A recent tweet from Reg Saddler asked how agents can use social media to develop a local market. For most agents developing a presence within a localised market makes sound business sense because it leverages pre-existing social networks formed around schools, playgroups, workplaces and community service organisations. Agents know the power of word of mouth and being active within a community is a sure fire way to ensure a steady stream of referral business.
But the question posed by Saddler asks how social media can be used to further leverage social network marketing. It’s a good question because online social networks tend to be far more geographically dispersed than “real world” social networks. There are legal and practical restrictions on how much territory an agent can cover, hence the appeal of focusing social media activities on a local area.
So how can agents create localised effect impact using social media? Here’s 10 ideas.
- Blog about local concerns and events. Focus on what’s important to community members. When commenting on broad trends be sure to bring it back to what it means locally.
- Invite local guest bloggers to write posts about their favourite subject. Make your blog a community hub.
- Update local journalists with the contents of your blog, particularly if you’re breaking news. Traditional media and blogs have an important symbiosis. Be sure to use it.
- Start a page on your blog that contains links to local businesses and community groups. Be generous and genuine with praise.
- Invite clients to friend you on Facebook. Share yourself, share photos, but be careful about pushing your services.
- Start a Facebook group for your local area or community group. Encourage your friends to invite their friends to join. Be active in the group by adding photos and sharing interesting news. Be careful to avoid spamming the members.
- Create a Facebook page for your professional services. Share photos and post news that relates to your business and your followers. Remember, be there for the benefit of the community not to blow your own trumpet.
- Be the first to show local businesses and community groups how they can make use of Facebook pages, groups, and events. Offer to do the set-up for them, then be an active member. Every interaction shows up on your Facebook news feed and helps build your profile.
- Keep your LinkedIn profile updated. Consider starting a LinkedIn group for the groups you belong to locally. Be an active member of the group.
- Develop a local following on Twitter. Use Twitter’s advanced search function to find tweeps in your area. Tweet news of interest, not spam about your blog.
Social media can be a powerful tool to support agents in their efforts to build a steady stream of referral business but, as in real life, there are no quick fixes or short cuts.