If PR is a prime strategy to raise your profile in the market — think speaking engagements, community relations and attention from third-party media — social media can be a powerful complement to build relationships and enable others to spread the word on your behalf.
Social media is “shared” media. You and everyone else participating jointly share the platform. The downside is negative feedback exposed widely, which can set back your marketing efforts. The upside is the opposite: a multiplier effect for positive interaction, with the information and conversations shared with many more people than through one-off interaction.
The big question to ask first is whether this tactic suits you. Most brokers are sociable, to be sure. But for some people being social on demand is a stretch. Likewise, receiving negative feedback from total strangers isn’t fun, and that can happen on social media. If that makes you uncomfortable, social media marketing may not be a good fit.
All that said, if you’re prepared for the interaction and accept the risk, here are 8 tips to make the most of social media.
1. Focus your efforts on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. As a CRE broker, those are the channels where you’re likely to reach the most business prospects in settings best suited to business interaction. Facebook is great for personal networking, where it’s okay if your friends, family, and close business contacts interact on your personal page.
2. Share insights that demonstrate your expertise on the market, be it geographic, by product type or by some other definition. Post your market insights with words, images and even short videos.
3. Share super-high-quality images, graphics and videos. Compelling visual content is most likely to be reshared. Instagram, in particular, is all about visual images, while LinkedIn users appreciate smart insights married with compelling imagery.
4. Take advantage of new tools that turn your content into stories. Instagram is one of several platforms that facilitate blending static images, videos and simple graphics to make content that’s even more meaningful.
5. Invite interaction, don’t just wait for it. Demonstrate that you are truly interested in community-building by asking your connections and inviting new contacts to tell you what they think. People appreciate being asked their opinions, and your views will be informed by their insight.
6. Tip people off about news, events, and trends you see happening in the market. Your social channels are more likely to become go-to sources of information if they are judged informative by an objective standard.
7. Use hashtags so people searching can find your content. If your specialty is retail real estate in Phoenix, tag your posts accordingly so they can be found by people searching for relevant content. (The hashtag might be #PhoenixRetail.) A little research will help you identify how other interested parties are already sharing related content on social channels.
8. Listen to other conversations taking place on the platforms, and insert yourself judiciously into the chat stream. This is like going up to strangers in a bar or at a party, so proceed with caution, but be aware that if you don’t talk to strangers, you never expand your circle of influence.
Take these steps, and your profile and influence in the market are likely to grow.
And remember, just like with PR, social media is a virtuous cycle! Once you start building community online with people with common interests, your authority gets stronger and circle of influence wider. People who feel connected to you are more likely to call when they have a business need.