Put Social to Work For You
This post is by guest contributor Leslie Hobbs from Reputation.com.
Social is hot, hot, hot.
But where to start – Twitter or LinkedIn, Facebook or Foursquare? Does it even make a difference?
Rest assured, research shows you should pay attention because clients are. Here’s what we know:
- 67 percent of Internet users are on social networks.
- 90 percent of consumers would recommend a brand to others after interacting with them on social media.
- Realtors who earned more than 100K a year were generally much more active on social media than middle income realtors.
- 72 percent of consumers trust online recommendations as much as word of mouth.
So what are the best ways to tune in and engage?
Get in the know.
Take a quick audit of your online presence. Search your names and the name of your agency. Property managers, do the same for your complex or properties. Use all the major search engines – Google, Yahoo and Bing – and don’t forget to search for images, too. Pay attention, especially to the first four links that come up. Research shows that 70 percent of people click on the first four links in the search results, so you want what’s there about you to be factual and accurate. It’s a small window of opportunity to make a great impression.
Google Alerts, that is. This is a great – and free – tool that updates you when new information about a topic is indexed on the search engine. In this case, you want information about you, so set up multiple alerts using your name (“Joe Smith”), your name plus your company (“Joe Smith + Awesome Rentals”), and your name plus profession (“joe smith rental professional”). You can even set up alerts for your primary competitors for some pain-free competitive intelligence.
Review sites are important to clients who want to share their experiences and to you, because you want to hear and understand their feedback. Even more importantly, you need to respond: always politely, professionally and quickly. You’re doing this not just for the clients you already have, but for people who may be actively looking for a place to live and researching their options. Say thank you to those who review you positively. For a reviewer, it’s always gratifying to find out that someone really reads and appreciates your feedback. If someone had a problem or expresses disappointment, weigh in: empathize and offer to connect with them offline to resolve the issue, then follow through.
Ask for online feedback.
So often, people proactively write reviews because they’ve had experiences that are on either end of the spectrum. Either you’ve made them so incredibly, ecstatically happy that they want to tell the world about it or you’ve angered them past all reason… and they want to tell the world about it. Guess what’s missing? The opinions of everyone else: the ones that had a good experience but just didn’t think to leave a review. Explain how important online feedback is to you and ask your clients to share their experiences. Remember, you can’t incentivize or pay for reviews. Over time, you’ll see your review profile start to reflect offline reality, which is precisely what you want.
Establish a web presence that wows.
If you don’t have one already, get a website that’s simple, current, and nicely designed. It should showcase pertinent information – a bio, hours, specialties, testimonials, etc. Do a little legwork and figure out what social sites attract your customer demographic, and sign up for those accounts. Pro tip: Staying relevant means regularly updating these with quality content, like packages for new renters or updated listings, even links to fun or informative industry articles.
Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.