When it comes to social media, there is multiple opinions about where and how it should be used when it comes to Real Estate or any business for that matter. We have those who are for the technology and those who feel no different if they use or don’t use Social Media in their work.
In this document we are going to outline some of the things we often suggest to individuals who want to engage customers via social media and why it can be or maybe not be important to your business Today.
Social Media that been the top most frequent ones we hear about each day — Facebook and Twitter are nothing more than tools for doing online marketing. Facebook, is more geared towards a social gathering and place to share information with friends and colleagues and twitter guides itself as a real time news breaking tool. Facebook is a Marketing company today and will likely continue to be one for many years to come. The biggest Marketing company in the planet is Google, which relies on millions of websites if not billions of websites on the internet to display their advertising.
So, the question we get asked by individuals is they should or should not participate on any of these networks or any other network for that matter. Remember, there are other more specialized networks in which you can participate on as well– from Pinterest, Linked-in, Four Square, Instagram, Google+.. etc etcc.. each and every single one of them offers something different for one another so that they can survive in the space we call the World Wide Web. You can think of all these social medias as Magazines to put it simple terms.
Each of these Magazines or social media websites, has an audience or a certain number of individuals who participate in them and engage with each one on a given day. Some people, have lots of time during their day to navigate the World Wide Web and touch each and every single one of these during the day, but for the most part most people usually touch 1 – 3 of these on a regular basis. Some people obsess on just one and spend all their day there, which makes us wonder how people even get work done.
In answering the question we get asked, we often respond, where do you want to find your customers? Are you customers tweeting? Are you customers professional business people who may only socialize on Linked-In? or are you customers Women who love to spend hours on Pinterest looking for and designing ideas? You see the answers is at times simple because you maybe looking for a particular type of customer, so your answer lies on which of these networks offers you that type of individual. Remember, what we said that for the most part individuals participate in a few of these networks and at times they may not even participate in any of them all together.
We can use Facebook as an example as to why some folks join this network and participate in it. Remember, Facebook is an advertising company and what it wants is to compete and take a part or market share away from Google for the online digital advertising space. Furthermore, Facebook offers you some additional information about your customers that other networks don’t offer you yet, such as demographics, age, education level, marital status, etc etc. You can then request from Facebook to run Ads for these specific demographics and attract customers to your internal Facebook page or directly to your online world wide web website.
In the end we often do an analysis of your time and how you spend your time to determine if social media makes sense for you. It’s not something we feel everyone needs to participate on because all form of social media is just “digital advertising” and digital advertising is still a very young industry and only accounts for a small percentage of the over all market of all forms of advertising available to real estate professionals.
So, when you look at specialized networks such as Trulia or Zillow, these are specialized networks that concentrate on the market of just real estate. So you an think of these two as the Magazine related to Real Estate for Consumers and Facebook as a General Magazine for all sort of topics. Now you an begin to understand why for you it maybe more beneficial to place yourself amongst these networks, because the concentration of active buyers or sellers maybe more prominent on these two Social Media Sites versus twitter or facebook for example.
In the end we are left with the question of what really works? What is the best network or social media network that a Realtor or any professional can get into to get the most out of their time and investment. The reality is that they all work, it really does not matter which of these networks you participate in because they all have some type of audience available to you, the only question you need to answer is where does your customer lies in or the person you want to work with is located. Recall, that all of these are just Digital Advertising so it still represent a small portion of all forms of advertising. I used the example of Magazine to describe these social media networks, but there is a such as thing as “A physical Magazine” in which individuals still advertise on which is non-digital and so forth.
In summary, when considering Social Media for advertising ask yourself the questions as to where do you expect to find your customers? Are your current customers participating on any of these networks now, that you may want to join just to keep tabs with them. Remember, that Social Media or Digital advertising is a small but growing industry in comparison to already established industries. We often feel that people participate in all forms of digital media because the cost are drastically cheaper. What does it cost to send out a mass email to 5K customers versus a postcard to 5K customers? We often feel that customers have the misconception that all form of digital is the only way to do business Today. Since it’s so simple and accessible by everyone that everyone automatically participates in it, which is quite contrary to reality. Perhaps some day the inverse would be true and Digital Advertising will be the dominating medium for all businesses and professional but for now it’s still the smaller one of all.