Start Your Property's Social Media Program in Six Steps

When launching a property’s social media marketing program, make sure you’ve thought through strategy, content, and audience.

Social media marketing for real estate is a must-do. The reality is that’s where the average American is spending his/her free time — nearly 2 hours a day, according to a recent study. Using platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to market your property, you can:

  • engage potential buyers
  • build brand awareness
  • elevate brand position within the market
  • decrease cost per lead
  • increase occupancy or sales
  • improve retention
  • and more

Sounds great, right? But where do you start? Which platforms should you use? How will you ever convince your boss that this is a valuable use of your time?

Starting your property’s social media program can seem like an intimidating task, especially if company leadership is skeptical of the benefits. Here are six steps to launching a real estate social media program that will grow your business to its full potential.

6 steps to start your property’s social media program

1) Speak in the right terms.

Convincing management that you want your team to spend more time on social media to gain “followers” or get “shares” could be a hard sell — even though that kind of engagement is key in real estate sales and rentals. To win support, focus your argument around the factors that are most important to them. Lead generation, lead nurturing, conversions, sales, ROI, profits: this should be the vocabulary with which you approach this conversation.

2) Create a strategy — and put someone in charge.

Only 11% of companies without a documented content marketing strategy find their efforts to be successful, compared to 60% of companies with a strategy in place. And that number rises to 86% when the company designates someone to lead the strategy.

Develop a content marketing strategy — inclusive of social media — that aligns with your goals for the property (e.g., more visits to the website, increased occupancy, better retention rates). And whether someone on your team heads up execution or you outsource that responsibility, the leader should continually monitor analytics and tweak the strategy accordingly to ensure the property’s social media program is meeting the designated marks.

Which brings me to…

3) Determine which analytics to track.

In real estate social media, shares, likes, and impressions speak to your brand exposure, so they’re important to track. But it’s important that you’re looking at more than just these surface metrics. (Read more about so-called “vanity metrics” here.) Leads generated, conversion rates, sales, and ROI are going to tell you if your efforts are helping your bottom line. If you have a good, flexible strategy in place, these metrics will help you adjust your efforts to ensure you’re achieving your business objectives.

4) Develop quality content.

Twenty-seven million pieces of content are shared every day — and a large portion of it is crap. A social media presence could be pretty pointless unless you’re not using it in a way that your followers find valuable. Good, quality content is the alpha and the omega, the key to engaging your followers.

One of the biggest mistakes real estate marketers make is using social channels to push a blatant sales pitch. You’ll quickly lose your audience that way. Your property’s social media should be about engaging target buyers or tenants, building brand awareness, and offering valuable and interesting information.

5) Decide which channels are right for your business.

Who are you trying to reach, and what are you trying to tell them? These are good questions to ask when trying to determine which platforms will comprise your social media program. You need to know who your target buyer/tenant is, and you need to know what kind of information you’re going to offer them.

There’s a wealth of data out there about who uses which channels and when. Most social media platforms also have their own built-in analytics tools that can help you determine the best time for engagement with your followers.

Another thing to consider: You’ll want to choose channels that you’ll be able to maintain regularly and which play to your strengths. If you don’t have the time, skill, or interest in taking regular photographs of things around your property, for example, Instagram probably isn’t for you. Remember, you’ll likely want to work through several different channels to reach a maximum number of potential customers.

6) Follow your competitors.

Following your competitors is a great way to stay up to date on what they’re doing, especially if you don’t have a ton of time or money for competitive research. And when I say “follow,” I don’t mean “copy or imitate.” I mean subscribe to their blogs, engage with them on social media, and like and share their content that you find meaningful for your audience. This way, you become part of the local conversation happening online, and you know exactly what your potential buyers and tenants are seeing from (and how they’re reacting to) your competitors.

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