Social Media is a MUST for all Realtors in Marketing. It can be a little overwhelming at first to try and understand what Social Media Marketing is all about. The learning curve is difficult for those who do not use computers regularly, let alone have Social Media incorporated into their business already.
The Internet has been around for some time now, but only in recent years has its presence become strongly felt by people worldwide. International communication is free and instant, and globally-competitive education can be accessed by anyone, anywhere – even decades-old regimes have been toppled by those coordinating from the Internet! News from all over the world reaches our computers in the blink of an eye.
And then there is, of course, a massive profit potential.
Most entities that establish their business on the Internet or bring their business to the Internet usually learn one essential thing about the ‘net: more traffic, more profit. This is why everyone and their mothers are tinkering with everything on the Internet to increase the number of “eyeballs” that float over their products and services.
One fascinating aspect of the Internet has proven to be a handy and profitable tool for any business. It has been multiplying over the years and has become part and parcel of any netizen’s life. Millions of unique people access its varied forms each day, each having its purpose for doing so. And the best part is that very little money – if any at all – is needed to use this aspect of the Internet.
You could say that the buzz has been piling up over the years and that we are now reaping the full benefits of the “avalanche” that it has created.
And this avalanche is known as social media.
When people say the word “media,” the first thing that often comes to mind is TV, radio, and newspaper. This is the traditional form of mass communication, where one medium sends information to a large number of people. This form of mass communication only transmits information, with little to no interaction from those on the receiving end of the data. It is also a costly venture to get into and maintain, which is why it costs a lot to advertise in any mass communication media.
With the current Internet speeds and availability, though, these traditional media are slowly being replaced by social media – also known as consumer-generated media in the more commercial circles of society.
Social media itself is the epitome of the Internet culture: it is a collection of web-based and mobile technologies that allow users to generate and publish content. This means that people create, upload, and share many “stuff” on the Internet. Everything is fair game with social media – from simple comments and amateur videos to technical manuals and comprehensive scientific studies.
For example, you can read this entry about social media on Wikipedia. Not only will you learn more about social media, but you will have visited a social media site born from the collective input of experts around the world!
But you are not reading this guide to learn more about social media’s roots and origins. You are reading this to learn how to increase traffic to your website. Ergo, you are reading this guide to improve your overall profits.
So let’s cut to the chase, shall we?
The whole point of this guide is to teach you how to increase web traffic to your business by using social media. Still, it is essential that you first understand how to use various social media.
Here are a few things to help keep you in the right frame of mind:
Information and Awareness
One of the first things you need to remember about social media is distributing information.
Suppose you are launching a program, starting a promotion, offering discounts, looking for employees, opening a new line of products, or have anything important to say. In that case, social media will be one of the quickest and cheapest ways for you to get that information out on the Internet. This is also a facet where social media shines since people can pass along this information on their social networks.
Engagement and Discussion
One of the main draws of social media is giving the consumer the ability to communicate with both the business and other consumers quickly.
An intelligent consumer of the Internet age no longer takes advertisements at face value. He goes online and starts from there, and social media allows you to communicate with these people on a near real-time basis.
You always have the option to filter or block discussions if they don’t go as you’d like them to. Just keep in mind that they can discuss an issue on a particular website that you will be unable to monitor. This is why it would be better to see what frustrates your customers yourself and address the issue promptly.
Support and Assistance
If people have problems, one of the first things they do is look for someone to help them – and social media could be a cheap and accessible tool to let that happen.
Social media is a cheap, easy, and convenient tool for people to seek solutions to problems they may encounter and answers to questions nagging them. This is especially useful for small businesses, where the need for expensive customer care services is virtually eliminated by using social media instead. One or two people will be more than enough to handle things until the business grows big enough to need and afford more extensive customer care services.
Networking and Recruitment
If you are looking for people to help support your business – like partners, suppliers, or employees – social media can help you out there.
You will be able to bring additional business to your website, but you could also use an established social network to get additional.
Competitiveness and Relevance
If you can use social media to get customers your way, you can bet that your competitors can use it.
This is why social media can be a valuable tool to spy on the competition. Are they launching a product with new features? What problems are their customers experiencing? How are they setting up their social media marketing strategies? Keep an eye on your competitors, and you will be able to modify and present your products and services in a more relevant and competitive manner.
