The Advantages of Social Media for Real Estate Agents
Whether you’re “old school” or “new school”, whether you’ve been doing this for 30 years or 30 minutes, running a successful real estate practice is very much a business like any other. Therefore, using social media is a great way for Real Estate Agents to grow their business as they’re able to instantly connect with their peers, existing clients, and potential clients. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube are how the modern world communicates nowadays, and the real estate business is perfectly suited for these platforms. If you haven’t mastered it already —and very few people have— then NOW is the time to learn and hone your skills at social media for real estate agents!
Firstly, having a professional real estate website designed for you is an essential start, but it also needs something more in today’s competitive market. Social media allows you to connect even better with potential clients. It gets into their frame of consciousness on a daily basis, and in an interactive manner. Thus, it isn’t just a notch in your marketing strategy belt, but rather this is what ties it all together, and boosts your real estate marketing efforts. Social therefore furthers professional appearance, lends credibility, and also spreads your message through friends of friends of your target market.
Hence, it isn’t rocket science, but it does require much time and attention. Below are some essential tips and strategies to start you off, or rather keep you rolling.
Social Media for Real Estate Agents, part 1: Facebook
No argument necessary to explain its reach and power. Possibly the most successful marketing platform off all time, with users numbering around 1.23 billion worldwide. Facebook is not only where people go to chat or play games, it is where they get their news and form their opinions. They share these opinions and life stories and have “Friends” in the hundreds (sometimes thousands) who see them.
The internet makes the sharing of this information (from you to them, then from them to their networks) super easy and even fun. Most Real Estate Agents start off by connecting with their own immediate family and friends this way, almost instantly in view of their clients’ family and friends too! A presence on Facebook makes you look like an established business person (whether you are or not), builds trust, and creates word of mouth.
Now, how do you leverage this amazing tool? How do you get your name and listings onto the screens of your local market using the most popular social networking site?
(a) Create a Facebook Page
Separate from your personal Facebook account to maintain professionalism, this tool allows you to run features like Facebook contests, and generate Facebook Insights to see how you’re progressing. They are quick and easy to create, and worth the time to maintain.
What to do with this Page after it’s been created?
(b) Spotlight the Regions you’re Selling in
Write about and post pictures of the area. It sells the neighbourhood to potential buyers and demonstrates your knowledge of where you’re listing. Key points to mention and highlight: quality of life, safe/peaceful, good neighbours, schools, gyms, highways and public transport, events, green space, hotspots in town, and others.
(c) Use lots of Photography
Pics get the most attention, and are likely to attract Likes, Shares, and Comments. The more you get, the higher the visibility in Newsfeeds of the friends of the people who Liked your Page. These also allow potential buyers to visualize themselves living in the homes you’re selling.
(d) Care for your Clients
When it’s time to hand over the keys, document it online! Show how you welcome new homeowners or those you just sold for. Open a bottle of champagne or other small gift. This proves to prospective clients that you’re human and don’t forget about them after the deal is done, sharing in their happiness.
(e) Show your Listings and Open Houses
Self-explanatory. Lots of charming language and beautiful imagery are key here. Key to remember, don’t make it dry like a classified ad. Stay consistent with the image/charm you’ve established with the rest of your Facebook Page. Don’t just list an address and a price, and other typical specs on a property. Rather, write about it like it is a warm inviting home. Be brief but include some key selling points, with flair.
Feature a big listing as the star every month, and get your following to comment on their impressions by asking questions. Current residents might have something good to say about that area, parks, schools, hospitals, or other attractions.
(f) Create Targeted Ads
Aside from the demographics you can identify to target when create a business page, Facebook also allows you to segment your advertising by specific geographic region. What could be better for someone who sells property? There are also Promoted Posts to get your contributions seen by all other users in your target market areas.
Social Media for Real Estate Agents, part 2: TWITTER
Another giant of social media, with 319 million “Monthly Active Users” (MAU) worldwide. Twitter is a short message communication tool that allows you to send out messages (Tweets) up to 140 characters long to people who subscribe to you (followers). It is used it to engage, attract new followers, and keep existing relationships current on what you’re doing.
