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Brand Building with Help from Social MediaEighty-one percent of customers reach out to friends and family on social networking sites for advice before purchasing products (Vocus). What people are saying about you online can make a world of a difference for your business, and social media is where most of this chatter begins and ends. This makes online reputation management a critical factor for growing your business.The good news is that if you have the right tactics, you can feel confident that what people are finding about you is contributing to the success of your business.

With that said, here are 13 tips to build a kickin’ online reputation!

1. Know Your Strengths

Figure out what you do better than anyone else and create your business strategies around those strengths – it will help give you a leg up on the competition.

2. Recognize Your Weaknesses

Find out your weaknesses and dedicate the necessary resources to fix them. If you aren’t the most social-savvy person out there, search for resources that you can use to improve that aspect of your business.

3. Where Do Your Opportunities and Threats Lie?

Your biggest opportunities can be found in areas where people want something, but don’t have it. Figure out what they are looking for and find a way to fill that void. Threats can be anything from new agents in the area to new technology innovations. Whatever they may be, find a way to adapt to them.

4. Optimize Your Website

A great website is one of your most important assets. It needs to be engaging, interactive, user-friendly, easy to navigate and able to capture leads in order to be truly effective. Be sure to have a site that adapts to various mobile devices, whose usage is overtaking that of desktop by leaps and bounds. Websites supported by responsive design technology are key for reaching on-the-go consumers and Homes.com’s Fusion™ websites offer just that.

5. Don’t Forget About Videos

The demand for video is on the rise and it’s becoming a very useful tool for getting discovered online. In fact, YouTube reaches more U.S adults than any cable network (Nielsen Ratings). When creating your video, be sure to highlight unique property features, the community and anything else that would make a listing more appealing to a potential buyer.

6. Make Your Local Presence Known

With seventy-nine percent of consumers trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations (BrightLocal), it’s crucial to keep up with what people are saying about you online. Be sure to respond to them (good and bad!) in a timely manner and remember to ask for them after each transaction. Register your business on local review sites like Google+ Local, Yahoo! Local and Bing Local, and share your customer testimonials to reinforce your expertise.

7. Keep Your Community Informed

Interacting with your community and sharing valuable local content are big parts of having a strong social game. Focus on sharing content that your community is talking about like a new restaurant, yoga studio or upcoming school events. Talk about your own personal interests, too, like sports teams, food or travel.

8. Relax and Make Social Media Fun

If you want to be successful on social media, think of it as something fun and not a chore. According to Joe Sesso, National Speaker for Homes.com, “You certainly need a strategy and tactics that work, but you shouldn’t wake up in the morning and feel like you are going to the gym; it’s just people communicating with people in a new way, intertwined with marketing and advertising opportunities,” he says. “We all need to chill out.”

9. Hold Contests to Engage with Local Buyers and Sellers

Speaking of fun – people love to win stuff! Get people talking about your business by hosting contests. It doesn’t have to be complicated, and with the help of Facebook apps like Heyo and Shortstack, you can easily create a contest or sweepstakes. You may also be interested in Homes.com Social, a complete social media suite that includes a sweepstakes element.

10. Use Show-Stopping Photos

Articles with images get ninety-four percent more views than those without them (B2BMarketing). Regardless of which social sites you are on, you have to have stopping power in the news feed, and that means high quality photography. Ask your followers to submit their favorite photo of their city or community. Then share those photos as part of a ‘photo of the day’ campaign on your Facebook page (a la Dreamtown Realty in Chicago). This is a great form of crowdsourcing and strengthens your relationships, all in the name of local love!

11. Utilize the WET Principle

The Works Every Time (WET) approach is the notion that when you ask really specific questions in a brief format, it will provide you with the best results. Using questions like “Where was your first home?” or “When did you graduate high school?” work really well and show that you’re trying to get to know your audience.

12. Create Facebook Groups

Facebook groups give you a chance to discuss topics that are of particular interest to members of that group. For example, if you have a Facebook group for those that have a particular product or an interest in real estate investments, you should revolve your posts around that topic. This is a targeted approach to interacting with your followers and will demonstrate that you can be relied on for expert advice!

13. Pin It To Win It!

The most popular search term on Pinterest is the word “home.” Create boards to humanize your brand, show off listings with eye-catching photos, pin inspirational images of rooms and DIY projects and share client testimonials with videos and photos. Don’t forget that social media is a two-way street, so be sure that you are interacting with other users by “re-pinning” their content as well.

For more detailed tips on reputation management, click here and watch the recording of the Watercooler for tips from the Social Media Cheat Sheet episode.  Want to find out more on how to build and maintain your reputation? Then download the FREE Homes.com “Maximizing Your Online Reputation” guide today!

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