How to insource social media engagement

by MPA25 Jul 2013

The biggest complaint I hear about social media management is time. Accounts are free to open, maintenance is not complicated, but it demands so much of our day, every day, without exception. In the real estate industry, that task is usually added to the marketing manager’s job description, just behind two dozen other activities that are required for success. So, how can a marketer, someone who spends more time with a keyboard than a nail gun, provide enough relevant and engaging content to keep the channels alive?

One way to generate ideas and content is ask your customer service representative (or person who answers phones) for input.  For example, they could to provide a list of the 10 most frequently asked questions that they receive along with their answers. All of these can be turned into a blog post, so the company instantly has 10 new posts to put out.  Each also has the potential to be developed into engaging social media discussions.

Ideas and innovation are the bread and butter of any organization wanting to turn a profit.  While it’s certainly true that real estate and home building professionals may seek to creative advice of outsiders, one of the easiest ways to generate ideas is to consult those within the company itself.  Insiders have a different perspective, which can reflect nicely in company work.  A recent blog post, called Best Time to Sell a Home in Pittsburgh, was a collaboration between several departments eager to contribute to the greater marketing cause. It actually started as a discussion during lunch one day.

Various content pieces may also be used in multiple social media spaces to increase company visibility and gain maximum audience reach.  Companies may provide photos and descriptions of each product (or, for the home industry, houses) on their websites.  This same information, for those attracted more to social media outlets, may be available on platforms like Pinterest and Twitter, where links can be inserted into blog posts.

Engaging with audiences via social media has several perks as well.  Consider those listed below when asking if social media engagement is the right move.

  • Cost.  Utilizing social media is an essentially free way to get the word out about a company.  This is especially true when a company’s own team members generate the creative ideas to be put into motion.  If something like a Facebook ad would be useful, this of course would incur a minor cost, but social media reaches so many people that this would likely prove negligible.
  • Meeting Expectations.  In today’s digitally-centered world, not only does an audience want the convenience of social posting, they expect it.  Utilizing a variety of social tools will ensure that a company is “with it” and will make customers happy.
  • Interesting and Humanizing. So much corporate communication has the potential to come off as being dry or stale to an outside audience.  Annual reports, press releases and more, while being useful information sources, tend to have a set tone which come off overly corporate and often contain industry jargon.  Social media is centered on talking with audiences.  Information is transformed into an inviting conversation where audiences and companies can post, comment, ask questions and speak casually.  Company blog articles could sometimes almost all be translated into a news or press release.  However, audiences get a better sense of the personality of writers and industry professionals in the blog format.
  • Mixed Content and Engagement. According to a study performed by comScore, social media content is more engaging.  When companies employ both company content, like housing model descriptions, along with user and audience-created content, like contest submissions, the information exchange becomes much more enjoyable. This allows outsiders to be a part of the action, too.

Insourcing content from team members, as well as making good use of social media outlets, are useful ways of expanding content reach.  Social media is a vast part of the digital world and tremendously useful when used in the right ways.  Consider the words of this article carefully and begin your corporate social media journey or make better use of it.  The response to social media can be overwhelming.

Adam Packard is a social media-focused marketing manager at Heartland Luxury Homes, a division of NVR Inc. He just launched Heartland’s Google Plus Local page and would love your input. What has been working or not working for you on Google Plus? Please use the comment form below.