Trust and Assurance
Everything that has been discussed earlier will ultimately lead to one thing – the trust of the consumer.
This is perhaps the main reason social media is so influential in marketing circles. It is also why other businesses can’t see any traffic increase when they use social media.
Remember that you are dealing with intelligent people that have something to say. Learning to engage and communicate with them properly will mean the difference between a successful social media marketing campaign and a total waste of time and energy.
Now that you have a general idea of how social media works as a marketing tool, it’s time we got down and dirty with the first social medium: Facebook.
Ah, Facebook – is one of the few websites with a movie about its origins. While the film may leave some people red-faced about the roots of Facebook, there is no doubt as to the social impact of Facebook around the world.
Facebook itself is a leading social networking service, with more than 600 million active users as of January 2011. Facebook’s simplicity and streamlined features make it easy and attractive for a lot of people to work with.
As for the features, people can add each other as “friends” as they keep tabs on each other’s activities. Users can edit and modify their profiles, after which they can start sharing status updates, links, videos, and photos with their peers. All these features have become the recognizable trademarks of Facebook, contributing to the success of this particular social networking site.
One of the most exciting features of Facebook for business entities is the creation of a Facebook Page. This will be your central platform for interacting with users, especially since Facebook pages are designed to do three things at once: bring people with a common cause or interest together, allow them to communicate with you, and communicate with each other.
Everything about Facebook encourages users to create their own unique identities and connect with people. The same goes for businesses: building a unique identity and letting the consumers know more about you is the main objective when using Facebook.
This is especially important to remember, considering that the various features of Facebook are geared to presenting a business in a positive and interactive light. Too many companies limit themselves to posting simple updates when Facebook offers so many more features.
The ability of people to talk and interact with each other is also another valued aspect of Facebook. The website’s versatile discussion and comment features open up a sounding board of feedback, opinions, and experiences for visitors, fans, and consumers.
So remember – the big picture with Facebook is to put a “face” behind your business. Use Facebook to let people know more about your business, and you will be able to use Facebook’s unique features to bring in traffic (and profits) to your website!
One of the first things you need to do on Facebook is creating a profile that will grab people’s attention.
You should upload an attractive, eye-catching profile picture to represent your Facebook page. This will often be the first thing people see if they choose to visit your Facebook page, so give that profile picture some thought.
Adding some background information and links to your website’s home page is the next order of business. Tell people what your business is about, while a good mission vision or motto can wrap things up quite nicely.
It is not recommended that you create a personal profile for business and marketing purposes. Please make a Facebook Page explicitly designed for a business as it provides a lot more community and consumer-oriented features than a personal profile. And besides, you are less likely to run into problems with the terms and conditions of Facebook when you use a page designed specifically for businesses.
Experiment with your profile a little. Don’t be afraid to tinker with the features, especially when you get more and more followers to your page. New page features get opened up with more followers, so keep on coming back for more.
News and Updates
Once you set up an attractive profile to represent your business, you’re all set to start using Facebook as your marketing platform – and you can start by sharing news and updates to your followers.
If you have anything note-worthy for people to know, all you need to do is post this information on your wall. Got a new product lined up for release? Post it. Offering a Facebook-only discount coupon for customers? Post it. Find a news article that your customers might find helpful? Post it. Have a few tips to maximize the customer’s experience? Post it.
Any information relevant to your business and your customers should be posted on your wall – even if doing so will not lead to direct sales. The main objective here is not to aggressively sell stuff to people but to make them aware of your “presence” on Facebook. The more relevant the information you provide, the more likely that people will visit your website – meaning more traffic in the end.
The photo, video, and discussion sections of a Facebook page are more than just exciting features – they are some of the most powerful tools at your disposal to help show potential clients what you have to offer.
For example, you can import information from your website to your Facebook page. Photos of your product, its specifications, and even video demonstrations of how they work can easily be uploaded to your Facebook page. This will allow potential customers to peek at what you’re selling.
Another advantage of doing this is that you can ‘tease’ people visiting your website. You can just give a comprehensive description of your products and services on your Facebook page while providing links to point interested people to your website. This will allow you to bring people to your sales-oriented website without making your own Facebook page appear too commercial for people’s tastes.
Prizes and Contests
People love to win prizes, which is why contests can be so effective when using Facebook’s various features.
