Marketers advocating social media marketing in many real estate and construction companies face an uphill battle because few companies in the industry are taking advantage of this new marketing based on information obtained from MorganSullivan’s 2008 social media survey. Let’s be honest, social media marketing represents change and that’s not easy in many construction and real estate company cultures where traditional marketing has worked for many years. Here are a few ways to lobby those resistant to the new marketing.
Baby steps. It took years before people started using telephone answering machines, but eventually people adopted the technology. It’s best to start in little increments and understand that people will not necessarily buy into your way of thinking overnight. Begin a campaign to communicate the potential benefits of social media marketing and use examples to back up your case.
Show sensitivity to people who feel strongly about traditional methods of marketing. Many CEO’s and senior managers in construction and real estate enjoy seeing their company name featured in commercials, advertisements, sponsorships, etc. Some of these old ways of marketing still work and asking them to change is probably a battle not worth fighting in most cases. Listen to management concerns and identify areas of common ground when advocating for social media as part of the overall marketing strategy.
Make comments to blogs and online media publications and communicate the results. Making comments to blogs and then making note of how often your company shows up on search engines like Google after making these comments can be very persuasive when lobbying people in your company of the potential marketing benefits available through social media.
Use examples of social media marketing to make your case. Highlighting examples where construction and real estate companies are using social media will give you more credibility with management. Perini is one construction company linking social media sites in their press releases and Century 21 is a great example of a real estate company benefiting when David Meerman Scott wrote a blog posting about the company and created enough buzz to get the Century 21 listed on the first page of the Google search engine.
Start a blog and communicate success stories to persons of influence within your organization. According to the survey, most construction and real estate companies have web sites, but do not have blogs. It is difficult to see any benefit from blogging without having a blog. Start a blog and post regularly. Link to relevant blogs and communicate your activities to key people within your company. Make sure you talk about the results you’re getting i.e. comments, traffic to your blog, new inquiries, etc. Eventually, people will begin to notice and you’ll start to build allies within the organization.
Don’t forget to communicate the costs of your online efforts. It’s one thing to communicate success stories i.e. getting published, increased web traffic etc., but having the ability to demonstrate the benefits versus the costs can go a long way when making your case for the new marketing. Social media marketing is not free, but it is often much less expensive than other forms of marketing like advertising or direct mail. Track the costs required to get additional web traffic and PR from social media marketing and you will begin to make a good case for incorporating social media marketing into the companies’ overall marketing strategy.
Change is not easy and doesn’t happen overnight, but companies refusing to change risk the possibility of extinction. Bennigan’s and Digital Equipment Corporation are two examples of casualties resulting from the inability to change. Understand that change is possible, however, and continue making your case. Then see what happens. Like it or not, social media marketing is not a fad and it isn’t going away anytime soon.