VIEWS: 137 PAGES: 6 POSTED ON: 1/2/2011
Nina Sazer Realtor: Online Strategy Prepared by Iavor Ivanov on Sunday, November 28th, 2010 (To be re-crafted for a group of agents) Background Nina, thank you very much for the opportunity to present to you ideas on how social media and online outreach can benefit your Real Estate business. A successful Real Estate business is built on networking and referrals generated by the strength and appeal of the personality of an agent. You can be an outstanding and most knowledgeable professional, but that alone doesn’t guarantee success. Rather, it comes down to how many people are aware of you and how many people like you enough to promote you to others. It’s worth noting that people don’t necessarily need to have experienced you as an agent to make a decision to refer you to someone else in the right situation. They will take that step if they simply feel good about you. By leveraging social and online strategies, you can create a following of people with top of mind awareness of you, who also view you favorably because of your social content and storylines. When you cast a broad personality net online, you get to go beyond the contacts you have in the offline world -- you can begin effectively building relationships with existing and potential clients. Buying or selling a home happens only rarely in a person’s life, but the kind of relationship that would make you the agent of their choice can take months or years to develop. By leveraging your online presence, you can work toward that ultimate goal with many more individuals than what you would be able to do if you had to develop those relationships strictly in the offline world. Concurrent with building an online following, you have an opportunity to strengthen the favorability of your professional/personal brand, so people who may not even know you would feel confident about you and about recommending you. You can accomplish this by carefully crafting your online messaging, which would be rooted in elevating your positive traits as a person and as an agent. Additionally, the type of content you create for your business will determine who follows you and what kinds of referrals you will receive as a result of your efforts. We can work to position you as broadly-appealing, with an emphasis on targeting higher end clients. Your successful positioning will depend on your overall editorial voice, which must be handled with great discipline. Finally, this effort does not need to be arduous or time-consuming. You already do 80% of the work that it would take to power your online presence -- that’s the content creation part. I can help you with the remaining 20% of implementation and actual online publishing. Objectives ● Build relationships with existing and future clients through the use of online social tools. ● Increase credibility and grow a following by consistently building out your social media storylines and content. ● Create an editorial and social voice that appeals to high end home buyers by authentically and deliberately crafting your online image. Approach As I mentioned above, engaging online audiences and creating a following that will build awareness and credibility doesn’t have to take over your professional life -- you can’t afford that. The most time-consuming part about online marketing is the content creation. As an agent, you already generate a large amount of content and it’s simply a question of leveraging that properly, so it reaches the broadest possible audience. What social media enables you to do -- enables anyone who can create content to do -- is broadcast it in a nearly “reality TV” fashion to people who are interested, either in the content or in you personally, but most often in a combination of the two. To give you a sense for why content is so important: of all Internet users only less than 1% are content creators -- the other more than 99% are content consumers, so there’s great demand for anyone who’s willing to publish. This is not done for the sole purpose of displaying your professional life to the world, but for the purposes of building awareness of your personal/business brand with people who would ultimately become clients, or refer you to potential clients. In the same time, the execution of an online strategy has to remain effortless. Through a series of linkages, we can create an online presence that you, with my assistance at first, should be able to manage simply from your phone or/and your laptop, taking no more than 15 minutes for the daily maintenance, and a couple of hours every month dedicated to crafting larger content pieces. We will start small, executing on a basic Twitter strategy that will easily update your entire presence and begin to build interest. In the first several weeks, we will take the time to organize and link your multimedia properly -- photos on Flickr, videos on Vimeo, a Posterous page that will aggregate everything you do online. Next, we will explore how we can leverage video to not only promote the various real estate properties you’re managing, but to help extend your online storylines. You are better at talking and we can put the full power of your personality to work online through short, easy to create videos. Once we have worked out the mechanics of your total presence and managing it has become part of your usual routine, we will focus on promoting you online through reaching out to your existing following and clients, by doing professional outreach and placing you on relevant sites and blogs, and by implementing a cross promotional strategy with fellow agents. Important for outreach: if you don’t already do so, you must begin immediately to