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Are you a faceless company?

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Social media is everywhere these days, especially in the news. I mean, have you heard the latest about Wimbledon visitors being banned from bringing in selfie sticks and livestreaming this year’s competition with the Periscope app?

Did you know the Citrus Content website is currently undergoing a complete rebrand, so preparing for my new job title (watch this space!!) I’ve been undertaking research on a variety of websites, what I found was a lack of a ‘face’. What I mean is that there was no sign of the people within the business, but isn’t the property and interior industry about people so why are you being faceless?

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A couple of weeks ago Andrea and I attended Lettings Live 2015. These photos are of us taking part in their Selfie Competition in London, social media even allowed Vicky to take part from back at the Citrus office in Newport!

Isn’t that what social media is meant to be? Being social and putting a name to a face. The name Facebook didn’t come about by accident, it literally is a book of faces! And when people think about your business, you want to appear trustworthy and transparent, but above all personable.

A current example of the power of social media comes from a personal experience, back in February 2015. Birnbeck Pier in Weston-super-Mare was featured on the BBC’s Inside Out program; ‘Is there a future for Birnbeck Pier?’ Actor Timothy West spoke about his love for Birnbeck Pier and wanting to see it saved, having been closed to the public for 21 years now.

I went to Westcliff Art College, which overlooked Birnbeck Pier (now luxury apartments) and I have really fond memories of going out on photography assignments and always being drawn back to the mysterious and beautiful derelict Birnbeck. So seeing her in that sad state, I felt I needed to do something about it and help the cause in some way.

So I vowed from that day on that I would tweet one photo a day until Birnbeck was saved!

So 142 tweets later, I truly believe that their Facebook and Twitter accounts have played a significant part in providing constant awareness to this cause. Of course, not forgetting the many Friends of the Old Pier (FOTOP) who have been working tirelessly over the years to resurrect Birnbeck. But back when this campaign first started the likes of facebook, twitter and Instagram didn’t even exist! Furthermore, having Justin Lee Collins’ backing (originally contacted through Twitter) helps provide a well-known face to a virtually-unknown historical building. Therefore, I really think the Birnbeck Regeneration Trust campaign is well on its way to going viral; all thanks to the power of YOU.

So by engaging your customers with frequent, relevant content you can add a whole new dimension to customer service, but you’d be surprised how many estate and lettings agents still aren’t using it to their full advantage.

It’s easy and cost efficient to build your brand through social media, and it shows that you and your business are embracing new ways customer interaction.

So have a look at your website right now and ask yourself; are you a faceless company? If the answer is yes, then please get in touch with the Citrus team today!

Breaking the Mould – Writing for Estate Agents

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As we rapidly head towards our second anniversary, I grabbed Andrea for a quick chat to find out more about writing for estate agents.  Where did her passion come from, how did Citrus Content start and what challenges and key trends do we face.

How did Citrus start? 

I have always had a passion for property and interiors, but writing?  My career took me down a different path until 4 years ago when I joined twitter.  Here I shared my love for property and started to attract a following, this led to my first blog post.  I was asked to write a guest post on my passion, incredibly it was for Rightmove.  Over the next couple of years I was asked to write more and more, and realised two things; firstly, I loved it and more importantly, the industry wanted more.  So two years ago, I grabbed my pen and paper and started to write as a profession.

Why?

Let’s face it, estate agents historically don’t have the best reputation and are renowned for being stuck in their traditional roots.  I admit some agents are grasping onto their past with both hands but many are embracing the future and breaking the mould to emerge as a new breed of estate agents.

What are the challenges?

Estate agents are not marketers, designers or creative professionals but the business community and our technological society is asking them to be.  They often find it hard to translate their knowledge and personality into content that emotes the reader.  But being able to be the solution to this challenge is so rewarding.

Are there any key trends?

Like similar industries, traditionally estate agency content has been cold and corporate.  This has changed, whether it’s down to social media or customer needs, the industry leaders seek warm and engaging content that speaks directly to their clients.  We work hard to establish a tone of voice for each agency to highlight their individuality.  I have created, what we fondly call, our Voice Document.  This document is the foundation of everything we write and also means we can write numerous articles on the same subject and you can clearly identify which agent it was written for.  Storytelling for estate agents is now very client centric, we focus on using words such as ‘you’ and ‘your’ rather than ‘we’ and ‘our’.

Estate agents are also fusing this new trend with traditional values.  They want to be seen as not just based within the community but also part of it.  There is a growing demand for editorial content which features local businesses and events.  Blog posts, newsletters, and magazines featuring a community touch are a trend that again is growing.  No matter whether we feature a local store, artisan, or product, we have to find a way of relating it to the agent or buying, selling, renting or letting a property.

We are required to be all things not just writers.  Working with estate agents is fantastically creative; we are often required to be marketers, coming up with inventive ways to promote their business.  Some clients require even more, we have written press releases, organized events and so much more.

How have things changed?

Every day I see a change in the industry and a growing acceptance that engaging content is a necessity not a luxury item.  There is still a long way to go, as this acceptance is still very much a minority.  This is not to criticize those that have not adapted the new trends, as a culture change in an industry never happens over night.

Looking to the future

There is definitely a change in customer perception, and an estate agent is no longer the most hated profession.  I often say ‘There is nothing more powerful than words.’  Words are breaking down stereotypes, strengthening the client and agent relationship, aiding an agency to financial success and most importantly, changing how the industry operates.

I’m proud to be part of this incredible change and look forward to breaking many more moulds in the future.  Writing for estate agents is anything but dull, it is often said when buying a house you think with your heart and your head.  Passion, industry knowledge, and adaptability are key to our success at Citrus Content.