house-7

How Realtors Sell Houses Will Change With Social Media

In the last six years, social media has changed how we conduct business, acquire customers, and advertise on both a local and national scale. The ability to reach anyone, even those who reside outside the country, has given small businesses the chance to compete on a global scale. But for business segments that thrive off domestic and local markets, you have to go to new depths to sell anything, whether products, cars, and even property. The real estate market has slowly begun to implement social media marketing elements, but realtors could take their marketing strategies to a whole new level with the power of live streaming and video.

When we think of buying real estate, open houses are probably one of the first things that come to mind in the buying process. Perfect for the new home buyer to get an idea of what they’re looking for, open houses gives people who are in the market for a home the opportunity to get a look inside and try picturing their futures living there. With social media, a new element can be added that is both convenient for the potential buyers and beneficial to the realtor; Facebook live or promoted video post.

Live streaming is on the rise, and one market that could certainly use it is real estate. By going live, a realtor could have a virtual open house the day before and walk through the rooms to showcase the house’s greatest features. This adds a layer on convenience for those who can’t make it, and for the realtor, live streaming or any form of video helps build their own personal brand. By posting any form of video with you presenting the property you’re selling, your brand takes center stage, and if you present yourself as a professional and friendly, it’s very likely you’ll start seeing more referrals as sales increase.

Paired with Facebook advertising, your videos whether live or previously recorded, can be shared to people’s timelines who are looking to buy a home. While websites like Zillow and Redfin have made finding new property easier, there’s no argument that going the extra mile by having a virtual open house or tour could be the deciding factor for interested prospects. Realtors are no longer at the mercy of interested buyers, and can now go directly to them to draw them into new properties in the desired areas they want to reside in.

Facebook isn’t the only platform where video can be beneficial, but is still a crucial part of a successful marketing strategy to selling homes. YouTube allows realtors to go much more in-depth than going live by producing eye catching video. These edited videos with music and clear shots of the exterior, interior, and backyard could be the realtor’s version of HGTV, whether the property is being presented by the realtor or a tastefully done video that grabs the attentions of viewers where they can dream of living in that house. Much like walk around shots of an exotic car, the same rules apply to real estate as they’re both sought after, and if presented right, could move someone to buy. Since video is multi-platform friendly, Facebook then becomes more important as your YouTube video can be shared to your timeline, or can be uploaded directly from your computer to your Facebook page.

Real estate is in need of going through a transformation. HGTV has become popular due to consumers’ desire to buy homes. By having that mentality with the real estate you’re selling, you can be the HGTV on a local scale, where you’re not only presenting beautiful homes, but also enticing local house buyers to show up to open houses and take a look for themselves. Social media is adding a new dimension to how we consume everything, and real estate should be no exception.

140324_2765332_arnold_schwarzenegger_on_qvc___get_to_the_ch

Facebook Live – Signaling The End Of QVC

When you think of QVC, Shark Tank’s Lori Grenier is probably the first person you’ll associate the channel with. Dubbed “The Queen of QVC”, Lori made a living from selling her products by using the platform to promote her products on television. Her success catapulted the channel’s household name recognition, and for the past 5 years or so they’ve been the king of infomercials, and arguably so as many businesses have reaped the benefits of using QVC as a marketing channel. However, all good things must come to an end, and sometimes even kings and queens get dethroned. Ladies and gentlemen, the new kid in the block, Facebook Live, is ready to change how you shop and how businesses advertise to you.

Live streaming is slowly becoming a part of hour daily lives. Whether it’s Periscope, YouTube, or Facebook, you’ve either watched a live event, tuned into your favorite vlogger’s live Q and A, or perhaps even you have picked up your phone and went live. Needless to say our phone, laptop, and tablets are just an arm’s reach away, and tech savvy businesses are well aware that your attention is no longer focused on the television, but on social media.

On my Facebook news feed, a childhood friend had commented on a live stream from a small business that was selling women’s clothing targeted towards women in their 20’s. Of course being a guy, I wasn’t interested in what these women were selling, but the marketer in me couldn’t help but notice the effectiveness of having a live infomercial where viewers’ questions were being answered immediately. The ability to interact live through the use of Facebook will eventually bring many businesses in television marketing, like QVC, to their knees. How can you draw businesses to use your platform if there’s a cheaper, more effective and direct solution to a problem that up until now, has been a brick wall that has stopped many small businesses from getting to the next level?

