Our Social Media Panel Share Insight on Personal Branding, Authentic Content, and Community Building

As a Realtor, how important is it to use social media as a business tool? How do you gauge how your content impacts your personal brand? How do you define the true metrics of success? To bring perspective and insight to these questions and more, rennie hosted a Lunch & Learn Social Media edition, moderated by our Social Media and Content Manager, Nadia Mah, with expert guest panelists Leah Gregg, Randa Salloum, and Luis Valdizon. Collectively at the rennie museum in a room filled with rennie advisors, our panelists shared the tips that have brought success to their own business and the tactics that can be applied to any social media feed.

Introducing our panelists

Leah is an award-winning strategist and social content creative director helping world-class brands including IKEA, Uber, and Uniqlo. She has received numerous accolades for her best-in-class campaigns.

Randa is the founder of CIEL Creative Marketing, the co-founder of Archive, and a lifestyle blogger, helping clients take hold of their brands while creating space in their industries.

Luis is the acting Digital Marketing Director at Leisure Centre, and the founder of the creative studio When They Find Us, helping businesses find the stories that lie behind the people, places, objects and ideas.

On attracting new opportunities
Leah: Social Media acts as word of mouth, a tool for connection. It allows you to let people know who you are, what you care about, and what you’re interested in while keeping yourself and your business top-of-mind.

Randa: Social media can expand your network way beyond your personal network. While not everyone following you will necessarily hire you [in the future], they are watching you and keeping tabs. Then, when they have a need for your services, you’ll be on their radar.

Luis: If you’re not on social media, you’re missing an opportunity. It’s a tool for people to find out your story and get to know you a little bit better.

On choosing the right social media platform

Randa: We’re not meant to be on every [social media] platform. Each platform has a different voice and a different purpose. There are different ways of telling the same story on each platform.

Leah: Having worked in advertising with national and global brands for many years, I learned that Canadians on average open Facebook 12 times per day, and platforms such as Youtube report having a bigger reach with Millennial men in Canada than TSN (The Sports Network). There is an active audience on each platform, so choose the right platform that suits you and your content style.

On balancing personal and business branding
Luis: I work to create a lifestyle where my life and business [brands] become seamless, which makes branding them as one much easier. If you’re unsure how you should balance branding go with 50% personal, 50% business. Eventually, I think you’ll find they merge into one.

Leah: Approach social media like you’re at a party or at a bar. What kind of conversations would you have? What does your audience want to hear? These are the things you might consider sharing on social platforms. Use the feedback you get to guide your content moving forward.

Randa: There is no wrong answer, and there is no perfect balance. Share what feels comfortable. There’s nothing wrong with having a personal and a business account to keep things separate.

On optimizing content for SEO

Randa: Being active on social media is important for your search engine optimization. While you might not want to post everything business related on your social feed(open houses, new listings, etc), you can take advantage of direct messaging through platforms like Instagram and Facebook. If you feel you’ve maxed out your followers with certain content, consider leveraging your follower’s followers by asking your friends and family to share your content in order to widen the reach.

On finding your niche audience in a competitive landscape
Luis: Consider the information you gravitate to. The things you’re pulled to are the things that make you unique. You’ll naturally and organically find a niche audience if you’re honest about the things you care about.

Leah: Consider the TV show Queer Eye on Netflix as an analogy, there are five personalities on the same show, but if you look at their social profiles, you’ll notice they all bring a unique perspective to what they post. In that way, they are in the same industry but have all found their niche audience.

On doing what works for you

Randa: What works for someone else on social media might not work for you. While you can follow what someone else is doing, it doesn’t mean it’s a strategy you should follow. It won't be authentic and it actually might not be working for them - you don’t know their numbers or their metrics for success. When you’re discovering what works for you, consider your ‘why’, what is the purpose of your content? Aside from money as a motivator, why do you do what you do?

On impactful business metrics
Leah: Likes and followers are great but it doesn’t necessarily translate directly into the best business metrics. Keep in mind that there are loads of people creeping online. A lot of people look at your content, but they don’t necessarily engage, which doesn’t mean they’re not watching. With the popular use of direct messaging and tagging, those serve as important leads. Different metrics count for different industries. The impact is in the tangible relationships developed through social media.

On taking online relationships offline
Randa:  It is advantageous to take online relationships offline. For myself and my social presence to have longevity, not just in my career, I need to nurture my online relationships offline.

On making a digital impact
Luis: Everything you’re leaving online is like digital breadcrumbs leading back to you. Consider where you want to leave your breadcrumbs. If you’re into skiing, you might leave breadcrumbs on a feed about skiing - ultimately leading back to you. Think of all those online touch points as breadcrumbs.

On having fun with it
Leah: Keep space to be proactive and fun. Look at how to play a bit in this space without a real agenda. When it feels overwhelming, just remember to start somewhere, and remember that it should be fun. Give yourself the freedom to mess up. You’ll always feel like there’s ground to gain. Because these platforms are forever evolving, no matter where you’ll start, eventually you’ll end up with a head start.

A special thank you to Leah, Randa and Luis for sharing their experience and insight on using social media to elevate their personal and business brands and the opportunities that it has opened up to them.

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