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Love-hate relationship with social media? Here's how I make it work.

Although people have mixed feelings about social media, there's no denying that it's a valuable tool for marketing your business.

I think many people have a love-hate relationship with social media, for personal and professional reasons.


One of the most beautiful things about the real estate industry is that there is no one-size-fits-all. There are a seemingly infinite number of business models out there, and agents can choose what suits them best (or create a new one) and then you use the relevant tools to achieve the goals outlined in your specific business plan.


What does it mean to be authentic?

When it comes to social media in particular, it feels as if the word authenticity has been thrown around for eons, so often that if we had a nickel for each time it was uttered (especially from a stage or a video in our feed) we would probably all be billionaires, but I digress.


Hate is a very strong word — if you strongly dislike social media, it’s worth pondering if you can pinpoint what you strongly dislike about it.


Is it that you feel that it is too superficial? Do you feel that it lacks depth? Do you feel everybody’s trying to sell you something?


All of these things could be true to some extent. But on the flip side, it can be a vehicle for the opposite; it can be a very effective tool to communicate and deliver value. In any business, being intentional about your approach and use of social media as a part of the broader strategy behind your business and marketing plan is the key to seeing the impact.


Social media has changed since the beginning

Looking back, I was simultaneously a relatively early adopter of social media and digital marketing in my real estate business but also avoided aspects of it for a long period as well. As Sophia from the Golden Girls would say, “Picture it: New York City, sometime post-global financial crisis.”


I was an early user of LinkedIn. To me, it was something that made sense as a professional online network where I could connect with colleagues, reconnect with people I’d gone to school with, and expand networks through affinities from both perspectives. It seemed to be straightforward and practical.


I had been an early adopter of some similarly oriented platforms in my career before real estate, and frankly, I always understood the power of relationships in business as a general concept. Eventually, I heard about this thing called Facebook, which at the time was for college students only.


Twitter

At some point, my significant other at the time mentioned this thing called Twitter to me, and on a whim, I created my user name. I used it initially to listen and eventually to engage in conversations around topics I was most interested in and passionate about.


I eventually participated in things like Twitter chats that were aligned with my interests (which believe it or not, span beyond real estate) and began to form connections with people in the real estate industry beyond where I resided.


This is something that had previously only occurred when I was traveling or doing other painstaking research to find potential advisers for my clients when they had needs in other parts of the world.


Instagram and the secret to making social work

I was instantly attracted to Instagram, as I once fancied myself really into photography. For the most part, my strategy there has remained centered around sharing my view of my beloved hometown, New York City, my travels throughout the world, and the things I enjoy and am passionate about outside of real estate.


I have generally been interested in platforms, as a person first and a professional second. I like to spend time observing how those I am connected to utilize platforms. I am most interested in engaging and being present on platforms where my SOI is spending their time. This allows me to generate more opportunities for business by remaining top-of-mind in a different format beyond newsletters and other direct one-on-one communications.


Studying best practices outside of real estate to find inspiration has also been helpful as I constantly hone my strategic approach.


Finally, I look at the total and consider where it makes the most sense to invest my resources; for most people, neither time nor money is infinite. Over the years, I have found that this approach keeps me delighted versus dreading using social media.


By Nikki Beauchamp


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