To get a spot on QVC, you’re looking at paying $10,000 if not more. On Facebook it’s free to live stream, and your only costs will be ad campaigns and boosted posts. What live streaming has essentially done is break down the barriers that have held small businesses back and now give them the chance at national, and possibly global expansion to new markets through the use of social media channels. The power is no longer in the hands of a selective few, and now women in their 20’s can pave their own way to success by utilizing Facebook live.

QVC may not be the only potential casualty as social media and live streaming become more common and mainstream. Many old technologies could become obsolete, and much like MTV’s emergence killed the radio star, social media could very well be the death of television as we know it, and along with its funeral, many businesses related to TV could very well go under if they don’t transition over to platforms such as Facebook.

Despite the many businesses that could be affected by live streaming replacing a large portion of television shows, infomercials, and sporting events, new companies will arise, ushering in a new era. We could be living through a technological revolution, bigger than many have anticipated, that along with it brings a wave of small businesses popping up across the country that will no longer be regionally based, but could conduct business throughout the county and internationally. We’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg, and with each passing day, it just continues to get better and better.

While QVC’s days might be numbered, we are now entering the Golden Age for small businesses who effectively use social media to the fullest. Instead of throwing thousands of dollars away on television advertising that will continue to be less influential in the buying process for consumers as the years pass, social media will be the platform that yields a high reward because of it’s unlimited potential and ability to reach virtually everyone.

January 1st is right around the corner, and the perfect time for a new start and new direction for your business’ advertising strategies. Incorporating Facebook Live into your weekly activity on social media, could be the deciding factor between having a great year, or being left behind by those who were willing to innovate.

social-media

Social Media Success Doesn’t Equate To Using All Platforms

For small business owners, finding the right tone and voice is more important than shouting from the rooftops hoping you’ll reach someone with your message. Small businesses setting up accounts on all social media platforms have been up for debate for quite a while, and depending on who you ask, the answer may vary. Most social media marketers push their clients into using all platforms, when it reality, they’d be better off focusing on one or two social media accounts. Let’s go a little more in-depth on whether being on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms are a necessity, or unnecessary depending on the market your business is in.

Social media and the marketing strategies that come with it, have been well-known for quite some time now. We know that each platform differs, and the users may have different ways of communicating with each other or businesses. With that in mind, before jumping right in, you need a solid strategy that not only has the right tone for the target market you’re trying to reach, but also that your content is appropriate for that platform. Too many small businesses use multiple platforms as if they’re intertwined, but the content that is being shared on Facebook, may not get noticed on Twitter and vice-versa.

Facebook should always be at the cornerstone of your social media marketing. The platform has essentially become an extension of your website as your posts can be perceived as mini blog posts or updates that were once specifically shared on web addresses or by email. Facebook’s ad campaign tools and boosting posts you’ve shared, will help attract new customers and followers. While it’s unfortunate that to achieve engagement from potential customers for followers requires an investment of cash, it’s better to spend money on a platform that works, than putting money into Twitter or Instagram that don’t yield a high ROI despite what social media marketers want you to believe.

Instagram goes hand-in-hand with Facebook as the photo content oriented platform is a subsidiary of Facebook. Pictures you share can be directly posted to Facebook, making content multi-platform friendly. Twitter on the other hand makes it difficult, as the photo that gets shared is formatted as a link. This is just one of the meany disadvantages of Twitter, which I’ll get into later.

Many small businesses thrive on Instagram because hashtags make reaching people simple. Without even spending a dollar, your following numbers can increase just by content alone, and since Instagram doesn’t limit businesses in terms of engagement, you can follow, comment, and like your potential customers’ photos which ads another level to your marketing; being personal. Instagram, more than other platforms, truly is business-friendly. Time more so than money should be invested, as paying for followers gets you fake accounts or people who don’t live in the United States. All this achieves is the perception of having a large consumer base, but in realty it’s deception that doesn’t persuade customers to buy from your online store at the end of the day.

Twitter is one of those platforms where it either works for your business or doesn’t. Small businesses that offer services have the best success because they’re more likely to use content that involves articles or written content. Twitter is a social media marketer’s paradise as many corporate businesses and entrepreneurs who aren’t in retail use the platform daily. The marketers also can write concise tweets that share their knowledge, and with so many social media gurus rising on the platform, their posts can go viral. With all that said, Twitter’s real value became apparent during this past election season as we finally saw what market thrives off small blurbs of information along with a link to articles.

Media, whether mainstream or alternative enjoyed Twitter’s journalist-friendly forum. News could go viral very quickly, and with the platform being wide open with very limited private accounts, articles, tweets, and pictures would reach thousands, if not millions in a matter of minutes. The last few months proved that businesses would see better results if Twitter became their news platform, while Facebook and Instagram attracted customers through the use of eye popping content.

