When I am working with potential and established franchisees on ways to increase their ability to generate leads, nine out of 10 never seem to encompass social media in their marketing activities.
Love it or loathe it, social media needs to be a part of your business moving forward. Here are three reasons why:
1. It’s where your customers now spend their time
Today we can see digital nativity from toddlers to teenagers, right through to the notorious baby boomers. Of course, toddlers and teenagers are not a target audience for lending specialists; however Gen Y, Gen X and baby boomers most certainly are.
The penetration of TV is being diluted by streaming services such as Netflix, Stan and Presto, and radio with services such as Spotify, Pandora and now Apple Music, while poor old print is ceasing circulation at a rate of knots. Potential customers are not listening to the radio or watching TV or reading the paper as much as they used to – instead, they are spending their time on social media platforms using hand-held gadgets.
According to statistics gathered in November 2014, the average person spent between 36 minutes and 51 minutes per day on social media platforms. In January 2015, this average spend increased to 1.72 hours per day, according to marketing company Sensis – and is still on the up.
2. It’s a guaranteed low-cost tool to drive traffic to your website
There is no use having the best website in the market if a potential customer searches for your service on Google and it doesn’t appear in the top five organic search results on the first page. When was the last time you looked at page two in Google’s search results?
There are many great – and many not so great – companies that provide a service to boost SEO (search engine optimisation) and SEM (search engine marketing) services. However, not only can they be costly, but they can also cause long-term damage.
What many people are not aware of is that Google changes the algorithms, rules and regulations of SEO and SEM on a constant basis. So if you use a company that does a certain type of activity for SEO or SEM purposes on your web page and Google changes the goal posts so that the activity is deemed no longer allowed, your page will incur a penalty, which, in short, means your website won’t be able to make it past page five of Google’s search results for at least a year, to three years in extreme cases.
Having a strong social presence and a clear social strategy will successfully drive traffic to your website without a large expense, and organically rank your website higher for organic search results.
3. It’s how your customers find and choose you
Gone are the days of Yellow Pages. If customers want to find a service or a person, they search Google. Therefore, if you do not have a strong digital footprint, customers will not be able to find you.
Real estate is a relationship business, and what sets you apart from your competitors is your service and expertise. Customers use social platforms such as WOMO, LinkedIn (recommendations) Facebook (testimonials, status updates, shared content) to see what other customers say about you and if your services are recommended.
Customers are 71 per cent more likely to make a decision to buy your product or use your service based on social media referrals, while 81 per cent of customers' purchase decisions are influenced by friends’ social media posts, according to a Forbes Market Force report.