Social doesn't have to stay static

So excited to be back with my #BeMoreSocial column! The last couple of months have been extremely busy while I’ve been working on a project primarily handling the social side (amongst other things like what goes in a good goodie bag - answers on a post card!) of a brand new PRS building based in Liverpool’s trendy Baltic Triangle area, right opposite the Albert Dock and I wanted to share with you one particular element of what we’ve been doing. Now, believe it or not this project is actually the first time I’ve launched anything of this scale from scratch and in particular a social campaign of this scale across three channels – Twitter, Instagram and now Facebook. Obviously the social side plays a huge part of the overall marketing strategy as it does now days in nearly anything that gets presented to the market in whatever industry you are in but in property when your product is a building it’s a little difficult to pick it up and take it around with you to show people just what you have to offer! Or is it?

Reaching out to people socially is great, you can build up an audience, a following and with regular communication convey to that audience what your product is about, what makes it different, if you like - your products USP’s and essentially why they should choose your product above any offering from the competition. And all of that is great in getting out your message and making your product visible in the marketplace. But what happens if you actually go and visit some people and take your product on the road? Firstly, your brand becomes real people, it moves on from just some images and some text into something you can touch and interact with, ask questions about and start to experience. Your product can move to a whole new level, almost overnight.

Working in any area and launching any product especially in an unfamiliar location is challenging. Finding local people to interact with you is key and while it’s possible to tweet people and encourage them to follow you, sometimes to do that effectively you need to step out from behind your desk and go and meet them. Humanising your brand literally brings your brands to life and can create a huge impact very quickly. There’s a whole host of different things that you can do on social media these days to back up any activity too so when I decided it was time to take our building to meet its neighbours, while not really knowing what the response would be I mapped out a campaign using Instagram, promoted by twitter and created a hashtag for people to follow.

The reaction we got was amazing both socially and from the local business neighbourhood. Everyone we visited featured in our Instagram feed which in itself is unusual for a business to promote others on their own feed but for us it was all about neighbourhood engagement.  

We were delighted that one of the local businesses actually used our picture on the day to feature in their own Instagram feed to cross promote each other. What was also really nice was to hear the comments that while people had seen what we were doing online it was so nice to meet with us and put a face to the name. One business said we were the first business to introduce ourselves to them since they had been there. I have to say we were delighted by the engagement and the community response. Naturally this also hugely boosted our impressions and reach across both twitter and Instagram with our Instagram account appearing as ‘someone you may want to follow’ in other people’s news feeds.

So, can this work for you and if so how can you implement this? Well the truth is you probably can and it really is an effective promotion tool! Become a rock star for the day and take yourself and your product on a tour!

Essentially it's a social experiment and there’s no guarantees of how it may work and while it’s about location, location, location it’s also about planning, planning, planning!! Think about your message and why you might want to reach out to your neighbours. Decide on the businesses you want to go and visit and consider how your services may benefit theirs. Remember too though that as much as you plan activity sometimes social media works really well when it's spontaneous and reactive for example we shot a couple of videos literally on the day, one of some Liverpool tour buses that had conveniently parked up right near our building and a few days before we shot a video of two people rowing right passed the building. Some of this you can’t plan and you just have to go with it to see what works. It just so happened that some of the people we met during our lunch took some shots of the sign we created and used on the tour and one of these shots ended up in a winning collection of images for an Instagram photography competition. Now you can’t plan that but it just goes to show you, you never know who is watching what you do! It’s one of the huge benefits of social media.

If your budget is limited, don’t worry. Almost everything we did was shot in a day using just an iPhone and it's amazing just what you can achieve. Just remember timing is everything. Sometimes some of the best things happen ‘in the moment’ so don’t be afraid to capture something quickly, or take advantage of a situation. It may just be that image that makes your whole campaign stand out, or sets you up in a new direction. It might even be that you choose not to use it at that time and that’s fine too because having a stock of images means you always have good fresh content ready.

Finally if you are ready to embark on your own tour, make sure you use the appropriate channels to promote your activity and create a hashtag so people can follow you and engage too.

 Just follow @CargoBuilding on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook 

Use the hashtag #CargoTeamOnTour 

Tweet all your comments to @FlatLivingLoves and @JamesBiley using the #BeMoreSocial hashtag and let us know your thoughts and comments!

Thanks for your support and here’s to a great second #CargoTeamOnTour! 

James is now Marketing and PR Manager for Countrywide's Estate and Asset Management and Property Auction divisions.

The #BeMoreSocial column was created for Flat Living and its goal is to drive more effective communication within the property management industry.

If you have a customer service experience using any form of marketing or social media that you’d like to share then tweet @JamesBiley and @FlatLivingLoves using the #BeMoreSocial.