Business Tip 6: Make Storytelling Your Main Focus in 2015

Everybody likes a good story. And, those who consider consulting you, whether you’re an ASP® Stager or an ASP® Real Estate Agent, want to know how you will help them achieve their goal of selling their home faster and for more money. My suggestion is to make storytelling the focus of your social media marketing efforts this year. Not that long ago, social media marketing was still in its infancy. We quickly discovered the power of social media and how simple it was to connect with existing customers, business contacts, and prospective clients. Just in the last couple of years the use of social media, as part of marketing and PR efforts, has become much more sophisticated. The major social media channels, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, are becoming more advanced as far as providing advertising opportunities. In turn, companies are putting more and more marketing dollars toward social media. Terms such as conversion rate and return on investment are now used as much for social media marketing as it is for more traditional online marketing. Today, most companies develop a well-thought out plan on a weekly, quarterly and annual basis. For ASPs, it’s just as important to have a well-defined plan on exactly what you’ll do on your social media platforms.
  1. 1.      What will you share?
When I meet with or hear from Accredited Staging Professionals® I hear the most wonderful stories, such as how their Staging resulted in an almost immediate contract, when the property, un-Staged, had not sold in over a year. Every time I hear such wonderful stories, I wish they would share it with the world. For 2015, my hope is to see more of our wonderful ASPs® using social media for storytelling. Here are some ideas:
  • Share stories about your recent Staging projects and let your readers and viewers in how you work and what they can expect to accomplish when they hire you as Stager or as an agent.
  • Ask your sellers if it would be OK for you to interview them about their recent sale of their home, Staged by you.
  • Interview a local Realtor® about the marketplace.
  • Interview a local Realtor® or a seller about how Staging has made a difference for them.
Most important, and you know this is one of my key Staging Sayings, share everywhere: “Let Me Tell You How I Work”.  Use social media to showcase exactly what your process is, from the initial phone call to final billing. Build a positive expectation of what it’s like to work with you.
  1. 2.      Where will you share it?
Set up specific goals for each platform you’re on, and set a timeline for what you plan to do each week and month. It may look something like this: Instagram “Nobody reads anymore.” I hear that comment quite often, and it’s true that many of us tend to be more apt to view pictures and video than read a longer article. With the help of Instagram, I will show what I do on a daily basis to my followers. I will post daily photos of my Staging progress throughout a project, and I share my thought process as I go through it. Additionally, I will choose a weekly theme where I showcase how I have solved various Staging challenges. Facebook There’s no doubt that Facebook is still the number one social network. I will mainly use Facebook to drive traffic to my blog and social media channels. My Facebook page will be a way for me to share shorter updates from my daily work as a Stager. I commit to making one update per day, offering something of value to my followers and value to me as I showcase what I do and the benefits of Staging. Blog One challenge with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is that we are limited to what we can share. That’s why it may be a good idea to use a blog as the platform where you post longer stories and where you include images and embedded videos. Having your own blog is essentially as having your own newspaper to what you do! I will use my blog to share stories about Staging, my Staging projects and the success of Staging. I will use my blog for longer stories and I will include many photos to showcase my work. I commit to writing one blog post per week. LinkedIn With 300 000 000 users worldwide, there’s no doubt LinkedIn is a powerful network. I will mainly use LinkedIn to grow my sphere of influence with the real estate community. Each week I will share my insights into Staging primarily with real estate agents. Twitter Twitter is still growing, yet the jury is still out whether it’s a viable network for finding prospective clients. Some swear by it while others are still on the fence about Twitter. I will use Twitter to stay in contact with those in my sphere of influence who use the network. Additionally, I will seek out and follow those who may be in need for a Stager within their sphere of influence. While I will monitor Twitter every day, I will only post here as I see fit. YouTube Did you know that YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine? More and more go there to find information, not the least about Staging, as opposed to using another search engine such as Google or Yahoo. I commit to making one video every month where I discuss the Staging of the month, providing photos and insights as to how I took on the project. Additionally, I will finish my videos with a follow-up story on how a previous Staging project ended with a successful sale of the property. Podcast Not everyone is comfortable making a video. But, those who are not may very well be comfortable making a recording. This may be the case both for Stagers as well as those within the network you may consider interviewing. One major benefit is that podcasts are easy to record and share. My plan is to publish a monthly podcast where I will interview past clients and business partners to showcase the benefits of Staging. Pinterest Pinterest is becoming more and more powerful as a way to showcase your value. It’s also a great tool to drive traffic to your website and/or blog. I will use Pinterest mainly to educate my followers on what Staging is and how it benefits the seller/agent. 3. Integrate Your Marketing and Communications Activities Social media marketing is not an isolated effort but rather a marketing vehicle that must be integrated with everything else you do. Specifically, make sure you use every offline marketing activity as a way to bring those you’re connecting with to your online platforms. When you regularly reach out in your local community with a postcard, make sure your call to action includes telling the recipients about what they will find at your blog, Facebook page or website. You may add a note on your postcard about a before and after gallery at your Facebook page, or maybe advertising a blog post you wrote about Staging statistics. When you use a blog, make sure blog posts appear at your website. Similarly, make sure you have a link to Facebook, Twitter and other networks at your website. I hope our business plan tips have been of use to you. Business planning is never an effort you go through once a year and then forget. Instead, it should be an ongoing process, with adjustments as necessary along the year. Always working for you, Barb Barb Schwarz, ASP®, ASPM®, AB, IAHSP® The Creator of Home Staging® President & Founder, President & Founder,

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