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29 March 2011

Why Your Customers Are Ignoring You on Social Media (Plus: 3 Ways to Get Noticed!)

It seems like you can’t go anywhere without hearing people cheerlead social media. “Over 100 million Facebook users in the U.S., you gotta be there!” and “You aren’t connecting to your customers on Twitter, go there too!” they’ll say.

So how can so many people cheerlead something that many brokers and agents are signed up for yet aren’t receiving the attention they expected? Perspective.

It all comes down to the way you view social media in your business and how you use it. Here are three common mistakes I often see when agents and brokers get on social media for the first time:

Using Social Media as a One Way Street

Like radio did before it, TV went main-stream in the mid-20th century and was able to broadcast out its messages to anyone who was watching. It engaged viewers by appealing to their visual and audible senses.

Today, the internet has leveled the playing field. Rather than being talked or advertised at (as TV and radio do through broadcasting), consumers are talking to the brands and people they do business with.

Try This Instead:

Don’t make the mistake of broadcasting or advertising at consumers. Instead, share what you’re doing with your followers and engage them by asking and answering questions. There is no industry better positioned to serve as local ambassadors than real estate brokers and agents.

Not Giving It Enough Time to Grow

What do flowers, children, Facebook and planet Earth all have in common? None of them were created and grown to fruition in one day. Some of the most successful agent blogs out there have been in the works for a few years or longer. I have been using Twitter since 2007 and, about four years later, I have just shy of 1,000 followers.

Try This Instead:

Adjust your expectations, and don’t overindulge in social media to the point where your real estate sales suffer because this will not speed up your success. Social media is not a silver bullet, it’s just a better way to find and connect with consumers.

Treating Social Media as a Business Add-On

After attending seminars, I used to come away with pages full of notes and a list of things I “must do.” Taking notes is really useful (especially when used in conjunction with a service like Evernote to organize them) but taking all of these ideas at face value and not tailoring it to your business is a direct flight to failure.

Just because Twitter is working for one person doesn’t mean it’s an ideal fit for you. Similarly, if you’re going to use video to engage consumers online, don’t feel like you have to replicate Gary Vaynerchuk’s personality to make it successful.

Your notes should give you ideas about how these tools work and provide a foundation for ways to bring your core business mission to light using tools like video, Facebook and Twitter.

Try This Instead:

Create a real, tangible marketing plan for growing your business using social media and stick with it for at least 3-6 months. Ask yourself questions about your ideal prospects that have actionable answers like:

How are you going to reach the people you want as customers?

What do they like to do?

Where do they shop?

What forums are they sharing and learning about their passions on (e.g.; local sailing club forums)?

What killer features/services can I add to my website that would encourage someone to recommend my website over that of a competitor?

The secret to success in social media is authenticity (having a conversation with your ideal clients rather than “selling at them”), creating a solid marketing plan and sticking to it over the long term. Do those three things and you’ll have all the internet success you’ve dreamed of.

Special thanks to my BHGRE colleague Jeff Lefkowitz who inspired me to write this post!

2 thoughts on “Why Your Customers Are Ignoring You on Social Media (Plus: 3 Ways to Get Noticed!)

  1. Josh, I like your comment on perspective. We can't do it all! I've found that a little planning with a good dose of reality, followed by adjustments as I go along, keeps me sane and helps me get more done in a day. The social media is fun, but I keep reminding myself that they're just other lines of communication. I still use the phone and pen to paper to say what I want to communicate.

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