Now that you know what social media is, and a little bit more about some of the different social networking platforms out there, it's time to get on to the nitty gritty about what the benefits of social media, and what it can offer you. In a nutshell, social media offers you a global platform, endless reach and the opportunity to engage with your existing and potential clients in a medium where they are comfortable and active.
Australians lead the world in social media engagement with the highest global average for time spent on social media sites at a staggering 7 hours per month (which scares me a little bit, as it would only take me less than two days to spend 7 hours engaging with social media content!) Social networking has made it easier than ever to reach your existing and potential clients: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn are the top four social networking websites and the combined reach of these networks - Facebook alone boasts half of Australia's population as members - is mind-boggling!I know, every year, I can't wait for the Super Bowl to air - not for the game, but for the ads! The Volkswagen Darth Vader Super Bowl Ad went viral (virality is something I will be touching on a little later in the series) after it aired at this year's Super Bowl - and has now been viewed over 40 million times (the video above says 37 million!) on YouTube. Last year Ford took a major risk and launched the 2011 Ford Explorer on Facebook instead of the traditional way of launching a new car at a motor show. This payed off for Ford as their Facebook launch generated more traffic than a Super Bowl Ad!Social media isn't a fad - it is a fundamental shift in the way we communicate - including your existing and potential client base. Facebook reached 50 million users in 9 months - in contrast, it took the radio 38 years to reach 50 million users!
Using social media isn't all about posting content - with so many people using these social networking websites every day, there is a clear marketing opportunity available to you. All of the major social networks allow you to advertise yourself or your agency through highly targeted marketing campaigns. Look what happens on Facebook when I post 'Does anyone know a good real estate agent?' as my status. Two ads appear under the 'Related adverts' heading to the right of the page and have clearly been set up to target anyone that uses 'real estate' and/or 'real estate agent' in their status. (Take a look at the two ads that appeared, and tell me if you're as concerned about them as I am!)
This kind of direct, targeted marketing has really never been available before social media. Gone are the days when having your face and company logo plastered over a bus stop is going to get you business. Welcome to the social media revolution!
The best part about social media marketing is that, as well the highly targeted marketing campaigns, is that the best form of FREE marketing exists and is commonplace on social media networks - word of mouth - which for real estate agents translates as referrals and testimonials. As Socialnomics stated in the video I showed you above, word of mouth is on digital steroids and with more people than ever using social networks, you need to think of social media as word of mouth currency. Referrals and testimonials are like gold for real estate agents, and it's no wonder why - a staggering 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations over traditional advertising which only 14% of people trust!The perfect example of social media as a source of word of mouth advertising is the first ad that appeared in the image above, 'Rate that Agent' (I swear I'd never heard of Rate that Agent until now, but it's pure gold that it turned up in that ad stream!) It's a website that has been developed purely as platform for people to rate their experiences (good and bad) with real estate agents. Do you like what people are saying about you? You better, because if it's online it's there for the whole world to see!While it's all well and good for websites like Rate that Agent to exist - you don't have control over the content that is posted on them about your or your agency. You need to encourage your happy and satisfied buyers and sellers to share their experiences with you and your agency, on your social networking pages. Later in this blog series I will explain exactly how you can get your happy clients to do this.
Social media allows for instant communication with your target audience, whereas in traditional media it can take hours, days or weeks for the same piece of information to be communicated. The social media effect: a single piece of content gets exposed to an exponentially greater potential audience.Via SocialReflixionIf the quality of the content is good enough, for every person that read or views your content, at least one other will. This will lead to greater brand recognition - and eventually on to trust! By using your social media platforms to share relevant, interesting and high quality information with your followers, and not posting your new listings, you will soon be considered a knowledgeable, useful and reliable source of information and people will remember you when it comes time for them to buy or sell.Well, there you have it. The benefits of social media, in a nutshell.
So how do I do all this?
Well the 'How' part of this series is still a few blogs away, in the meantime stay tuned for my next blog where I'll going into more detail about why you should be developing a social media strategy...