Conversations surrounding social media communities typically cover how to get attention, traffic and build satellite relationships. But what about harnessing social media and placing yourself as the hub… to become the central focus which the members gather round. I’m talking about creating the Church of You.
Let’s take a step back from looking at how to leverage these social media channels to attract business and instead look at how to create and nurture a following of raving fans to build repeat business, marketplace authority and a viral marketing engine.
Raise an army of raving fans
Currently, smart agents are building blogs and social sites for their farm neighborhoods, at least one broker is looking at how to build a social site for his clients.
For sure, this should be a goal for any business… to create a community of raving fans around your products and services.
“Like who?” do you say? Glad you asked because there’s some big “churches” out there…
Apple. These fans are freaks for the Apple brand and happily line up to shell out large gobs of money then tell the world that “it’s so worth it.”
Harley-Davidson. The image that this brand supports appeals to the rebel in all of us and you can find product plecement everywhere. Friend have a new baby? Get her a Harley bib. Pretty crazy cool.
JetBlue. An airline? Yup. Folks actually drive past closer “more convenient” airports just to hitch a ride on these planes. The service is above and beyond standard offerings and has built a legion of followers because of it.
The communities around these companies exist both online and offline and are extremely vocal in both areas.
Real quick here, notice that each of the above mentioned companies don’t try to market to everybody. They target a specific group/type of people… folks who are most likely to positively respond to the way they do business and become converts to the “church of ___insert company/brand here___.”
Step 1 in attracting your fan base
First off, it really starts with being a purple cow (as Seth Godin would put it) or as Dan Rothamel would say, a real estate zebra amongst horses. Either cow or zebra, business practices are all consumer-centric.
Given the fact you’re reading this it’s probably safe to say you’re a purple zebra… and I mean that with all good intentions 🙂
The building blocks in the “Church of You”
So, say you want to build your own “church of you”… what do you need?
Cool content. Your client will need to perceive value in the community in order to join it.
- Online tutorials on home buying/selling topics
- Profiles for client’s to tell their story or that of their house(hint: as a video this could be extremely compelling when done right)
- Live online chat room sessions (scheduled topics or open q&a)
- Tips done 2.0 style
- Image/video galleries of properties
I’d love to hear your ideas in this department.
You can even position this as “___BrokerName___ University.” Very compelling.
Your client will get more form you than they’d ever expect from the average real estate pro.
Why a community matters
Now, let’s take a look at what this does for you and how you can further leverage your own community.
Social proof. When clients see a community of like-minded people gathering around you then “wow, you must be good!”
Awareness. Your clients are more aware of your presence and your future communications will be at the top of their “must view” list.
Evangelism. If you want folks to spread the good word about you then you need to celebrate them, too. A house gets listed or sold, celebrate it.
“JoeClient’s house just sold. Check out his Stomper University profile where he talks about the experience (use a video/audio testimonial here) and discover the one change we made that attracted all the offers.” (see the social proof in there, too?)
Deep Intelligence. You’re going to discover invaluable intel from the questions and comments your clients make on the site. Intel you can use to keep selling them on yoru service and to attract new clients.
Viral marketing. There’s a bit of a viral compenent here, too. Your clients can easily refer their friends and family to the site/listing/gallery at the click of a button.
Before we go any further, let me make something clear. Adopt this endeavor and you have some wonderfully powerful leverage over your marketplace and in your community. But it doesn’t come without a price…
Doing this will require continual maintenance. However, that’s not a bad thing. The more involved you are in the community (a trait of Stompers) the more powerful this will approach will be and the greater your ROI (Return On Investment.)
Tools for your fan-base
Ready to proceed? Cool, because there’s a number of good software out there that you can grab.
At the top of the list is buddypress which is a set of plugins used to convert WordPress Multi-User into a social community platform.
It can’t get much better or easier to create your Church of You.
What other tips do you have for creating your own community?