Jay Thompson is a former brokerage owner who spent the past six years working for Zillow Group. He retired in August 2018 but can’t seem to leave the real estate industry behind. His weekly Inman column publishes every Wednesday.
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Last week’s column focused on four things not to do to get likes on your social media profiles, pages, posts and comments.
While the article was, naturally, filled with actionable takeaways and bon mots, it was by definition a tad on the negative side.
It’s important to understand what not to do. However, it’s also important to have an idea of what to do. If nothing else, “do this” is more positive than “don’t do this,” and who couldn’t use a little more positivity in their life?
So without further ado, let’s chat about how to get more likes.
Why does it matter?
Before we dive into the how-tos, let’s start with the why. Do “likes” matter? Do they get you more business (or attention, brand awareness — whatever it is you’re looking for from your social media efforts)?
The answer to both of those questions is a solid, “Maybe!”
Fundamentally and theoretically, more likes on a post or comment gets it more visibility, and more visibility is generally a good thing when it comes to advertising, marketing and branding efforts.
The algorithms employed by social sites like Facebook and Instagram consider a like as a “vote” or an indication of approval. It makes sense that the more “votes” a post of comment gets, the more Facebook/Instagram (both under the same company umbrella) will push those liked posts and comments to others news feeds.
Writer’s note: Before some social media guru chimes in with how dumbed-down I just made the algorithm, I get it. This article isn’t a treatise on social network algorithms. It’s about getting likes, and the big social sites have made it clear that likes are part of, but not all of, how they decide what content to push to you.
Whether your activity and content on social networks generates you more business, awareness or attention is in large part determined by your content and your audience — and how you deliver and interact with both. More likes probably means more people will see your content. But if your content sucks, don’t expect it to do you much good.
“What makes for good content” would be a great topic for a separate article, series of articles or a book or two. It’s too big a topic to include in this article.
Right about now, someone should be thinking: “He’s 500 words into this thing, and he still hasn’t said anything about how to get more likes.”
OK, fine. Here’s a few ideas, in no particular order.
5 ways to get more ‘likes’
1. Interact with others’ and your own content
There is a reason the word “social” is in “social media.” It’s a — social thing. So, be social! Google anything remotely related to social media marketing, and you’ll see the word “engagement” repeated constantly. Your content can (and should) create engagement, but you can (and should) also be driving it.
Interact with those who like and comment on your content. Go to their profiles and content, and like and comment on what they post. It’s part of that whole, “do unto others” golden rule thing.
This is not to say that you should blindly like, follow and comment on anyone and everyone’s social media content, especially if your only intent and hope is that they reciprocate and click like on your stuff.
Like what interests you. Engage where you can add value. Be social for the sake of expanding your sphere, meeting others and learning. Do that, and likes and follows will happen.
2. Provide likable content
Hopefully it goes without saying that if you want people to like your content, you need to provide like-worthy content. Seems fundamental, right?
Fundamental, yes, but not necessarily a simple task. What is likable?
Start with what you enjoy. Do you appreciate long videos of a talking head reciting market stats? No? Then your audience probably doesn’t either.
Those stats are important though, right? So provide them in an easy-to-digest format such as an infographic, captioned images or short video snips with some energy behind them.
“A picture is worth a thousand words,” is an adage that has been around since at least the early 1800s. It is as true today as it was 200 years ago, maybe more so. The social sites love images. Instagram is virtually nothing but images.
Facebook and Insta “stories” are basically loops of photos.
Images tend to get more likes (and are treated more favorably algorithmically) than lines of text. People like images. The social networks like images. You should use images.
So if your content looks good, you’ll get more likes.
Ditto if your content provides value. Teach people something, and they’ll probably like it. Provide tips that help them, people like that. Throw in a funny meme or image: People like to laugh.
Be aware and sensitive, especially when using humor. While “political correctness” seems to run amok these days, it’s important to be thoughtful, consider feelings and think about how everything you post will be viewed by a wide variety of people from very different backgrounds, who may misunderstand your intentions.
You don’t need to be paralyzed with fear that you’re going to offend someone, but you should at least be aware of how what you say may be received.
3. Increase your followers
The more followers you have, the more likes you will get. That makes sense if you understand just the basics of how social sites decide what you see. Your followers are far more likely to see your content than someone who doesn’t follow you.
Naturally, that means the more followers you have, the more likes you will probably receive.
As mentioned in last week’s column, please do not buy followers. It doesn’t do you any good, and it may well do your image and brand harm. It’s just not worth it. Rather increase your follower count naturally — by following others (and engaging with them), by providing good content and sharing content, both yours and other people’s.
All that, plus a large dose of patience, will gradually increase your follower account.
4. Pay attention to timing
As with virtually everything else in life and business, timing matters when it comes to posting and optimizing social content.
Check your analytics. Monitor your online audience viewership patterns to see what attracts interest, and what doesn’t. Pay attention to both time of day and day of the week. It’s quite likely that you’ll discern regular rhythms when people are online, looking at and liking your content. Post during those peak times.
For example, you study your analytics and see that most of your traffic is on weekdays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Your lowest traffic times are weekend nights.
Why you wouldn’t push most of your content on Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and rarely post on weekend nights is beyond me.
Yet it’s staggering how many marketers, some claiming to be “experts,” never even look at their analytics.
Publication timing absolutely matters; watch it, learn from it, and use that info to your advantage.
5. ABT — always be testing
Another place your analytics will come in handy is with testing. In my experience, agents do not do enough testing of their marketing campaigns, web pages and sites and social media efforts — you name it. There seems to be a dearth of testing happening at the base level in the real estate industry.
Yes, it’s painful and time-consuming to test things. But how in the world do you know if something is working if you don’t measure and test it?
Test, refine, rerun, test. Rinse, and repeat.
How do you test content on social media sites? At the most simplistic level, try different things, and see what works. You can do A/B (or “split”) testing by making small changes between content pieces and using analytics to see which performs better. This article has some good insight on what A/B testing is and how to implement it with your social media.
There’s always more
This article could go on forever. There are many different ways to increase your likes. Some nefarious. Most not. All take effort. Social media success (however you choose to define success) is not an easy thing to achieve — it takes dedication and hard work. It can, however, pay off handsomely. It’s up to you to decide what you want from your social efforts.
Interact with users, provide informative and attractive content, make an effort to build a follower base, test and measure your efforts. Do all that, and I assure you, you’ll see success on that long and winding social media road.
Jay Thompson is a real estate veteran and retiree in Seattle, as well as the mastermind behind Now Pondering. Follow him on Facebook or Instagram. He holds an active Arizona broker’s license with eXp Realty.