Mathias Bergendahl's Marketing Blog


Avoiding the Urge to Sell on Social Media Platforms
April 17, 2009, 2:20 pm
Filed under: Social Media Marketing

tshirt

It’s common nature. No matter how much you know you’ll need assistance, by the time you enter the door to a retail store and a smiling store clerk greets you with a cheerful “Can I help you?” you know your answer will be “I’m just looking.”

A few years ago I entered a furniture store and even though I tried my best to sneak in without gaining the attention of a sales person, it didn’t work. Before the door even had a chance to shut behind me a clerk who eagerly had waited for my arrival asked if she could help. Even though I was there to look at a specific furniture set I had already seen at their website, I found myself saying “I’m just here to look around.” Why? Because as most people I do not like to be sold anything, and certainly not being rushed. As consumers we want to take our time, and then seek help when we’re ready.

Driving home that day I thought about what it is that makes us react that way. Better yet, I thought about what I’d do if I were in the position of a store clerk. I certainly would want to be helpful and I would like to greet those coming in, but at the same time I wouldn’t want to come off as pushy. So, what to do? Here’s my idea: I would make a tennis shirt with the imprint “Ready When You Are” on the front. I would stand inside the door but instead of verbally greeting them I would simply let my clothing welcome them. While my idea hasn’t been tested, I believe some probably would come up to me when in fact they are ready to ask questions, instead of trying to avoid me if I came to greet them at the doorstep.

The Anonymous Online Shopper

As consumers we want to be in charge when we seek out product and service providers. We want to take our time finding the information we need, and then take action when we’re ready. We will not allow ourselves to be rushed and in the event we feel as if we’re being pushed we will walk away. We will probably seek the guidance by others through testimonials and the ones we trust the most will get the call or visit. These days the Internet allows us to do our research anonymously. We can spend our time learning about products, services, and certainly real estate professionals, from the comfort of our homes. In fact, most of us probably even prefer to begin our exploration online before picking up the phone, enter a retail store or stop by a real estate office. Knowing that, what can you do to cater to such preferences? My suggestion: start blogging. It’s a nonintrusive introduction to prospective customers. If you provide valuable information consumers will continue to visit your blog. While they may not need to buy or sell a home by the time they find you, when they do need someone you’re likely to be the one they contact.

Are Your Social Media Platforms Saying “Ready When You Are?”

Think of your FaceBook page, LinkedIn profile and blog as your virtual showrooms. Picture yourself as a consumer, entering your “store” for the first time. Ask yourself whether you would feel as if you were being sold something. Consider whether your messages come off as pushy. Assess whether you’re providing valuable information that would benefit the consumer. Are you giving them enticing reasons to come back? Are you providing something they cannot find at other websites and blogs?

My suggestion is to treat your blog and other social media platforms as if they were a virtual concierge. You’re there to facilitate the information process for your visitors. Rather than immediately display pictures of your listings you’ll want to educate them, provide valuable information and establish your knowledge and credibility without coming off as selling. An important part of your blog should also be to entertain them, such as showcasing local gems and giving them interesting tidbits about the area you serve and they live in. Instead of focusing on your credentials, you want them to spend time reading the information you’re giving them without being perceived as being sold anything. Engage them by asking questions, such as what they want to learn more about. Invite them to discuss the topics you’re blogging about.

If the overall message on your platforms gives them the feeling that you in fact are “Ready When you Are,” by the time they want to find out more, they will come find you.

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Using LinkedIn to Expand and Nurture Your Sphere of Influence
April 13, 2009, 4:31 pm
Filed under: Social Media Marketing

Getting started with social media marketing can be a bit intimidating: so many networks, so little time. In the classes I teach I make the recommendation to start off by using three social media platforms, in addition to your website, and then expand with others when those three are established.

First, I suggest building a blog. Next, I recommend creating a FaceBook profile. The third platform I consider essential for any professional working to create an online presence is LinkedIn. While the first two have been covered quite extensively in this blog before, today I thought I’d focus on the benefits of having a LinkedIn account and profile.

First, let’s take a look at the setup process. James Kimmons of About.com offers an excellent gallery of images showing you, step-by-step, how to set up your real estate-specific profile. Click here to go to Setting Up A Successful LinkedIn Real Estate Profile, This Business Network Can Bring You Huge Business In The Future.

Once you have your profile ready it’s time define exactly how you can use it for business purposes. Earlier today I came across the article Effective Marketing on LinkedIn by Helen Overland, a text I consider an excellent overview of what exactly LinkedIn offers from a marketing perspective.

Next, many ask how you can attract buyers and sellers. Here are a few great tips by Jim Lillig in her text How to Promote Your Offline Business using LinkedIn and by Jim Gilbert in 5 Tips for Using LinkedIn as a Business Tool by Jim Gilbert.

Finally, by now you have your very own WordPress blog if you’ve been part of my social media marketing classes. In my opinion the very best feature of LinkedIn is the possibility of integrating your WordPress blog directly into your LinkedIn profile. If you click here you can see what my profile looks like, with my WordPress (which I use in my social media marketing classes) blog feeding every post automatically onto the LinkedIn profile.