Are you currently dedicating a percentage of your marketing time and/or budget to promoting your real estate school on Facebook? How’s it working for you? If you don’t feel like you’re getting out of social media what you’re putting into it, you’re probably ignoring some of the cardinal social media rules that successful businesses live by.
1. Know your audience.
Knowing your audience is critical on social media. There are 3 critical tasks you can perform once you truly understand who you are trying to reach: (1) Picking your platform, (2) steering your content, and (3) speaking the audience’s language. The audience you want to reach should be the driving factor in all three of these big decisions. Ask yourself the following questions:
Who is my ideal or typical student?
Which social media platform are they most comfortable in?
What information do they need, that I am uniquely positioned to provide?
How can I present that information in a way that will resonate with them and make sense, given their current understanding of the topic?
You likely have a classroom full of your typical audience right now. Talk to them! Getting to know your current students will help you understand the ones you want to reach.
2. Get it right in one place first.
There are dozens of popular social media platforms you could use to promote your real estate school. But if you’ve done the work described in tip #1, you know which ones are the best fits. Now consider what it takes to be successful in that platform. If a particular platform would require more time than you have available, it’s probably not a good fit. Once you choose one, focus 100% of your social media effort on it, especially at first. To become more effective in one platform quickly, you need to do some research as you launch your presence:
Learn how people interact in the platform. Each social media platform almost uses its own language to communicate. Are hashtags used? Can you @mention other users?
Figure out what types of content get the best engagement. Do photos, videos, memes, or plain-text posts drive the most response?
Understand what types of topics seem to work best in the given platform.
Don’t be concerned that you’re not reaching potential students who don’t use that platform. Focusing your efforts in one platform ensures that you drive the best possible experience for users there. That’s a lot more valuable than spreading yourself too thin across several platforms.
3. Stop selling…engage.
Don’t think of Twitter and Facebook as channels to push your message to the masses. Instead, view them as a way for you to invite the right people to get a glimpse of what you’re all about as a school. Ask their opinions. Make them laugh. Inspire and encourage them. Teach and inform them. Now and then, remind them that you have classes coming up. But more importantly, focus on showing them you’re the best choice for real estate education…so when they’re ready to enroll, there’s only one logical school for their real estate education.
4. Make it interactive.
Telling is fine, showing is better, but interacting is the best way to create a memorable experience for users on social media. If you‘ve spent any amount of time on any social media platform recently, you’ve probably noticed people love to be heard. Here are a few examples of how you can create interactive content in social media:
Ask a lot of questions. Share news stories or blog posts about hot-button issues in real estate and ask users to weigh in with their opinion.
Feature your students. Short video testimonials or photos of students on the last day of their prelicensing course are the type of thing that can lead to a lot of shares, likes, and comments. That equals visibility for your school.
Feature your course content by holding Q&A contests with prizes.
Traditional marketing was about pushing content in front of someone. Successful social media marketing is about inviting people to get involved.
5. Be consistent.
Most real estate schools do not have the staff budget to dedicate someone exclusively to social media, and that’s completely fine. You don’t necessarily need to be posting and responding all day long. But you need to figure out a cadence that works for you and makes sense for the platform…and stick to it.
6. Have a personality.
It’s called social media after all, right? People like to interact with people, not brands. So it’s valuable to use a voice and personality in social media that humanizes your brand. One particular strategy that really embodies this tip is operating in social media as yourself, on behalf of your school, rather than as your real estate school. This isn’t for everybody. But if you are a recognizable figure in your local market with a personable style, this could be a major differentiator for your school.
Once you have points 1 through 6 down, it’s time to think about investing in your social presence. Facebook, for instance, has largely become a pay-to-play platform for businesses. The good news is, if your content is particularly good and engaging, a very small investment can go a long way to ensuring you reach more of your followers. Amplification is really about purchasing the opportunity to get more organic interaction. Good content, when amplified, will generate a response. That response will show in your followers’ newsfeeds and generate more responses.