How Twitter Is Unique: In the social media world, Twitter falls into the category of Microblogging tools because of the short, disconnected messages it distributes. Other microblogging tools include Tumblr, FriendFeed and Plurk. Here you employ similar strategies to Facebook, described in Part 1. Aside from those, what is effective on Twitter specifically?
(a) Tips about Staging and Moving
Teach potential clients how to “dress up” their home for better sales (aka staging). These can include external links good articles/videos on how to prepare a home for buyer visits. Also educate on how to pack and make moving less stressful.
(b) Neighbourhood News
Many people go to Twitter for daily news. So if there’s a new Community Centre in that area, tweet about it. Only positive news stories to prove how great your neighbourhood is, and how on top of things you are.
(c) Ask their Opinion
Post questions to encourage engagement from your followers to. For example, ask:
- What’s your favourite part about moving to a new home? #moving #newhouse #laval
- What does your dream bedroom look like? #bedrooms #fantasyhome #newhouse
- How often do you redecorate? #newhouse #decorators #diy
(d) Use Hashtags
Despite the size of Facebook, Twitter is still the master. Since Facebook’s use of hashtags began in 2013, they are still not as popular they are with Facebook’s rival Twitter. The key is knowing how to use hashtags in 2017.
Hashtags get these Tweets seen by others outside of your current Followers. Use specific and appropriate terms to be discovered by people looking for these topics. For example, use hashtags:
- Specifying the local area name
- Pertinent to your subject matter (E.g. #decorators)
(f) Use Twitter Handles to Stay in Touch
(E.g. @clientname) Twitter even directs Tweets to specific people, and notifies them when they’re been mentioned. Apart from “Direct Messages”, broadcast a Tweet to congratulate a new homeowner, or to thank a local business owner for supporting you with their services.
(g) Tweet out Your New Listings
Similar to Facebook, these shouldn’t be pages and pages of dry boring classified-type ads. They should be vibrant and energetic with some charm in the way they’re described. Use lots of photography and videos, along with the written facts (short-list) potential buyers need to know. Also, not too many in a row. You don’t want to look like a cold property machine who focuses on volume. Spread these out among your regular content.
Social Media for Real Estate Agents, part 3: PINTEREST
As recently as March 2016, Pinterest hit 110 million MAU. In March of 2015, it hit 50 billion pins shared by users, and it has continued to grow since then. Definitely not to be ignored!
Pinterest supplies a fantastic platform to showcase the visual appeal of your listings, and can be a great tool for Real Estate Agents. The 4th largest social media site leverages connecting through imagery (mostly photos), and this is a natural fit for Realtors. Your listings get sold by appealing to emotions through the eye, so use Pinterest on a regular basis!
How does it work? You set up “boards”, pin your images, and interact by “repinning”, liking and commenting on others’ contributions. Some strategies to employ:
(a) Create a Board Highlighting your Primary Regions
Sell the neighbourhood first. Showcase the facilities, amenities, stores, infrastructure and services available to potential buyers.
(b) Create a Board about Home-Décor
Seduce those who have a flair for decoration with stunning pics of modern and popular home décor samples. Create external links to the sites which educate people how to decorate or where to shop, as well.
(c) Create a Board for Property Listings
Be sure to keep at least one Board dedicated to your listings, placed strategically among your top four. This keeps your listings within view, and not forgotten amidst all the other info. Review the approach mentioned for FB and Twitter, to keep them interesting, but with emphasis on the visual.
(d) Use Hashtags
Similar to Twitter and Facebook, you should hashtag popular and relevant terms to get people talking about your topics, and extend your reach beyond merely your own Following.
Create hashtags from topics specific to your current focus and local community. Examples can include:
- Regional-specific tags, such as #westisland or #pierrefonds
- Dwelling-specific tags, like #3bathroom or #baywindow
- Pin-specific tags, like #renovations or #newdevelopment
(e) Cross Promote using a Pinterest Tab on Facebook
Expand your social media for real estate agents strategy by having your Pinterest posts appear in a “Pinterest Tab” on your Facebook Page. This not only creates repetition in your audience’s frame of consciousness (aka “impressions”) but gives the appearance of a larger operation (aka your business) and creates continuity to link your various social platforms together.
