In this episode of Secrets of the Top 100 Agents, host Tim Neary is joined by founder and director of boutique digital marketing agency Chronicle Republic, Tiffany Wilson to discuss why you should hire a social media expert for your agency.
Tiffany reveals the challenges agents face when using social media as a marketing platform and how to get it to differentiate you from your competitors, and connect you with your audience.
In this episode find out:
- Why you should specialise on your product
- How to know if you’re getting a good result on your marketing
- Why all agents should embrace social media
Tune in now to hear all this and much, much more in this episode of Secrets of the Top 100 Agents!
Speaker 1: The top 100 agents are the best of the best, listing and selling more than any other agent in Australia. These are the practises, actions, and beliefs of the most successful agents in Australian real estate. Raw, honest, and completely uncut.
Tim Neary: Good day, everyone. It's Tim Neary here. I am editor of Real Estate Business and host of the Secrets of the Top 100 Agents podcast. Thanks for tuning in. On the show today is Tiffany Wilson. Tiffany is a great friend of REB's and a regular blogger for us. Tiffany's also the founder and director of boutique digital marketing agency Chronicle Republic, which specialises in the business of Australian real estate. Hello, Tiffany, and welcome to the show.
Tiffany Wilson: Hi, Tim. Thanks for having me.
Tim Neary: You're very welcome. Now, let's just get straight into it. What does Chronicle Republic specialise in?
Tiffany Wilson: Well, essentially, we are a digital marketing agency for real estate professionals, but we really like to focus on content marketing. That entails social media, email marketing, blogging, and a bit of search engine optimization. I think really what we do is bring brand stories to life. We essentially help people tell their story and get their message across to their consumers.
Tim Neary: This, obviously for agents, so how does this benefit agents?
Tiffany Wilson: From our point of view, being able to outsource that marketing component to somebody else is a great asset because it's extremely time-consuming. As a very busy agent, you're already doing tonnes of different things or as an agency, principally, you're doing lots of different things, so being able to get the right help onboard to help you communicate that and not have to spend too much time on it yourself is a great benefit in itself. But the digital marketing channels available to businesses these days are so expansive, and digital marketing really is something that every business needs to be doing to succeed, so There's huge benefit in going down that path.
Tim Neary: We've seen with, and you've done some blogging for us, and I've seen you talked a little bit earlier about how you bring stories to life. I've seen with the blogs that you write, you do have a really good talent of bringing those stories to life and making that. When you're writing the blogs, is that something that you're thinking about because it seems like it's a real skill that you have. Is it something that anybody can do or is there a technique in doing that?
Tiffany Wilson: Well, I actually have a background in journalism, so that definitely helps, and multiple years of marketing experience obviously helps as well. But for us, when we start working with a client, we like to sit down with them and spend a couple of hours really working through who their customer base is and what makes them different as a brand. So really understanding that, then allows us to communicate what they're trying to get across because quite often, real estate agents or real estate agencies don't have the skills to do that. They know what they want to say, but they don't know how to communicate it. So that's where we can come in and help them deliver that message.
Tim Neary: I mean I think that's really important, is it, because this is a highly competitive market. There's, in one are, you might have four or five different really good agents that are all vying for that same piece of business. As an agent, you really want to be understanding what your point of difference is and then being able to communicate it and communicate it in a way that people understand and it's clear. I guess that's where a lot of agents might need that extra special skill.
Tiffany Wilson: One of the biggest challenges for real estate brands is differentiating themselves because essentially, they all offer the same thing. Their product or the service is the same. A lot of brands don't actually know what their point of difference is, and sometimes going through that process with us in the beginning, that strategy session, it helps them to bring that to the surface and to actually define what those things are. And then they think, "Oh, wow. I didn't realise that we actually did that so differently to other agencies," and then we can, then, turn that into a marketing message and communicate it.
Tim Neary: Because it's not always easy. I mean it's not always apparent, is it, what your point of difference is. I mean you would go about your business and you would do your business and you would do it to the best of your ability, but you may not know, unless you go through it with an expert, what it is that differentiates you exactly from somebody else.
Tiffany Wilson: Yeah. Definitely. I think something that I would highly suggest for agents that are looking to tap into that from a personal branding perspective is to look up what is actually of interest to them on a personal level, so bringing their own personality and don't be afraid to show who you really are and be genuine because that's how you form connections and break down those trust barriers with people. So particularly, that transforms into social media channels really well where you can actually showcase some of that personality in a professional way.
Tim Neary: I think that's what the market really cries out for a lot, isn't it? It's that authenticity. It'll pick up when people are being honest and when they're giving of themselves and they'll kind of be rewarded for that, wouldn't they? I mean the-
Tiffany Wilson: Absolutely.
Tim Neary: ... people tend to, particularly, and you mentioned a little earlier sort of in the social media channels, they're ideally sort of set up to allow people to express themselves.
Tiffany Wilson: Absolutely. Social media is social at the end of the day. It's not about just promoting yourself and your business. It's actually about showing the person behind the brand or the people behind the brand. We find that that kind of content on social media really resonates with audiences. If you post something that your wife's pregnant or something like that, quite often those posts get a huge amount of engagement because people want to see that authenticity.
Tim Neary: That real you. That real you. The clue is the title. Social. Yeah, yeah.
Tiffany Wilson: Definitely. But it shouldn't be all about that at the same time. You still have to have some elements of promotion in there.
Tim Neary: There's a balance, isn't it? And that's where people like you come in and know when it's time to change gear, I guess and go ... Talking about changing gears, what about digital marketing? It's been around for a little while, for a long while now in the market. What trends, what ... In fact, before we get to trends, how has digital marketing changed the market?
Tiffany Wilson: Well, I think it's completely transformed the market, really. There's so much more information available to buyers and sellers in this day and age. People do go out there and do their research. That means that their expectations are then much higher as well, so that availability of information has completely transformed the industry.
I think from a marketing perspective, the digital channels have given so much more opportunity to both agents and agencies. There's so many different avenues you can go down now. It just opened up a whole world of opportunity to promote yourself more and get out there and get in front of the right people and reach the right people.
Tim Neary: Are there downsides to that? Is there anything that people need to be, agents need to be wary of or be careful of?
Tiffany Wilson: Definitely. I think it is a big challenge for businesses, and I suppose agents as well because it's such a fast-paced industry. Things are changing all the time. Social media, even in the last two years, has evolved drastically. I'm seeing a lot of people wasting time and money because they don't really know what they're doing, unfortunately. That's where bringing in an expert, because it has become so specialised, can be very beneficial.
Tim Neary: In terms of saving time, which in the end is saving money, and I guess that there would be some other things around, sort of reputation and brand and stuff that you would want to pay attention to. But talking about changes that are happening, what trends are you seeing emerging in this space?
Tiffany Wilson: Social media in digital marketing is obviously a huge buzzword. In the business world in general, not just in real estate, but in particular, in real estate, I've noticed it's become a bigger trend in the last year. It was a big topic at AREC. A lot of speakers were covering off on it. So yeah. Social medial obviously is a huge trend. In particular, Facebook advertising is becoming something that is more and more prolific. I'm seeing more of it happening.
Again, going back to those challenges, what it tends to be happening is a lot of people are wasting money on Facebook advertising because it is so specialised that they don't really know what budget to use, what kind of ads to do, how long to advertise for, etc. Although it's becoming a trend, it is becoming a challenge as well.
Tim Neary: Is Facebook, is it fair to say Facebook is the main channel to use or are there others that are equally as, I want to say good for want of a better word?
Tiffany Wilson: Facebook definitely is the most used channel in Australia. There's 17 million active users in Australia, so that's 70% of population, which is huge. Instagram is the second most popular channel. They've got about 5 million active users in Australia. But Facebook is used by about 95% of social media users. It's certainly got the highest reach and has the most opportunity at this point in time.
The other channels, obviously, LinkedIn, Twitter, are other important channels as well, but in the last year, the stats are showing there has been a decline in the usage of those two channels. So I would suggest anybody who's considering getting into social media or not sure where to allocate resources, focus on Facebook and Instagram, depending on your market and who you're trying to attract, but they are the most popular channels and the most used.
Tim Neary: They're the growing channels. What impact is it likely to have for agents in the business of social media, in the business of using social media to promote themselves?