Each platform offers different tools, advantages, disadvantages, and audiences. Your business’ success hinges upon the tone you use, along with the segment you’re in, and the content that is created based on who your target market is. If articles and written content make up a large percentage of your marketing efforts, Twitter has to be the first platform you use. If you’re into retail, look no further than Facebook and Instagram. Both social media platforms give small businesses the ability to reach thousands of potential customers of all ages, and through the use of picture and text content, you’ll attract to clients and customers, with or without spending money, depending on whether you’re heavily engaged with Facebook as opposed to Instagram where time and content prevail.

Remember, just because one or two platforms make up 100% of your social media marketing, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experiment with new social media apps that will be released in 2017. Find the right voice and tone, and if your target market is on these platforms, go hard with content and marketing. Experimentation may lead to success, but if not, it’s always important to keep trying. The market is changing everyday, and it’s up to you to stay one step ahead of your customers.

social-icons

Not Putting Effort Into Social Media Marketing Is How Your Voice Gets Silenced

When we talk about social media, our first thought that comes to mind is the platforms we use daily to communicate with friends and family. We also think of how we use Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to talk about ourselves, our accomplishments, taking pictures of the places we go, and sometimes the people we meet. It’s this initial reaction we get when we hear the words “social media” that distorts many social media managers who are using corporate and small business social media accounts incorrectly. As a result the company’s, and even the person who is branding himself, gets drowned out by the noise around them.

Social media is a public forum with millions of voices and conversations, with some dominating the entire platform if world or market trends are affecting a wide swath of people. It’s within this forum that you must become a contributor to a conversation, or gain a voice that influences many in your market or the topic that is most being talked about. In business related terms, there are plenty of competitors fighting to have their voices heard, and they’ll commit money to ad campaigns, spend hours on platforms engaging with potential customers, or put forth a lot of effort to post compelling content that grabs people’s attentions.

Right now, few are crushing the competition while others are having difficulty in finding an identity on social media, and for a large group, even quitting social media altogether because the manager behind these accounts, is ill-prepared to take on the challenge of growing a following. In some cases, small business owners who run their own social media accounts, fare much better than those who have an employee who clearly isn’t used to using social media professionally. This is because a solo entrepreneur has the passion and hunger for knowledge, not only of their business, but of their local market. But for bigger businesses that were either established before the social media era, or have multiple employees, a breakdown in marketing occurs, which results in abandoned or poorly managed Facebook pages and Twitter and Instagram accounts.

The lack of effort that is put forth by these social media managers, whether that be caused from that role not being the primary role of the employee within the company, or lack of knowledge on how social media marketing works, is detrimental to the company and a complete waste of money for the business.

Effective social media marketing goes beyond spending money on ad campaigns or simply posting content every week. You must dive in and engage with your target market and become part of the conversation. This can be achieved multiple ways. Instagram allows companies to like and comment on any person’s photos. If that person is in your market, like and follow them, and if you want to go the extra mile, comment on their photo with a personal message without hard selling your products or services to them. Twitter, much like Instagram is another open forum, but you can retweet their posts and photos, along with following and liking their content. Your ability to strike up a conversation with your target market is effortless, but you have to be willing to search for these conversations and people who would benefit from your products or services.

Facebook is by far the more difficult of major social media platforms to engage in a conversation. You must invest in ads, whether that be campaigns or boosting posts you’ve shared. The content must be compelling, and any lack of effort will make your ads ineffective. Once you start acquiring followers on Facebook, you must keep them coming back for more. If you’re not willing to put in effort to continue posting great content, they’ll leave.

While we live in a time where people have short attention spans, social media does bring a unique opportunity to attract customers or followers to come back for more. Almost like feeding pigeons in a park, when you run out of bread, they’ll fly to a new location where someone else is feeding them exactly what they want. Never run out of bread, or you’ll be all alone with absolutely no attention. Your social media marketing effort not only reflects upon you, but your company, and if your effort disappears, so will your sales.

Social media is so important, and if you, or your employee managing your pages is having the company’s voice drowned out by competitors, it will be time for a change in strategy and possibly personal. Put forth the effort, and you’ll reap what you sow.

1d9cbca

Communicating With Your Customers In 2017 – Think Different

Last week, I wrote an article, “With Social Media‚Äôs Existence, Are Email Subscriptions Even Necessary?” which received a lot of attention and got people thinking. While many business owners and people of the era of email marketing and subscriptions are afraid to deviate from old school methods of advertising, they’re actually detrimental to their business’ growth. We now live in the social media age, and this era has transformed, reshaped, and completely revolutionized how we as humans communicate with others on a daily basis. This different form of communication doesn’t just effect how we talk wth friends and family, but how we as entrepreneurs and members of a marketing department engage with customers.

