Dorset estate agent shares the secret of her social success
Maria Kemp, of Dorchester estate agents Kemp & Co, is something of an icon among the Dorset businesses active on social media. In conversations about the county’s top users of social media marketing, her name comes up again and again. In early 2015 I spoke to Maria about her approach to social media and to learn what sets her apart from her competitors. She was more than happy to share many of her secrets with me, and with you. So in no particular order, here are some of Maria’s insights into using Twitter, Facebook and other social channels to promote your business.
- Don’t repeat yourself across the different channels
Kemp & Co are on Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn. And a Wordpress blog or two. And each channel has a different purpose.
YouTube is great for video tours of properties. Twitter is for networking and news sharing. Facebook is largely for promoting charitable activities. Instagram is for sharing wonderful images of local countryside.
Having a clear purpose for each channel makes it easier to know what to post where, and also appeals to different audiences. Maria isn’t really looking to sell houses through social media—she’s building brand awareness so that when people want an estate agent, they come to her.
And it works. She is getting properties through Facebook and Twitter.
- Give social media time to deliver results
Maria’s visibility on social media was not achieved overnight and it involved considerable experimentation. For a while she had two Twitter accounts, one personal and one for the business, but the business-only account was quite dull and it diluted the firm’s presence online.
Now the Kemp & Co account isn’t just the Twitter voice of the business, it’s very much Maria’s voice, opinions and all. Being herself makes the account more real and easier for people to engage with.
It took Maria two years to achieve breakthrough on Facebook and she’s still working on developing a clear strategy for other networks, such as LinkedIn.
Many small businesses struggle to find time for social media. Maria has made a point of finding the time, often several hours every day. Her main social media device is an iPhone, although at busy times, such as during #dorsethour, she can be using a phone and two laptops.
- Expect more than just sales from social media
The benefits of tweeting and putting posts on Facebook go way beyond selling. The fact that Maria is so well known in the business community, for her social media use, is a measure of the brand recognition she’s achieved. If I wanted to sell a house in Dorset, I know which agent I’d go to first.
Kemp & Co are well known among the national estate agent community, because of their visibility online. Maria regularly talks to agents in other parts of the country, sharing news and ideas.
She and her team respond quickly to enquiries through social media, building credibility with potential customers. They are well informed about issues in the housing market, both sales and letting, sharing fresh news and information to demonstrate that they’re in touch.
Contacts made through social networking have enabled Maria to get better deals on business purchases.
- Measure the results of your social media activities
Perhaps surprisingly, Maria doesn’t pay a lot of attention to the analytics made available by the social networks. That’s because she knows what works.
The analytics, such as how many people have seen a tweet or Facebook post, or how many followers you have, can provide some insights, but it’s hard for a small business to really measure the value of social media through these numbers.
Maria knows that social media is working because of the number of opportunities coming her way through the social channels, and the high recognition of the Kemp & Co brand around the county. She also sees people recommending her business via social media, which is a powerful endorsement.
One number that she does pay close attention to is Kemp’s ranking on the Zoopla Property Power 100, a respected leaderboard in the industry. She is usually in the top 10 and has been for a very long time.
- More social media marketing tips from Maria
What works for Kemp & Co may not be the right approach for your business. But here are some other tips from Maria, based on her experience of using social media:
- Don’t put your Twitter feed on your website.
- Remember that social media activity has an impact on your website ranking on search engines.
- Don’t worry about trolls. You may encounter some negatives and it’s best to just ignore them.
- Avoid scheduling too many posts. Maria rarely schedules anything.
- Be prepared to meet a lot of people. That’s been Maria’s experience.