Social Media: Time Suck or Business Tool?
Have you ever opened up your Facebook page in the morning and then two hours later realized that your morning or afternoon has slipped away? As the clickbait articles keep multiplying, it can be tempting as you scroll through your Facebook stream. Without a clear plan for each social media platform, it’s easy to get sucked into the wormhole.
While not every social media platform is for everyone, we are well aware that social media has invaded the online business and marketing space and it’s never going away. So we real estate professionals are on a never-ending quest to learn how to best use them for our real estate businesses. Like everything else in business, we need to have measurable results, attainable goals, and we need to be efficient.
Avoiding the Time Suck
There are a few basic tools that we get with all of the social media platforms, whether we’re using Facebook, the most popular, or Pinterest, the most visual, or twitter, Google, YouTube, email platforms, or any of the dozens of others. We have the ability to segment, to engage, to test and explore, and to analyze. These tools are all valuable to help us use the platforms for business purposes, without wasting precious time.
All of the social platforms allow the user to create lists and categories for their contacts. If you’re using Facebook to stay top of mind with your past clients, and hopefully future clients, you can make use of Facebook lists. Put all your clients on a list, so that when you jump on Facebook in the morning, you can just click on your list, like, comment and show your interest in their lives. Stay top of mind. This can take just a few minutes a day, while you focus in on the people on your list, without seeing all the distracting updates. You will also assure that you don’t miss anything like you would if you just scroll through your stream.
Lists and segmentation tools are great ways to keep content organized for your own strategic purposes. Twitter also allows the user to put all contacts into a list. As the twitter feed increases in volume as you follow more people, it can get to be overwhelming. Having lists helps enormously when you want to get to information quickly. You can have lists of potential clients, past clients, others in your industry, teams, brokerages, industry experts, etc.
Take the time to organize contacts into lists when you start out on a new platform, you’ll be glad you did when you reach a large number of followers and contacts. If you have been established for a while, then take a few minutes every day, or every week to organize your lists. If you try to do it all at once, it will be overwhelming and you just might give up.
Hashtags are useful on all social media platforms. You can even do a google search for a hashtag and find a lot of information at once. Using popular hashtags can help you find information quickly, and it can help you be found yourself. One word of caution…do your research on a hashtag before you use it for your own social media marketing. You don’t want to be surprised by something unsavory after you’ve posted something that associates your business or brand with the hashtag!
Segmenting and using hashtags gives you an efficient way to watch your time and still engage with your contacts. “If Content is King, then Engagement is Queen.” The best way to stay top of mind without the pushy salesman vibe is to stay in touch with past clients. As they share their life events, social media is a wonderfully efficient platform to like, comment, congratulate, share joys and jokes.
Test and Explore
Social Media is an ever-changing game, as it involves real people, participating and interacting. Trends change. The social media platforms change. Advertising changes. If we want to make social media an efficient, useful part of our real estate marketing, we have to make time to explore and test strategies. Segmenting and managing our social media platforms well will allow us to learn and strategize. If you use paid advertising, it is important to test out theories, use various audiences and do A/B testing to perfect your ads.
All of the social media platforms have tools to analyze your traffic, engagement, and growth. These are all tools that should be helpful as you test and explore strategies, create ads and try to stay relevant in an ever-changing marketing game.
Of all the statistics you can use to measure your efforts, which ones are important? Well, it depends on your strategy. There are four basic measurements: views, engagement, lead generation, and sales. They all matter at some time, depending on the goal of each campaign. Learning to read them and use them takes a little effort and is ongoing…but extremely important if you want to get the most out of your efforts.
Social Media is Here to Stay
According to Social Media Examiner, ad spend on social media platforms just surpassed television ad spend. While other forms of advertising have been declining in the last decade, social media advertising has been increasing year over year. I’m sure you’ve heard the statistics…if Facebook were a nation, it would be the third largest nation in the world, with over 1.79 billion active users, Facebook is the leader in ad spend. Being on Facebook is a top choice for most real estate agents. Using it most effectively is always the goal.
Yes, social media takes time, but when you are focused on the business of social media, using the tools at your disposal, it doesn’t have to be a time suck.