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6 Steps to Build Sales Leads with Social Media: Real Estate Case Study

September 4, 2012 | By | No Comments

If you are in real estate, you have most likely heard social media is a gold rush, and just about everyone has launched their facebook page or twitter. But most likely this approach has led to limited results.

Does Social Media Really Work to Increase Sales?

Yes, it can, if you organize a process and have identified your target audience is active online. Social media is the most popular online activity worldwide and reaches 82% of the online population. So how do you create a social strategy, that is organized and measurable?

The following case outlines the strategy implemented that resulted in 28 new tenants. Perfect Pad, an apartment home leasing company specializing in luxury mid-rise and garden style apartments with properties in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas.

Determine Where to Start

1. Set Up Social Monitoring

The target audience for moving and renting an apartment is active in social media and just like all of us, renters use the internet to research and find a new pad. Social monitoring will tell us where are the target hangs out and how the company’s apartments are perceived .

Start monitoring for:

  • Your Company brand
  • Key terms used to identify potential sales leads
  • Locations

In this case, the monitoring profile highlights online activity from social media users on Twitter, in particular, discussing a move to one of our target markets or apartment searches in the area.

2. Establish Your Brand to Meet Your Audience

After monitoring and discovering where the target audience was most active, the apartment company knew which networks to focus their time. Establishing social media profiles for each of the company’s 31 locations, including a Facebook fan page, a Twitter account and Google+ Local gave potential tenants a place to ask questions about the property and connect with current tenants.

3. Develop A Content Schedule, Response & Management Plan

Regular content sharing and information about local area events and rental advice increased both the sense of community and the brand’s authority and trust. A solid plan will keep new prospects and community members updated about available apartment rentals, as well as shared advice and information about local events and news in target markets and surrounding neighborhoods. Need an example plan?

4. Review Social Monitoring Data

Social monitoring wil identify your prospects. Depending on your audience, you will need to review data on a daily basis to identify social media users who might be potential clients.

In addition, data monitored for the brand will also discover:

  • Reputation issues
  • Reviews
  • Positive or negative mentions

Social data will also improve search engine optimization strategy. For apartment this data included, but was not limited to apartment leasing terms (“apartment,” “home”), moving terms (“move,” “moving”), geographic indicators (city and region) and location specific terms (school county, local employers).

5. Qualify Prospects

The community manager developed strict guidelines to only respond to well qualified leads that represented the high standards and luxury values of the company’s current residents. By adhering to these guidelines, the community manager did not waste time engaging with those who would not be appropriate leads or good residents.
Sales leads were chosen based on a number of different criteria, including but not limited to:

  • Previous posts
  • Word choice
  • Biographical information
  • Geographic information

6. Convert Prospects into Leads

Qualified prospects need to be engaged quickly and directed landing pages, or contact info. For the apartment the conversion goal was contact with the leasing office for that individual property. Additionally, the community manager invited the lead to come view one of the apartment homes.

Now through social media, the company had an opportunity to build relationships with potential customers.

How to Measure Success

Identify a conversion goal or define “lead” ahead of time to determine return on investment.
During the dedicated time frame, our apartment analyzed data relevant mentions to our conversion goals.

  • Analyzed 294,069 individual brand data points (brand, industry and competitor mentions)
  • Monitored 1,411 online relevant conversations
  • Identified 294 prospects
  • Generated 179 potential leads
  • Provided 28 new tenants

Added Bonus: Increasing Your Community

The community manager’s regular maintenance and updating of the company social media profiles improved the brand’s web presence and community engagement, as well; in the same 30-day time frame, Facebook fans increased four times. On Twitter, the 31 location accounts gained over 140 new followers – mostly from potential leads considering a future move to one of the company’s target market areas.

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