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What Results Should I Expect From Social Media Marketing?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 /

What should you expect when you start a social media program?

Carol Ruiz, redrocketLA

Perhaps the better question is what should you NOT expect when you start a social media program? One thing that seems to be fairly common among builders is that they expect Twitter, FaceBook, YouTube, their blog and other social media programs to act as immediate sales tools, which show results in the short run.  That’s understandable since they are used to traditional marketing, which can drive traffic to a new home community very quickly and result in sales in the short term.

Social media is a whole different animal.  It’s a slow start and can take months to pay off in a meaningful way.  It takes patience and in some cases it also takes putting aside personal bias. It’s not uncommon for builders to be skeptical about social media and say that they would never participate personally and that they don’t believe there is any ROI for their business.

When starting a social media program you have to assign the right person to manage it. If you run your social media program in house and ask that sales staff and others participate, expect to experience some resistance. Many of your staff members may already have their own FaceBook and Twitter accounts and feel comfortable with the ins and outs of how to communicate via social media.  However, organizational change can be hard for some and those who are unfamiliar with social media may not be as open to learning and may have some fears, such as the loss of personal privacy and the concern that the company will be exposing itself to negative online comments . Many also may feel that they will not be able to come up with any ideas to post but with the right training, encouragement and management, that generally becomes a non-issue.

Before launching your social media program, it’s also important to determine what you want to accomplish.  Putting aside the idea of reaping sales right away, do you want to increase your brand awareness? Are you looking to reach out to the larger community and establish relationships with people and groups that will spread the word about your company and new home communities?

Once you have defined your goals, decided who will manage the program and provided the necessary training, it’s time to get started. If  you communicate correctly by starting conversations, engaging followers in a give and take dialogue and posting regularly to maintain the dialogue, you will begin to see pay off in terms of more online exposure and increased traffic to your website.

How do you judge the success of your social media program?

Carol Flammer, mRELEVANCE

Your building company has been participating in social media marketing for six months. How do you judge the effectiveness of your program? How do you know if it is successful?  Here are some key indicators you should see after six months.

Increased Traffic, Increased Leads

Your well-built blog should be a top five referral source to your Web site, sending traffic that spends four to seven minutes on site. If your social media program is properly netweaved, you have probably increased traffic to your Web site as much as 50 percent and increased leads. The goal of an effective social media marketing program is to build a bigger lead funnel. Ask site visitors to contact you and make it easy for them to want to!

Better Social Media Optimization
Through effective use of key words and anchor text, you will have utilized social media optimization (SMO) to expand the number of key words that the search engines consider relevant to your Web site. Best of all, you should have experienced a 50 percent or more increase in traffic to your Web site from both referring sites and the search engines.  Now, what if your Web site and blog are one in the same? Expect to see an increase in key words, referring sites and traffic on your main site, but don’t expect to see your blog as a referring site. . . it IS the site.

Increased Friends, Fans and Followers
Now that you’ve been working diligently to share information with Friends, Fans and Followers on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Trulia and ActiveRain, you should have grown your following incrementally. The type of information and news you share and whether it is seen as relevant will determine the quality of your fans and the interactions with them. This is the part of the process that you just can’t automate. Real estate agents are on these sites in droves. Find ways to connect with them and get your agents involved – not just your marketing department. I’d also like to note that a consultant can assist you by setting up these sites properly, educating you on best practices and even help you to launch social media marketing programs, but a consultant should not be you in these places. Only you can be you. Friends, Fans and Followers expect to interact with you and your company.

An Excellent Online Reputation
When you Google your name, you should like what you see. You should see your results on page one when you Google your name. After six months, I’d expect to see your Web site, blog, industry blogs you utilize, Facebook, Twitter, ActiveRain and LinkedIn pages on page one of your SERP results. Hopefully you have achieved great results and you no longer see any nonrelevant, or worse, unhappy results on page one.

Better Brand Recognition
Your Friends, Fans and Followers will now recognize you online by your favicon and gravitar. Your brand is seen on your Facebook page, your Twitter background, your blog and other sites. Friends, Fans and Followers look for it and look forward to interacting with you. As your biggest fans, they refer you to others and encourage their friends to follow you and buy from you.

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Daniel Levitan - 2010/02/12
Brilliance from 2 Carols!

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