(As featured in REM - Real Estate Magazine Online)
The CEO of a company I write for recently posted this on Facebook:
“It’s official: I can no longer keep up with my Facebook, LinkedIn, Slack, and Whatsapp updates. If you want to reach me, click your heels three times - you’re about just as likely to this way!”
As a Real Estate digital marketer and writer working with agents and teams across different time zones, I can attest to the fact that social media never sleeps.
Regardless of what day it is, the updates, streaming, and chatter continues endlessly; pinging and flashing like a slot machine in a Las Vegas casino lobby.
Sleepless, without mercy on weary eyes.
Did you know that and Facebook and Instagram feeds are addictive - by design? It’s no mistake that you find it hard to stop swiping.
And if you pay attention to the news (or Facebook) you’ve likely heard that CEO Mark Zuckerberg has recently announced changes to the company’s news feed, which could “drastically affect how people interact on the social network”; showing people less news and ads, and more content from their friends and family.
Is this something a REALTOR® needs to worry about?
Yes - but it’s nothing new. In fact, Facebook has been making changes to the algorithm several times a year. Think back to every page you’ve liked on Facebook since 2007. How much of their content do you still see in your feed? Likely, little to none.
For years now, Facebook has been pay to play. And it’s not enough to create original, meaningful content (as I explain in How to Beat Facebook’s Edgerank) - but in most cases, you’ll want to advertise and target it properly, too.
If you’re an agent or a team with a presence on social media, surely you’ve been feeling the pressure - or even, feeling the tumbleweeds roll past you when no one engages with your post!
You’re not alone - even digital marketers and content creators across the globe had been voicing their frustrations and concerns. Yes, we know how to get clicks, likes, comments and shares for our clients. But is anyone really listening? Is the content we’re putting out actually making a difference?
I recently decided to take a screen-free vacation, in order to reconnect with my creative side and figure out what the missing piece was from our approach.
Covered in dust, the heat of the Mexican sun beating down on my shoulders, I painted flower pots alongside my new Spanish friend Gil.
“Your name is… El Picasso” he laughed.
I thought about the content we create for clients, a lot. I realized I had stopped being an artist, and this was the true first heartbreak of my own entrepreneurial journey.
Between brushstrokes, I came up with these ways we can provide value and build better relationships with our target markets.
Here’s what i came up with:
Tell Your Own Story
Originality is irreplaceable, and it’s never wrong.
In order to be memorable, you must create from a place that is new; from that place that can only be yours. In the world of clickbait headlines and fake news, the onus is up to us to not just reheat and serve.
When you can, dig deep and start from scratch. The finished piece of content will be of higher quality, and is far more likely to resonate and make a lasting impression with your audience.
Post about your own experiences. Say there’s a beautiful light display in your community that you’d like to share with your audience. Instead of sharing a link to a news article about it, why not actually go there yourself, snap a quick photo of it, and post about what you saw? Sure it’s more effort, but the engagement, response - and results - you’ll gain will be tenfold.
Select Photos Mindfully
A great photograph can change the way we see the world.
Consider the use of photography in journalism - often a photograph will tell the world what hundreds of diplomats and relief workers cannot.
To transcend the chatter and really connect with your audience, be sure to really pay attention to the photos you select to share. Make sure the photograph represents you - and your product (like that home you just listed on MLS) - the way you wish to be perceived. If you’re posting a photo from inside a home you’re listing, does the home look staged and ready to sell? Does it represent your product well?
If you’re looking for inspiration, just look through the camera roll on your phone. It’s OK to work backwards. Maybe you’ll remember that beautiful latte art created by your barista at the local coffee shop - this could be a great way to highlight a locally owned business in your community! Or the florist who painstakingly put together ‘just the right’ bouquet for your welcome home gift for your new homeowners.
Engage Your Audience
It’s easy to forget that one little word in social media… social. We must remember that true, lasting happiness is often created by the quality of relationships in our lives. So what steps are you taking to nurture relationships on your social feeds?
Here are a few tips to help you create content that engages:
Write a good headline.
Before your audience will connect with your message, they need to be paying attention first. Consider it from their perspective - why would they want to read what you’ve got to say? Think about their problems and their questions, and address them in the headline.
Use the power of storytelling.
Share your own, authentic story (brand or personal) whenever possible. Since the beginning of recorded human history, we have used stories to connect and share our core human experiences.
Leave them wanting more.
You want to inspire your reader to reflect upon what you’ve shared. This will keep you top of mind, and encourage them to return to you for more.
Social Tip: Are you familiar with social media algorithms? Basically, these are formulas which help determine what you see on your newsfeeds. When you have published content that evokes a flurry of actions (like comments, tags, and shares) it makes networks more apt to show it to a greater audience; expanding your reach and bringing more traffic back to your sites.
While it can’t replace real-time connections and relationships, social media can serve as a great tool to remain connected with our networks. Don’t forget to use it as the social tool that it is intended to be!
Yes, it’s more work - but it works.
See full version of article in REM - Real Estate Magazine Online, here!