Not so very long ago, when existing or prospective clients asked what kinds of social media services Alexander Marketing provided, I would offer a pro forma response about the benefits of the platforms I was most familiar with, comprising Facebook and Twitter. (After all, I’m one of the official tweeters for Community Board 7/Manhattan!)
But basically, I did my best to marginalize social media’s impact in our work as publicists, especially because our firm’s focus has always been getting clients’ stories published in print and online publications, as well as broadcast.
I would point out that the media coverage we garnered for clients would likely be posted on the individual publications’ websites, which were often picked up by other sites.
A lot of coverage today is blessed with an extended lifespan on blogs and other sites.
So when one prospective client asked me about LinkedIn a couple years ago, I told her it was up to her staff to take charge of their own accounts.
My firm only saw value in corporate Facebook and Twitter accounts. Talk about the Dark Ages!
But I had an epiphany! Social media is not just about teenage narcissism or an excuse for not picking up a phone to call your cousin in Chicago.
It reinforces online visibility and takes it beyond the optimization of our websites. In other words, social media is a way to speak to the world and get the world to come to you – and your website.
Critical platforms for most real estate firms and related industries include LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+. For developers, architects, designers, etc., Pinterest can be invaluable, too.
Smart media specialists are going beyond conventional media – as have conventional media.
We have found that posting our clients’ coverage on a daily basis is often appropriate and must be implemented on multiple platforms.
When there is not media coverage to link to, we find ways of “engaging” those audiences we’ve helped develop by posting relevant information and links to articles that are consistent with their corporate messaging.
And along with this brave new world of online coverage, we recently added a new member to our staff who is a dedicated Social Media Manager. There is so much synergy between our related disciplines —comparable to working with our marketing and graphics counterparts — it’s simply another way to reinforce a like message.
So for my own sake and for my many colleagues who are at the threshold of the uses of social media for the real estate industry, here are some basics on how to use important platforms:
What to Post on Facebook
In order to attract “friends,” it is important for a corporate Facebook page to be colorful, picturesque, opinionated and most of all informative. Posts of projects, events, business anniversaries and/or milestones, links to articles of interest, industry news and even photographs of company picnics are relevant.
But Saturday’s family picnic, which may have been delightful and delicious, is not relevant to your corporate message. It’s important to stay focused on the intent, which is to apprise your audience of what your company is doing.
What to Post on LinkedIn
Keep it PRO all the way. This is a vital platform for letting your colleagues, clients, future clients and general contacts know what you are working on and who you’re working with.
Go ahead and tout your amazing achievements and link those recently published articles and white papers, as well as updates on your company’s activities.
What to Post on Twitter
In our very verbose world today, it’s hard to imagine writing something worthwhile under 140 characters but that’s what makes tweets sing. So make them snappy, like New York Post and Daily News headlines.
Of course, you will want to link your tweets to other relevant accounts and include some hashtags or an image. And you should always condense or shrink the URL links through bitly.com to get more bang for the effort. The more information in the least amount of space, buoyed by a catchy “hook,” gets the most response.
What to Post on Google+ (or Google Plus)
Think of Google+ as Facebook but with actual contact information, including phone numbers and business addresses, as well as company updates.
Once you’re on, a significant benefit is an enhanced SEO (search engine optimization), which will translate into more opportunities to convey your company’s message! Posts of projects, events, business milestones, links to articles of interest, industry news and even photographs of company events are relevant.
Of course, with Google+ you will also need a dedicated gmail account in addition to your business email address! A hassle, maybe, but another value-added to Google+ is that you can post to YouTube, which also belongs to Google.
So that’s a basic rundown. And for all of us who have entered the age of social media kicking and screaming (me!), but now understand the amazing value of the various platforms, the real question is where are we going to find the eighth day of the week to post all this information, while working on our “day” jobs?