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How do you ‘do’ web marketing?

Lawrence Higgins asks industry experts for key pointers on developing your web marketing and presence using Facebook, Twitter and good content.

Property Drum

social-media
There is no doubt that social media is the buzz concept for property marketing. The issue is that for many it is just that – a buzz, it doesn’t make much sense and by definition it is a social thing, not for the business world.

Well, with its mass infiltration of the public psyche and uptake across all age groups and social sectors, that is clearly not the case. But it is fair to say it is a bit of minefield, what is in… what is out, who is using what and how best to work with what is out there.

I asked some key industry experts who really know how to make sense from the buzz to explain how you can get a grip on social media and get the most from it to drive your business.

Why should you use social media

– after all isn’t it for fun and friends and not for business? Well, that’s the point, it is fun and informal and when used properly will lure customers who may otherwise have ignored you.

001-social-media-29-ch

Chris Haines, Evolvin
People buy from people. It is that simple. Potential clients can read about your business, get to know the staff, see the sort of property you offer, share and comment. You are also able to reach a much bigger audience compared to traditional marketing; within three steps of separation you are connected to nearly everyone in the UK on Facebook! Loyalty comes as part of a good engaging social media strategy.

001-social-media-29-mdMike Day, Integra   

The ability to reach people through engagement is key to your success because you can then benefit from these people distributing interesting material to their contacts. Social media is online networking – like attending a dinner party except there is no dinner! Most good relationships – business or pleasure – start by ‘chatting’.

001-social-media-29-erElliot Rowland, Webdadi
The nature of social media has changed. It was a method of connecting family and friends, now it is far more complex, with vast opportunities for business.

Many household brands now use Facebook to attract fans. In TV adverts, companies ask viewers to find their Facebook page, and post links to their social networking sites rather than their website. Companies are promoting their social networking pages above their website; a huge shift in behaviour.

Word of mouth advertising has always been a powerful tool; an opinion from a trusted source is worth infinitely more than an advertisement. The exponential growth nature of social media can mean a recommendation is soon communicated to thousands of people, any of whom could be a client.

A person visiting your website is a single, independent act, which, whilst useful, will not generate the same level of recommendation as social media sites can.

It’s about social media, it’s about mobile web, it’s about portal sites – it’s all of them together – not a pick and mix.” Ian Laverty Intelligent Mobile

002-social-media-31-ilIan Laverty, Intelligent Mobile
The more places where people can find relevant content that links to you and your services the better your website will perform. It’s about social media, it’s about mobile web, it’s about portal sites – it’s all of them together not a pick and mix. If you only use some of the services available to you – you will only get some of the traffic.

002-social-media-31-mgMark Goddard, GMG Property Services
America leads the way in real estate innovation and the industry has a close eye on the use of Social Media to see if it will revolutionise the home moving process. A home-grown excellent example is the Search and Match functionality implemented by Property Place within Facebook. This service allows you to find a home based on the locality of friends, family and places of work and interest. Data and status changes etc, posted on Facebook enable social matching for property and associated services which could open up a whole new targeting method for agents.

The days of the traditional high street business as an information and service provider may be over – retailers struggle to stay in business as footfall declines and the online world swallows the service industries. A service that assists busy home movers to find and buy or sell property efficiently will be successful if it has the tools to ensure communication, marketing reach and access to additional services – all delivered as a seamless package that comes highly recommended from previous clients, family and friends.

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TOO MANY CHOICES

With so many social media sites already on the market – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter et al – and new innovations coming all the time – where do you start; what will still be operating in a year’s time and what will your clients use?

002-social-media-31-swSimon Whale, Reapit

It’s not so much spotting the innovations – there are too many of them to action them all – the key thing is focusing on the ones that actually will deliver, that you can measure ROI with and don’t create too much extra work for your staff. The best agents we deal with understand that you can only have a number of plates spinning and aren’t afraid to say no to something if the times right. Far better to do one task well than to dabble with a number of initiatives.

001-social-media-29-chChris Haines, Evolvin
You can save some of your time by outsourcing your online marketing to an agency, or try using some of the tools like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite, which allow you to publish to more than one site at the same time.

001-social-media-29-mdMike Day, Integra
Study the demographics and develop a strategy based on what you want to achieve. 50 per cent plus of the UK population is on Facebook which is the largest B2C platform. Twitter and LinkedIn are more B2B orientated.

