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social_media_salesDoes the time you spend working on social media show a huge return on your investment? Not many agents can measure their online effectiveness directly to sales, but the top-performing agents know what to do and how to do it and show impressive results! Critics are quick to point out the direct sales connection between online posting and real sales, but when done effectively, sales increase and so does your bottom line.

Interviews with highly successful online marketers tell us that your real goal should be to contribute and publish content that is relevant on a local level, timely and specific to the followers in your communities. The ultimate goal is to garner engagement, not just simply gain “followers.” Think of these social media channels as an opportunity to become the “celebrity authority” of your marketplace. To do so, here’s a few guidelines to get you started in the right direction:

1. Pull, don’t push!
This is tough for some of us that sell, because that’s what we do…SELL. But this doesn’t work as effectively online. Strive to inform, rather than blast your new listings. Use engaging conversation to invite the viewer to want more information about an area or lifestyle where a property is located. If the information at that time is irrelevant to their needs, they will move on but those that have an interest will be engaged. Social media engagement is “social”—like a real conversation, which requires participation. Think, “how can I add value with this posting of information for a prospect?” and then be willing to share your content, tips, and resources freely to help your community.

2. Be you!
Authenticity and transparency are the cornerstones of social networking. Sharing shouldn’t be all business. It’s more successful when you include some personal insights. Highly successful Ohio agent Judie Crockett posts pictures with her family, at community events and with other people along with interesting posts about particular properties. Be real. Be open. Be honest and most importantly, be you!

3. Hang out where your target market hangs out, and choose your online channels accordingly.
You don’t have to be on every social network out there.  It would be impossible to maintain an active presence on every social network, so do be where your customers are!  Monitor where your engagement is showing highest visibility and response, then work that priority channel well.

4. Don’t abandon traditional marketing.
Many agents abandon traditional marketing completely using only online marketing, which can be a costly mistake.  Even with the new social marketing, traditional rules of marketing still apply. Just think of social media as simply another channel to build your brand and to market your message, not as a replacement of the other forms of marketing.  The key here is integration! Email and searches are still where most marketers spend top dollar, and as social media continues to evolve driving traffic through all mediums is key.  Continue to integrate your messaging thru multiple mediums like direct mail, and electronic communication and be sure to include your social media links in your traditional marketing initiatives to promote interaction and participation.  This strategy provides the prospect with options to respond to you using whatever channel they prefer to connect with you.

5. Social media is a mindset, not just a toolset!
Understand that social media is simply another tool to encourage connections that engage us with people to create relationships.  Social media is the vehicle we need to use these online communication channels to help us be a resource to our marketplace.   Your goal is to use social media as a tool that combines a strategy with the ultimate goal to develop differentiation as you brand and position yourself to your specific market.  Then you can plan your specific online marketing and convergence strategies to target relevant content to your specific target market.

6. Consistency is critical.
There’s simply no better advice. In order to activate and sustain engagement, you must follow a cohesive digital calendar that serves as your blueprint for the delivery of consistent relevant and local messaging.  A simple 90-day calendar works to block various dates for different actions blending both the marketing of events and informational postings. This is a critical step to begin creating an online community to engage fans, followers and participation.

7. And finally: monitor, listen and respond!
There is nothing worse than working to connect and then not replying to those comments and postings when people reach out to you. Be sure to monitor what is going on DAILY in the communities where you are participating and RETURN the response.  Respond with a thank you for the endorsement, or appreciating their post.  Acknowledgement is the ticket to real online engagement that will grow your community and build a strong online presence.

Social media is here to stay…so follow these guidelines to help you maximize the power of social media engagement!

Terri Murphy is a speaker, e-communication consultant/strategist and the author of 5 books, including her latest with Donald Trump. She is the founder of Terri Murphy Communications, Inc.,, and the CIO of U. S. Learning in Memphis.

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