B.C. - Before The Click
Friday, May 4, 2012
From the May/June issue
It's so easy to get caught up in the "how" of social media that the "why" can get lost
There’s more to social media than its dizzying myriad of technical elements; there’s a philosophical side as well! A well-rounded social media marketing plan incorporates consideration for editorial content, voice, cadence, and even etiquette that is appropriate for each type of outlet.
There are three general best practices that even the savviest social media practitioners should keep in mind when crafting social media messages:
- Remain neutral – if you use social media strictly for self-promotion, you risk losing credibility. Be sure to provide unbiased information and discussion about industry issues, which establishes trust with your followers and lets them know you have their interests at heart.
- Respond – Social media is a dialog, not a monologue, so interact with clients and prospects whenever possible. Follow them back, thank them when they "retweet” or "favorite” your tweet, and always respond to both positive and negative feedback.
- Relax – Social marketing is just that: social. Add a little life to your posts. Social media is a great opportunity to show off your company culture and give your company a more personable feel. Leave the dry, factual writing behind and add some personality. Just be careful that your social media activities do not become too personal or inconsistent with your brokerage brand.
Each social outlet is unique and has its own philosophical quirks. Facebook, for example, is very much a personal tool, so initiating interactions with prospects can be seen as intrusive. On the other hand, following someone on Twitter is a far less pushy way of connecting with a prospect, and the constant stream of conversation allows you tweet often without being seen as a nuisance. Blogs are a great way to distribute a variety of content. Discuss industry trends, announcements, and market updates, and post webinar recordings (and don’t forget to promote your blog through other outlets).
Social media is a 24-hour news stream that never sleeps, and it’s a good idea to establish a rhythm and consistency to your social postings. Avoid being absent for weeks at a time and then inundating followers with 10 postings – this could lead to some drop-off in fans and followers. Automated delivery platforms make it easy to pre-schedule your postings to go out on optimal days of the week and at optimal times of the day (or night).
Keep it classy. Criticizing a competitor, product, or organization via social media is inappropriate and will earn you the disdain of your followers. Not only that, but doing so runs you the risk of a libel/slander lawsuit! The REALTOR® Code of Ethics even has a standard of practice (15-3; below) that obligates REALTORS® to remove such comments by made by others on their own social media outlets.
Whether you’re just starting out or you’re well-established in the social sphere, planning out content and establishing message policies provides needed structure to your social marketing and helps you get the most value from your efforts.
REALTOR® Code of Ethics - Article 15
REALTORS® shall not knowingly or recklessly make false or misleading statements about other real estate professionals, their businesses, or their business practices.
Standard of Practice 15-1
REALTORS® shall not knowingly or recklessly file false or unfounded ethics complaints.
Standard of Practice 15-2
The obligation to refrain from making false or misleading statements about other real estate professionals, their businesses and their business practices includes the duty to not knowingly or recklessly publish, repeat, retransmit, or republish false or misleading statements made by others. This duty applies whether false or misleading statements are repeated in person, in writing, by technological means (e.g., the Internet), or by any other means.
Standard of Practice 15-3
The obligation to refrain from making false or misleading statements about other real estate professionals, their businesses, and their business practices includes the duty to publish a clarification about or to remove statements made by others on electronic media the REALTOR® controls once the REALTOR® knows the statement is false or misleading.