Have you’ve embraced social media as a means of marketing your real estate business, but have experienced little in terms of “pay off”? If your answer to this is “yes”….then I ask you to consider the way in which you’ve implemented your social media marketing strategies.
Let’ start with the basic understanding of what social media marketing allots us. Creating profiles on Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and the like offers you a unique connecting experience, otherwise referred to as “ambient awareness”. This is not a new term. In fact, social scientists have been talking about this online phenomenon steadily since 2006. Ambient awareness is the feeling we infer and relate to from what is being shared by those connected to us via online networks.
Thanks to Twitter, we can learn that our friends are wine tasting in the Napa Valley the moment the wine touches their lips! Thanks to Flickr, we can see the wine as it’s being poured , favorite bottles being purchased, or the lunch accompanying the tasting. Thanks to Facebook, you can instantly connect with new friends who have joined existing friends on their wine tasting adventure. And you can do all this from the comfort of your own home using social media tools.
The social media tools that create ambient awareness are also creating an opportunity for you as a business professional. By better understanding what your network is doing, feeling, making, and essentially how they are living and interacting with others….you can better assess their needs, wants, and desires. So as a real estate professional, the more you listen, the easier it will be for you to anticipate needs and predict what your network requires from you. And if you become your network’s trusted advisor by providing helpful resources and relevant information, you can build more relationships that may translate into business….improving your bottom line.
However, social media is not about transactions…it’s about interactions. Every connection you build through community interaction affects your social capital in one way or another. Your social capital is similar to the concept of karma. Basically, you get what you give. Participating in communities is a lot like balancing your checkbook. When you share resources with your network that others benefit from, help others promote their endeavors, solve collective issues, and befriend others authentically….you create positive social capital, or a deposit in your favor. If you are only interested in what you do, promote only yourself, and ask for favors from others without giving back, you negatively affect your social capital. Selfish community interactions translate into withdrawals.
In order to build and maintain positive social capital you must carefully balance your social interactions with give and take. To do this, you can start by listening in the communities you participate. Learn about others as they cross you path. If you notice someone asking a question relevant to your expertise, by all means, answer and create dialogue. When someone friends or follows you, take time to view their profile and respond with a brief welcoming message. Regularly share helpful resources, but also promote others’ resources by commenting or giving them a “like” on Facebook, retweeting them on Twitter, and/or linking back to them via your own blog. You can take this concept further by cultivating your own authenticity. Take what you know, and pay it forward. For an example, I love to dance so I create dance gram videos when I have a little extra time. Sometimes I do this for people I know, but I also make a point to create dance grams for those I want to get to know. I don’t make money from creating dance grams, but I build new relationships one wacky interaction at a time.
This may all seem overwhelming and irrelevant to your business marketing plan, but the same could be said for forking out a wad of hard earned cash to send thousands of mailers in hopes that business will come knocking. Instead, take it slow and steady, foster the connections you create within online communities one interaction at a time. Listen and connect with people as the person you are, with the expertise you know….and you will experience the real “pay off” that social media offers: a large prospering network of people that trust you as their advisor and turn to you when the time is right to make one of the biggest decisions they will ever make, buying or selling their home.