Building Trust Through Social Media
By: Christina Dick, TFB Agency
Social media can get a bad rap. It’s said to be isolating, fake, time consuming. So why should REALTORS® invest precious time and money?
Eric Morehouse of The Morehouse Group in Richmond, Va. admits that one of the biggest challenges REALTORS® face is a lack of trust. Buying a home is a very significant life purchase, and trusting a REALTOR® to be a partner in that transaction doesn’t happen overnight. There’s no single post, ad or photo that will immediately win over potential buyers or sellers. But, you’ve got to start somewhere. Here are a few tips for starting and maintaining a social media presence that builds trust through consistency and community.
There are a few initial steps you’ll need to take to set your social media strategy up for success.
Analyze your current plan
Start by auditing your current social media plan and strategies. Take a look at what’s working for your business, and also what’s not. Examine what you’re posting, and more importantly, how your audience is reacting. Is there any piece of promotion that doesn’t feel true to your values? If you’re just getting started, you might not have much to analyze — and that’s OK.
Do your research
It’s important to look to your competitors and others in the industry for inspiration. This will give you an idea of what’s out there, and will ultimately help you to determine what differentiates you from others in the market. You must also analyze your audience. What are your buyer’s pain points? What are the frequently asked questions? What always comes up in conversations?
Evaluate your goals
Ask yourself: Is my current social media plan helping me to achieve my business goals? This answer will help you decide what adjustments you need to make. What’s important to you? Obviously, showcasing your listings and educating the public on the real estate industry is a must. But what else will you add in to make your approach unique? What about your business do you want highlight? Knowing your goals will help you determine what kind of content you should create and share.
Decide what channels you want to be on and why
Do you want to maintain a Facebook and a Twitter account? What about Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube? It’s important to consider your bandwidth — how much time do you have to maintain each of these channels? You don’t need to be on each one of them, but if you’re going to be, you’ll need to dedicate enough time and resources to make the most of it. You’ll also need to consider what channels your audience prefers. Talk to your buyers and sellers about how they use social media. Maybe you’ve traditionally used Facebook to market and connect, but your clients prefer Instagram. Meet your audience where they are.
BUILD TRUST WITH SOCIAL MEDIA
In marketing, we talk about “touch points,” referring to every interaction your customer/client/audience has with your business/brand. Everything you say or do is a chance to make an impression, or as Seth Godin says in his blog, a “chance to either raise or lower your average.” Use this same strategy with social media to build lasting, trusting relationships with your clients. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Be consistent: Make sure you seem like the same person on social media as you do in your print ads or at networking events. Social media is your opportunity to reinforce that you are who you say you are on a regular basis.
- Infuse your personality: Be you! But, remember to resist revealing too much of your personal information.
- Be part of your chosen community: Just as you support others in real-life, make an effort to show your support on social media. Dedicate time to commenting, liking and sharing to reflect the things you care about.
- Know what results you want: Are you trying to drive people to your website, to build awareness, to engage or entertain your audience or to strengthen your relationship with them? If you’re just posting and sharing to check off a box, that will come across to your audience. Instead, ask for information through comments and replies. Just make sure you know what you’re going to do with the information you receive, and show your audience you appreciate their engagement by continuing the conversation.
- Make successful client stories work for you: To help buyers overcome the intimidation/hesitation of working with a REALTOR® they don’t know, highlight the stories of those who you’ve already worked with. Your past clients can become advocates for you through testimonials. This tactic has always been a great business strategy, but it’s even more powerful in the age of social media. Want to make an even bigger impact? Encourage your past clients to submit video testimonials and post those on your social media channels.
- Analyze and optimize: My favorite thing about social media is the ability to explore new opportunities and improve. Most of us are intimidated by change, but it’s important to try new things and watch how our followers react. Your social media community will give you clues to determine how your content should evolve.
Remember to use social media as a tool to amplify the things you and your business are already doing well. Social media should not be an extra thing you have to do or learn. It should be a tool you can use to make the most out of all of the hard work, energy and passion you’re putting into all parts of your business. Focus on this, and your clients will see this passion and will trust your expertise to lead them through the home buying and selling process.
Christina Dick is the founder of TFB Agency, a marketing consultancy with a focus on social media.