We’re a few months away from 2017, which means an entire generation born around 1999 and 2000 are now at the age of 17-18. These kids grew up with iPhones in their hands and by the age of 13 Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vine, and Snapchat were all apps downloaded onto their devices. Their form of communication is exclusively though social media, and that translates to older generations as well. The largest growing demographic of users on Facebook is not teenagers or millennials, they’re actually 50 year olds, and it’s not just Facebook they’ve taken by storm. Baby Boomers and members of Generation X, the same people who were or still are on your email subscription lists, now spend more time on social media. Let that sink in for a minute; your customers are no longer reading newspapers, watching infomercials or looking at online catalogs.

What does this mean? Everyone’s form of communication, whether it be amongst themselves or with businesses has changed drastically, and the marketing departments that still emphasize gathering an email subscription list are being left behind like that friend we knew who was last to create a Facebook profile. We as business owners are being left behind heading into 2017 and the only way to catch up is following our target markets, no matter where they reside or what platform they spend the most time on.

The creation of social media has forced businesses to become friendly and personal with their potential customers. To sell a product or service in 2017, you have to be social, which now limits the effectiveness of email newsletters or marketing material as your target markets are no longer communicating through Gmail or Outlook. The companies that are succeeding in today’s market are those who are on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and new platforms where people are hanging out. If email was still widely effective, companies like L.L Bean wouldn’t be putting forth a lot of effort on social media platforms. The only reason why they still send emails is because they have the resources and have the brand awareness that keeps them relevant, even on outdated forms of communication.

Starting in 2017, or better yet, this holiday season, make an assertive effort to spend more time on social media platforms, post more content, and engage with followers and customers. Use Facebook ads to help reach the maximum amount of people in your market, which is essential for having strong sales figures and healthy growth of new followers who are now subscribed to your business via Facebook where your posts are now on their timelines.

We can no longer live in the past in terms of marketing and expect great results. 2017 is the year of looking forward as the change in communication has forced many to join social media. A few decades ago, older generations shaped and formed how consumers behaved, but today, the younger generations have taken the reigns and their influence is more powerful than most give them credit for. The content they consume, who they follow, and what they buy translated to older generations, which led a swath of consumers to new platforms, and the corporations followed suit.

Now it’s time for small businesses to do the same as 99% of their target markets spend hours of their day on social media. To grow your business in 2017, you’ll have to become social, literally. Many still operate as if consumers are only worth their time if they buy a product, but in today’s economy, it’s in fact that customer that initiates communication and the sale, and it’s the business’ job to direct them to their purchase through the use of engagement and great content. It’s this change in pattern as to why email marketing lost its effectiveness, and why we all must use communication channels as we do in our personal lives.

scheduled-vs-automated-content-online

Automation In Social Media – It’s Not Effective

For the past two or three years, automation has been used in all forms for the sole purpose of selling a product or service on social media. Whether it be automated posts, tweets, or direct messages, companies both big and small, and individuals who are trying to influence a market, will stop at nothing to get you to buy their product(s) or view their content in some capacity. It’s these very actions that pose a threat to small business owners who are trying to do the right thing and build up a following and consumer base the right way, and will ultimately face having their voice drowned out because consumers won’t want to hear another sales pitch.

After doing some reading from employees who work at companies that specialize in the automation of content, it’s all beginning to make sense as to why many on Twitter have resorted to impersonal messages instead of going deep and connecting with people as humans. Large companies were first to implement automation because they had the resources and money to target large amounts of people who were in the market for their products or services. Corporations could get away with automated messages because their brands were household names, but ironically, with each passing year it appears they’re starting to respond to consumers on a personal level and ditching copy and paste responses.

Today, there are many small businesses and smalltime influencers who are getting in on the automation action. As a result they’re suffering because their brand isn’t well known, and people are getting quite tired of impersonal messages, as social media has matured to a point where users want to be treated as humans. Automated messages sometime result from simply following someone who is either offering valuable information through blog posts, producing podcasts, or have a small online store. As a business owner myself, there is no place for automation as click through rates from links posted on my business’ accounts are rather high even without asking followers to visit my website.

