Cracking Social Media, Part 2: A Real Estate Professional’s Guide to Planning Content

Blog Post by Sarah Malcolm, Chief Digital Strategist at The News Funnel

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Wouldn’t it be great if amazing content just fell from the sky? In the real world, crafting incredible original content requires more than luck. Social media is by nature responsive to the ever-changing trends of its audience, partially intuitive to trends, and down-and-dirty work crafting original campaigns. Even content curation doesn’t drop in a social media manager’s lap; it requires ongoing searching through news feeds. Let’s grease those elbows and determine what content to share on your social accounts and how you can best share your brand message.

1) What is your value proposition?

The social world is noisy and consequently, not all messages engage the audience. Thousands of real estate agents and brokers are competing for social attention. How do you stand out in a crowded social environment? First, do what comes naturally. Some individuals or companies become influencers thanks to a strong brand personality. Wit, charm, or humor floats their content above the cacophony. Other influencers possess such a strong, recognizable brand that they were recognized as industry leaders long before joining a social platform. Target what characteristics make your brand unique when crafting your real estate content strategy.

2) Know your target audience

Avoid crafting a dozen different messages to pitch across a dozen different platforms. By focusing your social content on your market niche, you tailor content to your ideal customer and increase the chances of building a quality audience. Say you are a local multifamily specialist. Post about up-and-coming neighborhoods, trends in multifamily design, desired amenities, or tech innovations. Luxury specialists can highlight upscale restaurants, events that would appeal to your clientele, or the area’s most famous properties and residents. Brainstorm the topics relevant to your target consumer and research what social platforms appeal to their demographics.

3) Know your content options

“Content” is a broad term describing an array of formats. As readers know from the previous blog in this series, each social network presents content differently. Facebook has an “everything goes” approach while Snapchat targets video marketing. The social media network(s) you’ve chosen help narrow the social media content type. For example, if you plan to make Instagram a primary social platform, you will be publishing high-quality photos and videos. In reality, your content choices are endless. Create a video series, start a podcast, design infographics, write blogs, make slideshows, broadcast Live-- for any content you might create, there’s a platform to support it.

The next distinction is between original and curated content. When you share a post created by somebody else and the link directs to their platform, that is curated content. An original piece contains content unique to you. Yes, the content may reflect appropriately cited research conducted by others, but the main thought points within that content came from your experience. A good social strategy sources both content forms.

4) Plan to be visual

Real estate agents and brokers know pictures are worth more than words. Check out HubSpot’s visual marketing statistics: infographics receive three times more engagement and images boost Facebook post engagement 2.3 times. Even blogs need images. Social media posts can use still photography, designed graphics, GIF videos, or recorded videos. Whatever visuals you plan to use, make sure they match brokerage branding and reflect the post content. Get to know how to take better photos on your phone, where you can source free stock photography, or subscribe to a stock image website. For custom social media graphic design, explore free websites like Canva, InkScape, Pixlr, Easel.ly or Infogr.am.

To summarize, plan your social media content. Know the kind of information you want to share with your audience, what content type to use with the social network, and identify respectable sources for curating content. Find source images, including in-house listing photos for promotion, and come up with an image plan reflecting brokerage branding. If you're not happy with the chosen platforms and content, your social media efforts will tumble to the wayside. Be honest with the amount of time you’d like to commit and what strategies appeal most to how your brokerage works.

With social media networks chosen and social content narrowed, learn how to best manage the social media workflow.