Viewing by month: March 2012

How to easily generate social media content on a regular basis

For those real estate franchise businesses that are pondering the uptake of various social media platforms (such as Facebook, Twitter, an office blog, etc), one of the key considerations is the regular generation of interesting content.  How do you continually create and post useful information in a way that doesn’t take up too much time?


Plan ahead

Much like you would map out any company strategy, a good way for businesses to work with social media may be to plan out a content schedule at least a month in advance. With an idea of what you want to write about, and when it will be posted, it becomes easier to delegate different articles to various team members. 


Theme your posts

Consider what it is that your readers would like to be hearing from a real estate organisation.  Perhaps it is news about the local area, both real estate- and community-specific, updates on the national property market, or tips about the buying/selling/moving process. 


Creating themes/subjects for your content based on what your audience is interested in can be a helpful way to structure your social media activity and assist you when it comes to generating ideas.  For instance, if you commit to posting a blog three times a week, you could focus Monday’s on the national real estate market, Wednesday’s on residential property in your local area, and Friday’s on community events and local interests. 


Use what you have

Try to consider the information you already have at hand in your real estate office and how this may be useful to post on your social media platforms.  For example, recent property listings, a local agent profile, or a suburb report could be easily turned into interesting content without taking too much time.  


Alternate content

It is important to note that social media entries don’t necessarily always have to be long, text-heavy blog posts.  Instead, alternating between text, images, links and videos can help to ensure that your updates are more interesting, have wider appeal and are seen by a larger audience. 

While it may seem like a daunting task, the process of generating high-quality social media content on a regular basis doesn’t have to be arduous nor time consuming.  Rather, with some consideration and forward planning, your real estate franchise office could soon be communicating with its growing audience in a time-effective way.  The important thing to remember is to keep your posts light, fun, interesting, topical, and most importantly – truthful.

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 26/03/2012 at 9:51 AM | Categories:

Maintain positive PR for your real estate business

While it often flies under the radar, maintaining a positive public presence is an important marketing consideration for all businesses.  Although some real estate franchise operations view public relations activities as unnecessary and complex, the reality is that the process can be quite simple – and very rewarding for your business. 

There are a number of PR tactics that real estate businesses can look to engage in order to ensure that their organisation builds awareness of its existence, services and credibility.  The following presents just a few that may be appropriate for your purposes. 


Take your local real estate editor out to lunch

For local newspapers and websites to write about what your business does or quote you as an expert on the local real estate market, they must have an understanding about your company and usually a relationship with you.  Taking your local editor out for a coffee or lunch on a semi-regular basis can be a simple, inexpensive way to build rapport and provides a relaxed forum to share what you can offer to the publication in terms of commentary and data. 

You never know, eventually you may have your own weekly real estate column as the result of this relationship building, which could be immensely valuable to your business. 


Sponsor community events and teams

Sponsorship is not only an important way to give back to your community, it is also often an excellent means of building a positive presence not to mention brand awareness.  For example, your support of a local sporting team could not only give that team the funding it needs to compete, it may also see your company’s logo on a uniform which hundreds of people stare at every weekend, with those people then perhaps thinking of your business the next time they are in the market to buy or sell a property. 


Utilise social media

Social media tools, if used carefully, can be an inexpensive way to directly engage with consumers in your market.  By taking the time to post new property listings, respond to questions, and provide useful content about topics of interest, you may find that you can establish relationships with people even before they become buyers or sellers.  Note however, when using social media it is important to make sure you follow CENTURY 21’s user guidelines and have a strategy in place to deal with problematic situations should they arise.  


If executed correctly and effectively, engaging in various public relations tactics can give you the ability to ensure your real estate business stands out from the crowd and in the minds of your target market when it comes to the buying and selling of property.  It is important to remember that PR is a gradual process, and it takes time to build a media presence.  If approached slowly and strategically, you should find that your efforts see positive results for your organisation. 

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 19/03/2012 at 9:47 AM | Categories:

Be smart in your approach to social media

There is no doubt that the potential of social media as a marketing and communications tool for businesses, including real estate franchises, is significant – making it hard to ignore.  Yet the very nature of the platform leaves businesses across all industries open to a variety of issues that can arise, as many organisations are now finding.  

