This article – 99 Blog Topic Ideas for Real Estate Agents – recently got me thinking about the true value real estate agents provide through their social media and blog outlets. After six+ years of social media and marketing work, my instinct these days is to first ask clients and inquiring friends why they want to start their chosen site, whether it's Twitter, Google+, a Facebook page or blog site. To come right out and say it, I have seen many a well-intentioned professional jump joyously into the great blogsphere or Twitter land only to find that their enthusiasm soon falls flat, leaving their pages – that represent their brand no less – empty and outdated.
A social site can be an incredibly fruitful place to attract potential home buyers while also solidifying yourself as an expert in your market. But just as soon as you hop on, say, the blog train you'll find yourself reading a lovely little article about finding buyers on Pinterest…and Facebook…and Twitter. Where do you start? And should you have a presence on every single site?
As with all marketing tactics, there is no straight answer across the board. In a perfect world, I'd ask real estate agents to take some time to develop out a game plan for when, how and what you want to gain through your new site or social presence and choose the best-fit scenario. Here are a few questions and thoughts that can help you create a tailored social plan that works best for your business.
- What are your end goals? Write out the top five reasons you'd create a business presence on any of these sites or start your own blog. Are you purely looking for leads or are you wanting to network with real estate experts in your area? Or maybe you want to start a dialogue with home sellers and potential buyers (one of the best reasons to go the social route).
- Which leads me to probably the most important point about how to approach social media or a blog. Above all else, you will have success when you bring real value and start engaging discussions. People want to read content that is honest and thoughtful, posts that truly matter. Go where you know you will be inspired (maybe you love making points in less than 140 characters) because your supporters will ultimately see straight through any attempt to throw up posts for the sake of posting and they will choose to stay connected to people who honestly care about what they are saying. If you are really passionate about your content and the information you share, chances are someone else out there will be too.
- Consider your time commitment. Do you want to spend an hour to two hours a day developing out a blog post, creating a support photo or graphic and brainstorming to create a thoughtful editorial calendar? This may be possible for some and others may find they just can't realistically spare the hours. Posting once a day on Google+, on the other hand, could be a much more manageable plan and prevent you from ultimately creating a site that doesn't reflect well on your brand.
- Where does your social experience currently exist? If you are a huge Facebook fan, spending time finding new "friends" and engaging on other people's pages, this may be a logical place for you to expand on your professional side as well. Leveraging both the knowledge you already have for that site and your current network can make your business foray ultimately more successful.
- At the same time, take a good hard look at your audience. You may love Tweeting, but who are you really speaking to? Do you find that those who retweet and comment on your tweets are other real estate agents or industry experts? If so, even though you're a Twitter fanatic this may not be the place to find potential buyers. But it very well could be. Just take a close look at your follower base.
Keep in mind that each of these sites requires a unique approach and carry with them a distinct code of conduct, so to speak. And a valuable blog, on the other hand, can require extensive involvement to grow a following. In the long run though, you'll prevent wasted time and frustration by creating an honest, strategic plan and keeping in mind the variety of nuances for each site before jumping on the bandwagon.
In the social game "quality over quantity" could very well be your winning mantra.