A lot of agents are getting excited about social media, and its ability to give you an 'instant' presence online. You throw a few photos up, you write some articles, and you put photos up of your recently sold listings. That is surely going to get you new clients, right?! Well, not entirely, and there is a growing theory that investing time in social is detrimental if you haven't invested time in content.
You may be thinking that social, IS CONTENT! and you are super smart, killing two birds with one stone so to speak, but that isn't entirely the case. A lot of people are taking the, 'let's generate brand awareness with little focus on bottomline' approach- this article contends that it is better to be hyper-local in your market, and delivering informative and relevant content to them, than just appearing everywhere.
Prolific agent, Neil St. Clair argues that people are persuaded to buy "Through their peers, family and reference groups. These groups are usually influenced, writ large, by meaningful content in a meaningful setting (e.g. storytelling or media articles), in-person meetings (e.g. events or sales meetings) or external influences (e.g. experts, celebrities, etc.)" in this game of social, it is argued that people are trying to be across everything, at every time. Be social here, there and everywhere, without a true focus on building their brand. The result? They get swallowed by someone with a bigger brand, more money, a better way of doing things. Ultimately a lot of it ends up being a waste of time.
So does raising awareness of your brand actually convert to bottom dollars? There is a new argument that whilst branding is great, it may not actually drive an effective measurement of success. You can have a billboard, a great Facebook page, and beautiful Instagram feed, BUT does it generate you leads, build your ROI? Most likely not. This isn't to say don't do these things, but it is to say that you should be investing more in to local content, than social content.
Recently I wrote an article about the 80/20 rule, that 80% of revenue comes from 20% of clients, whilst the social media side of things is great, are you going to be finding them on social platforms, or are they going to be finding you because they are searching for a local expert?
Content is king
Bringing digital conversations into brick-and-mortar events/meetings are the true ways to build core repeat customers and scalable results, the ultimate aim is to start conversations online and bring them in to a personal environment from there. Put simply, the digital is for lead generation, face to face is for lead closing.
Social has misleading metrics. You look in at your Facebook ads, your twitter ads, and it will tell you that it has been served up 1,000 times and has had 100 clicks. That's great? Well, no it isn't. A media company has one objective, serving up your content as often as possible to say it was showcased to a million eyeballs. They then send you a large bill. But there is a high chance that the 'Brand Awareness' generated is next to nothing. People are so well tuned to ads now, just because it was served up to them, doesn't really mean anything.
Are those eyeballs worthy in terms of conversion? I'd argue no, And in turn the media site creates crappy “clickbait” content to draw in eyeballs. So what do we do next?
Generate Helpful Content and distribute it.
The best thing you can do is start with your data base, find out what information they want from a local expert. Whilst it is great posting glorious photos of your homes for sale, you need to bring it back and provide information to people wanting local information. Start using social to engage and ask questions, and also provide in depth reviews and information to people who are looking in the areas they you are listing.
The main things that provide value are suburb guides, street reviews, features of a suburb, and hidden gems of a suburb. This is the kind of information that works two fold. It provides value to people who aren't currently looking, and secondly for people who are looking it provides a good insight on what it is like to live in the areas you service. This is informative, this is valuable, this is what people need.
Get the content right, and social takes care of itself.
Most of the time, agents don't know what to write on social media, so they flutter around and make stuff up. When you take the approach of focusing on content, it writes your social content calendar for you. If you focus on writing good content, your social media posts can literally turn in to the title of your local content articles. Subjects such as "The best cafe in 3121" are the kind of things that serve a purpose to consumers, boost your ability to be found in local search and provide content to share socially.
Content provides validation, social doesn't
Content is incredibly powerful. Imagine a heading "Your ten best friends said this was the best cafe in your suburb" - people are going to want to find out what that is and how they can go there as well. It is much more personal than social, social is a megaphone, localised content is tapping someone on the shoulder and saying 'Hey, I thought you may find this interesting as it relates to the area you live" - I know which one I think would have more impact.
Content sticks around, social doesn't
The real reason you should invest in content and not social? The longevity and pay off for your investment. Here is an example:
This is a gorgeous listing, and it SHOULD be posted on social, but once this has passed, it isn't bringing in further prospects to your page. It is limited in its ability to provide repeat visits to your site. This needs to be complimented with content discussions, these discussions should then drive your social posts.
So what next? Start by generating some discussions and reviews on the areas you service. Syndicate that content to social platforms, and work on building up a following, then and only then start working on social posts on top of that.
About the Author:
Todd Schulberg handles all things marketing for Homely.com.au - Living and breathing property, Todd has a keen interest in the movements in the market and how agents can utilise new tools and technology in order to be more connected. Using all things social, Todd suggests different ways that agents can engage and think outside the square with their marketing approach.