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What are words worth?

Caroline Steer imageSocial media experts have been banging on about content for years. It is not a new idea by any means but many companies, especially in the property sector, have really failed to grasp the concept of producing engaging content or understand why investing in such a labour intensive activity is worthwhile.

The truth is that a content marketing strategy should not be a separate activity, or even a separate strategy. If you really want to compete on social media, content is king, and should be incorporated in all your marketing plans.

Social media is becoming a central place for people to get their news and stay ‘up’ on the latest trends, so if you are still simply telling everyone how great you are or trying to sell things, stop. This type of direct self-promotion is off-putting, and you will be drowned out by those who are applying more intelligent, discrete and subtle selling approaches.

Look at competitors’ social media channels, what are they posting; how many followers do they have, just how engaged are they?

Social Media imagePosting fewer, but more carefully thought-through updates that supply value to your audience will pay dividends and really place you above the noise. It is not that you should stop posting about yourself completely, just prioritising quality over quantity. It might seem like a lot of work but in our experience posting fewer, less ‘salesy’ pieces of content punctuates the sales messages and will create more interest and engagement when you do post about yourselves.

Here are my top five tips for creating brilliant content:

1 Look at your business objectives

The most important thing to think about before investing any time in any marketing activity: what are you trying to achieve? Look at what you are posting on social media. If it is not helping you to achieve what you want then it needs to change. Are you hoping to sell more houses? Drive traffic to your website? Become known as the experts in your local area? Be a community-centred business? Become a thought leader in your industry? Anything you post should focus on your end goal.

2 It’s not about you!

Who is your audience? All of your content should be about them. If you really want to draw people in then stop focusing on your business and focus on your customer instead. Find out who your audience is – which is fairly easy given the free analytics tools available across the main platforms – and then tailor your content to them, weaving in your key messages and business objectives. A great approach is to think about the problems your audience might have and then aim to solve them with your expertise. For instance, during a slow period you might post a blog piece on tips and tricks for presenting your house to buyers, or a guide to the top family-friendly restaurants in the area. You are presenting yourself as experts and providing value to your customers as the same. Win-win!

3 Who are your competitors?

Take a look at your competitors’ social media channels and what they are posting. It is worth looking at how active their channel is, how many followers they have, how engaged they are and what kind of posts they publish. You can use this as a benchmark or even to get ideas! Just make sure your content is original and relevant to your own business and customers.

4 Mix it up

Once you have a good idea of the kind of content you should be creating, in line with your audience and business objectives, then have a think about what type of content you could produce. If your resources are limited it is unlikely you will be able to regularly post lengthy films but you could write a monthly blog or post weekly pictures of your staff. It also doesn’t always have to be your own content. Sharing things from across the web that fit your brand and objectives are also a good option. Just credit the source and maybe they will return the favour one day!

5 Create a plan

If you have limited resources then creating a plan for your social media content is a great idea. That way you can be sure that everything is on message all in advance and allocate internal resources for the original content. Simply decide how many times per week you want to post and then plot in the pieces that are relevant for the time of year/season (e.g. January: Tips for a quick house hunt in the New Year). Make sure you leave some space for topical pieces as you might want to comment on news, such as mortgage interest rate changes or first-time buyer schemes as well as news about homes on the market.

Caroline Steer is Digital Marketing Manager at property marketing communications agency, Oracle Group.

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