With social media aging, there is a growing trust between the consumer and business owner. People are much more apt than in years previous to click on links, especially if the account they’re following is engaging with their followers or are constantly posting fresh content that doesn’t imply hard selling. This is why automation tools are rather unnecessary, especially considering the fact that many people don’t follow accounts just for the fun of it. Your business, blog, or podcast already attracted them, so there’s no need to then send potential buyers, listeners, or readers a message stating that they should click on the link you sent them so you can sell them something they were already interested in.

Hard selling along with automation of content will be social media’s downfall. When small businesses and people you never heard of or knew existed are sending you automated messages, that’s when social media marketing loses its effectiveness. Content is what drives sales, grows followings, and attracts readers. Large corporations are moving on from what really is outdated marketing tools. Until you start treating people as humans, you will not benefit from having social media accounts for you, or your business. Automation, much like Twitter and Instagram advertisement campaigns, are the biggest waste of money for small businesses, as the limited funds they put towards these tools won’t yield a high return on investment. You cannot win a game if your strategy is destined to fail.

The point of automation and ad campaigns on Twitter and Instagram is to save time. While those tools are convenient for the small business owner, hiring a dedicated social media manager who will put in the time and effort on Twitter and Instagram, and will properly use Facebook ads to generate traffic and potential customers will be much more worth your hard earned money. Remember, you’re not a conglomerate and shouldn’t think like one. To win at social media, you can’t do what social media gurus who pitch marketing ideas to large companies in New York or Los Angeles are telling you. They think Wall Street while you really should be concerned with Main Street.

Until you find what works for your market and clientele, automation and the spending of money on marketing tools that the big leagues use, will not generate results. Go deep and put forth the work and effort to build real business relationships with consumers in your area or market. Social media is at a point where personalization and customer equity completely outweighs the quick sale. Consumers want to be treated as individuals and humans, and that’s why as small business owners automation is not the right form of marketing for you or your business.

widget

With Social Media’s Existence, Are Email Subscriptions Even Necessary?

2017 is the start of a new beginning for many, including business owners, bloggers, influencers, and people who have a desire to further their physical development. In the technological and business realm, the ways in which we acquire customers changes with the new year as new and innovative ideas moves markets into a different direction for the better. Almost 20 years into the new millennium there are still businesses and old school entrepreneurs who try acquiring customers the old fashioned way, and email subscriptions could very well be the next causality of the social media age that many who live in the past still use today.

First, let’s understand why email subscriptions were so effective in the 90’s and early 2000’s. When the Internet was relatively young, email was the Facebook of it’s time. You could contact friends and family and companies that had your email from past purchases could promote coupons and sale events that you’d be interested in. Since email was the most widely used way of communication on the Internet, email click rates were very high for small businesses and large corporations because that’s where their customers were.

For the early day bloggers and influencers who were constantly writing articles, an email subscription list was very beneficial. Not only could subscribers get the latest updates sent straight to their email accounts, but the administrator of the website that was sharing content could also promote webinars or selling some form of software that his or her subscribers would have interest in viewing or purchasing.

Fast forward to a decade and a half later and social media is now the most used form of communication, whether it be for personal or business use. Social media’s emergence was the death of email marketing and subscriptions for many reasons, with the most obvious one being that customers’ attentions were no longer on email and the click rates reflected that. Myspace and Facebook made communication with friends and family more convenient, Twitter changed how we get news, consume content, interact with businesses, sports teams, and other people who share our interests, and Instagram gave people the ability to communicate their lives through pictures.

The end of email’s dominance was inevitable, and now email subscriptions face the same fate. If you look at marketers who made a living off email subscription lists and compare them back then to where they are now, most if not all who stressed the importance of email marketing are irrelevant at best. They failed to transition to social media, and as a result they were left behind.

As a small business owner and someone who created accounts and websites for hobbies I really enjoy, email subscriptions wasn’t even an option. When my content, whether it be on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook reaches my current and future customers, there’s no point in emphasizing email marketing. Click through rates are high, and 99% of traffic on all the websites I manage, including my business, come through social media, there’s no reason to explore abandoned avenues that consumers left behind many years ago.

Having followers is the modern day replacement for an email subscription list, especially with the use of direct and private messaging. Many customers of mine contacted my business through direct message before purchasing, and it’s that depth of connecting on a personal level that makes social media much more effective than email.

We’re living through a technological and marketing revolution. There’s no telling exactly where we’ll be in terms of business and reaching customers 3-5 years down the road, but one thing is for sure, with each passing day another old and decaying form of marketing is dying. It’s up to all of us to keep up with the times and our customers, or we’ll all be left behind wondering what could have been had we paid attention to where our customers were spending the most time.

Marketing Matters

Paste your AdWords Remarketing code here
%d bloggers like this: