The one constant that will always exist in the Real Estate Industry is that there is never enough time in the day to get everything done. It is this very reason that we started our Real Estate Marketing Company, 15 years ago.
While this phenomenon is something I don’t see changing anytime soon, what I do see changing is the way in which people are required to spend time, when promoting and marketing their Real Estate practice. The largest addition to this exercise being social media.
As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, social media and online reputation management are not going anywhere. It is no longer appropriate to say “I wonder if this is going to stick?”. It’s simply time to embrace these things and make them part of your marketing strategy. The problem though, becomes the question of how you are going to fit these extra, “necessary” activities, into an already full schedule? The answer is actually quite simple: Outsource it.
You most likely have companies that handle your print marketing, and your website, right? After all, you don’t know how to run a print shop, or code html. Your job is to sell homes. So why would you try to tackle new, emerging, and rapidly changing technologies that fall into the Social Media realm? Wouldn’t it make more sense to hire a professional team that will not only help you put together an effective strategy, but actually carry it out for you?
To those ends, I have put together a brief list of reasons that every Realtor should consider, when deciding whether or not to outsource their social media and online marketing needs.
1) Don’t lose site of what got you into Real Estate in the first place
One of the risks every Realtor faces, when putting together their Real Estate practice, is to get caught in the trap of becoming a “jack of all trades”. While this might sound like a good thing, it is not. Not a week goes by that we don’t interview a new perspective client, only find out that they have become so bogged down in systems and operations that they are unable to do the one thing that got them into the Real Estate Business in the first place…… to help people buy and sell homes!
The immediate question I always ask them is that if they are an independent contractor (translation: If they don’t sell homes, they don’t make any money), why would they risk not being able to do the one thing that will lead to food being able to be put on the table? It’s one of those obvious questions that doesn’t need any response, BUT it’s only obvious once a Realtor has experienced the pain of being unable to conduct their day to day business.
2) It’s not as expensive as you think
Any subcontracted activity (and I do mean ANY), when compared to the revenue you can generate by having more free time, makes that activity worth the fees you pay your subcontractor. This applies, even to tasks that you think you can do in your “spare time” (evenings and weekends). What do I mean by this? For example:
Back when bulk mail was a little bit easier for the average Joe to understand, Realtors would frequently have us print postcards for them and just ship them to their office. They intended to take the cards home with them and apply address labels on them, while watching T.V. in the evening. The next day, they would then take the cards down to the bulk mail entry unit, and check it in with the post office for delivery. Sounds innocent enough, right?
WRONG! I cannot tell you how many times I would stop in to see an agent, only to find that the cards we shipped them a week or two prior, still had not been taken out of the box we shipped them in. The net result was a waste of money, as the cards were outdated and couldn’t be sent out anymore, and a loss of brand strength and potential revenue, because the Realtor’s image and message were not getting out to their farm area.
When asked the question of why they hadn’t sent the cards out, though varying in specifics, from agent to agent, the general theme was that by the end of the day, they were simply too tired to take care of that task and just put it off.
When I pointed out to them that literally for pennies extra, we could address, tray and deliver the cards to the post office for them, pointed out the time they would then have available to spend with their families in the evening, and the time they would save during the day, by not having to wait in line at the post office, it quickly became apparent to them that while it seemed as if they were saving money, trying to do it themselves was actually costing them money.
The same holds true with your social media efforts. You need to communicate with people when they are at their computers and engaged. This is not at 11:30PM, when you are watching David Letterman. This is in the middle of the work day, when a person is sitting at their computer. That is of course prime time that you could be prospecting, handling client or listing needs, door knocking, or going on listing appointments. Outsourcing your social media efforts allows you to continue doing these revenue generating activities, without impacting your exposure or brand strength.
3) Content Is King- No Matter What You Think, You Won’t Have Time To Generate Enough
Content is king in social media marketing. Not only content, but ORIGINAL content. We’ve all heard that you can’t just turn on automated RSS feeds to dump info into your facebook and twitter streams, because people will get annoyed and quit paying attention to you. People want content that applies to them. They are friends with, or are following you because you offer that content which they are most interested in.
Social media now plays a very important role in how search engines rank you. Your Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles and posts for instance all contribute to your page ranking, just as much as your blog or website do. With that in mind, ORIGINAL content becomes key to your social media strategy. Simply put, if your content is identical to that of other agents (e.g. your broker hands you a document at your weekly office meeting and everyone decides to blog the article, verbatim, and send links out via their social networks), search engines are going to ignore your content and place little or no weight on it, with relation to your search ranking.
In order to make your social media efforts worth while, you NEED to be getting credit from search engines. The only way to do this is to have a steady stream of original content that goes out to all your sites, in a methodical, structured approach. But, don’t forget reason #1. You didn’t get into Real Estate to become a content generating machine. You got into Real Estate to be a home selling machine. All the more reason you need someone to help you with your social media efforts.
So as you can see, there are clearly some compelling reasons that you should seek assistance when planning a social media campaign. For next week’s post, I’ll pinpoint some key features, services and elements you should focus on, when selecting the vendor that is going to help you with this.
In the meantime, if you have questions about social media management, need help coming up with an effective strategy, or would like to discuss with us the possibility of having us take over your social media efforts, please feel free to contact me any time.
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