Tiffany Wilson: I think the impact is really that it's becoming almost an extension of the database, so rather than just relying on traditional prospecting efforts like calling or [inaudible 00:09:27] cards, signage, community sponsorships, etc., Facebook in particular is now becoming an extension of that because you can reach people in particular suburbs. You can target by post code. There's lots of cool things you can do. It allows you to also keep that regular touchpoint and be top of mind, so it's definitely becoming an extension of the database for real estate.
Tim Neary: You're at the pointy end of the business. You're working with the best agents in the business. What are you seeing that the best agents are doing in this space?
Tiffany Wilson: Obviously, employing an expert to manage your social media channels has huge benefit because it is so specialised. I do see a lot of agents and agencies that are essentially wasting a lot of time on their social medial channels because they don't really know what they're doing. They're just posting content to tick a box, basically. But they're not reaching anybody. They're not actually engaging with people. That's really where the value is.
For a start, if you can afford it, definitely bring on someone who's an expert who knows what they're doing and who can help you because ultimately, you want to be working on your business and not in your business, and if you are having to manage social media on a daily basis, incredibly time-consuming. It can actually take up to 25 hours a month to manage a social media channel.
Tim Neary: We're getting to the end of the show now, Tiffany. I wanted to ask you, I mean as we've been speaking, I guess agents listening to this would be making a sort of a value call in their minds saying they want to be in social, and I think everybody knows that it's an important step to take. But they'd be in that point now where they'd be going, "I've been doing it myself. Should I carry on doing it myself? Or should I move to an expert and get an expert and to come and help me?" What would you advise somebody to say, when is it time to make that move? How do you know that what you're doing is not working and how do you know or what should you be getting from your social that you're not necessarily getting, and it's time to move?
Tiffany Wilson: Well, ultimately, you want to be generating some kind of business from your social media channels because there's a lot of work involved to manage these things. If you're not reaching your business goals and you're not finding that social media is converting to one of those business goals, then you probably need some additional help. Don't focus too much on vanity metrics like likes and followers, etc. It doesn't matter if you have a small following. If you have a following of under 1,000 people, if they're quality people that are actually interacting with you on a regular basis and enjoying your content, then that's okay. That's not a problem.
Also, something to consider is you may not be looking at social media just for leads. There might be another objective, so it could be brand awareness. Getting yourself out there. You might want to just build your email database, and you're using social media as a channel to do that. It really depends. I think you need to just sit down and think about: what am I actually trying to get out of this? Am I get that? The only way you can do that, you can analyse that is by looking at your analytics, which I'm hoping that most people have a business profile and not a personal profile because if you do have a personal profile, you won't be able to know whether you're actually reaching people or not. Then, kind of working out from there, whether you want to actually allocate budget to it.
Allocating budget is something that's really important, particularly for Facebook because it is a pay-for-play channel now. It's not a free channel anymore. Social media hasn't been a free channel for a very long time. If they can allocate some budget to it and they're really serious about making it part of their overall marketing strategy, then that's when you might want to consider bringing on someone professional.
Tim Neary: I think that's golden because what you're really saying is: are you getting a return from it? Are you getting results from the work that you're doing. The results might not necessarily be getting leads. You might want to get something else. You want to build some brand, or you might want to build some database. But whatever it is that you want to build, if you're getting it, then you're probably doing okay. But in order for you to know whether you're getting it, you need to know what your analytics are.
Tiffany Wilson: Exactly. Yeah.
Tim Neary: So if you're not there, if you can't answer those questions, then you need some help.
Tiffany Wilson: Exactly. If you have no idea what we're talking about right now, maybe you should consider getting an expert involved.
Tim Neary: And on that note, I think that's a great place to end for today, but it would be great to get you back in because this is a constantly moving channel. As things evolve, it'd be great to get you back in again and talk to the latest changes.
Tiffany Wilson: Yes. I would love that. Thank you, Tim.
Tim Neary: Fantastic. Thank you.
Tiffany Wilson: Thanks for having me.
Tim Neary: Thanks for coming in, Tiffany. It's been lovely to have you here.
Tiffany Wilson: Thank you.
Tim Neary: Fantastic. Remember to follow us on all the social media stuff: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook. You can follow me too on Twitter @TimothyJNeary if you want to do that. Remember to tune in next week. RealEstateBusiness.com.au is where you'll find us. There's plenty of stories there on the business of real estate across the whole of Australia and on my guest today, Tiffany Wilson. Thanks again for tuning in. We'll see you next week. Good bye.