You can never fully control what your customers say about your business on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter – and nor should you want to.  One of the biggest benefits of using social media is to allow your customers to express their opinions and discuss your services amongst themselves, spreading the word about your business across vast networks.  

With this in mind, if you as the owner and/or manager of a real estate franchise decide that social media is an appropriate tool for your business to utilise, there are a number of strategies you can put in place to help make sure you use it to your advantage, going a long way to avoid or circumvent a negative PR storm about your business.  

1. Create a social media policy/community management plan

Every business using social media should map out crucial ‘Terms of Service’ including:

What is not tolerated in conversations about your business? E.g. foul and abusive language, threats against individuals.  

The appointment of a community manager within your office who will monitor your office’s entire social media presence, including external areas where your business is being discussed online, such as individual blogs and forums.

A process by which the community manager works with the executive and PR teams to decide who will respond to which types of comments.  


2. Have an escalation plan

It is important to decide ahead of time what steps your office will take if an online situation develops.   Having a plan in place will allow you to act quickly and decidedly to work through and best manage any negative consumer sentiment.

3. Plan for the worst – expect the best

By understanding the worst case scenario that your business could suffer in a social media meltdown you may be able to craft responses ahead of time.  This will help to ensure that you won’t be caught off guard and will be well prepared if negative sentiment around your business begins to arise. 

4. Respond quickly, personally and directly

Acknowledge questions and negative comments on your social media platforms, and assure consumers you’re working toward an answer.  Then, execute your official response, if appropriate, as detailed in your escalation plan.  Remember – individual responses can go a long way.  

5. Don’t play the blame game

Many consumers will expect businesses to pass the buck and not own up to problems.  Acknowledge that you are working to rectify their problems and inform consumers about when and how you will improve the situation.  

Social media is a powerful tool that can be used to your office’s significant advantage.  By anticipating any issues that may arise, and having plans and strategies in place to manage these, you can look to ensure that any problematic situations are handled in a professional and positive way.   

More detailed information and guidance about the above steps can be found in CENTURY 21’s extensive 2012 Social Media Manual, available to all CENTURY 21 franchises.  

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 12/03/2012 at 3:33 PM | Categories:

Minimise workplace hazards and risks

As the manager and/or owner of a CENTURY 21 Real Estate Franchise, it is important to understand that your role not only involves ensuring the financial success of your business, but also the physical and emotional wellbeing of your team. 


In running your franchise there are a number of issues concerning health and safety that may arise.  The first step to managing these issues is often to recognise what may come up, and put systems in place to manage any difficult situations. 


Potential hazards and risks that can arise within a real estate franchise environment may involve the following. 


Workplace bullying and gossip

Unfortunately for many people, the temptation to talk about colleagues in a negative light behind their back can be hard to resist, particularly if you feel like you have missed out on an opportunity or feel threatened. 


Workplace gossip is dangerous for any office and can threaten relationships and productivity.  It is important for managers to keep their ears open to negative comments and to encourage any issues between staff members to be worked through promptly, before the situation escalates to a more serious level. 


Understanding of emergency procedures

In the event of a fire or other emergency, it is not uncommon for panic to ensue, which can result in life threatening situations.  In order to avoid unnecessary accidents and even death, it is important for managers and owners of real estate franchises to ensure that their team is appropriately trained for such situations and well aware of all emergency procedures.


This includes having knowledge as to the location of all exits, how to communicate effectively in a stressful situation and the appropriate use of fire equipment, such as extinguishers. 


Safety in the field

Real estate agents will often be required to travel alone, driving out to visit clients and inspect properties.  Your responsibility for your team extends to outside your physical office and it is important to educate your staff members about maintaining their physical safety particularly while on the road. 


You may like to put procedures in place such as having agents ‘check in’ with your office receptionist at various points and ensure that your team members are always in possession of communication equipment in case of an emergency. 


While dangerous situations may arise infrequently, the owners and managers of franchise organisations still need to be prepared for harmful events that could occur.  By taking steps to put appropriate procedures in place and educate staff, owners and managers can effectively reduce the risks of such occurrences both in and out of the office.

0 comments | Posted by George Tarbey on 05/03/2012 at 9:38 AM | Categories: