The Internet has revolutionized our ability as individuals to reach out to the public we never thought possible even 15 years ago. But as I wrote about in a previous post, you now can position yourself as a personalized brand recognized by people looking for you. But a more important question is, “Am I not just a brand but also an Influencer?”
An Influencer is someone who through creating compelling content in the context of an audience wanting to be influenced, causes a call to action to be answered. You can call it the real estate law of attraction. In Technorati’s 2013 Digital Influence Report, consumers are turning to blogs when looking to make a purchase—even more than social networks. Now this report has to be tempered by the fact that we are selling service and not a product that requires a retail site or a brand site for purchase, but it still indicative of how our clients behave and move forward with real estate decisions. So let’s look at where we can influence people.
Blogs: Ranking just below retail sites and brand sites is the blog. For us, a blog is typically within our website and if understood in its use helps drive traffic to our sites because of Google indexing. A blog allows you to take real estate information and personalize it in a way that shows your passion for what you are doing and should always encourage an invitation to contact you. A blog should also be honest and sincere with the ability to look at both sides of a topic so you can become the trusted source for the information.
Small Communities: Too often we talk social networks like Facebook, Linkedin and others and blast out real estate without thinking about the audience we are trying to reach who could respond. This is very similar to the old traditional media use of newspapers to advertise a listing, despite the fact the 99.9% of those receiving the newspaper never see the ad. Or if they do, they are not in the market. We can create specialty pages on Facebook that are about our knowledge of the community, or we can inform small groups through the use of Twitter. I would rather have 10 motivated people than a 1,000 who see what I say but have no desire to do what I say.
YouTube Video: Climbing rapidly is the use of video to reach an audience. One thing that hasn’t changed is our desire to meet our clients in person because face-to-face is the ultimate goal of any real estate marketing. The next best thing is someone actually seeing you say the words you previously just blogged about in words. Not only can they get your message, they can see you deliver it with the passion, sincerity and confidence words alone can’t convey. Expect this to keep rising as a primary source to exert your influence.
A Brand is not enough: Here is why just establishing a name, a logo, a font and colors are not enough to influence automatic response. One of my favorite commercial series is for Snickers candy bars. The first one introduced during The Super Bowl was the backyard football contest with Betty White and most recently Robin Williams. I love those commercials and it reminds me of the brand, but it will never make me eat one because I don’t eat candy. I am not saying it is bad because it doesn’t convince me to act, in fact I think it does influence beyond the brand. It influences because of the story it tells about when you just don’t feel like yourself, you can take comfort in eating a Snickers and have the return of a sense of well being.
On a smaller scale, think about it this way. Your message gets out and you see it has been exposed to thousands of viewers, but only 50 of those people heed the call-to-action and buy a home through you. So what is the power of influence? Just add the income total of 50 homes and quit worrying about how many friends or “likes” you have on Facebook.
The Bonus: What platforms I used to discuss how to influence does not cost you a dime in marketing costs. Your client wins because they find a worthy advocate for their needs, and so do you because you can afford to be an advocate.