When outlining a content marketing strategy to new clients, the terms “blogging” and “social media” often raise immediate objections. I'll hear about how they tried it a while ago, and it didn't work. And they do have a valid point; it usually doesn't.
Why do blogging and social media efforts typically fail spectacularly for real estate professionals?
1) No time
Most agents are incredibly busy. Their titles include Sales Agent, CEO, CMO, Office Recruiter, Trainer, HR Representative, Bookkeeper, Part-time Accountant, Office Manager, Support Rep., Janitor and more. Responding to email and phone calls now ties up half of their day. There is no way anyone can complete even half of those jobs, much less well.
On top of this already insane work load, they've tried to take on the role of Webmaster, SEO Copywriter, Chief Blogger and Social Media Ambassador. There will never be time to even learn how to handle the content marketing roles at a professional level, much less implement the steps effectively. Where 10 to twenty hours per week are common time investments, for a successful agent, their blogging and social media have been very sporadic and ‘half ass' at best. In all fairness, they never gave content marketing a shot.
It's unfortunate, but there are many companies offering ‘quick fix' alternatives to making a commitment to ongoing, quality content. “All you need is our system,” the phone rep. claims. They would have website owners believe they need only ten minutes a week to dash off one or two paragraphs, in a quick blog post, and the proprietary third party software will automatically handle the social media. And then all they have to do is wait for a flood of leads to pour into the world class CRM system. On the surface, these automated solutions sound like a good idea and a very welcome breath of fresh air. Time leverage is a good thing in business, right? But in a sea of content without any substance, why would anyone take notice of one more piece of mindless crap in their wall or feed each week? They won't.
Astute real estate pros will focus on the one or two things they do exceptionally well, and begin delegating other tasks to people better qualified to see them through. Some agents will already have assistants with writing skills, and a marketing background, and all they need is some coaching from an expert. Most however will only be able to capitalize on the power of the internet, with some measure of professional assistance every month.
2. No love
If blogging and social media engagement are considered necessary evils of your business, you are probably the very worst person to take on the task. Even an amateur can develop a significant following, with a little coaching, for a subject they enjoy writing about. The audience will forgive the typos and grammatical errors if the information is valuable enough, and it's shared with sincerity and real passion.
If you don't have your heart in it, get someone that loves doing it. The pennies you save, by doing a mediocre job yourself, aren't worth the dollars you stand to gain from a single commission that results from connecting with prospective clients.
3) No audience
Most agents and brokers are accustomed to the “good old days” of advertising. They purchased ad space in the newspaper, or a magazine and perhaps purchased spots on the radio. In other words, they presented their message to a well established audience. If a paper like the Vancouver Sun had a readership of roughly 450,000, Monday – Friday, you rented space in front of 900,000 potential eyeballs.
As traditional content on the printed page dwindles, readers are looking for their content on the web. The rising stars will be those businesses and professionals that develop their own audience, by providing valuable content, instead of relying on outside media.
It is unrealistic to expect a handful of Facebook Friends and Twitter Followers to replace the audience of traditional media. Even a few hundred may not put a dent into the number of eyeballs traditional media provided. And while there are unscrupulous companies that will sell you large blocks of social followers, those can hardly be considered potential clients.
Building a sizable audience of qualified email list and blog subscribers, and followers in social channels, will take a lot of work, and doing so effectively is an acquired and very specialized skill. As a minimum, most agents will require some coaching in this area. As busy as most real estate marketers are, bringing in a social media pro is usually a prudent investment. Also, consider a social media makeover, to improve online branding, enhance your profile and perhaps weed out posts that simply aren't helping your image.
4) No scalability
Businesses are either growing or dying. So, unless you're a professional blogger, where writing posts and marketing them in social media are your job, every hour you invest into do-it-yourself marketing is competing with your ability to provide the service your real estate business is known for, and building your success team.
Writing the epic posts that will become your ‘findable' evergreen content, and cultivating your audience, will simply be too time consuming to be sustainable over the long haul.
High quality, relevant and useful content, published regularly, carefully optimized and well promoted in social channels, does produce results. But, you have to be all-in to get the payback.
Most of the disappointment in this process, among real estate agents, comes from grossly underestimating the time involved. If you're building a successful real estate career, it's highly unlikely you'll have the time to become an SEO, content marketing and social media expert as well, so you should be looking for someone to pass the baton to.