Optimize your online presence with these tips!
Over the past 20 years, social media has revolutionized how companies do business, but for many professionals, it’s still an elusive tool to master. After all, it’s one thing to share vacation pictures with friends and family on Facebook, but when it comes to optimizing your business, how do you set yourself apart from the crowd?
Whatever your level of social media sophistication, here are eight steps to make the most of your online presence and drive your customer engagement to new highs.
If you’re using social media to just repeat what’s on your website or relentlessly recruit immediate customers, you’re missing the point. The beauty of social media is the opportunity to engage and communicate with customers, and ideally cultivate them for future (as well as present) business. Social media has the ability to show people who you are, not just what you do, and to that end, consider an 80 / 20 formula: 80% content that meets your clients needs, solicits feedback, and informs followers about trends, terms, or options they need to know, and just 20% business promotion. This will continually refill your lead pipeline.
Review your online presence and make sure each channel has the following:
Update each channel as needed … even ones you haven’t posted to in awhile or may not want to keep. (More on that in Step 4!) If you realize that your reach isn’t what you want it to be, brush up on the basics of attracting social media followers.
Given the variety of social media channels, you could easily burn yourself out trying to maximize all of them. Posting content is just one part of your schedule, and there are only so many hours in a day. Instead of trying to be exhaustive in your coverage, think strategically. Where do you have the most followers and engagement? Which apps are taking up your time but not showing results? And most importantly, what apps do you most enjoy using? You want to have a robust online presence, but you’re more likely to keep up with the channels that don’t feel like chores.
If you decide a platform is not workable for you or not yielding results, don’t delete your account. You still want to maintain a foothold in that channel, even if you’re not actively posting. Instead, post a message telling customers where to find you. (“I’m not currently posting on Facebook, but please visit me on Twitter at @username.”)
Authenticity is the key to a winning social media practice, but strategy has a role to play as well. Check out what your competitors are doing on social media, and make sure you’re up on any trends you see emerging. This will inform your approach as you move to take your marketing to the next level.
For the channels you want to actively use, explore all the features each one offers and schedule time to practice using all the tools available. If you’re feeling intimidated by the technology, see if someone on your team is savvy in social media and ask for some tutorials. Or look into an on-demand tutorial or class. Remember, social media is a skill that can be learned, regardless of your current technology level!
Create a content calendar for several months in advance, so you’ll stay on top of your postings. Include holidays, industry observances (Fair Housing Month, National Homeownership Month, etc.), and emerging trends so you can create a wide variety of on-topic posts. Then block out weekly or monthly time on your calendar to update your social media. If you’re not regularly posting new content, your followers will lose interest quickly!
Social media allows you to talk directly to potential customers before you’ve ever met them, so let your personality and interests shine through. Maintain a consistent voice that reflects your personality, and … ideally … write all your own posts. If your schedule doesn’t allow for that, collaborate with just one or two people who truly understand your vision and can produce content that meshes seamlessly with your voice.
Beyond that, take advantage of the opportunities to talk with people rather than at them. Post content that encourages followers to interact with you, like mini polls (be sure to post the results) or open-ended questions. (Which neighborhoods have the best park? What’s the best local coffee shop? What Top 3 characteristics describe your dream house?) Respond to questions and comments that visitors leave for you, and encourage them to reach out for follow-up by phone or email if needed.
And if you really want to boost engagement and set yourself apart, use video to showcase your personality, services, and expertise in a way that a handful of sentence just can’t. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to do … and how impactful it is!