Editor’s note: This is the second in a two-part series. Read Part 1: "How the share button can make or break your real estate business."
Sharing is the foundation upon which social networking is based, as well as the key to building a successful real estate business. What steps do you need to take to change your social media sharing into a consistent lead generation source for your business?
At the Real Estate Connect conference in January, New York Times managing director of customer research Brian Brett presented his findings on the psychology of sharing.
Two of the five profiles for sharing that Brett identified were based upon being "other" focused rather than "me" focused. Once you make the shift to focusing on others, what other steps can you make to maximize the results from your social media activities? Brett identified seven specific suggestions.
1. Get content out — not your message.
According to Brett, content should be created with the understanding that the relationships that people value most are those they have with one another. This is why advertising your listings on your profile page in Facebook or on Twitter aggravates most people. They want content that is meaningful to them. Unless they are in the market for that specific piece of property, how does it benefit them to know that you have just taken another listing?
2. Trust is the cost of entry.
Brett argues, "Consumers must find content trustworthy before they will share it." Trust is built over time by the types of content that you share, as well as in the way in which you share it. If consumers find that your material is helpful to them on a consistent basis, they will continue to pay attention to what you post. If you post content that doesn’t meet their needs, you end up being ignored.
Furthermore, trust is about having "honest and open public dialogue without filtering out the negative." In fact, some recent research studies confirm a consistent pattern among online users. When a person or a product has nothing but five-star reviews, consumers are skeptical. They are much more likely to do business with someone who has a few negatives as opposed to someone who appears to be totally perfect.
3. Keep it simple.
An important point to remember, whether it’s on your website, social media or any other type of communication, is to keep it simple. As Brett put it, "The more complicated it is, the more likely it is to get muddled."
This occurs due to how consumers interact with Web content. Repeated studies have illustrated that they skim and scan for headlines and bullet points. Consequently, it’s important to "define and redefine." In other words, be as clear as possible and repeat your key points often.
4. Tap into their sense of humor.
Almost everyone enjoys sharing a humorous story or event. According to Brett, "humor is a social phenomenon." In other words, we use humor as a way to build connection with each other.
Because laughter releases beta-endorphins that make you feel good, humor is a powerful tool for building connection. Consequently, when you share something humorous with another person that causes them to laugh, the beta-endorphin release causes each of you to feel better about each other.
Furthermore, the great thing about humor is that you don’t have to create it to get this response. You merely need to be the one who shares it. This is at the heart of what causes YouTube videos to go viral — it’s the sharing of laughter that makes others feel good that matters.
5. Embrace a sense of urgency.
When it comes to sharing, timeliness is critical. For example, when you see something that would be of interest to one of your clients, share it immediately. You have a variety of ways to do this. If you want to share through Twitter, HootSuite has a "Hootlet" tool that lets you click once in your browser’s toolbar and your post is shared automatically.
Most blogs and many online articles also have a "share" button so you can post automatically to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. In other words, when you recognize a way to make a connection, don’t procrastinate. Handle it right then and there.
6. Get content shared again.
Content is shared again when people find it to be entertaining, useful, or when it solves a problem they are facing. Most people enjoy helping others because they feel good about the process. Furthermore, helping others builds trust, which in turn strengthens your connection.
7. The No. 1 way people share.
Brett’s study showed that email is still the No. 1 way that people share. Email is more private and people feel much more compelled to respond to it as compared to a social media post.
Here’s the bottom line: If you want your social media efforts to help you build a more profitable real estate business, share, share and share again.