According to Pew Research, 65% of adults now use social networking sites – a nearly tenfold jump in the past decade. But, the bigger question remains, which platforms should you be on and why?
These days, there are a lot of social platforms to choose from: Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, and the list goes on and on.
I’d like to take a step back and look at why most people ask which platform they should be on. For most people, they ask this question because they are either:
- Not on social media at all and wondering where to start, OR
- Overwhelmed with social media and feel like it’s a big time suck
If you fall into either one of these buckets – you are like a lot of people!
When it comes to where to start in social media, it really depends on two factors: which platforms you really love and which platforms your clients are using the most.
For example, in real estate, I generally recommend that if a real estate pro is going to start anywhere that they start on LinkedIn, and make sure their profile is up to date because when a potential client searches for you online – if they come upon an outdated or non-existent profile, there is the perception you aren’t in business. I also generally recommend that a real estate pro spend some time on Facebook for two reasons; on their personal profile to connect and stay in touch with their clients and on their business Page to grow their sphere and their book of business.
Now, this advice is somewhat general and applies to many people in real estate, but for you reading this – you may not like Facebook, or you may be tired of all the noise on Facebook, or maybe your clients aren’t there too. So, for you – Instagram may be a better place for you or even Snapchat. Or maybe you love how fast Twitter moves; it’s quick, simple with 140 characters, and that’s where you enjoy spending your time.
I was chatting with NYC Broker, Michael Meier recently who was telling me how for Facebook and Instagram – he is focused on creating polished content that adheres to his brand standard, but that Snapchat and Facebook Live were so freeing to him – that he absolutely loved the platform. In just a few short weeks his strategy has paid off – he’s already been featured in various articles and online as an early adopter and one to watch in real estate when it comes to Snapchat and Facebook Live.
So, the question remains – where do you LIKE spending your time? What I’ve found is that a lot of people blow off a platform because they don’t think they understand it or think it’s a waste of time – only to realize that if they would have given it a chance, it may be perfect for them. I also think a lot of people devalue where they like because they wonder if their clients are there. What I have found is that – when you are doing what you love (especially online) – your tribe will follow.
Periscope for me is a great example. When I first joined Periscope, there were maybe a handful of my friends and clients on there. But, I fell in love with the platform and started spending a ton of time there, getting to know the community and the results one year later – is that I am now known to be very active on Periscope, I have more and more of my clients there every day and the new tribe I have met and connected with – are people I may not have ever connected with if it weren’t for Periscope!
So, here’s your homework assignment this week. Yep, you are going to have homework!
- Block off an hour this week and spend some time in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter, and Periscope.
- At a minimum, pick 3 and spend some time in each of them exploring the features, clicking around, searching for things that are of interest to you and decide which platforms you are going to invest more time in.
I think sometimes we worry doing this is a waste or time – just ‘surfing around.’
But, how can you dismiss something if you haven’t ever tried it? I sheepishly raise my hand to say that is how I felt about Snapchat. For the longest time, I felt like Snapchat wasn’t for me and I hadn’t even tried it. But, once I downloaded it and actually took the time to learn it – then I realized it was quickly becoming one of my favorite platforms!
Now, the second big question remains: where are your clients at online? Again, for a lot of us we assume – we assume our clients aren’t on Snapchat or Twitter – because we aren’t.
So, here is your second homework assignment (yep, there are two!)
- Write a list of your 10 current clients (either current clients you are working with now or your 10 most recent clients.) This list can be on a spreadsheet or just written down on a post-it.
- Then, I want to you to block off another hour. In this hour, I want you to Google each client, but what I want you to do is Google them with quotes around their name like this: “Katie Lance.” Look to see what comes up on page 1 in Google. Now, if their name is common, you may need to search their name and city, such as “Katie Lance” + Their City.
- This list will give you a good start of where they are online. Look at the top 5-10 links – if they are Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or others, you are looking for two things: is their profile up-to-date (i.e. recent photo) but more importantly, when is the last time they posted? If the last time they posted was in 2012 (or they aren’t on the platform at all, it’s a pretty good assumption they are not on there at all.)
- Make a note on that spreadsheet or post-it of where they seem to be most active and a link to that account.
- If you are active on the platforms they are active on, connect with them there!
- Lastly, I want to you to send a personal email individually to each of these 10 people and say something like this (feel free to copy and paste and edit as needed):
Hope all is well! I am doing an informal survey to see which of my clients are on Snapchat. Are you active there? Let me know either way – thank you!
The reason this email is so important is that Snapchat is one of the fastest growing social media platforms, however it can be really challenging to know if your clients are there or not because the way you discover people in Snapchat is different than any other platform. In fact, if you are new to Snapchat, you may want to read my Snapchat Guide for Newbies (which I created after spending hours figuring out how to use the platform.)
Also, this simple email asks a simple question – if they are on Snapchat then great – you can connect with them there – but if they aren’t, that’s ok too and you may have a dialog back and forth about where they are or are not on social media.
So, the question remains – how are you going to figure out once and for all which platforms to be on? The answer is really simple; where do you like to be and where are your clients at? Once you have answered that – then you can move onto creating content and creating a strategy that will help you keep in touch more effectively with your clients and will build your brand and your business.
Just remember – success in social media is a marathon and not a sprint. I don’t expect to get a ton of business from Snapchat tomorrow – but I do see the rewards down the line, just like I have seen with other social platforms. If you are curious about how I personally use each platform and my ‘secret sauce’ for tying them together – you should read this post.
I’d love to hear from you once you read this and also once you complete your homework assignments. Leave me a comment below, send me a Tweet, or join the conversation in our awesome Facebook community. I’d love to hear your results!
P.S. Tired of the social media time suck? Ready to get smarter about how you use social media? Looking for more guidance on how to best use each social media platform? Check out our #GetSocialSmart Academy here!