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Mobile communication and social media conceptToday’s “Ask the Expert” column features Philipp von Holtzendorff-Fehling, vice president and chief marketing officer with American Home Shield.

Q: What are the top strategies for effectively using various social media channels in the real estate market?

A: In today’s competitive marketplace, utilizing social media is one of the most effective ways to connect with clients, spread your marketing message and build your business. However, in order to stand out from the crowd, you need to do more than just create a page or tweet a few articles. Building and implementing an effective social strategy requires you to develop a targeted messaging approach that helps you stay ahead of the competition. Before you begin, plan what you want to say and how you want to reach potential clients on these popular social media channels: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Setting up a Facebook page for your business is an excellent way to reach out to clients and their friends and family. To keep them interested, always feature more lifestyle content than listings. Show your expertise by posting photos and information about the neighborhood schools, restaurants and upcoming events. Ask questions to engage your page fans and build a connection. Your goal is to receive as many comments and likes as you can because that will help increase your reach.

Use Facebook to establish yourself as a trusted resource. American Home Shield® set the bar for social media engagement within the industry by putting in motion a strategy that emphasizes valuable content, day-to-day interaction and responsiveness. AHS® utilizes Facebook as a channel to connect with customers and provide follow-up to their comments. In the past 12 months, AHS Facebook fans increased 276 percent (from 25k to 94k). We believe this increased engagement was one of the contributing factors to our being awarded the 2013 Best in Service Award from HomeWarrantyReviews.com.

Keep It Short and Sweet When You Tweet
Twitter lets you communicate quickly and keeps you connected. Just like Facebook, your listings should be a small part of your content. Tweet links to helpful articles about securing a mortgage or renovating tips. Offer incentives for visiting your open houses, encourage others to post pictures, favorite others’ tweets and follow people who have a sphere of influence in your community. The whole point is to enter into conversations with people who might need your professional expertise at some point.

Get Going with Groups
Joining an online community like LinkedIn is a great way to build a professional network. Within these groups, you assume the role of contributor, not salesperson. Comment, answer questions and offer suggestions about real estate to establish yourself as a knowledgeable source. Be sure to include a summary in your profile that highlights professional organizations you belong to, and ask for recommendations. LinkedIn is for content sharing. That’s why AHS launched its own LinkedIn page to provide real estate professionals engaging content to share with their clients.

No matter which social channel you choose, by implementing the right social messaging strategy, you will be able to expand your client base. Just remember this one simple guideline: Post honest, fun and useful information for your clients and encourage them to share it with others.

For more information, visit www.ahs.com/realestate.

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