001-social-media-29-erElliot Rowland, Webdadi
It is important to remember the context of each social media network, recognising how people interact and use them, and tailor your activity accordingly – posting property alerts on your LinkedIn account would be rather futile.

To appeal to the Mumsnet audience, post useful information about good local schools and amenities. Facebook and Twitter are by far the most popular of the social networking sites and should be the main focus. Twitter is more of a soup of information and opinions, which each user filters by deciding who to ‘follow’. Having a large number of followers here is a sign that you are reaching a lot of people beyond your own customer base.

002-social-media-31-ilIan Laverty, Intelligent Mobile
This is the hottest debate in social media. Google+ would be my recommendation for improving internet search performance in 2012 – Google uses Google+ in its search results more than it does the other social networks. Facebook and Twitter are a must if you can – the sheer number of users means they’re too big to ignore. Start with those three if you’re new but make sure it’s relevant content.

social-mediaMY KIND OF PEOPLE!

So I’ll be able to drive traffic to my website using social media, great, but how do I know I’ll be getting the right type of people – primarily potential customers?

001-social-media-29-chChris Haines, Evolvin
If devised and implemented in the correct way you will be engaging, monitoring and building relationships with your targeted niche communities, therefore potential and real clients. Certainly our experience is that you will generate more traffic to your website, and build a separate online community on the social sites, all of whom are interested in engaging with you.

001-social-media-29-mdMike Day, Integra
Through engagement with social media you will help identify prospects from suspects and deal accordingly. Better to have that opportunity than to be ignored.

A strategic social media marketing campaign will increase website traffic and create an online community with a real interest in your agency.” Chris Haines, Evolvin

001-social-media-29-erElliot Rowland, Webdadi
To follow you is active decision by the user so your social media contacts will be far more likely to engage with your business. There is no way of avoiding the occasional time waster but social media will give you genuine business results.

002-social-media-31-ilIan Laverty, Intelligent Mobile
Potential clients will be part of the traffic but by controlling the content and reviewing, you can dismiss the timewasters. Isn’t it expensive? But what is the reality of establishing a social media presence, will it work and what will it cost?

001-social-media-29-chChris Haines, Evolvin
A fully managed online marketing package can start as low as £500 per month and would typically include setting out a strategy, building an online community, copywriting and publishing to your social sites, monitoring activity and engaging with the responses.

With such a package you will receive monthly reports which show you how your social sites are working and benefiting your brand and website traffic. It is also possible to measure income growth against marketing activity over time.

001-social-media-29-mdMike Day, Integra
The cost can vary from perhaps £100 a month upwards dependent upon the amount of time and effort expended. Good use of e-marketing can help customer retention and relationship management and build measurable outcomes.

001-social-media-29-erElliot Rowland, Webdadi
Apps (that don’t cost the earth) such as PropertyPage, allow visitors into your Facebook page to search and share your properties. This is an easy way for visitors to interact and engage with your page, and expose your instructions to thousands of people online.

002-social-media-31-ilIan Laverty, Intelligent Mobile
You can do it yourself and for small businesses that’s what we recommend. Twitter or Facebook pages are simple to set up and to use. The best small business I’ve seen using Twitter and Facebook in the Property Sector is Fitz-Gibbon Residential. It’s simple, it’s not too time consuming, and it’s effective.

Well, thanks!

What would you say, in a nutshell, are the benefits of having a social media presence?

001-social-media-29-chChris Haines, Evolvin
A strategic social media marketing campaign will increase website traffic substantially, and create an online community with a real interest in your company; it allows you to have some influence over what is being said about you over what other and you can monitor and report on activity and response to justify your expenditure

001-social-media-29-mdMike Day, Integra  It can raise profile, reinforce brand and values and demonstrate expertise and knowledge and it has the viral ability to reach thousands in minutes. If you are not on social media customers will engage with the businesses that are.

001-social-media-29-erElliot Rowland, Webdadi
Social media extends the reach of word of mouth advertising, which is arguably your most effective tool in promoting your business and attracting clients and it’s free to use. With such a large audience of potential clients using social media, can you afford not to?

002-social-media-31-ilIan Laverty, Intelligent Mobile
It’s a cost effective solution for reaching a wider audience; the more places your properties are detailed the more chance there are that someone will see them.

For more information:
www.evolvin.com
www.integra-ps.com
www.webdadi.com
www.intelligentmobile.com
www.reapit.com
www.gmgpsg.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 15, 2013

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