So you’re showing up on social media consistently but you aren’t getting any real results. Maybe you’re thinking “Okay, I know I need to be on social and have some sort of presence but I can’t actually use this to generate business.” Hear me out, because this might be your missing link. In my previous blog post The Cocktail Hour Social Media Strategy I talked about how showing up on social needs to be more like how you’d show up to a cocktail party. This means having conversations, building rapport, and building relationships. So how do you build those relationships? I’m going to share 3 strategies for how to do this in a way that builds your own online community that is guaranteed to grow your brand.

Before I share my strategies, what you have to keep in mind is that you have to start the conversation early. If we expect people to take action with us (whether it’s online or offline), we need to have a long term relationship with them. You can’t just microwave relationships. You can’t just jump on social media looking to have conversations with people who are ready to buy or sell right now. You have to develop relationships and build the know, like and trust factor BEFORE they’re ready to buy or sell a house if you want to be the go to agent when that time does come.

STRATEGY 1: Create an Online Community (Your Own Facebook Group)

By creating a private Facebook group, you can build your own community online with people who are actually living in YOUR COMMUNITY! Groups are a great space to get to know people one on one in a non-business setting. Bella Vaste, Facebook Group expert says: “Your business page is like your front yard. You have to keep it looking nice, don’t ignore it, and pay attention to that curb appeal because people drive by.” But – the party is in the backyard. That’s where you’re serving cocktails, having conversations and getting to know people. The backyard is your Facebook Group. Groups feel like a community, not a business. The important thing to remember is that you can’t create a group with the intention of plastering your Real Estate business all over it. The group shouldn’t be about Real Estate, it should be about meeting people, being of value and getting to know them. You could create a group based on a hobby or interest such as gardening, DIY projects, cooking, home decor, Trader Joes or even Target! Another type of group you could build would be a young professionals group to connect with other local business owners and share ideas. Remember, this type of strategy isn’t something that is going to result in overnight success but it can turn into a thriving referral resource as you continue to grow relationships through it.

STRATEGY 2: Weekly Facebook Live Show

If your business page is lacking traction and engagement, the #1 way to change this is by incorporating a weekly Facebook Live show. When you start showing up for your followers regularly with valuable information it is truly a game changer. To take this to the next level and build community around it, invite a local business owner onto your show once a month. Ask them questions about their business and to share what they’re known for. Not only will you be building relationships with other business owners in town (hello networking potential), you’ll be getting in front of their online audience as well, which is likely full of people who live in your community! The key is to be consistent with this and to always make sure you’re announcing when you’ll be going Live. Create an Event through your business page to promote the Live video so that people who are interested can click to be reminded when you go Live. Don’t forget you can still promote it afterwards too. Create a follow up post thanking the business owner for coming on your show and use the caption to highlight something about the business.

STRATEGY 3: Make Friends on the Gram (Instagram that is!)

If Instagram is more your thing and where your people hang, then this one might be best for you! But Instagram isn’t just for posting pretty pictures and silently scrolling through your feed. You have to have conversations and create connection! Here’s how this works: 1. Make sure you’re showing up consistently. Pick your days and stick with them. 2. Be on your stories every single day. Show behind the scenes in your business, a day in the life of real estate, your everyday life separate from real estate, show whatever is you. Just be real! 3. Set aside time to jam with the gram! This means interacting with the friends you follow in your feed and leaving actual comments not just scrolling by. Double tap, reply to their questions, ask them questions and keep the conversation going. The next thing to do is engage with their stories and get in their DM’s – this is where the one on one convos are happening. And here is the biggest piece of the pie to all of this – find new people and local businesses to connect with and follow step 3 with them too! You can find new friends by searching local hashtags as well as geotags. Type in your city name and see who else comes up! Do this for 30 minutes, then rinse and repeat every single day!

The best part is that you can follow any of these strategies from the comfort of your own couch, in yoga pants, sipping your coffee! Sounds like a win win marketing plan to me! Keep in mind that while building up these communities online that you can also take them offline. Maybe you make some new Instagram friends that you meet for coffee or you create a local meetup with the people in your Facebook Group. The opportunity is endless and you’ll be building those long term relationships the entire way!