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The next big trend in social media marketing is something you already do

(MARKETING) All signs point to the next big trend in social media marketing being something you’re naturally adept at doing, but are you doing it well?

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We’ve had our finger firmly on the pulse of social media marketing since before it was even called social media.

We were excited to read “Why personalization is the next big trend in social media marketing” recently, detailing how the next must-have strategy for businesses is to focus on tailoring their messaging to their clients. The author provides a lot of great advice for how to go about doing this, but the sentiment behind this “emerging” trend may sound familiar – customers are more likely to engage with a brand that they feel values and remembers them (my words, not theirs).

This idea, of placing the user’s experience and needs, is a foundation not only of solid marketing but a cornerstone of excellent customer service in any industry, across the ages.

During high school, I worked at my small town’s public library. This was at the beginning of the 2000s, at the transition point between the old-school card catalogue and digital circulation systems. In this “analog” world, whenever someone came to the desk to check out their stack of books, we still ruffled through a cabinet to find their library card and could see a list of titles that they had taken home before.

We didn’t use the terms “user data” or even “database” back then, though that’s essentially what our record system was. Each patron’s file was almost a haiku of their interests in Dewey decimal. You could look over the card and discern whether someone was a fan of detective novels or gardening guides, but that intel wasn’t seen as marketing, we were just doing our job.

Over the year or two that I spent stacking shelves and checking out books to the families and friends that came through the doors, I got to know the various tastes of each patron. Knowing these interests allowed me and the other library workers to provide personalized recommendations. It was pretty reasonable to assume that if someone was into the Harry Potter series, they’d probably enjoy an author whose stories also involved teenagers, special powers, and faraway schools like Tamora Pierce’s Circle of Magic books.

As a bookish girl (and let’s face it, I’m still a bookish woman), providing these individual suggestions was not only a professional service, but also an excellent retention technique. Generally, if you were able to get someone who liked reading to continue to reading (and feel excited about telling the person behind the circulation desk what they liked or didn’t like about the story), you could count on them coming back in a few weeks, thrilled to see what other adventures they could find among the stack. It was an effective, and touching, sales technique.

Our COO Lani Rosales had a similar experience as a teen, working at her family’s independent bookstore. Instead of having a patron’s book record to peruse, she independently kept track of customers’ preferences, birthdays, and other information they told her, using post-its. She tells me that she would even send handwritten thank you cards to customers, and these personal touches led to lasting relationships with customers who felt special, recognized, and known by the business.

The tools that we now use to keep track of this consumer data have grown more sophisticated, just as surely as the digital circulation system has replaced the card catalogue, but the basic concept remains true: people appreciate when others take the time to get to know them.

In an increasingly complicated and technical world, it’s surprisingly easy to forget that paying attention to your customer allows you the opportunity to be agile and provide the best products and services for them. But before the CRMs and apps that you may be employing to collect this data, before you even drafted your business plan and thought about how to design your logo, I would hazard a guess that you were already paying attention.

You’re smart, so you were able to see that there was a need or desire that wasn’t being addressed properly and then you had the drive to go out and fill that market. Keep listening, keep learning. Your customers will continue to love you if you do.

The American Genius' real estate section is honest, up to the minute real estate industry news crafted for industry practitioners - we cut through the pay-to-play news fluff to bring you what's happening behind closed doors, what's meaningful to your practice, and what to expect in the future. Consider us your competitive advantage.

Real Estate Marketing

The psychological reasons that people share online

(MARKETING) Knowing people’s motivations for sharing online is a key component to getting your own content shared.

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I recently saw some family members that I only see once in a great while. Since we don’t know much about each other aside from what we see share online, that quickly became the topic of conversation (“oh, your kid’s are so cute!” “I’m so jealous you went to that concert! How was it?”).

A few of my cousins commented that I seem to leave a “cool life” based on what I post on social media. I explained that I didn’t post about the bulk of my life, which is spent working or sitting on the couch.

It’s no secret that we post the “cool” things in our life on social media to nourish this public perception we’ve all been able to create because of the Worldwide Web. And, as much as we hate to admit it, a lot of us love the instant gratification of likes and comments that come with a post.

Aside from that, there may be some legitimate psychological reasons behind why people post on social media.

First, 94 percent of people say that they share online to better the lives of others. This can be found in posts that are geared to make people laugh, to inform people of events going on in their area, or to teach something new.

Second, as I mentioned before, 68 percent of people post content that they want to reflect their online identity.

If you have an Instagram feed designed to be a “lifestyle influencer,” you may be found posting fashion pictures, pictures of meals, or travel photos.

Third, 80 percent of people want to grow and nourish relationships. This can include posting on a friend’s timeline for their birthday, or sharing an event and inviting people to come.

Fourth, 81 percent stated that they enjoy that aforementioned instant gratification. These individuals like the feeling of having others comment and engage with their posts.

Finally, 84 percent want to spread the word about something that they believe in. This can include sharing online theirreligious posts or posts regarding charity.

There are a variety of reasons to post on social media, some that we’ll admit and some that we won’t. I have a feeling that in the future, there may be a college-level course titled: “The Psychology of Posting on Social Media.”

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Real Estate Marketing

Dark data may be the key to your locked potential

(MARKETING NEWS) The key to a solid marketing campaign could be dark data if anyone can figure out how to actually use it.

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One trend that marketers and entrepreneurs alike are trying to utilize is the mining of dark data from social media. It may sound like something a supervillain in a made-for-TV movie may use to “hack the mainframe,” but it may be the crux of your next marketing strategy.

Research firm Gartner defines dark data as “information assets organizations collect, process and store during regular business activities, but generally fail to use for other purposes.”

This data is frequently unstructured, making it difficult to utilize effectively. Structured data is easy to analyze, it populates spreadsheets after a customer enters their information on your website and other clear roads of analysis.

Unstructured data, in contrast, is information that may be collected but its not utilized effectively. Almost 90 percent of unstructured dark data falls through the cracks and is never put to use. One big source of unstructured data is social media posts.

Customers will share insights into your business and brand through their posts about their purchasing habits. This is frequently done through not just through the selfie, but the captions associated with the photo as well.

A picture can tell a lot of information to people (what times of items you sell, their quality, and their overall experience) but the caption can help you understand more what their attitude towards those events are.

A picture may show an attractively plated meal, but the caption may talk about how there was a long wait for the food as well as poor customer service. These captions, and subsequent comments, can offer a keen insight into what people like and dislike about your brand called sentiment analysis.

Sentiment analysis can be utilized to understand attitudes toward your brand, and there’s multiple ways you can go about this. One method of analysis is through the building of word clouds which examine the most used words in a few days of dark data. Pro-marketers can easily pull dark data from those who like or follow a business’ social pages into software which can do the legwork for you.

Small business owners have some options that are less sophisticated but can still do sentiment analysis of dark data effectively.

The IProspect blog suggests to use “a blend of monitoring tools,” many of them free, to complete a sentiment analysis.

A better understanding of dark data means you aren’t limited to just basic social media analysis tools. With these concepts, you too can illuminate your dark data and shine some light on future prospects.

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Real Estate Marketing

How and why your Instagram profile is suddenly different

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Instagram is making changes. Again. It’s time to check in on the proposed updates to make sure you’re making the most of this marketing tool.

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If you’ve logged into your Instagram account over the past week or so, you might have noticed your profile page has been tweaked a bit. On November 21, the social media company announced that it would be “testing ways you can better express yourself and more easily connect with the people you care about on your profile.”

But don’t panic just yet, these most recent changes are relatively minor and are expected to have nowhere near the effect that the company’s algorithmic feed changes have had on influencers and entrepreneurs across the globe.

These new changes seem to be de-emphasizing details such as follower counts and emphasizing stats such as mutual followers in order to create a more “authentic” experience.

The company also promises that these tweaks will not effect anyone’s current photo grids, and this seems to be the case so far. Other changes include a tab devoted solely to IGTV videos for avid users of the stand-alone longform video app, which could be a game-changer for the fledgling platform that launched earlier this year.

The “Grid,” “Posts,” and “Tagged” icons are being replaced with words in order to make profiles “easier and cleaner to use.”

So what will these changes mean for entrepreneurs, business owners, and Realtors?

If you rely on Instagram to generate leads — and you should be doing that — there are some positive updates coming your way.

If you have a business account, look for a “Shop” tab, as well as “Directions,” “Call,” and “Start Order” buttons to be added as options in the coming weeks (if you don’t have them already). If you have a brick-and-mortar location, taking advantage of these new options could be an easy way to increase both traffic and sales.

These updates are in addition to Instagram’s recent announcement that it would start removing “inauthentic” likes and follows from accounts that use third-party services, as they go against the platform’s Community Guidelines and Terms of Use.

Many business leaders and marketing influencers have applauded these actions and see them as a move toward building and gaining trust with consumers and followers on a social network that has seen its share of fake users and followers grow exponentially over the past few years.

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