In a previous post (Social Media for real estate: the good, the bad and the ugly), we outlined several social channels and how you might integrate each one into an overall social strategy for your real estate business.
Update: Google+ is going the way of Friendster and MySpace, so you can take that one off your to-do list.
Even with one less channel, juggling all these accounts, messages and conversations can be daunting for a busy real estate agent. You’re not alone.
Fortunately there are a variety of social media management tools that would be pleased as punch to help you streamline your social activity. Here are four we see in heavy use by real estate agents.
Twitter… hoot…. get it? The bird motif is a clue that Hootsuite is primarily a Twitter management platform. Here are a few tasks you can perform through HootSuite that you can’t do on Twitter directly:
- Schedule tweets for specific times and dates.
- Tweet the same content from multiple Twitter accounts, simultaneously.
- Watch multiple auto-updating feeds of tweets containing user-selected hashtags or keywords.
- Watch auto-updating feeds of tweets that mention any or all of your Twitter accounts.
HootSuite can be used with a variety of social media networks, from LinkedIn to Instagram, but it is by far the most compatible with Twitter. Auto Scheduler lets you create a post, select one or more networks, and then HootSuite will automatically select the next best time to share that post. And if you choose more than one network, it selects a different time for each network so that you’re not blasting all your networks at the same time.
The free basic plan lets you configure three social profiles and use the scheduling function. But the $10/month plan gives you the bells and whistles you want.
One of the rules of social media is to not treat it like a megaphone. But Everypost uses a megaphone for its logo, which is both accurate and informative because Everypost isn’t a platform for reading, it’s a platform for posting.
Everypost is a handy workflow tool for those with multiple channels to manage. The $10/month Basic Plan gives you unlimited and customized scheduling, whereas the free version lets you schedule up to 10 posts at a time, posting to one platform every 24 hours. At this time, Everypost doesn’t offer measurement tools, but that capability has been promised since late 2014.
If you love measurement, you’ll really like Sprout Social. This web-based service and mobile app (Android and iOS) is a full-featured social media manager, allowing you to post content to and view feeds for Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, and see full analytics for each of these sites. The downside is the cost. After a 30-day free trial, the cheapest version of Sprout Social costs $59 per user, per month. On the upside, the user design is super clean and fast to digest.
With social, sharing content once might not be enough, especially given the fire hose frequency of the average Twitter feed and Facebook news feed. Resharing content is a strategic action, but one that can easily be abused. Buffer helps you identify where and when you can reshare content for maximum advantage.
Buffer supports personal Facebook profiles as well as business Facebook Pages. It also supports multiple Twitter accounts as well as personal LinkedIn profiles, Company Pages and Groups. Buffer doesn’t automate your social media activity. You need to create each post per social channel, and Buffer ensures that the post is published at an appropriate time. Buffer for Business starts at $50/month, which makes it a solution better suited for a large real estate firm.
Overall, making social media part of your marketing strategy will take work. Like any relationship, social takes a commitment. Don’t get caught building up pages and profiles if you don’t have time for the “social” part. If you’re sacrificing customer relationships just to be more places, then it’s time to do some culling. To build an engaged community, you need to post great, compelling content on a regular basis. You also have to be available to respond to inquiries and complaints from followers promptly and positively.