The Social Media Side Door
"A generous, tactical, thoughtful manifesto
that follows through on the exhortation of our
time . . . 'pick yourself.' Everyone owns a media
company now, time to start acting that way.”
-Seth Godin, author
"It's one of the most informative and effective
social media books I've ever read.”
-Joe Fernandez, CEO & Co-Founder, Klout
Anything that makes you feel good or helps
you define yourself positively to the world.
Personal insights & comparison Quizzes, rankings
Social proof & status Badges, scores
Image creation & cultivation Exclusive events
Self-reflection Year In Review slideshows
Why do we share?
1. To bring valuable / entertaining content to others
2. To define ourselves and receive social validation
3. To strengthen and nourish our relationships
4. To achieve self-fulfillment (“we enjoy getting credit for it”)
5. To advocate for beliefs, causes, entities
Source: NYT Psychology of Sharing study, 2011
The Ego Cycle
Company gives you
You brag share it
with your network
Your network wants
an ego boost
that provided ego
The Ego Cycle
your year look
you to share it
your friends if they
want one, too
Of course they do
Externalize your data insights
Value of unique insights
3rd party (especially open data)
Google Consumer Insights
Social graph interest graph
People I know People like me
Aspirational (people I want to be)
Happenstance (social) vs. affinity (interest)
Discovery & reviews: Millennials trust strangers > friends, family
Must rise within marketing orgs
Better collaboration w/ non-marketers
Data expertise too costly
Right brain, left brain harmony
I’d like to begin by inviting you to reflect on your good fortune for a moment. As a marketer, there are thousands of industries you could have chosen, each with their own unique challenges. Imagine we were here today at a conference for marketers in the industrial lubricants industry. Or decorative plumbing. Or the funeral sector. Think about the challenges those industries face in forging meaningful connections with people.
For all the challenges you DO have in multifamily marketing, you have an enormous advantage over your peers in nearly every other industry. Because what you sell is FUNDAMENTALLY human, universal and desired. You sell the idea of home. And that’s a very strong foundation for any marketing strategy.
Many of the examples I’ll share today aren’t from your industry, and that’s OK. If we only looked at our own industries for inspiration and guidance, we’d never innovate. I only ask that you keep this in mind.
In 2010, after months of rejection and hardly any job interviews, I took out the Facebook ad you see. I targeted people who worked at the coolest companies in Austin where I lived at the time, and people who put titles like “chief marketing officer” in their Facebook biographies. A few weeks and $200 later, I had my dream job: A social media manager position at a company named Bazaarvoice.
What does this story represent? To me, it represents a social media side door: a way around the barriers and gatekeepers that constantly threaten our forward progress. It was as if someone had given me a map to a secret entrance, and the key to unlock it.
Gatekeeping follows the mass adoption of communications technologies. Human gatekeepers include receptionists, executive assistants, recruiters, bureaucrats, budget managers, script readers—anyone who has the power to slow, stop, or accelerate access to someone or something.
Their ultimate charter as gatekeepers is to keep the people who are paid to focus on important things from having to make hundreds of tiny decisions every day that threaten to derail productivity.
My exploration of these social media side doors was published by McGraw-Hill in late 2013, and readers all over the world have taken my ideas and built on them in their own lives.
Most people are conditioned to stay in line and focus on the front door—the traditional means of entry.
But the best opportunities are given to insiders, or those who find creative ways around the gatekeepers.
Reach is not the same as influence. The average consumer is easier to reach, but harder to influence than ever before because their attention is fragmented.
Because as the playing field flattens, it get wider.
Since everyone can now compete, you have more competitors for the same audiences.
Luckily, we’re in an era of data visibility—information about exactly what audiences want, and how you should give it to them—is out there. Much of it exists because of social media. Once you have good data and accurate analysis, you can slip in in front of the bigger guys who are trying to buy their way onto an audience’s radar.
Influencer relations is a growth industry. But the standard approach—buying access to an existing influencer’s social circle—is getting expensive and it’s of questionable value.
I think it makes much more sense to build your own influencers. Help rising stars grow by lending them your platform.
Here’s a simple example from Instagram, which routinely posts photos from its users, complete with that user’s story. Shortly after being featured, the person’s followers and ability to influence shoot through the roof.
Here’s an idea that could work really well in your industry: Instagram takeovers. This example is from Bushwick Daily, which features the perspective of a different Bushwick local every week. It would be awesome to let your residents show off their neighborhoods though your Instagram profile.
Now let’s talk a bit about the visual content explosion. From 2013 to 2014, Instragram adoption jumped from 13% to 17% of adult internet users in the US, and Pinterest jumped from 15% to 21%.
In 2013, Instagram users were liking a billion photos per day. In 2014, that figure climbed to 1.6 billion.
Research I led at my last company Olapic showed that consumers trust people more than companies when it comes to photos.
Your industry is particularly well positioned to take advantage of the explosion in visual content BECAUSE searching for a home is such a visual endeavor. Many of the examples I’ll share today are of visual marketing done right.
In 2013, visual content creation crossed over from a trend to the norm: That’s when we saw, for the first time, a majority of internet users, 54%, say they have posted original photos or video. That’s up from 46% just the year before.
Nearly one trillion photos were taken in 2014 alone, equal to a quarter of all the photos snapped in the first 170 years of photography’s existence. That’s 123 photos per person on Earth!
Here’s the magic sentence. [read sentence] If a resident or visitor snaps a photo you like, post this as a comment. More often than not, he or she will consent because they’re flattered.
Twitter handle - Selling SMS marketing tools to realtors and property managers… BE3D – Tim Leberecht
You may have heard that we’re all in the content business now. If that’s true, we need to tell better stories because we’re competing with everything else vying for an audience’s attention—not just other companies in our sector.
I didn’t think I cared about marble until I watched a video about sourcing the marble for a new highrise in Manhattan. I wondered why none of the apartment marketers I had encountered in my own life had bothered to tell behind-the-scenes stories about the places they were renting.
Other industries are doing this very well. Top: Kate Spade’s Behind the curtain blog
Bottom: GE’s Instawalk 2014
DVF 40th anniversary of the Wrap Dress – integrated on website – told the story better than they could have
The vastness and public nature of social networks make it easier than ever before to connect with people on the basis of shared affinity.
Seek touchstones upon which to build relationships: shared interests, experiences, contacts, and so on.
Emulate some of the contours of your audience to resonate with it. Your marketing should reflect the world around you, the one your customers live in, and the one they want to live in. BV reviews story.
With few exceptions, the companies that get the most out of social media are the ones who consistently deliver something of value to their audience.
Strive to become an indispensable resource. Your content and engagement strategies should orbit around this central goal.
Adobe had some products they wanted to sell to CMOs. Most companies would barrage that audience with ads and sales calls. But Adobe decided to be indispensable. They created an entire website filled with content that aimed at truly helping CMOs navigate their high-pressure existence.
Here’s one that’s simple and more relevant to your industry. Modern Spaces and hit coffee shop Sweat Leaf opened a hybrid space in Williamsburg in 2012. It gives prospective renters a true taste of the Williamsburg hipster vibe, and Modern Spaces makes itself useful in subtle ways to regular coffee patrons by providing free WiFi and a comfortable laptop lounge.
One of the best, and easiest ways, to become a resource is through curaton. 80/20 rule. Takes the burden off content creation…
Here’s a great example of visual curation from the Buzzuto Group. This pinterest board heps prospective renters discover fresh looking furniture, and they have other boards dedicated to architecture, the cities in their market, and much more.
This is a real estate firm’s blog called Naked Philly. The firm hires freelancers to write about real estate news in Philadelphia, and generates tons of traffic and leads. It’s well integrated within the firm’s site and features live chat with agents.
Content is not king – Common misconception that quality content will find its audience, but think of all the incredible blogs out there that get no subscribers, all the killer YouTube videos with no comments. “Great content thrives only when delivered to (and discovered by) carefully cultivated audiences.” 50/50: Content dev and audience dev.
Let’s talk about the ego. Everyone has one. Ego is neither bad nor good—just human. Marketers can tastefully appeal to the ego by providing a form of value called ego capital.
Ego capital is anything that makes you feel good or helps define yourself positively to the world. You, as a business can deliver several types of ego capital. [Read table]
An animated GIF photobooth from Fader Fort at SXSW.
How did Converse get thousands of people to share something with their logo on it? They piggybacked on the ego—we like sharing media of ourselves.
To maximize the value your company gets by providing ego capital, create an ego cycle. One of the best examples of the ego cycle is the Facebook end of year slide shows that everyone was sharing last month. Here’s how that worked.
Here’s how they did it
[INTERIORS CONTEST] If you want to create a lot of ego capital AND collect a ton of compelling organic visual content about your properties, try something like a best interior Instagram contest. Residents enter by sharing photos of their interiors and a panel of interior designers select the winners. Now you have happy residents sharing great content about your properties, and you can use that content in subsequent marketing campaigns.
Interviews make for easy content creation AND you’ll be surprised at the level of guest that will accept your request. Everyone has something to promote, they can use another spotlight now matter how small, and they’ll be sure to share it with their own networks because you just made them look good!
Repurposing is spinning off primary content into secondary content. Helps you succeed on multiple channels and appeal to different audiences without creating original content over and over.
Using stats in all of our marketing materials to make the case for visual commerce, so decided we should create THE visual commerce stats bank. Explain that it was one of the top pages on BV.com. It would be really easy to do this on a market-by-market basis for your different properties.
Partnering with U of Wisconsin. 150,000+ Instagram photos from 60+ companies.
As consumers are getting more data literate and information savvy, they’re going to be loath to fill out forms unless you provide an insane amount of value in return. Instead of filling out a form just to get pricing or other info, they’ll simply move on to the competitor that is more of an open book. GIVE THEM SOMETHING REALLY VALUABLE FIRST, AND THEY’LL RETURN FOR MORE.
[PUT THIS AFTER THE FORMS / VALUE STUFF] BV millennials WP + infographic + video. Used the Infographic to get coverage that drives visitors to fill out the form for the full white paper.
Predictions & emerging trends
“I call it “universal convergence.” Channels, devices, data—these elements of communication are all being woven together. Think single streams, seamless experiences. What we formerly called “In Real Life” (IRL)—the physical world—is increasingly inextricable from the digital world. IRL is now digital, social, and physical rolled into one.”