Why social media marketing works

You may be skeptical that social media marketing actually works, but data shows 66 per cent of first-time homebuyers turn to Facebook for information about houses and mortgages.

Even for those new to social-media marketing (or intimidated by it), there are easy ways to market your business to attract new clients and position yourself as an industry expert.

Start by setting up a business page on Facebook, says Michael Rajzman, digital content strategist with Star Metro Media. That allows you to separate your business life from your personal life, and you can target content and even advertising to a specific audience.

“One of the best ways to reach customers is by running promoted posts targeting certain people based on their interests,” says Rajzman. Facebook, for example, includes a suite of options that allow you to target your audience based on age, gender, demographics and online behaviour — even by postal code.

But you don’t need to produce a lot of your own content. Instead, be a content curator by providing links to articles and videos of interest to potential clients. There are several web-based tools to help with this; Pocket, for example, allows you to save articles or videos and view them later, while Buffer makes it easy to schedule posts.

“The most important thing that people tend to forget is to be social on social media,” says Rajzman. “If you were a third party who saw this content, would you actually click on it or engage with it?”

But be sure to balance engagement with business, he says. If you’re a realtor, for example, you might post content in three buckets: changes in the mortgage industry, moving tips and new listings. While you might get higher engagement on the first two buckets, the third is aligned with your business goals.

That balance will be different for everyone, depending on your personal brand, your target audience and your business goals.

LinkedIn is also an invaluable tool, though it’s more of a business-focused platform. Join relevant groups to get your personal brand out there, says Rajzman, but also to see what’s going on in your industry.

The average cost of advertising is higher on LinkedIn than Facebook because you’re dealing with a highly targeted audience. “But if you’re a commercial broker or realtor, that’s a great place to market because you know those people are more business-focused,” says Rajzman. “Ask yourself what your business goals are and who you want to target.”

Build an audience gradually by posting relevant blogs to relevant groups. Engage in conversations with people who post comments to your blogs and status updates; avoid sending unsolicited requests to buy your products or services.

Both Facebook and LinkedIn have analytics built into their platforms, which allows you to see what your targeted demographic is clicking on. But there are different ways to measure engagement — the number of “likes” is important, but how many people are actually clicking through to the content you’re posting?

Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, don’t launch it and then disappear. “Set aside a little bit of time every day for it,” says Rajzman. “It might feel like a strain or chore in the beginning, but then it becomes part of your workflow and you might actually enjoy it.” And it’s better to scale up strategically than to launch everything at once and then start floundering.

But it’s important to start. “If you’re not out there and not part of the conversation,” he says, “then you’re missing out on the conversation and potentially missing out on sales.”

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