Facebook. Twitter. Google+. LinkedIn. Pinterest. YouTube. Tumblr. Foursquare. Eight different social networks, all with one thing in common: at least ten million registered users. (Okay, so Foursquare has the fewest. But geosocial apps are especially relevant to real estate agents, so I’m leaving it in.)
Some of these networks have their own special niche. LinkedIn, for instance, is for professionals who want to network with other professionals. This focus means that activity on LinkedIn is not as consumer-driven and not as dependent on new, up-to-the-minute content as other social networks, which makes it easier to deal with from a digital marketing perspective.
Other networks, however, are far more labor intensive—that is, you need to work harder at them in order to get the exposure and ROI you’re looking for. This begs the question: How do we not only manage all of our profiles, but also improve our visibility by providing a steady stream of rich, engaging, and unique content on each site that takes advantage of its particular strengths and features?
The truth is, only big corporations with huge social media budgets have the manpower and resources to use every one of these sites to its full potential. Try to do the same as a real estate agent (or, for that matter, a small business owner), and you’ll end up with an overextended digital marketing campaign populated by mediocre content that generates few leads. Even worse, the rest of your business will suffer due to the time you spend on that campaign.
It’s true you should have an active profile on most of these sites, one that’s updated on a consistent basis. That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to devote the same amount of time to each network. Instead, find out where your customers are and focus your efforts on those outlets.
Your first step, of course, should be to look at your social media activity. Which your profiles has the most subscribers? Which do you spend the most time on? Etc. But this is only a small part of the story. After all, it’s not just about how many followers or friends you have: it’s about how many of them are interested in what you’re selling, and how many of the people in their networks feel the same. Just because you have a thousand followers on Twitter doesn’t mean that’s where the biggest population of potential homebuyers and sellers will find you.
So how do you isolate your customers? You can start by pinpointing where your links and content are being shared the most. One of the best ways to do this is by using Google Analytics and its suite of tools. With Google Analytics’ URL builder, for instance, you can compartmentalize the same link with multiple tags. You can use these tags to track advertisements or blog posts, promotional events or viral campaigns. But most importantly for this discussion, you can assign tags that correspond to the different sites you’re posting it on. Take this blog post, for instance:
By adding the bolded tag to the URL above, I’m telling Google Analytics that this link belongs to our social media campaign (utm_campaign=smm); that it’s being accessed from a page on a social network (utm_medium=social), as opposed to an email or banner ad; and that this social network is Twitter (utm_source=twitter). By swapping out the underlined term when posting the same link to, say, Facebook and Pinterest, I can see how many hits are coming from those sites as well. Then, I can compare the results side by side to determine where most of my potential customers are hanging out, and use that to inform how much energy I devote to each service.
It’s crucial that you give these metrics enough time to express themselves. Even the most effective analytics and campaign tracking applications need several months’ worth of data to yield meaningful results. Nevertheless, once you have enough information, you’ll be able to squeeze loads more mileage out of your social media efforts than ever before, without putting a strain on your business.
As the Brand Manager at Placester, it's my goal to cut through all the jargon and provide real estate professionals with insights and strategies for using our solutions to grow their businesses online.