Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Key Components of a Successful Social Media Strategy

Les Adkins, CEO, Orange SMS

Observations by Michael Bull, CCIM, Founder, Bull Realty Inc., Atlanta, GA

In today’s online world, having an effective social media presence is more important than ever. To achieve a proper return on investment, successful business users utilize a well-planned social media strategy

Michael Bull
I had the opportunity to speak on some panels with social media strategist Les Adkins, CEO of Orange SMS. With everyone so impressed with his advice, we invited him to Studio One to share some best practices with the “Commercial Real Estate Show” audience. We discussed several key components of a good social business strategy, including how to pick the right platforms and how to attract the right audience for your specific business.

Creating a Strategic Plan

When building a social media strategy, the first two questions you should ask are “Who is your audience?” and “What do you want them to do?” Adkins said.

 Based on your answers, you’ll be able to choose which platforms are best for you to focus on and what kind of content you’ll want to create.

 Keep in mind that innovation and technology change rapidly, so you must have a fluid strategy that you are constantly reviewing, Adkins said.

For example, our audience for the “Commercial Real Estate Show” is nationwide and somewhat worldwide, so we post information interesting to a very wide commercial real estate-oriented audience.  

However if you’re an office tenant rep in New York, you should post information interesting to business owners in New York, and not always real estate oriented. Include HR, sales and other items interesting to business leaders in your area.

“It’s important to include a combination of some personal information along with business information on social media,” Adkins added. “People want to do business with people. Social media allows people to feel connected to your employees, even if they have never met. They are more likely to promote your organization if they can see that you are an entity of individuals.”

There are several tools that can help create efficiencies with your social media endeavors, like HootSuite, but you have to be careful how you use them, Adkins said. 

For example, some platforms allow you to pre-schedule posts, which is good within a small timeframe. 

If it’s too far out, your audience could change or there could be some kind of event that might make your information irrelevant, he added.

Choosing Platforms

What platform you use depends on your audience, Adkins said. The top three social media platforms are Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, but others such as Instagram might be a good fit depending on the interests of your audience and where they are active.

It’s important to know which platforms your best customers are most active in, Adkins said. “If your audience is on Twitter and your business isn’t, they may not do business with you because to them you don’t exist.”

Mistakes to Avoid

When launching your social media platforms, it’s important to know what not to do. If you are just starting out and you try to sell something, it won’t work and you’ll immediately lose your audience, Adkins said. “If you do something wrong on social media, people are much less forgiving and the mistake can take longer to overcome.”

A lot of big companies still try to use social media platforms for push marketing, but it’s more about attraction marketing because you are trying to build loyalty and trust, Adkins said. 

If your social media audience trusts your organization, they’ll be more likely to purchase and promote your product or service. You should post, re-tweet and share information helpful to your target customer to attract them.

We recently started another attraction marketing system utilizing twitter and YouTube. Called “Ask Michael Bull,” I answer a commercial real estate-related question on video each business day. You’re invited to check it out on twitter at @AskMichaelBull or at the play list “Answers” on the show’s YouTube channel.

To hear more tips and best practices, you’re invited to listen to the on-demand show podcast on iTunes or at the show website.

Michael Bull, CCIM, is the host of the nationally syndicated Commercial Real Estate Show and founder of Bull Realty, Inc., a U.S. commercial real estate sales and advisory firm headquartered in Atlanta. Michael on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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