Guest post from Rush Somauroo of Propertyflock
Trying to reach a large broad audience to tell them why you matter is not only expensive, it is ineffective. If you want to be profitable you must connect with members of your target market on a meaningful level, and today this means interacting with customers on social networking sites. But remember this: not all connections are made equal.
Speaking to everyone online is an impossible task, and with the technology available today it is not necessary – today you are able to pinpoint the people online who will be most beneficial to your business. By targeting the right people who are most likely to use and talk about your services, you minimise time and maximise results.
Modern day consumers are blind to traditional advertising. They are self-sufficient and will research a company on their own. They will brush aside a brand's promotional messages and seek referrals from people they trust.
Influencer marketing is all about identifying and targeting individuals with “influence” over your target market, with the aim of swaying their follower’s purchase decisions. Don’t be mistaken, influencers are not celebrities – they can be everyday consumers who have an engaged audience online, shape conversations around topics that matter to you, and can impact how you are perceived. Because they have a loyal audience who trust their opinion, influencers are able to drive traffic to your website, increase your exposure online, and flat out promote your services.
Every business (especially estate agency) thrives through personal relationships. This is why influencer marketing could be your very best bet - here is how to make it work for your business:
1. Connect with High-Level Networkers.
From a business perspective, there are two types of people who really matter to you online: High-Level Networkers (HLN) and Target Market Connections (TMC). High-level networkers are people who lead online discussions, have a large engaged audience (typically 500 connections or more) and convey a particular expertise. In contrast, Target Market Connections (TMC) seek and respond to information provided.
On social networking sites you can search for profiles that meet the HLN criteria and look for clues that the owners are decision makers, executives, members of the media or notable people in your industry. For estate agencies, you may want to consider well-known bloggers posting advice to home movers, property journalists, or even look closer to home to find community figures who manage groups on local matters. Have a think about the types of topics, blogs and tweeters that your target market would follow and identify specific hashtags that influencers are using (#property etc.).
Once you have identified these people, build a relationship before asking them to help. Comment on their content, ask questions, and find out how you could lend a hand – send a useful resource, offer assistance in some way, or introduce them to someone or something they are interested in. Would you endorse a stranger’s business? No, and neither would they – so help them trust you. Once you have a relationship it becomes a lot easier to discuss how they can support you. This may be through sharing your material, mentioning you in a positive way, referring their readers to your content, or providing a full-on endorsement. If they do say good things about you, always thank them.
2. Interact with Your Company's TMCs.
TMCs are people you aim your services at: home movers. They seek information and interact online by posting questions and consuming content. You can locate these people in groups or discussion boards on topics relevant to you, or by searching for keywords on social networking sites.
Once you find these people, be as helpful as possible – answer their questions, make recommendations, point them towards something that may interest them. Avoid directly selling your services at this stage – you will be ignored.
As well as joining discussions your TMCs are a part of, try investigating your competitors’ marketing methods and see where they advertise their links and posts. This could give you some inspiration and highlight new areas where your target market are looking.
3. Participate In Online Conversations.
Point 1 and 2 lead onto this: to benefit from social media you must participate in groups and discussions around your industry. This means not just monitoring conversations, but engaging in them, and this can include message boards, comment sections on social networking sites, and blogs.
Find conversations you can legitimately be a part of (rather than poking your head in unwanted), and always aim to help not sell. You are an expert in your friend, particularly on a local level, so use this to your advantage and become the go-to property professional. By doing this you will establish a knowledgeable and positive image for yourself, which will bring people to you over your competitors.
By using influencer marketing tactics on social media, you can drastically increase the chance of browsers becoming customers, and by getting influencers on your side before your competitors do can have a drastic effect on the success of your agency. So avoid wasting time online, and start marketing to the audience you want most.
I run a digital intelligence company called Propertyflock, and we build automated tools to help estate agents win instructions through social media. To start seeing real business results from using social media, visit our website or call us on 0131 510 2117.