Social Media Blueprint for Brokers
And I’ve been asked to speak on a panel about what it means to have a “Social Media Marketing Wake-Up Call” as part of a larger “Brokerage Bootcamp” forum.
This blog post is the foundation of the points I hope to convey during that session.
OUT: Google | IN: Social
First, let’s cover WHY this matters. I think I can sum it up in five short words, as follows:
Social is the new search.
Facebook is now the most visited website in the United States.
That’s JUST Facebook, and doesn’t include the explosion of Twitter and the rapid rise of YouTube as a search portal of extreme significance.
I’m not even going to explain this any further. For me, it’s THAT obvious and THAT ubiquitous. And if you disagree, stop reading now, because you aren’t going to agree with much of any thing I’ll say from this point forward.
OUT: Cold Search | IN: Warm Peer
And these peer groups are vast, growing exponentially and becoming more and more vocal every single day.
Why are people turning to Social search?
There are many reasons, but the biggest is simple: TRUST.
And the implications of this on real estate agents, brokerages and brands are enormous. And I am FAR from the first to voice this view.
OUT: Not in the Game | IN: In the Game
Second, I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that most real estate brokerages and brands are not leveraging Social Media very effectively. I LIVE in the real estate/Social space, and I can name you every brokerage and brand that I think is doing it right. And the list is not large.
And I see a variety of problems with those who are not fully invested in Social, in that many of these brokerages and brands are:
- Not monitoring what is being said about them by clients (current, past or potential) and competitors
- Not monitoring what their competitors are saying about themselves
- Not monitoring what their own agents and brokers are saying
- Not putting forth a consistent, coherent, intentional branding image or message (1,000 unique, individual branding strategies from a single brand = no brand image)
10 Steps to Social Success
So, here’s what I would suggest a broker do to start moving in the right direction in terms of having an effective Social Media marketing presence:
- Define: Define the mission and purpose of your Social Media Marketing initiative. This is CRUCIAL. This could be any or all of the following:
- Listening to what is being said about your brokerage/brand to identify how you are being perceived and to correct misinformation or mistakes (that is, to correct, inform, disarm, diffuse, problem-solve, intercede, etc.)
- Putting forth a specific branding message
- Connecting with potential clients, recruiting candidates and key strategic business partners
- Evidencing your position as the trusted expert in your market
- Establish: Establish a formal Social Media policy (examples)
- Communicate: Communicate that policy to every member of your organization (on a consistent basis)
- Join: Join the major Social Media channels (Twitter, Facebook, a WordPress blog and a YouTube channel)
- Commit: Commit to the reality that Social is big, important and here to stay. And that means devoting resources to really be IN THE GAME. I truly believe that there is ZERO ROI for those who are not truly in the Social Media moshpit…and that there is huge ROI for those who are, and who leverage this new paradigm intelligently
- Monitor: Start monitoring what is being said about your brokerage (easiest way: use a Twitter client like HootSuite or TweetDeck and use keyword searching to select the obvious keywords – e.g., the name of your brokerage)
- Follow: Follow your own agents and make sure they are adhering to the Social Media policy that you’ve established
- Create: Create content that mirrors the mission and purpose of your overall Social Media strategy
- Identify: Identify the right people to articulate and execture your Social Media marketing initiative(s). As you will find the deeper you get into Social Media, everyone has their own “tone and tenor” and I believe it is CRUCIAL to select the right people for this task. When the wrong people are handed the keys to the Social Media car, bad things can happen. Further, picking the right person or two to be the almost-literal face and personification of your brokerage or your brand can make a huge difference in how you are perceived by many thousands – if not millions, when search is considered – of people
The 10th Step…
Focus on ENGAGEMENT rather than BROADCASTING.
A mistake I see a lot of entities make in Social Media is that they tend to spew out statistics and posts and comments that are, at their core, “all about them.” And that’s about ALL they do.
If I have learned ANYTHING from Social Media, it is this: whether you are an individual, a company or a brand, huge or small, it’s all the same: it’s all about the direct engagement.
When you engage with people, you HUMANIZE and PERSONALIZE your brokerage and your brand, and great things can happen.
When you broadcast, you’ve simply moved your traditional marketing methodologies into the Social space, where they are likely to produce poor results.
Over time, I have stopped following every – underscore that, EVERY – profile in Facebook or Twitter that I concluded was nothing but a “faceless corporate broadcasting propaganda machine.”
This is Only the Beginning…
There is SO MUCH MORE to this process than what I’ve written in this post, but I thought I’d start with the foundational elements.
Start with these steps, and you’ll be on your way to a greater level of Social Media success…