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June 13, 2012

Building Your Social Credibility Doesn’t Happen Overnight

by mark mclean

Last week I attended the NAR TechEdge event in Toronto. While the conference flew a little under the radar for many, it was an excellent primer for agents interested in using Social Media to increase their business. There were several great speakers who talked about their experiences with Twitter, Facebook, blogging and video and how these assets have changed their business positively. While reviewing my notes a few days later it occurred to me that what they were really getting at was increasing our Social Credibility. I stopped for a minute to Google that  on the off-chance that I just coined a new phrase (I didn’t).

I have talked a lot about building credibility in previous posts http://bit.ly/LtndUM however the suggestions I made fell mostly outside the Social Media arena. So today I wanted to condense the notes I made at TechEdge into a streamlined post on building your social credibility.  For me, Social Credibility consists of many things and while we usually wrap it under the general term of “branding”, I think it also encompasses your philosophy, aesthetic and your image.

The host of the event, Amy Chorew, www.amychorew.com  talked about how the internet has changed how buyers and sellers are creating their own experience for house hunting. They are doing it on their terms when they want to. That means that if a buyer is looking for a house at Friday midnight, you also have to be out there at Friday midnight proving how good you are. I suppose THAT is one of the benefits of having a strong on-line presence….It works 24 hrs a day for you.  So, how can you create Social Credibility? Check out my top 10 take aways from the conference;

1. Listen, learn, curate, create and network. Listen to what people are saying. Learn their likes and dislikes. Curate or report on the things that are interesting to them. Create interesting and relevent information that they can use. Network or spread the word to other groups with similar interests.

2. Touch 5 people a day on-line and 5 people offline. Real estate is a numbers game so reach out to people every day. As Virginia Munden www.waynemunden.com says…Take your on-line relationship off-line.

3. Focus on People in your community. One of the speakers’ Benjamin Bach, made an interesting point here. When you define your market and the people you want to reach out to you are basically drawing a line in the sand. If someone doesn’t want to live in your neighbourhood they may talk to you initially but will lose interest in what you are offering and move on. If you are going to lose them anyway, then lose them quickly.

4. Report competently with relevant information. Needless to say, if you are writing about an event that is happening in the community you must make sure the information is correct and timely. Don’t write about a new store opening, write about how great the store is and how its success will benefit the neighbourhood.

5. You can’t brand yourself to everyone so focus your message on the group you want to market to. Don’t waste time, money and effort trying to market yourself to a group or area that may not buy into what you are offering. Another fine jewel from Benjamin Bach demonstrates this point clearly. Imagine you are in a huge hall filled with people and a voice comes on the intercom announcing that a car is on fire in the parking lot. Practically no one takes notice. Now imagine that the voice says there is a red BMW on fire. A targeted message clearly has a desired effect.

6. Content is king but it has to be in context.  It is important to determine what topics or areas of interest matter to your potential clients and then stay focused on that. It’s one thing to say ‘check out this article on backyard fire pits’ but it is another to say ‘ check out this article on how a backyard fire pit can add value to your life AND your home’.

7. Show your character. People need to identify with your personality. Videos and video testimonials are great ways of showing off who you are and how well you do it.

8. Provide a call to action. It’s one thing to put information out there but you won’t get any business out of it if you don’t ask. Also consider polls on various topics to help engage your audience and get them thinking about you and your product or service.

9. Continually build up your social capital by engaging with people. When you communicate and engage with people they become your embassadors and help you build more followers.

10.Create a hub (blog or website) and use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, business cards, posters, flyers as spokes to drive traffic.

It is evident that building your on-line credibility doesn’t happen overnight but like everything else, a well thought out plan on how to build and mantain it will only help you in the long run. I think it is important to think of your social credibility as your reputation.

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