We recently met with a real estate client, owner of commercial and recreational properties throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, to begin 2009 planning. Imagine our delight when “social media” was at the top of the meeting’s agenda!
We were impressed when the communications manager began the discussion about social media with “we need you to help us get under way the right and best way possible; to get our executives comfortable with the brave new world of social media; and to integrate this campaign into the other communications activities.”
As we begin to devise the firm’s overall social media strategy, we’ve already provided the communications manager with these steps for getting the real estate firm’s executives up-to-speed and on board with social media so they’ll appreciate our recommendations even more:
#1 – Sign up for an RSS feed to receive updates from thought-leaders and others in the real estate industry. Just experiment, learn and explore. If you’re a newbie and that’s all you get out of this post, it’s enough for now. And it’s free. Here’s a great video clip from Common Craft on what “our friend, the RSS reader” is all about.
#2 – Read blogs relevant to your segment of the industry, using your new RSS reader. Ask others who they follow and when you find real estate bloggers you like, check out their blogrolls (a blogger’s list of their favorite blogs in the sidebar of their blog) to find out who they follow. Mix it up. When you get bored of some, find others and keep building and tweaking your list.
#2a – If this seems like enough for now, stop, enjoy your RSS and blog reading and return to this list later.
#3 – Become familiar and get involved with social networking sites. Begin with LinkedIn and Facebook (where you’ll be surprised at all the relevant sub-groups worth joining and tracking). Sign up for accounts even if you don’t understand why you should join; a lot of these social media applications don’t make a lot of sense at the beginning and new applications and uses are always being added, so being part of the network now puts you at a much greater advantage.
#4 – Get involved with Twitter, first by simply setting up a personal account and listening to what others are saying about your company and industry. Once you get a feel for how Twitter works you can move from “lurker” to a participant in the conversations.
#5 – Finally, explore and learn even more by signing up for webinars, listening to podcasts, learning what a widget is, what a wiki is, how people are sharing and commenting on pictures with Flickr, how organizations are using YouTube channels, etc. This might sound confusing today, but tackle one new element at a time and pretty soon you’ll catch up.
We urge the company’s executives to take these five steps at their own pace, beginning with signing up for an RSS reader to begin their journey. It’s more about jumping in and participating than finding the ideal “how-to” book.