Putting up contests of skill or luck will help encourage people to monitor your Facebook page – especially when freebies are offered as prizes. People will check your page regularly, but they will also become interested in learning more about what you have to offer. Even those who don’t win will become curious about what they didn’t get. This is something that many businesses often neglect to capitalize on.
You can even gain something from the community by asking people to do some of your work. Coming up with the best slogan, taking the wackiest product picture, being the first to respond, or any similar contests serve to kill two birds with one stone. You get people to visit your Facebook page, and two, you get your pick of content to use for your website. It’s a simple but effective concept.
Feedback and Discussions
And last but not least is to reserve a place for people to communicate with one another.
The discussion and comment features of Facebook should not be taken for granted. All marketers that use Facebook need to post and advertise stuff, but it is a rare few that will encourage people to discuss and share their thoughts on a Facebook page.
While this may require a lot of time and attention on your part, the potential rewards are worth it. Fostering a community on your Facebook page will give people another reason to keep coming back to your page: to discuss something.
Don’t worry too much about controlling the flow of discussions. Just open up topics and publish them on your wall. Once people realize that you have something going on in the discussions section of your page, they will start to open up topics themselves.
Other Marketing Tips for Facebook
Focus on providing engaging content
One of the biggest mistakes that many businesses make on Facebook is to push the customers too hard, and this is something you have to avoid before you even start a marketing campaign on Facebook.
Remember that Facebook is not a place for you to market your products aggressively. It is a platform for you to bring people closer to you and your products. People do not log on to Facebook to be bombarded with advertisements. They log on to communicate with people and discover new, exciting stuff each time they check their news feeds and their favorite pages.
This is why you have to focus on providing that relevant and exciting content instead of trying too hard to sell your products. Somebody will be more likely to “like” and follow your Facebook page if it has funny quotes and experiences about Product X than if it were plastered with blatant and bland advertisements about the said Product X.
Plan out how you can provide this content attractively and excitingly from the very beginning. People will actively participate in your Facebook page instead of just leaving it to rot – like how so many other “liked” pages end up after some time.
Give people a reason to “like” your Facebook page.
One of the first things you need to do is make people voluntarily subscribe to your page, known as “liking” on Facebook.
People first have to be aware of your Facebook page before they can start viewing its content. This is why you must focus on an attractive profile picture, relevant company background, regular status updates, and practical information on your page’s profile.
While an attractive profile will pique people’s curiosity, providing an immediate benefit or reward is one of the most effective ways to get them to “like” your Facebook page. A one-time discount, a trial period for your services, and a freebie that can be claimed when buying your products are but a handful of viable rewards for somebody to “like” your Facebook page.
Just avoid making rewards the only reason people “like” your Facebook page. All those rewards will be a waste of money if you do not provide a basis for people to keep on viewing your Facebook page – much less go to your website.
Create a network of relevant “Fan Pages.”
Another way you can get more people to “like” your Facebook page is to build a network of fan pages.
These fan pages should revolve around concepts related to your products and services. For example, an entrepreneur that sells custom-made chocolates could create fan pages like “Weird and Wacky Chocolates,” “Creative Valentine’s Day Chocolates,” or “Chocoholics Anonymous.” Be creative with the fan pages you come up with, and you should come up with similar if not more interesting concepts as well.
The goal here is twofold: to get an idea of who your potential clients are and to get them together in one place. Not only will you understand the demographic you work with, but you will also have the opportunity to plug in your own Facebook page now and again subtly.
Remember the golden rule of social media marketing: do not push your products and services too aggressively. Just leave a link on the main information page and provide relevant content regularly. This should be enough to bring people to your page without getting turned off by excessive marketing.
Encourage sharing and re-posting
One powerful marketing feature of Facebook is the ability of users to share pages that they like. This is something that you should encourage people to do, especially since doing so will allow you to tap into the social networks of your followers.
Relevant and exciting content is one of the most valuable ways to do this. However, the species that will most likely be shared will depend on the personality of your followers. Bored young teens will prefer fun and exciting content, while older professionals may be keen on sharing valuable and work-related content.
This is why you need to narrow down and work with your demographic. The more you understand the people you are selling your products and services to, your Facebook marketing campaign will be more effective. After all, social media is about communicating and sharing interesting content.
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