building relationships.
Don’t start using social media because “everyone else is doing it.” Social media is a long-term commitment and requires dedication. Creating a social media strategy will help you develop clear goals and objectives that mirror those of your business, while helping you build relationships.
Step 1: Goals and Objectives
What do you want to achieve with social media? Think SMART:
- Specific. Your goals need to be detailed so that you can determine whether you’ve achieved them or not.
- Measurable: You should be able to quantify goals with a numeric benchmark and they measure engagement, not sales.
- Achievable: Create measurable benchmarks that are realistic and based on what you’ve accomplished in the past. Don’t count numbers.
- Relevant: If they don’t relate to your objectives, it doesn’t matter if you’ve achieved them.
- Time Based: Define the timeframe over which you’ll achieve these goals.
It’s also critical to know who you want to reach. Potential clients may not become clients for years, but if they are engaged in your community, they may refer other clients to you. Don’t think of everyone as a client, but as a member of your community. As your community grows, so will your business.
Step 2: I Spy
Instead of jumping into the social media pool with both feet, play in the sandbox first. Look at what your competition is doing, listen to what others in your community are saying. Do a bit of research. Identify the influencers and engage with them. This is not only an opportunity to learn what to do, but also what not to do. You will probably see other realtors doing things that you may not feel comfortable doing. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
Step 3: Something To Talk About
Subscribe to blogs in your industry and create a list of industry influencers. Create lists on Twitter to follow their conversations and share. Engage with them so that they begin to know who you are. Much like new friendships, as you get to know each other, the relationship will become stronger. And when you are ready to become actively involved in social media, they will be there to engage with you and share your content.
Step 4: Join the Conversation
Participate in the conversations. Post comments on blogs, forums, retweet their tweets, answer questions on LinkedIn, participate in community groups on LinkedIn. As you become more engaged, you will see your own community grow as people now want to follow you. You begin to become an influencer in your community.
Step 5: Strengthen Relationships
Your business is about personal relationships between you and your clients. And as you become more engaged on social media, it’s sometimes easy to get lost in the conversation. But IRL (in real life) is critical to your success. So attend local events to network and strengthen relationships. Remember to “merge” your offline and online relationships to grow your network and business even more.
Step 6: Measure Results
Your time is valuable, and you want to make sure you are using it wisely. And since social media is about being social, sometimes it is difficult to put a monetary value on it. But you still have to consider the ROI (return on investment). Many social media tools will offer you analytics and insight tools to measure your engagement, which will help you determine if they are the right platforms for you, and you are utilizing them successfully.
Don’t be swayed by numbers. It’s not about how many followers you have on Twitter, or fans on your Facebook page. It’s about how you are engaging with them. How many comments on your blog posts, number of times you are mentioned in blogs and forums, how many people have read what you wrote
What’s your online reputation? While you want to be mentioned, are the comments positive? Online reviews and testimonials are everywhere. Are you monitoring what is being said and responding to the good, and the bad.
Forging partnerships. Identify relationships where they may be opportunities that might benefit your benefit. Think about the partnerships you already have and identify those in your network that mirror those partnerships. For example, home repairs, insurance, attorneys, etc.
Don’t neglect your website. As you become more involved with social media, you may forget your website. Create content on your website and share it on social media. But make sure redirect your social media community to your website. That’s where your listings are, where your buyer/seller information is, and all of the great information about you. If they don’t get there, they won’t know.
Step 7: Analyze the Results, and Modify the Game Plan
Your social media strategy doesn’t end with measurement, it’s part of the process. Use the analytics to help you understand what’s working, what’s not working and where you can improve your efforts. And remember that you can’t do it all, none of us can. Select the platforms that work best for you, where you feel most comfortable. Because that’s where you will achieve the most success. But as you continue to become more comfortable, you need to move beyond your comfort zone, so that you can continue to engage more people and grow your community. As you review the analytics, you will determine the best time and days to engage.
Integrate your social media profiles into your WordPress real estate website. Providing quick access for your website visitors makes it easier for them to engage with you. The most important thing to remember is that in relationship-building, it takes commitment. If you aren’t ready to make that commitment, don’t. Because it takes time and commitment to be successful in social media.