Dan Greenfield of Listen Interactive put on an event called the Social Media Makeover Forum as a part for Digital Atlanta week. I was on one of three panels that gave one of three local Atlanta Companies the opportunity to get some pointers from what has been referred to as “some of the savviest social media gurus out there”. I am very honored to have been chosen to be in this group which included others from such companies as UPS, CBeyond, Arby’s, ING, Turner Entertainment, Fifth Group, Network Solutions and Constant Contact.
The panel I was on included:
Shashi Bellamkonda (@shashib) – Director of Social Media, Network Solution
Michael Erickson ( @FifthGrouper) – Director of Marketing, Fifth Group Restaurants
Lanelle Henderson – Regional Development Director, Constant Contact
The company that is the focus of our panel is a local online Real Estate Brokerage, ClickScape, started three years ago by President and co founder, David Lightburn( @D-Lite). Here is what David said about the reasons he applied to have a Social Media Makeover.
Clickscape: Real Agents, Real Results, Real Savings. Buy a home with Clickscape and we’ll share our commission with you. Clickscape is an Atlanta-based real estate brokerage focused on better real estate search and service. As a company of Realtors, we work for our buyer-clients to protect their interests and investment while getting them the best deal possible. Our in-house agents are called Client Advocates and are committed to providing excellent customer service. Our Advocates are salaried employees—not salespeople hungry for a commission. In fact, we share the commission we receive from the seller with you so that we stay focused on representing your best interests and not on pressuring you to buy a particular property.
What David Lightburn Says:
We generate fresh content through our blog and disperse it through Facebook and Twitter. We tweet out and post cool and interesting real estate related news from other sites and bloggers. Our biggest challenges are personally engaging our audience on a one-on-one basis as well as building up our fans and followers. We’ve been using social media since the inception of the company, but have been pushing hard over the past 12 months or so to grow our social media presence through more consistency, but we have seen very little growth in our Twitter Followers and our Facebook Fans. I’m not sure what else we could be doing to increase our reach. Also, we haven’t had any new business (that I am aware of) come through social media engagement. I am optimistic that we can be successful through social media because we have a very interesting subject matter and put out quality content, but I’m very frustrated with our inability to get anyone to notice as of yet. I’m not sure what we are doing wrong!
In summary, David says he wants: A social media strategy that will help us grow our audience and personally engage with users on a one-on-one basis to generate both business and general awareness of our company.
The following questions will be posed to the panel by Listen Interactive founder/owner, Dan Greenfield. My notes are below each item.
Brand Building – How can Clickscape better communicate their mission and use technology to change the way people buy and sell homes? How can they convince buyers and sellers that they have a better way of doing real estate?
Although I have a background in Real Estate Development, I found it difficult to see exactly what the difference in this agency was than other companies that all have online search capabilities. They hide their unique selling proposition on an interior page. I think the best statement is the following:
No Contract, No Obligation, No Cost.
This needs to be front and center on the first page of their website, and then it needs to be explained. Us — Them. When you go to their site it should be very clear that they are not your Old School Real Estate Company. Many of their prospects would be people who have little or no experience with Real estate Agents before so their message needs to be more than we are not them, since these people have not experienced the other type of agent. They appear to be making an effort to educate their visitors that there are a lot of bad real estate agents with their clever Horror Story campaign. However, it is still unclear how exactly they are not going to end up doing the same types of things.
Reputation Management – How can Clickscape use social media to build trust and change people’s negative perceptions of real estate agents — who according to David –are ranked with lawyers and used car salesmen when it comes to trustworthiness?
Building Know Like and Trust online is a process that is easier accomplished with a face on the company’s Social Media. Michael Erickson does this very well for Fifth Group by tweeting as @5thGrouper. He is interacting with people both professionally and personally on twitter and it is easy to “Know Like and Trust” him which then transfer to the company he represents.
Each company must deal with the issue of how they present a human face to their Social Media presence.
Authenticity vs. Promotion – How does Clickscape promote their products while building trust/deeper connection and maintaining the integrity of their brand and their authenticity?
Currently, nearly all of the outgoing messages from ClickScape on Twitter and Facebook and even the blog are about them or presenting information which they are doing a fairly good job at. What they are missing is the interaction component which is a tough jump for companies to make since it seems as if it is not “business-like”. What I mean is that the majority of their Tweets should be about other people including interactions that don’t seem to be at related to their brand. I suggest that they either start or get active on a Real Estate Tweet Chat and develop a presence as an accessable expert “go to” company in the business.
Another idea is to have a question an answer format for their blog where people send in their questions and they answer them in a short, fun video letting your companies personality, knowledge and trust show through.
Increase Awareness and Engagement – How can Clickscape generate greater interaction and integrate the pieces of their strategy to form better online connections with prospects?
- To get more followers you can use a program such as Tweepi. It allows you to find other Twitter users even your competitors, and see into their list of people that they follow and that follow them. It then allows you to see characteristics of each of those people and choose whether to follow them or not.Go through this process and follow about 250 people each week. Thirty to fifty percent of the people you follow will then follow you back. Give them a couple of weeks and you can then go in and unfollow the ones that did not follow you back.
- A great way to get more exposure and targeted Twitter followers is to become a regular participant of one or more Twitter Chats. I am a regular on #BlogChat which meets on Twitter at 9 PM EST on Sunday nights. I am sure there must be some Real Estate chats and if not you can start one.
Measurability – How do you measure the impact of Clickscape’s social media activity and track where leads are coming from? How do better measure ROI?
Their worry about the main measurement of whether business is coming in through their Social Media efforts is misplaced at this stage of the growth of their business. Even for SEO you have to get any eyeballs on the site, and have people linking to their content and sharing their content. Their first effort should be on creating great ad frequest content for their blog which shows who they are and what they are about by the types of posts they write. In the old days we told people who we are now we show them through our writing on our websites/blogs. While they are building up their blog content, which will continue to generate visitors with each post having the ability to come up in a Google search, they need to be generating more followers to their site and their social media platforms.
I recommend you sign up for a free account on Klout which will give you one metric for the measurement of network reach. Sprout Social is another site which will give you some heavy weight tools for a reasonable price integrating all of your social sites.
The event was well attended and everyone of the companies and the attendees got a great deal for being a part of the Social Media Makeover Forum. I believe Dan is going to make it a regular happening here in Atlanta!