Real estate agents everywhere are realizing that social media could possibly be their best marketing medium. Instead of bus benches and newspaper ads, agents can use social media to create a steady stream of inbound marketing leads. Here are eight aspects of social media marketing that real estate agents need to keep in mind.
Real Estate is Local: As a real estate agent, part of your role is to introduce potential residents to their new neighborhood. This includes educating them on utilities and school districts, but it can also include telling them where to go to get the best Chinese takeout or a great deal on dry cleaning. This is where social media can really excel. You can regularly share tips and information from your neck of the woods that your social network followers will really appreciate.
Agents can also look for local online groups and communities to participate in on Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. St. Louis area real estate agents, for instance, can join one of several LinkedIn Groups that are specific to the St. Louis area. They can also monitor Twitter hashtags like #STL or whatever might be appropriate for their geographic area.
Be Consistent: This is true for every business: be consistent in your social media activity. This means being active every day, at a level that you can commit to. If someone visits your Twitter profile and it has been two weeks since your last tweet, why would they want to follow you?
Consistency also applies to the kinds of content you decide to share. While it's OK to experiment with different kinds of posts and content to find what works, when your statistics tell you that a particular style of post was successful, stick with it.
Be Responsive: By the same token, it is very important to be responsive on your social networks. On average, companies tend to respond to just 5% of questions posed to them using social media. This means that most businesses are missing out on a tremendous number of opportunities to impress publicly.
When someone asks a question on Facebook or Twitter, make it a goal to answer within 24 hours or faster, and do so in a positive and constructive way. Remember that other potential customers will be able to see not onlywhat your answer is, but how you responded to the question as well.
Be Relevant and Applicable: Put yourself in your client's shoes and think about what information they might most find helpful. Make sure that the content you're sharing is interesting and relevant to your clients.
I was at a networking meeting some time ago, and a member real estate agent had an opportunity to present to the group. She chose to talk for 20 minutes on the recent growth in home sales in our county, primarily reciting from a recent statistical report. She completely failed to realize that no one else in the room cared about how many houses she and her colleagues had sold last month. Instead of engaging her audience and providing information that was of real value, she bored us and told us nothing that we could take away from the meeting. She might have at least tried to explain why the data might be important to a regular home buyer or seller. Or, better yet, she could have chosen a topic that would have been far more applicable and interesting to her audience.
Have a Content Marketing Strategy: As with every aspect of your business, it is important to have a strategy. Your Internet marketing strategy should consist of a great website and blog as your hub, surrounded by social networks and other content distribution channels. As you create and publish content to your site, it gets pushed out to appropriate channels so that your fans and followers can stay informed and engaged. This method also ensures that your website remains the focus of your business for search engines. After all, if someone in your area is looking for a real estate agent, you want them to end up on your website, right?
Careful thought should be given to the kinds of content you create, as well as the topics you cover, in order to provide optimum value and visibility to local residents.
The kinds of content you should be creating include Blogs and Videos. These should be further broken down into guides, resources and information about you and your business.
Here are some ideas for content topics:
- Introduce local resources and events
- Educate on the home searching and buying process
- Provide tips and information useful to home buyers
- Commentary on local news topics
- Home maintenance and decorating advice
- New listings and developments
Utilize Multiple Networks: Your buyers aren't only on Facebook, so you should't be either. Make sure that you're taking advantage of the benefits and opportunities offered by each of the major social networks.
Utilize a personal Facebook account for yourself and any other agents in your agency. Have a single Facebook Page for the agency as a whole. The same is true for Google+.
Each agent should have their own Twitter account.
On LinkedIn, every real estate agent should have a complete and optimized personal profile, and be part of a Company that represents your agency.
Complete Participation: Since we are recommending that every agent have a personal account on each the major networks, that means that we are also recommending that every agent be active on those networks.
Each agent should actively work to add more connections and friends on each of the networks, as these connections may represent current or future customers.
Real estate agents can also get enormous value out of LinkedIn Groups andGoogle+ Communities as we mentioned above. Just like attending local networking events, agents can join and participate in local online groups where they will have an opportunity to connect with other local residents and provide interesting information. Individual agents and the agency as a whole can focus on different groups and communities to spread their influence and participation.
Of course, agents need to be active and consistent on their personal accounts just like we've outlined above for the company as a whole. There's no reason though why agents can't share company blogs and articles, and similar posts to other agents. Agents should work together to pool resources and share sources for great information and content.
Measure Your Successes: It's very important that every real estate agent make sure that they have mechanisms in place to measure their activity and the results of that activity. How many likes and comments did you receive last week? What was your most popular post? What times of day for posting have been the most successful for you?
The agency website must have Google Analytics integrated for site wide statistics and visitor measurement. Furthermore, the agency and each agent should strongly consider using a tool like HootSuite which can not only help them manage multiple networks, but also provide valuable metrics on the success of their activity.
Social media can be an extremely powerful tool for real estate agents to connect with customers. Trust can be engendered and expertise demonstrated. Make sure that you and your agents are taking advantage of these opportunities today! Feel free to share your questions, comments and concerns below. By Mike Allton