Take a moment to consider where the online marketing world is at today for real estate. Much of the older generation continue struggling with social media marketing while the millennial generation insists businesses first build a relationship before trying to make a sale (or real estate purchase). The older generation came of age in the non-digital world. Change happened but at a much slower pace. Obviously, the internet came along many years ago, but it took some baby boomers years to comprehend the significant changes the information age had brought. Some caught on fast, others took years before they began managing bank accounts and bill payments online, some still can’t use a computer, and some still consider smartphones only for emergencies. But are savvy online marketers missing something that has not changed? Word-of-mouth marketing is alive and well…
Not long ago, marketers thought that putting up a Facebook page was all that was needed. Then came Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and a slew of other social media platforms. The rate of change has become mind-boggling to those used to measuring change over decades but now face dealing with constant change.
Millennials grew up and came of age in a world where the internet and cell phones had always existed. They have no idea what a Rolodex is. For them, every business transaction comes from either an electronic contact list or is easily researched online. One thing that social media has revealed is how much the opinions/comments of others affect the decisions of friends, family, acquaintances, and even strangers. We've long known how powerful word-of-mouth marketing is, but it has taken on a new life with instant messaging, Facebook “Likes,” Yelp, and all the multiple ways people now have to quickly and constantly communicate with each other.
It’s good to stay current with changes but there are also times when it is useful to reflect on core social behavior that does not change. Word-of-mouth advertising is a core social behavior that has not changed. There are many important aspects to social marketing. Value-added content is critical but effectively placing this information in front of the right eyes is just as important.
Recent statistics show that 79% of adults have a social media account of one type or another. This is a 2% increase over last year and can be expected to continue increasing until 99% are connected. But using a business shotgun approach that targets all people, in the same way, is not very effective. You need to break your audience into groups by how much influence each has.
Eighty-two percent of Americans say they seek out advice from family and friends when making a significant purchase or transaction. Studies show a personal recommendation is 50X more likely to trigger a purchase by others than traditional advertising.
The formula of social marketing has expanded to multiple platforms but, again, the basic strategy remains mostly unchanged. You first want to learn which platforms are the most popular with your followers and/or potential followers. When you go with multiple social platforms, be sure your message clearly communicates the same brand message across all platforms.
Your next task is connecting with your target audience. Not only do they want to hear from you, but they often also want to hear from other people active in the community. You accomplish this by encouraging comments, posting testimonials, and even asking readers to make guest posts on your outgoing message platform.
Social marketing continues evolving at a very fast pace and goes much deeper than this short article. However, you won't go wrong when you begin by understanding who your influencers are and providing them with content that encourages them to share it with their community.
This is just the next step in word-to-mouth marketing. More to come as digital media continues evolving...
Please comment with your social marketing insights.