I was recently invited to speak to a group of local realtors about how they can use Social Media to promote their business. The basics of social media remain the same regardless of the industry but since the real estate market has a unique audience, there are some specific tips to promote their brand, increase listings and hopefully sell more homes.
The real estate market is hot right now in the Lexington KY metro area and surrounding counties, so much so the biggest obstacle is the lack of inventory as they are selling so quickly. It’s a competitive market as well, as there is no shortage of realtors in this area with an average of 50 agents obtaining their license each week. So how do you set yourself or your brokerage apart from the crowd? How do you connect with your audience, increase brand awareness and instill trust and credibility?
There is much that can be done on social media, your blog and website to create your own unique voice. Here are some realtor-specific tips to effectively market yourself on social media, blog and website.
Social Media and Content Marketing Tips for Realtors
I. Before you begin, do research and set up a plan of action. Determine your goal before you begin. Is it to gain followers, to build brand awareness, or to drive traffic back to our website? What action do you your audience to take? Do you want to move them from Facebook follower to website viewer, email subscriber, event attendee, new client, or new agent (if you’re a broker)? Determine your conversion goals and what type of message will help you reach those goals.
II. Choose the social media platforms that work best for your business and your target audience. Facebook is currently the leader with monthly active users as well as average time spent each day. It also offers a wide demographic of age groups, from millennials to seniors. Facebook has also collected the most information on their users so it’s much easier to conduct targeted branding. Instagram is great to reach millennials but will require high-quality photos, dedicated time to build your page’s presence before you see results.
III. Choose the brand you want to push out there. Who are you? Who is your demographic? What interests do you have in common? Promote the common grounds and similarities to build bridges to your demographic. Showcase not only your skill sets but your personality, your causes, passions, a little of your personal life, and a lot about why you love real estate.
IV. Set up a schedule and stick to it. You need to post every day of every week of every month, as consistency is nearly as important as quality content. There are social media management software tools out there to help schedule your week or month ahead. If you need professional help, delegate it but make sure you have communicated your brand, mission and company philosophy fully to this person before than take the reins. You want them to fully understand you unique business model before they become your online voice, and keep those lines of communication open with weekly or monthly meetings with your social media manager. (Call Startup Production if you need professional, experienced and user-friendly help.)
“Agents need to be active and consistent about posting. The reality is that a Facebook page with three entries from 2015 could actually do more damage to your business than no page at all.” (RISMedia)
V. Be Responsive. Keep frequent lines of communication open with these people as they want to get a quick response (with minutes to an hour). If you get an social media direct message, a comment, or share, have your phone alert you for these types of actions so you can immediately generate a response. If you’re in a meeting, quickly let them know that you are tied up with a client and will reply shortly.
“71% of consumers who experience a quick and effective brand response on social media are more likely to recommend that brand to others.” (NM Incite)
VI. Avoid boasting about your business as you may come across as arrogant or pompous. Show pride over recent closings, listings and great customer experiences but also showcase your happiness for your clients, rather than just your own success and the money you made. Avoid boasting about yearly sales numbers as it looks like your main objective is your profit margin, rather than finding people their perfect home. Also don’t round up or exaggerate figures relating to homes sold, which could incur distrust from your peers and clients or even issues with your local real estate board.
VII. Humanize your brand with occasional photos of family, friends and personal outings. Twenty percent of your content should be relationship building. Show them you’re a real person with interests and priorities similar to their own. Show them you care about your community with involvement and support local community outreach efforts. Show them a typical day in the life as a realtor, meeting with clients, showing homes, broker meetings, educational workshops and networking.
VIII. Show them your expertise and experience in your field. The majority (80%) of your content should be work-related including photos and videos of the latest listings, curated content (like links to local housing market reports and business updates), and links to your recent blog posts on real estate related topics. Don’t just post current listings, recent closings and news about your real estate business. Inform them about recent real estate trends, statistics about buying and selling, current mortgage rates, steps to getting your house ready to sell, staging ideas, first home buyer advice, etc. TEACH, EDUCATE and thus SHOW your expertise in the area.
IX. When posting your real estate listings, add some flair to your content. When promoting your listings, add high quality professional photos or videos, highlight the property’s features in less than 200 characters (140 characters or less for Twitter), and always provide a link that you can track to get more information about the listing. However, some agents take these social updates too far and exaggerate features or even doctor photos of them to make them more appealing.
“Add only the specific, actual final sales price for your transactions so as not to arouse the suspicions of your leads.” (RIS Media)
X. Post the best times for your target audience, so first you have to determine who you are trying to target. From millennial to senior, from stay-at-home moms to working professionals, each demographic of your audience obviously has varying schedules for when they engage on social media. Knowing what days and times to post can be accomplished through simple trial-and-error, and once you fine tune who’s on and when, you can tailor your message to specific times of the day. The best times of engagement of your local audience will determine your schedule. Lunchtimes and early afternoons, evenings from 7-9pm, Saturday mornings, Sunday afternoons are usually best time especially for this area for retail related industries.
XI. Content marketing engages your audience without directly selling to them. Content marketing takes time, so take time each month to provide original content on your website (blog) that shows your experience and unique perspective to real estate. The time you invest in original content has residual value, as it provides great content for your website, blog, social media, email marketing and traditional marketing outlets; and it can be reused, recycled periodically as well. Regularly producing original content on your website and blog attracts traffic and increases page ranking but also provides a library of content to post on social media.
XII. Build relationships with peers. Share content from other real estate professionals, bloggers, publications, and experts. This will save you time, provide informative content for your audience, and build partnerships with other organizations. (Everyone appreciates when their content is shared).
XIII. Have a good strategy and budget for Social Media Marketing. It’s a pay to play system, to expand your reach and engagement, build your following, increase brand awareness and get more traffic to your website and property listings. Have a strategy, so don’t just hit boost but define your objective, create audiences for your specific message, tailor your message, design your graphics and determine your budget. Create and save several types of audiences for your ad campaigns, for example, first home buyers, empty-nesters, those relocating to your area and recently expanding families in your area. How? Find their location, age group, and interests to tap into that specific demographic.