As a real estate agent, you know the importance of getting your social media marketing right. But it takes up so much time, especially if you want to be on several platforms. The secret to getting social right without having to spend too many hours on it each day is ‘scheduling’.
The most obvious advantage of scheduling is speed. Learn how to schedule your social media activity properly and you’ll free up much more time to spend on your own real estate clients! However, scheduling has a number of other advantages, too.
Planning when you want to post your blog articles in advance allows you to spend more time on content creation, rather than rushing it at the last minute. This means you or your real estate agency will build a reputation as a trusted brand that offers value to your followers.
Scheduling also ensures that your social media activity is consistent. You can damage your brand by posting too much irrelevant content or disappearing for days or weeks at a time. In order to remain at the forefront of people’s minds, your social media marketing needs to be regular, no matter what else is going on in your day.
How do you schedule?
Facebook allows you to schedule posts up to six months in advance. Clicking on the clock symbol at the bottom left of your post will bring up options for the day and time you want the post to appear. However, it doesn’t let you schedule events or offers and it will only work on your real estate agency page. Facebook doesn’t allow you to schedule posts in advance from your personal profile.
You can get round this by using a scheduling tool such as Hootsuite or Buffer, but this isn’t always a good idea. If you schedule a post on Facebook using one of these tools, it will show up on your post, letting everyone know it has been pre-scheduled. Posts scheduled through Facebook itself appear exactly like any other post. This is the best option if you don’t want people to know your post was composed three months in advance!
Why you can’t schedule everything
Scheduling blog articles and professionally produced videos in advance makes perfect sense, as it gives you more time to get them right. However, some content loses value if it’s not posted in real time.
Events are a good example of this. You can’t know what’s going to happen at an event or take pictures of it in advance. You simply have to post about an event while you’re actually there. Social media posts are a great way of documenting events such as conferences, property auctions, training sessions and community functions as they happen, giving your followers a real sense of your experience. If you know you’re definitely going to attend an event, it’s OK to schedule a post saying you’re on your way – this can save you vital time if you know you’re going to be too busy on the day.
Sometimes unexpected or timely things happen in your day that you want to post about, such as an open house, a visit from a past client, or someone’s birthday celebration. Spontaneous posts like these make you seem friendly and caring as a real estate agent, so they will add value. You may even want to post about something funny or unusual that you see on the street – an elderly gentleman driving a vintage car nude, for example, would definitely be worth a mention. And yes, that’s a true story from one of my clients!
In addition, sometimes a relevant topic will start trending and you want to contribute while it’s still hot. Having scheduled your timeless content, you can then free up enough time to create some content on the trending topic.
Linking your social media accounts
This allows your posts on one platform to be seen on another. It can save you time, but you may not want to do it if you want to include specific messages, @mentions or #hashtags. Not all platforms allow you to share both ways, however – for example, you can set your Instagram account to share your posts on Facebook, but it doesn’t work the other way round. Most third-party scheduling tools will allow you to post to several social media accounts at once.
Image source: magicatwork on Flickr
How often and at what times do you post?
It’s vital to post regularly if you want to keep your followers engaged with your brand. This is particularly important with blog posts. Posting at around the same time of day on the same day each week will help your SEO, as Google rewards committed sharers of information.
Trying to optimise other posts is more difficult, however. You can look at your website and Facebook Insights to find out what times most of your followers and visitors are likely to be logged on, and schedule your posts for these times. However, there are no guarantees they will actually be seen at those times, as the algorithms on social media sites decide when your posts will be seen and who they will be shown to. You can usually expect them to appear within 24-48 hours of the time you posted them.
Plus don’t forget, there’s nothing to stop you from sharing a post more than once, such as 3 months or a year apart, if it doesn’t contain any timely information.
Control your branding
This is all about how you appear to your followers. Using branded bit.ly links for your content will make it clear which of your posts were created for or by you or your real estate agency rather than other people’s posts you might share.
Another tip of mine is to amend your URL to remove the “http://” part, as it’s a good way of making your web address more memorable when it’s seen on your posts.
Engage with your audience
It’s vitally important to keep interacting with your audience rather than just posting content to promote your real estate agency. The whole point of social media is that it’s reciprocal. You could damage your brand if you never reply to comments or messages. Ideally you should make sure you reply within a few hours, a day at the very most.
Also, make sure you are only sharing content that gives value to your audience, rather than just posting irrelevant content for the sake of maintaining an active online presence. As long as you are posting every day, you should only post whenever you have something engaging, useful and relevant to say or share.
Scheduling can save you time and make your social media marketing easier, but you will still have to keep putting sufficient effort into it if you want to make sure it keeps working for you.