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egpt0039(283).jpgHow are you using social media to help grow your business? The fast paced world of social media is always changing and it can make creating a successful social strategy somewhat difficult at times. Whether it’s being able to create the type of content that provides value to your audience or understanding the best ways to manage paid advertisements, it’s never been more important to be in the “know how” when it comes to the current best practices of today’s most popular social networks.

Wondering where to start? Like any good strategy, the first thing you need to do is set goals. Think about it like a road trip: if you don’t know where you’re going from the very beginning, then you probably won’t choose the best route to get there. The same goes for success on social efforts. You’re going to need to figure out what you want to get out of your time spent here in order to come up with the best way achieve those results.

Homes.com recently published the “Social Media Checklist 2015: 7 Steps to Generate More Business” to help whip your social strategy into shape for the upcoming year. As the first edition of this 7 step series, here are some important goals to set and tips on how to achieve them.

1. Increase brand awareness and following base

This should be one of your top priorities when creating a social strategy. It’s important to reach the maximum number of people in your community as possible. A big part of doing this is your ability to provide value outside of the real estate transaction. Not everyone is looking to buy or sell a home all the time, so you’ll need to give them reasons to keep up with your business in the meantime.

One way to do this is by keeping your audience updated about what’s going on in their area and becoming a go-to resource for everything they are interested in. Sharing information about restaurants, events and other local “hot topics” will give your brand a boost when it comes to staying top of mind. If you’re continually sharing truly valuable content, there’s a much better chance that your audience will start sharing it with their own networks.

Another way to increase your visibility online is by connecting with other real estate professionals in your area. Start researching groups and communities that are relative to your industry or that you can provide value to and actively engage with members there. This will not only help foster new relationships, but could also help you show off your real estate expertise, all of which will contribute to growing your brand’s online reputation.

2. Increase Traffic Back to Your Website

Clients and prospects are relying on social networks more than ever to research you and receive recommendations from their family and friends. In fact, more than 75 percent of homebuyers used a social network during their search for a home, up almost 25% from 2011 (C.A.R.). This is why it’s important that you provide plenty of opportunities to link back to your website.

Always remember to include your website’s URL in the “About” section of all the networks you are present on. Not only will this be an easy way to direct them back to your site, but from an SEO perspective, having more links back to your website in places where people are actively engaging will help increase your company’s search ranking.

You should also be driving people back to your website by including links within the content you share. Say that you wanted to share Homes.com’s Local Market Report to keep your audience aware of the current conditions of their market. Be sure to include something that will prompt them to go back to your website like “Click here to get the full scoop”. You always want to maximize exposure to your website and today’s social networks offer plenty of opportunities for you to do this.

3. Increase Total Conversions from Social Activity

Have you ever found yourself wondering how in the world do I convert my followers into clients? It’s not as difficult as you think. They key thing to remember is that it’s all about the personal connections you establish here.

Remember that 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (BrightLocal), so it’s important that you highlight your positive reviews on all of your social channels. When potential clients are researching you and they see that you have a positive track record with previous clients, odds are that they will feel more comfortable contacting you to help with their real estate transaction.

Staying engaged with your audience is another crucial way to increase conversions. Think about it from their shoes. Wouldn’t you feel more comfortable contacting an agent or broker that has been actively engaging with their followers compared to one that doesn’t? Your social efforts offer you the opportunity to humanize your brand and show a high degree of customer intimacy, so take advantage of it and start turning followers into satisfied clients.

Looking for even more tips to optimize your social strategy? Then download the Homes.com Social Media Checklist 2015: 7 Steps to Generate More Business. Subscribe to the blog to be notified when the rest of the parts in this series are posted!

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