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Is social media marketing for CRE overrated?

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social_media_icons_large.pngJust about any marketing how-to article will tell you emphatically, that if you want to build awareness of your business or personal brand, you need to be active on social media.

After all, 81% of the United States population has at least one social media profile, and it’s predicted that by 2020, 2.95 billion people worldwide will be spending time on social media.

But as more and more individuals have made social media a mainstay of their daily lives, so have businesses and those looking to profit from it. While major social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn have come to appreciate the ad dollars, they must balance revenue potential with user experience. After all, if people become so sick of businesses promoting themselves on social media that they stop spending time on the sites, then their efforts become futile.

In an attempt to preserve the user experience and hearken back to social media’s intended goal of keeping users apprised of updates from family, friends, and networking contacts, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter have all made algorithmic updates aimed at prioritizing content that they think users actually want to see, by making sure that updates from friends and family get seen first.  

What does this mean for commercial real estate brokers like you? No matter how many followers your business has, your updates aren’t likely to be seen by as many users as before. Yes, you can still purchase ads, but this will obviously cost you and require more time and effort.

Let’s take a look at how different social media networks are adjusting to maintain users’ attention:

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement confirmed that this reprioritization of content is only going to increase and that brands that want their updates to be seen need to focus on creating high-quality, engaging content that people will react to in a meaningful way.

Twitter users might also have noticed that Twitter, which formerly showed tweets in reverse chronological order, now chooses tweets to show first based on an algorithm. The social networking site has been secretive about what exactly gets certain tweets shown over others, but it’s safe to assume they are prioritizing content that gets more engagement.

LinkedIn similarly made updates to their algorithm which are similar to Facebook’s in that they will prioritize engaging, original content. You might have noticed more and more status updates on LinkedIn that take on the format of a story. People are trying to get more likes and shares by showing their human side.

Is social media still worth your time?

So is social media marketing overrated thanks to all of these updates that de-prioritize business professionals trying to publicize their personal or business brand?

The answer depends on what kind of social media user you are.

If you check the site often but only post run-of-the-mill updates occasionally, then it might not be worth it to continue investing in social media marketing. If you don’t have the time or desire to invest creativity and time in social media, then chances are your updates won’t be seen anyways.

However, if you consider yourself a social media maven who always keeps up with the latest trends, then don’t count social media marketing as a way of building awareness just yet. Instead, focus on adapting your efforts to the changing landscape.

How to stay relevant on social media

You’ll notice that all three of the social networks we examined here made updates to their feed algorithms based on relevance. No one wants to go on Facebook just to see a bunch of lazy ads from businesses they don’t care about, so this content will not get nearly as many eyeballs.

Here are some tried and true ways to stay relevant on social media:

1. Find your tribe

In order to stay relevant, focus on the unique value proposition you or your business offers and engage with communities that share that interest.

For example, if your firm deals with a lot of LEED-Certified properties, then consider becoming an expert on sustainability and engaging with groups or individuals that post regularly on that topic.

2. Show your human side

LinkedIn is known as a professional networking site, but more and more we’re seeing individual share personal information in the form of status updates. Why? Because people like to engage with emotion.

As a commercial real estate professional, you strive to stay composed but you’re human, too! If you have what feels like a meaningful experience on the job, then why not post about it and ask for feedback? Showing your human side is a great way to get others to engage with you.

3. Share unto others

If you’re not engaging with others in a meaningful way on social media, then why would you expect others to do the same for you?

In order to receive the benefits of social media marketing, you need to give back. This can be as simple as replying thoughtfully to a LinkedIn status update with a similar experience, or sharing an article you really liked on twitter and tagging the author. The rewards of these efforts won’t come instantaneously, but they will be worth it.