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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   November 2013

Take Yourself Out of the Conversation

Engage social media contacts by providing content that is centered on them

Marketing isn’t a one-way street. Just like you don’t want to hear people only talking about themselves, you can’t expect to get others’ attention if all you do is brag about yourself and your services. To see results from your marketing efforts, especially in social media, you should make a conscious effort to engage with others more courteously.

Many real estate professionals —including mortgage brokers and originators — overlook this form of conversing with other people in their advertising and marketing efforts in social media. Their posts, status updates and shared information often are presented in a “me-first” way.

Are you the best broker in your area? Are you doing the most sales volume or winning awards? This is good news, but unfortunately, it won’t get other people to care. If your goal of using social media is to generate leads, you should provide “them-first” content, which also can be called inbound marketing.

When you post content that engages and interests your contacts, you’re more likely to be perceived as an expert in your field. With inbound marketing, you can entice people with valuable information that’s actually relevant to them, including research reports, market statistics, bylined articles or news. In short, if you provide your friends and followers with new and valuable information, you will be setting yourself up as a source of quality input rather than a self-promoter.

For example, try turning a status update about how many deals you’ve closed lately into tips on what types of loans are currently most popular. In doing so, you’ll turn things around from being “me-first” to “them-first” by offering information that’s both beneficial to the lives of others and still related to your expertise.

Focus on issues and questions that are on people’s minds. For example, what’s the housing market like right now? Is it a good time to buy or sell? If you become a consistent online source for this information, customers are going to call you when they need help with their next purchase or refinance.

One of the key words here is consistency. Incorporating social media into your marketing plan isn’t a “set it and forget it” system. Experts recommend dedicating at least an hour a day, every day, to social media. Along with updating your status and posting original material, you want to engage with your network by liking, commenting and sharing their posts and updates. Showing interest in your contacts will encourage them to do the same for you. This is social (media) etiquette in an online world.

If this sounds overwhelming to you, take a breath and know that you can do it. It might be hard to find a spare hour in your day, but you can use tools (such as services or apps) and your team to help you stay current. Your social media marketing should not be considered any less important than the effort that you put into your networking elsewhere. In addition, focusing on your social media is a more effective form of advertising today because you can reach all of your contacts at once instead of only those nearby.

By dedicating time to your social media marketing, you’ll discover quickly that people also are engaging with you, asking questions and viewing you as their trusted mortgage expert. And that’s good business. 


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