Social Media for Real Estate Agents, part 4: INSTAGRAM
Similar in concept and approach to Pinterest, Instagram is basically an online photo album (or series of albums) where you can post pics and videos of just about anything you want. It’s not only for personal use, but for business too. As for linking to Facebook, this social media giant is owned by Zuckerberg and friends, so spreading your message across platforms is even easier.
Slightly different in that people access it almost exclusively from their cell phones and tablets, it’s still wildly popular. How popular? As of December 2016, the mainly mobile photo sharing network had reached 600 million MAU, up from 500 million in June 2016. Compare that to just 90M in Jan 2013. So it’s exploding and now’s the time on jump on board!
Social Media for Real Estate Agents, part 5: LINKEDIN
Next, beyond the obvious that come to mind (see parts 1-4 above), there are many other sites that a top social media for real estate agents marketing plan can use wisely.
One primary example is LinkedIn:
Create a Business Page and make sure your personal LinkedIn profile is properly completed. Include an strong summary introducing yourself as a pro, and play up the reasons you’d therefore be an excellent choice as Realtor for new clients. Join local groups and be active in them. Stay connected with your clients on LinkedIn, and ask for referrals through the site (just like in person).
Social Media for Real Estate Agents, part 6: YOUTUBE
Creating and posting videos on your website can have a great positive impact on those visiting your webpage to reach out to you, or even refer other people to you, generating leads online.
First, create a channel where are your videos are grouped together. Then produce a short clip to introduce yourself, which should be the first thing they see. As a title and in the description, use keyword phrases like “Best Real Estate Agent in Montreal” and mentions of any specialties you’ve mastered, so you likely come up in random searches by strangers. Then produce videos showcasing your listings, which can then be posted onto your website and all other social media sites too. Ever seen a virtual walk-through of a beautiful property on the internet? They’re quite captivating!
Use videos to also highlight the best features of your primary region(s). Launch video contests to elicit user-generated content (UGC) from your Subscribers (the YouTube equivalent of Followers).
Social Media for Real Estate Agents, part 7: BLOGGING
There are many reasons why every Real Estate Agent needs to start a blog. With as much value as anything else you’ll online, blogging is Content Marketing. Not sure what that is? Content marketing is simply the practice of creating material (blogs, articles, videos, etc.) that people want to read and watch. You’re trying to fill the needs your public has, eventually becoming THE trusted source of information on real estate. It is marketing mostly by giving away information for free. You build your image or brand, and as a result people will come to you for your services. For example, who wouldn’t want their favorite real estate blogger also as their Agent?
Blogs are the best way to show off knowledge of your profession, all the while getting possible new clients to click on your website. Blogging is also ideal to boost your SEO (search engine optimization), and spawn new content on your marketing website. Links to your regular blog postings can be shared on every other platform listed above –and vice versa– to play off of one another. Hence this makes for a very thorough social media for real estate agents marketing campaign.
No matter which tools you choose in your social media for real estate agents marketing strategy, the Golden Rule is always “80/20”. In other words, 80% of your content should be about lifestyles, client interests, and other news/info interesting to them. The other 20% of your posts can be about you and your services. Both are very important, but this balance keeps your social media fresh, interesting and captivating.
The best social media for real estate agents marketing masters think of networking online like they do networking offline. Get out there, show your face, publicize your name and tell why you’re the best, and lastly gain trust.
In conclusion, there are several approaches to real estate marketing through social media, but the above is a solid base to get you started or sharpen your current game. Since the internet and its marketing are an ever changing creature with no one winning formula, and since you are unique, there will be trial and error. Try a few of these social media for real estate agents marketing strategies, see what works, and tweak your approach on a regular basis.
For expert advice on marketing strategy and help designing your social media tools, call Toll Free 1-855-447-1221, Mtl area 514-497-1690, or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org