I had an interesting chat recently with someone about social media. The question was basically, “There are so many different social media channels – do I need to be on all of them (as a business)?”
First let me say this: Social media is a personal choice. There shouldn’t be a requirement, and there really aren’t written rules about them. However, I’m going get up on my marketing soap box a bit here and tell you what I’ve found in the world of marketing.
If you don’t “do social media,” then don’t.
If it’s not in your make-up to share tidbits about yourself with others, or hear from other people on their days (or see pictures of their kids, cats, dogs or vacations), then by all means avoid Facebook. However, if your job relies on personal connections and relationships, social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest can prove to be nice tools in your arsenal.
You don’t have to be on social media. You also don’t have to have an email address or a telephone. However, if you’re not ready to communicate with people in the manner in which they’re ready to communicate, then you’ll miss out on some of the benefits. Instead of simply avoiding the tool, maybe experiment a little with it, or learn from someone using it already…and see if you can put it to use as well.
Don’t spread yourself too thin.
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Vine, Instagram, Path, Tumblr, Pinterest … you have no shortage of sites to choose from in the social media sphere. So where do you go? All of them? Here’s my advice: find the one that matches your strategy and concentrate on that one first. If you decide to branch out, fine. But don’t spread yourself so thin that you don’t use any of them well.
Each social channel has a different use, audience and purpose. If you’d like to connect with housing market professionals like real estate agents, LinkedIn is a great place to spend some serious time. Be sure to join local groups and weigh in on the conversation. Don’t just sell, sell, sell.
If you’re into sharing personal stories with people and eventually getting around to occasionally mentioning how much you love your job, join Facebook and share what you want to share. You can then mix into the conversation once in awhile something like, “Headed to work on a Monday morning and I don’t hate it. I love helping people buy the right home with the right financing. Life is good!” This keeps it in people’s minds that you A) do mortgages and B) love what you do & your company.
If you have shiny object syndrome and you love to follow multiple conversations all at once, join Twitter. You can follow writers, sports stars, actors, real estate people and average people and spout off about whatever you want to in 140 characters. It’s a fun conversation, but it’s not for everyone.
Pick one and get good at it. Then if you want, branch out and try others. But don’t join all of them and leave your account unattended. The downside to being “on all social media” but not really being there is this: Imagine opening an office for your business, paying money on the lease and making a really great sign … then never showing up. If you’re not taking part in the conversation on that particular social channel, then you’re a ghost. When you’re a ghost, no one can find you. And those who do find you are scared to do business with a ghost.
So the short answer is find one social media channel to get good at and practice your art in. Then branch out some. Remember, each social media platform is generally indexed by Google. So if you want people to find you by name when an agent refers them to you, your name will come in Google associated with the social media channel you’re most active on.
(creative commons photo credit)