The days of ignoring social media have ended. Over 90% of young adults use social media. Facebook alone claims 72% of adult internet users, 70% of which log on daily. Instagram has over 500 million monthly active users, and Facebook has over 1 billion daily users.

That’s right. Billion. With a B.

With numbers like these, it’s obvious why businesses everywhere scramble to jump on the social media wagon: ignoring these cultural shifts will leave you blinded by the dust of your competition. This leads many businesses to embark on a social media blitz, opening accounts in all the major platforms and blasting content without much consideration of purpose or target. Unfortunately, the immediate posting frenzy is difficult to maintain, and often loses momentum quickly. Many are left with multiple zombie accounts, neither living nor dead, that tend to only scare away potential clients. In many ways, poor management of social media is worse than ignoring it altogether.

Social media is simply too widespread to ignore, and too powerful to mismanage. It can guide new customers to you, while strengthening your relationships with current and previous clients. When used effectively, it expands your reach, generates new leads, and improves the success of your business. Without it, you risk damaging your connection to clients and drifting into obscurity.

If you’re unsure about where to begin, or feel like you don’t have the time to develop an effective strategy, you can follow the tips below to get you started. You won’t be disappointed.

Stay focused:  Your time is precious. Unless you invest in social media management tools, every social media platform you join will require levels of time and energy. Instead of opening accounts on every platform, consider the ones that will help you deliver your unique message to your audience. Facebook is fantastic for delivering content, such as blogs or live streaming an open home, and is by far the most popular with adults between the ages of 30 and 65. Instagram is great for showcasing feature listings, and might be useful if you are targeting millennials. Be selective when choosing your social media platforms so you can effectively engage your contacts, but not over extend yourself.

Understand your purpose:  There are countless reasons for real estate businesses to use social media. Maybe you want to develop trust with your contacts, showcase your listings, or extend the reach of your current contact pool. Or you might want all three. Social media can do it all, but without a clear purpose in mind you will likely accomplish little while confusing your audience and losing their interest. So, consider the overall objective you want to achieve from each platform, and design your posts to satisfy that goal. If you are unable to identify a clear objective, consider the pain points of your business, and consider how social media might be used to solve these issues. It won’t take long to see the potential reward.

Reward your followers:  People follow businesses on social media for multiple reasons, but generally they are looking to stay connected, receive fresh updates, and enjoy relevant content. In other words, they want something from you. Your job on social media is to give them what they want, while simultaneously guiding them towards your services. A simple way of offering value to your followers is by delivering exclusive content or rewards to your followers. You can share your latest properties with your Instagram followers first, or offer an online viewing with Facebook livestream before your open for inspection. Give them what they crave, and they will want to return.

Post regularly:  These days it’s common practice to research a business long before choosing to use their services, and social media is a fantastic research tool. If your Facebook wall is covered with consistent posts of worthwhile content, your visitors will leave impressed. Likewise, if your visitors find your YouTube channel’s last video upload was in 2007, you may inspire indifference. You don’t need to post every day, but posting content regularly will keep your audience engaged and build confidence in your visitors. As well, it helps to establish a consistent pattern so your audience knows when to expect your next post.

Be unique:  Social media platforms are noisy, crowded arenas. Not only do you contend with your direct competitors, but you also must drag your reader’s attention away from endless content that is designed to catch their interest. The only way to compete is to stand out. Be creative and try something new. Show off your personality. Discover a voice that’s rare and refreshing. You will gain attention by differentiating yourself from your competition.

Have you developed success on social media?  If you have insights of your own that you would like to share, leave them in the comment section below.