Marketing real estate on social media for the past 11 years hasn't come without dealing with a crisis or two.
In today's digital age, social media has become an essential tool for real estate agents to market their services, connect with clients, and build their brand.
However, like any other aspect of business, social media can pose its own set of challenges, including the potential for a social media crisis.
A social media crisis can escalate rapidly, damaging your reputation and business if not handled correctly.
Let's look at some ways to prepare & options to you can take if a crisis arises to avoid cancel culture.
The best defense against a social media crisis is preparation. Real estate agents should establish a crisis management plan that includes the following components:
a. Monitor Social Media: Regularly monitor your social media channels for any negative comments, reviews, or mentions of your brand. Use tools like Google Alerts, Mention, or social media management platforms to stay informed.
b. Identify Potential Issues: Recognise the common issues that could lead to a social media crisis in the real estate industry. These might include disputes with clients, miscommunications, or unfavorable market conditions.
c. Designate a Crisis Team: Appoint a team responsible for managing a social media crisis.
This team should consist of individuals who understand the real estate industry and are skilled in communication and problem-solving.
Example: John, a real estate agent, notices a series of negative comments on his Facebook page from disgruntled clients who feel their property purchase did not meet their expectations. Thanks to his regular monitoring, he identifies the issue promptly.
Respond Swiftly and Appropriately
When a social media crisis arises, swift and appropriate responses are crucial to minimize damage and demonstrate your commitment to resolving the issue. Consider the following tactics:
a. Acknowledge the Issue: Respond to negative comments or posts with empathy. Acknowledge the issue and express your commitment to addressing it.
b. Take the Conversation Offline: If the issue requires detailed discussion, offer to continue the conversation privately via direct messages, email, or phone to avoid airing grievances in public.
c. Address Concerns Proactively: Share your plan for resolving the issue, reassuring the client or commenter that their concerns are being taken seriously.
Example: John responds to the negative comments by thanking clients for their feedback, expressing his sincere regret that they are dissatisfied, and providing a direct contact number for further discussion.
Transparency and Honesty
Transparency and honesty are essential in resolving a social media crisis. Real estate agents should never attempt to hide or downplay the issue. Instead, be upfront and honest about the situation.
a. Provide Information: Share as much information as is legally and ethically possible to address the issue. Explain the circumstances and the steps you are taking to rectify the situation.
b. Be Consistent: Ensure that all team members involved in crisis management communicate consistently and honestly. Mixed messages can worsen the situation.
Example: John, in response to a negative comment regarding a property's condition, honestly discloses that the property had certain flaws which he overlooked during the viewing and offers to help rectify the issue.
Learn and Improve
Every social media crisis presents an opportunity for growth and improvement. Real estate agents should use these situations as a chance to refine their business practices and communication.
a. Evaluate the Situation: Conduct a post-crisis analysis to identify what went wrong, what worked in your response, and areas for improvement.
b. Implement Changes: Based on your analysis, make necessary changes to your business processes, policies, or client communication methods.
Example: After a social media crisis, John realizes the importance of more thorough property inspections. He decides to hire an independent inspector for all properties he represents to avoid such issues in the future.
A social media crisis can happen to anyone. However, with a well-prepared crisis management plan, timely and appropriate responses, transparency, and a commitment to learning from the experience, you can minimise the damage and turn a crisis into an opportunity for growth and improvement.
By applying these strategies and learning from the detailed examples provided, real estate agents can effectively manage and recover from social media crises while preserving their reputation and client relationships.