You probably have a Facebook account. You may also watch videos on YouTube and upload pictures to Instagram. Maybe you tweet a few times per week. Chances are you’re adept at social media on an individual level—where you post about events happening in your life on personal accounts.
But what about your business—could it benefit from social media? The short answer is ABSOLUTELY. You probably don’t have a few interns ready to monitor everything, so you’re going to have to choose the best options. Here’s a quick guide to the top social media platforms and what they can do for your business.
- Facebook—Being visible on Facebook is the obvious (and usually the best) first choice. No matter what your business is, you’re likely to connect with potential clients—and that’s simply because of how large it is. The social network reported 1.11 billion active users in early 2013, and it’s been growing steadily each year.
You also have a few more options on Facebook for what type of profile you want to show the world. You can create a smaller community of “friends,” or open a Fan Page, and allow users to “like” and follow your page for updates. Both options allow for dialogue between you and potential clients, you just have to choose what works best with your current marketing plan.
- Twitter—If you’re interested in catching people on the go, and can post succinct messages on a regular basis, Twitter may be a good choice to market your business. Because of its 140 character limit, each post needs to be about the length of one sentence (including any links). Twitter also updates in real time, which means if someone logs in a few minutes after you post, they will likely miss it. You’ll have to post more often to catch the attention of all of your followers on a regular basis.
This platform is ideal for short updates, interacting with large and established communities (via hashtags) and connecting with your audience on their mobile devices. This site makes it incredibly easy to share posts, creating a larger pool for leads, especially if you direct followers back to your website for tips and articles. Twitter can also work well in tandem with Facebook, where similar posts are marketed to different audiences.
- YouTube—YouTube videos are ideal for real estate, and give your clients the ability to tour homes when it’s convenient for them. You can also highlight neighborhoods, local festivals and other interesting things happening nearby. Videos can be almost any length, uploaded easily to the site and viewed virtually anywhere in the world.
Often, you’re able to showcase more of a home’s features through video, rather than relying on pictures alone. Potential homebuyers can watch the video as many times as they want, and share it with family and friends, instead of asking for multiple in-person tours.
- LinkedIn—If you’re interested in connecting with current and potential future employees, LinkedIn is for you. This site bills itself as a professional social network, where you can connect with people based on their jobs. Because of this, jokes that work on Facebook or Twitter may not go over well on LinkedIn. Be careful about what you post, because it does reflect on your professional credibility.
For the Real Estate industry, this is a great way to stay in touch with past clients, and stay available for referral opportunities. You can also connect with business partners through LinkedIn, keeping all of your professional contacts in the same place.
After deciding which social media platforms to have accounts on, what’s next? You need to set up your accounts so that people are able to find and connect with you.
After your pages are set up there’s one final step: track engagement and make sure these sites are working well within your overall business strategy. This is where analytics comes in. There are many sites that allow you to track the number of users clicking on your content, visiting your site and commenting on your articles. By tracking this information, you’ll be able to see what types of posts your audience responds best to, and continue to grow your business.
Visit HSA’s Social Media Resource Center for access to training videos and webinars that will walk you through how to set up an effective presence on the top social networks. HSA also provides FREE training and workshops to help you set up your social media pages. Contact your local HSA sales representative to find out how you can schedule a training workshop for your office.