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When Brand Recognition Isn't Enough Real estate investor Art Morrison III shares how savvy business owners can leverage social media to increase conversion and profitability

By Shishir Jajoo

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Having a lot of followers on social media is great for building brand recognition, especially when engagement is high. It's a great feeling to have social proof showing your brand has a place in the market, but what if the "social" in the media is not translating into sales?

It's an unfortunate reality of the social media game, that looks are often deceiving and that what lies behind the numbers can tell a different story.

Author, entrepreneur and real estate investor, Art Morrison III, is serious about three things: knowledge, building wealth and real estate. In the following article, he shares his thoughts on how businesses can move beyond surface-level brand recognition and use social media strategically for growth and profitability.

When social media first captured our attention, businesses weren't a big part of the equation. It was more like a giant family gathering where status updates and questionable profile pics were the extent of most interactions. From Six Degrees and Friendster to Am I Hot or Not? and MySpace, social media 20 years ago looks nothing like the streamlined, algorithm-driven, ad-saturated outlets today. According to Sprout Social, social media boasts a combined 3.96 billion users across all platforms.

Even after over two decades, social media is still about conversation. I've seen time and time again that if done poorly, businesses miss an opportunity to leverage those conversations into something more. Many businesses make the mistake of asking consumers to buy their products when they haven't developed a relationship with them. Most people would think twice about proposing to someone on the first date, so why is it okay to force feed products and services to a stranger?

Nurture First

Nurturing prospects matters when building brand trust. Consumers want to know you're interested in their needs and not just what they can give you. Sharing valuable content before asking them to open their wallets breaks down reservations and opens them up to hearing what you have to say. It's been one of the secrets to my business success that when I consider their pain points and then speak to those areas in my content, prospects see me as more of a friend with their best interest in mind. From here, consider a valuable exchange. Offer them something for free (e.g., coupon, ebook, training course, etc.) in exchange for their contact information.

Once they share their information, move them from a cold lead to a warm lead by giving them high-quality, personalized content. Ask them if they prefer email or text and then respect their request. Annoying prospects with spam messages that don't speak to their needs is the quickest way to lose a potential sale.

Introduce Yourself

During those first couple of weeks, before your official introduction, you are giving them the opportunity to unsubscribe if you're not a good match for them. Don't let losing a subscriber break you. It's better to have fewer subscribers that want your product or service than a bunch of subscribers that don't lead anywhere. The latter is bad for business and only inflates numbers, giving you a false sense of security.

After you have been in contact with them for 1-2 weeks, you can "introduce" yourself or your product to them. As a real estate investor, I offer a mentorship program that walks students through what I've learned in real estate, but what you offer can vary depending on your industry and area of expertise.

Measure Everything

The quote, "What gets measured gets managed.", attributed to management expert Peter Drucker, says everything. Know your KPIs, those key performance indicators that get you from point A to B.

Hootsuite suggests measuring reach, engagement, conversion and customer satisfaction KPIs to stay on top of your data, see if goals are being met and make any changes if needed.

In 2010, when companies viewed social media as a viable option for marketing products and services, algorithms were still new and getting others to see your content was easier. Now, secret formulas are the gatekeepers to engagement, and it's getting harder to connect with potential customers without paying to play. Savvy business owners understand that the key to leveraging social media is understanding how to use it to their advantage.

Whether in the real estate business or another industry, social media should be a part of every marketing strategy; however, it's only a means to an end and not the prize. The goal is to use social media to create an email list that you control, so social media algorithms have a limited say in when and if your target audience sees your content.
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