Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Episode 35 - Managing your social media expectations

First off I would like to give a hat tip to Brent Williams, the chief at MultifamilyInsiders.com, for spurring this conversation and inspiring this post. We had an interesting conversation going on from one of my previous posts, and it came around to "managing one's expectations with social media." I've said all along that social media is a part to building your online brand. With building any brand we all know it takes time, and building an online brand can seem like you're doing it all over again. The good news is that if you already have a brand then it's not a complete rebuild, but it's taking a different view point for how your brand is going to present itself online. This doesn't happen overnight, and the "build it and they will come" concept just doesn't work. No longer can you just build a website and hope people find you. You need to continually build your presence online, you need a strategy, and you needed to start yesterday. For those of you that have started, GREAT! For those of you thinking about starting, it's time to get a move on.

In my comments to Brent from that post I shared what I've helped J.C. Hart do over the last 2 years to build a better online brand. That's right 2 years. Here's what I shared:
This is a challenge and a hurdle so many struggle with. The main issue really isn't where the resources are coming from, but how people are stuck in their thinking and perspective. It's scary to take risk and it's scary to change. I just don't think that is an excuse. So here's what I've done in the last 2 years, and how it's been a wash when it comes to dollars invested.

1. I just went for it and dropped the print guides. Yep, we did it.
2. Pooled together the new found saving for our Indianapolis Area Apartments and created a kick ass marketing fund for the city/market.
3. Hired an online media agency to help me with our online brand and online assets.
3. Allocated some of the $ saved to completely redesigning, optimizing, and overhauling our website(s).
4. Allocated some of the $ to adding additional ILS listings.
5. Dove in head first to personally understand as many social media channels as I could. I mainly did this on my own time.
6. Along with online media agency helped build online social assets like blogs, facebook pages, a YouTube channel, and Twitter account.
7. Organized a strategy for on site teams to blog.
8. Watch physical traffic from year to year (in a down market year) go up. Watch website traffic from year to year increase 50%.
9. Always believe there is a better way to do things. Innovate, innovate, innovate.
10. Rule #76: No excuses. Play like a champion.

So that's it in a nutshell for me and J.C. Hart, and we're still rolling with some killer new projects for 2010. As I continue to say, there is no cookie cutter approach. What works for me won't work for everyone, and social media in general isn't for everyone. That said, I do truly believe that anyone can at least do something to build a better online brand. It may not be with Twitter or Facebook, but more time dedicated to your online assets shouldn't be a decision that is limited by economics.

If you'd like to read all the comments and watch the original post you can visit it here.

All this said, I've got quite the video for you today. Six minutes of fun for why social media needs to be a part of your online brand and how success won't happen overnight. It's a long term strategy. Thanks for stopping by.

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