collect the email addresses of contacts and clients. Email is still one of the best options you have to promote your work and to make sure that people remain aware of you. To borrow a phrase, a bird in hand is worth many in the bush. Having someone’s email address means that you can reach directly in their inbox. The next logical step will be to work on positioning you as thought leader in your field. We will develop your more editorial content, which is what will resonate better with the sophisticated, higher end clients. We can test the waters initially and see if this strategy would be a good fit for you. It’s a good approach, but it is more important to remain authentic and create content that rings true for you. After we have built you up online, we will leverage the power of your following for the purposes of social activism. We will identify one or more social causes that you can be a champion for (or that you are already a champion for) and we will begin to include specific posts dedicated to advancing your cause. This has to come from who you are authentically: it can be anything from gay issues, to supporting youth health and fitness, to improving low income neighborhoods, to advocating or fundraising for young artists. Beyond the fact that it is important to give back to your community, being socially minded and using your online presence to support that will position you very favorably with your potential clients -- again, something that will appeal to higher end prospects, who would appreciate the generosity of the person they choose to give their business to. Editorial Voice These are basic guidelines for what you should communicate online through every one of your posts, tweets, videos or emails. We can fine-tune and adjust this, but it’s important to remain consistent once we’ve agreed on the right formula. Informative Build in helpful information about the real estate market in the DC Metro area, yet always continue to put things in national context. Approachable Ask questions of your following, encourage them and interact with them. Be friendly, inviting, and use smiley faces wisely. Authentic Periodically include personal info and photos, continue to communicate that you’re a human being others can relate to. Irreverent Occasionally include a zinger, or even a stronger personal opinion on issues you care about. Fun Sound like you’re having fun! Make/include jokes. People should look forward to your posts, not dread them. Dedicated Make sure that being hardworking always comes through. People need to know that they can count on you before they have met you. Types of content Twitter Short soundbites submitted from you phone 1-5 times a day, reacting to events from the day that can be used as the building blocks of your online presence. Refer to “Editorial Voice” for character of the voice and ideas for the content. TwitPic/Flickr As an agent, you happen upon interesting sights -- houses, rooms, bathrooms, kitchens, signs, people, etc -- that you can take quick photos of with your phone and “TwitPic” up, making those a part of your content stream. Uploading pictures through twitter is one of the most popular ways for distributing content. Those quick updates tend to get the highest number of hits by online audiences. Photos Excellent photos of listed properties organized in online photo galleries are not only attractive to prospective clients, but also go a long way toward building out your online credibility and presence. Videos You are the first one to say that you’re much better at talking. We should take advantage of this and make a good use of your pleasant appearance. A video tour (short, 1 minute or less) of a property with you as the guide, is not only going to get a lot of attention and buzz, but will help build your online following and content. Facebook Updates Both to your personal and professional pages: once a week, take the time to update info on various open houses and new listings. Editorials and Articles It will be extremely helpful to create a couple of pieces every month that showcase you not simply as someone who is able to regurgitate information, but as someone who can be an independent and helpful thought leader in your field. While those will not be the most popular content pieces you can create, they will connect with audiences in the more sophisticated segments of the population and can ultimately earn you higher price point business. (Re-posting other people’s articles would be a possible alternative) Email Outreach Assuming that you’re collecting email addresses of existing and potential clients, you should be reaching out to them over email once a month or so, just so you can keep yourself top of mind for them and so you can cross-promote you other online efforts. Metrics Online Metrics ● Twitter following ● Image / Video views ● Web numbers ● Buzz metrics Offline Metrics ● Referrals from online activity. (Likely unreasonable to expect any in the first several months, but the goals should be to have at least 2-5 per year generated/propelled by your online activity. Resources Facebook.com -- personal and professional profile Flickr.com ($25.00/year) Vimeo.com ($60.00/year) Posterous.com Twitter.com iPhone Applications (~$10.00) A digital photo/video camera Immediate Next Steps 1. Acquire media assets -- logos, brand identity, existing content, etc. 2. Set up accounts and create proper linkages. 3. Test the system. 4. Create a month-long content calendar/outline. 5. Rock & Roll. Long-term view 1. Begin online and on-the-ground integration of marketing efforts. 2. Begin online/offline social integration. Content Calendar for Months 1-6 TBD
"Realtor Online Strategy"