Tip of the Week: Social Media 2017

Real Estate Virtual Assistant | Tiffany Haynes | VBS Real Estate | Transaction Coordinator | Listing Coordinator | Marketing | Texas | Dallas | Houston

One business essential that real estate professionals—and everyone else—take for granted, is increasingly more challenging to count on: social media.

When was the last time, you dug in and took a close look at your social media return-on-investment? With so much in flux, now may be a good time to be sure that what you believe is happening is and that social media opportunities are not being overlooked.

Year-in-review and forecasting reports and surveys (many of them free) provide useful context for evaluating your social media strategies and results as you project into next year. 

Five Social Media Mistakes to Avoid in 2017

Mistake #1. Free-Wheeling: No Plan or Strategy…How Hard Can Social Media Be?

Opportunity: Did you leap into social media and just let things happen? If so, now may be the ideal time to take stock of what social media has accomplished for you and what more you can gain. The number of followers is not as important as the strength of ties to your selected target market and connections with individual target followers. Do you really know how effective your content and selected platforms are without regularly use analytics like Google Analytics? Believing you know what is going on is not the same as testing and evaluating what's actually happening. Align sales goals, brand strategies, target market development, and other business essentials with social media potential to set fresh on-point strategies for 2017.

Mistake #2. Putting All Your Social Media "Eggs" in One Platform

Opportunity: With more than 76% of internet-active US adults engaged on one or more social media platforms, according to Pew Research, there's little doubt that social media is a must for communicating with prospects and clients. With this realization comes the reality that choosing which platforms to master is as complex as profiling your ideal target client and maintaining that ever-changing profile. Since target characteristics and interests change over time, so will target preferences in social media or for the latest "new thing." That means stick to one platform or two and you may be left behind as target clients move on. For instance, Pinterest has risen high on the list for many buyers and sellers, but it is still a no-go for others. Research revealed 96% of visitors use Pinterest to research a purchase and 87% say the site helped with the buying decision. Keeping up with targets' "what's hot and what's not" is vital.

Mistake #3. Hesitating to Jump In Until "The Bugs" Are Out

Opportunity: New technology used to be avoided by all but a few early adopters until "the bugs"—flaws and shortcomings—were worked out. With social media, getting in early means eventually earning expert status, establishing territory, gaining perks, and initially receiving media attention. What's up in 2017? According to Buffer's Report, "video is on the rise and about to hit the peak. If you ever wanted to get into video marketing, now is the time to do so!" Altimeter's Report states, "…there are signs that app fatigue may become a history lesson as more technology leaders look to Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing as the future of our engagement with brands and each other. Facebook's investment in chatbots and its virtual assistant "M"—developed to compete with Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa—demonstrate widespread commitment to shift from point mobile apps to voice as an operating system."

Mistake #4. Expecting Status Quo and Letting Your Guard Down

Opportunity: Social media and the internet itself are all about continual change. Concentrate your practice or brokerage around one platform and the lack of flexibility may catch you out if the platform makes a shift, is bought out, or gets shelved. For instance, LinkedIN and Facebook deliberately and continually make changes that leave users scrambling. Change appears on all quarters. Altimeter's Report states; "New advancements in paid social and account-based marketing (ABM) have created a unique way for marketers to understand their audiences better than ever before to serve up relevant messages at just the right time. Customization and personalization are becoming the norm, and it's inevitable that platforms are evolving to allow its users more flexibility in how they want to tailor their content feeds."

Mistake #5. Focusing on Profile Technology Instead of on How Buyers/Sellers Will Find and Use the Profile

Opportunity:Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is vital since there's little value to a well-designed website, blog, or social media profile if the right users don't find it easily. The challenge lies in deciding what gets the best search results when Google and other search engines keep changing their criteria and procedures. For instance, Google+ offers recognized SEO benefits, including immediate indexing and keyword ranking, that make it a powerful search engine marketing tool. With more than 2 billion profiles and 1.2 million daily new joins, Google+ is a dynamic force, but Google has moved on and reportedly may only be in maintenance mode for Google+. On the other hand, Buffer.com recently added Google+ to its list of serviced platforms. This may boost the SEO-favored platform. Social media is also ideal for service functions like product customization, customer service, and e-commerce. When these functions are reinforced by relevant, high-quality content and blended with social media strengths, everyone benefits—buyers, sellers, and the real estate professionals who serve them.