Marketing

Think before you outsource your social media

Must-have tips before you take the plunge

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Managing social media profiles takes a great deal of effort, creativity and an understanding of the do’s and don’ts. Testing and measuring different content types is also essential to gain the greatest engagement possible. Time and time again, I see agents create their online profiles, and within months — if not weeks — they are abandoned. And there’s nothing worse than an inactive profile in terms of your online presence. Apart from being a very bad look, such a profile can leave a negative impression on those who have taken the time to research or connect with you online.

One option is to outsource the management of your online profiles. This can be very effective; however, it is important that you don’t go into any arrangement blind.

Here are some tips that will help you create a successful partnership when taking the leap to outsource your social media:

  • Always ask for a trial period — my suggestion is three months. Don’t allow yourself to get locked into a one-year or longer contract when you haven’t determined for yourself how valuable the service is.
  • Communicate your expectations and clarify the extent of the service.
  • Discuss what type of content will be added to your profile/s. Ask for examples so you can gauge if these are in line with your expectations. The supplier should be able to provide numerous examples of their expertise.
  • Ask how often updates will be added and how they determine the time it is posted. This is very important! To build an active and engaging online profile, updates should be added at least every other day and at optimum times.
  • Clarify what will happen if you wish to end the arrangement. Is a termination notice period required?
  • Let your external service provider know your preferred method of communication with them. Agree about how you will connect. For example, typically if a message is sent to a client’s Facebook page, I receive a notification on my phone. I then email the client for the information to respond on their behalf.
  • What’s the online footprint of the business you are engaging to represent you? If they don’t have active and engaging online profiles, why would you trust them to manage yours?
  • Check online for testimonials or reviews, which should include first and last names, as well as business names. You may wish to contact a few of these clients to discuss the service they experienced.
  • Does the service provider understand your industry well enough to make valuable contributions?
  • Keep a close eye on your profiles until you feel comfortable that you and your outsource provider are on the same page. Remember that every update they post carries your name!

In my experience, building a successful online profile with the assistance of an external service provider requires an ongoing contribution. I ask my clients to send through personalized updates and photos they would like posted on their page. It is unrealistic to expect an external business managing your online profiles to create an active and engaging online presence without any input from you. After all, your community wants to connect with you!

I recently conducted a survey involving the general public. Participants rated new listings as the most useful information an agent can add to their social profiles, followed by insights into the agent’s personality and expertise. Your external service provider should add regular updates that are of value, relevance and interest to your online community. Your role should be to add personalized content that will help your community understand what differentiates you from your competition, and help them build a connection with you.

Have you partnered with an external service provider to manage your social media or online profiles? I would love to hear about your experience, as well as any tips you may have, in the comments below.

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Avelyn Holcroft-Lewer of buildmyprofile.co.nz is an online presence educator specializing in supporting and educating the real estate industry to build active and engaging online profiles. From delivering customized training webinars, seminars and presentations, through setting up and managing Facebook and other online profiles, Avelyn believes in providing practical, value-added solutions.