By Gino Blefari
This week my travels first found me in Irvine, at our HSF Affiliates headquarters office for alignment sessions with prospective brokerages, a leadership meeting and a Town Hall with our team. From there it was off to San Diego this Thursday afternoon, where I was honored to speak at my friend Danny Morel’s Vision 2018 event at the Lowes Coronado Resort in San Diego. Additional speakers included Gary Acosta, co-founder and CEO of NAHREP; Cheri Tree, founder and CEO of BANKCODE; Mel Robbins, an international bestselling author; and of course, Danny Morel, renowned author, coach, trainer and host for Vision 2018.
The two-day event is designed to show real estate agents how to build clarity in a business plan, grow sales and income, and create raving fans who buy from the same agent repeatedly and for years to come. The conference also focused heavily on social media and the techniques agents MUST embrace to win listings and grow their businesses.
The emphasis on social media at Vision 2018 comes at just the right time, as news broke earlier this week that Facebook was changing its content algorithm to show users more posts from friends and family and less content from brands. Under this new algorithm, users will see a friend’s puppy photo over news about your new listing in town.
How can we, as leaders, navigate this new personal relationship-first model of social content while also allowing our business page posts to be seen by an audience who cares? Well, an entire book could be written in answer to that very question but I will offer two areas of resolution: 1. Mobile and 2. Paid advertisements. Put these two concepts together and you start to form an effective strategy for combating the changing ways in which Facebook users will be presented social media content now and well into the foreseeable future.
In a newly released report by Facebook, U.S. mobile ad is projected to grow to within 10% of TV spend in 2018, and the lines will cross soon after, with mobile ad spend surpassing traditional television advertising. (In fact, if you watch NFL games now, you’ll see the network still airs the live game feed at the top of your TV screen while the commercial runs. The NFL knows the waning effectiveness of TV ads and has devised this strategy to keep fans engaged during commercials.)
As advertising switches from TV to mobile, how can businesses adapt and thrive in this new environment? Here are the key takeaways from the Facebook report, which seeks to address that very concern:
- Experimenting with Instagram story ads. According to the report, “Stories provide the benefit of audio and visual movement to grab attention, but require the simplicity of a print ad. There’s also an interesting opportunity to sequence stories to create a more engaging narrative. Since organic stories are usually shot on phones, [story] ads don’t always have to be highly produced to be successful.”
- Two seconds spent watching an ad on mobile has a completely different meaning from those same two seconds spent watching an ad on TV. The duration of time spent on an ad is not a good proxy for its value.
- It’s OK to start small. If you’re overwhelmed with social media and social marketing, it’s OK to have a small budget, test what works (and what doesn’t) and grow from there. As the famous saying goes, a journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.
- Social media evolves quickly and businesses must iterate, evaluate and recalibrate their social media strategy in order to connect. What works today might not work tomorrow. What works tomorrow won’t yet work today. As the report says, “Embrace the journey of unlearning and learning.”
- On Instagram, video that looks organic performs best. Be quick and to the point but also be authentic. There’s no need to spend thousands of dollars on a video; if your message and delivery is genuine, users will listen and engage.
So, what’s the message? If we had to aggregate all the information shared onstage at Vision 2018 and distill it down to a single principle for success, it would go something like this: It’s no longer cute or fun to be on social media. Social media is serious and if you aren’t embracing a mobile-first social media strategy in your business plan for 2018, you can bet some other competitor will. As the Facebook report explained, “Mobile is fast becoming the primary media consumption device, so there’s no time to waste.”