Expand your reach
Use social media to make the most of your marketing efforts
EDITOR'S NOTE: Ron Feir, ABR, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, MRP, RSPS, SFR, SRES, SRS, is a REALTOR® with Century 21 Gavish Real Estate (offices in Pahrump & Las Vegas), Pahrump, Nev.
Social media may be the premier strategy in today’s world to communicate about a company or group or to send a personal message. Conversely, it also may be the best way to receive customer feedback.
With the growing number of social media networks, it can be difficult and confusing to determine where one should place their attention and resources. Each social media network is different. They each tend to have a different intent, and they each require their own content, format and engagement strategies. One fact holds true, if you spend at least one hour per day on social media, recent data indicates that you’ll enjoy enhanced lead generation, improve your search rankings, and drive more website traffic and increase your conversion rates.

Getting started in social media marketing

To get started on social media, one needs to have a marketing plan. This would include targeting a goal and audience, deciding what to communicate, and creating a budget and schedule. Knowing where to obtain content, how to manage a social media program and maintain security also are crucial. Next, one needs to know what the major or popular social media platforms consist of, who uses them and how to best leverage a business or group model. Differences among Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Linkedin, Pinterest, etc., should be understood. Staying on target is important. Social media decisions and strategies should connect the business with clients and prospects. Goals need to be dynamic and continuously re-evaluated and refined with an overall social media strategy to stay on track while keeping the ultimate objective in mind.
The goal should be to develop an audience that believes in the company or group and can become “brand ambassadors.”
Building a loyal following and fan base
With these basic guidelines, it’s time to build a following. The objective is to connect with an audience (social media followers) in accordance with a marketing plan. If the content is relevant, interesting, helpful, newsworthy, shareable or resonates in some other way, potential followers will engage with the content by “liking” a post, or retweeting or curating its content. As social media followers expose the content to their own audiences, those users can then migrate directly to the original business site. This multilevel engagement generates increased exposure for businesses and groups. Overall, the interaction is a win-win for both content provider and content receiver. The goal should be to develop an audience that believes in the company or group and can become “brand ambassadors.”
Which social media platforms are best?
The social media platform that best suits specific business requirements and marketing plans will offer the best potential for reaching the target audience and will broadcast the type of content best suited for your social media requirements. Not all social media platforms suit all types of messages. Having a basic understanding of the key platforms will avoid confusion and wasted time. A platform should complement the other marketing components and not water down the company’s message. The social media marketing plan can be a guide. The plan should be a dynamic document that reflects the current market conditions or the group’s goals.

Additionally, unless time and resources are unlimited, the average person can’t be amazing on every platform and should primarily focus where the most bang for the buck seems certain. Certain social media platforms may be perfect for one entity, but not for all. It’s important to know what social media platforms competitors are using. A target audience may have already adopted certain platforms, or at least have collective preferences for a certain platform.

Social media offers “listening tools” that enable site owners to capture and analyze industry or group buzz. This is a great way to determine which competitor has the greatest reach and influence, as well as which content formats best engage followers.
By Ron Feir
Don't push the envelope when posting online

It is possible to review all the statistics, steps, procedures and scientific studies on social media engagement and one should research these on the internet before “going live.” With that said, pushing the envelope in content type and posting frequency can be beneficial. Social media is still new and one may develop a larger-than-expected following through innovation and creativity. Here are a few of guiding principles –
How often should I post and when?
Social media marketing is not an exact science, but quite a bit of data exists to review to form one’s own conclusions. One question to answer is how much content to post and when to post it. Several studies have sought to answer these questions, each with varying data. Depending on the study and social media platform, studies indicate anywhere between 2 and 15 per day, for each platform. I employ an unconventional strategy.

My production is between 1,000 and 1,600 tweets per day on Twitter and a more conventional two to five per day on other platforms. Of course, the vast majority of my output is accomplished via a social media management system called Hootsuite. My audience sees me as a “curator” of real estate and fine-living content. The bulk of my audience is other REALTORS® and miscellaneous entities that depend on my content for reposting to their own sites.
The best time of the day to post is just as controversial and unsettled as posting frequency. Obviously, in a world market, a potential client is always online. This is where knowledge of the target audience and marketing plan come into play. After a trial-and-error period, the best times to post will be based on the analytical data and other tracking systems that all social media platforms provide. It’s important to know the several types of social media management systems available. Most have free, limited service options and extensive, multi-platform curation systems for a fee.
Hard, focused work, appropriate research and continuous improvement of the social media presence can yield benefits to REALTORS® anywhere.
How to engage an audience
Engagement is vital. Interaction with the public should be an ongoing priority. To not actively engage is like broadcasting to a dark and empty room. The most effective way to engage an audience is to provide the type of content the target audience is looking for, and to do so in a manner that is fresh, warm, positive and relevant. This is easier said than done, but there is a method to the madness. One thing is for sure, it is imperative to catch and hold viewers’ attention with content that is relevant and from your marketing plan.

A mechanism should be set up to review audience feedback and encourage two-way communication. Some top firms and groups may have spot-on content. However, when they receive audience feedback or customer service requests (as a result of their content), nobody is there to respond. Handling feedback must be addressed in the marketing plan.

Over time, even the best social media entities lose followers. This is part of the ebb and flow of an audience. However, an extreme trend of audience loss requires review of the content and posting frequency for a possible cause. Content that is political, offensive or harsh must be avoided. The internet has a memory and so does its audience. Once the door to negative content opens, the audience might brand an entire business as negative and unprofessional.
Try to evoke feedback and interaction.
Be authentic, relevant, cutting edge, visual and value-added.
Avoid humor, opinion, politics, religion or topics that may go off message and insult others.
Post content with high resolution images; graphics grab attention.
Be clear & concise.
Match the target audiences’ intellectual level in content and presentation.
Vet authors and content when reposting material.
Never post old, stale content.
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