Real estate, like almost every other professional field in the world, has undergone a major disruption. The digital era is with us, and thanks to that fact social media for real estate agents has taken over most forms of online marketing for this field.
Years ago, when the Yellow Pages ruled this planet, realtors relied heavily on conventional forms of marketing to get clients. We are talking about billboards, radio and TV ads, open house calls in mailboxes, and even cold calling to see if someone wanted to buy or sell property. A great many of these methods may not work today. Mostly because the kind of people buying homes fall under that notorious category known as ‘Millennials’.
These are the 20-something to 30-something year olds who are completely glued to their smartphones, tablets, and laptops. They have caused a major disruption in the real estate market. Social media reigns supreme over the flyers and newspaper ads the industry used to rely upon.
Social media for real estate agents
To get the most out of your social media marketing efforts there are certain boxes that you simply must tick. It is about much more than just randomly tweeting and plastering pictures on Instagram. You need to:
- Have an impressive number of followers across several platforms (Social proof is key).
- Have a professional, yet approachable presence on more than just one platform.
- Know and learn how to speak to and connect with your audience.
- Have proper real estate social media etiquette.
Let’s take a closer look at how you can get more clients for your real estate business through social media engagement.
Learn social media etiquette rules for real estate agents
When we talk about social media etiquette, we are not merely talking about censoring offensive words. We are talking about overall behavior patterns that can annoy your followers. These things include:
- Creating several profiles on the same platform: Although it is absolutely fine to have your personal profile and another for you brand on the same platform, create several for your real estate business on the same platform is a definite no-no! Many business owners think that this gives them a wider reach. While there is a case to be made for businesses with several locations setting up multiple pages, those who run their businesses from a single office should never do the same. A single profile will give you all the branding you need on that platform.
- Not treating others with respect: Make it a rule to treat others as you would like to be treated. Social media platforms have an incredible risk factor, one of which includes alienating people. Being a ‘social’ site, there are going to be mean things said and fingers pointed at your real estate brand. Whether these things are deserved or not, it is up to you as a professional brand to take the high-road and handle the situation with professionalism.
- Automating most of your social media interactions: When it comes to managing social media for real estate agents, automation is a wonderful helper. It makes it easier to optimally organize all of your social media posting efforts and even develop workable email marketing campaigns. What it cannot do, however, is bring in that all important ‘personal’ touch. People need to feel like they are talking to a fellow human being as opposed to a robot. It is best to include a personable touch to your responses. In short, treat everyone who follows you or comments on your pages as you would like to be treated.
- Be careful with the hashtags: Using Twitter as a hunting ground for trending topics makes it an excellent customer service platform. It isn’t an arena for you to bombard people with every single hashtag you can fit into 140 characters. Neither is it an avenue for you to hijack other company’s popular hashtags. Create your own hashtags to promote your listings instead.
Using social media for selling real estate is entirely different from how you would use it for personal reasons. You still want to establish and build relationships, that much about real estate hasn’t changed
The right social media platforms to promote your real estate brand
For a professional realtor you only have a finite amount of hours to carry out your digital marketing efforts through social media. As such, prudence dictates that you focus on the ones that will bring you the most returns. Remember the 80/20 rule? 80% of your most important leads will come from only 20% of your marketing efforts. Make that 20% count.
Although choosing a few out of the many wonderful social media platforms might seem daunting, it is actually quite doable. Once you learn choose the best social media platform for your real estate brand you need to learn how to use it effectively. Here are examples for two of the most popular platforms.
YouTube for real estate agents
YouTube is a perfect platform for you to hold a virtual showing for every property. This gives you an opportunity to highlight neighborhoods, include popular festivals and things to do as well, as amazing views of the house. Create a YouTube channel for your real estate brand and post videos of every house on your listings independently:
- It allows your clients to take a virtual tour of the house at their convenience.
- It allows you to keep selling even in your sleep.
This video gives you a good example of how you can use YouTube videos to sell a house:
A video like that, which has used our YouTube views service, is sure to sell a home for the highest possible price.
LinkedIn for real estate agents
LinkedIn is a useful platform for connecting with other professionals. Here is a good example to follow:
Sandy has included her credentials prominently right along the top. She then shows off her excellent education, and a great summary. Her very professional profile photo helps as well! She is sure to get more LinkedIn Connections on her personal account.
Apart from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube, you should also try and find other networking platforms that are specifically built for realtors. Some examples include:
You will get to learn some of the best kept industry secrets and see what the best in the business are doing differently.
Learn how to increase your followers and engagement
The very first thing you need to learn as a realtor on social media is that the social part of the media only happens if you are saying and giving your audience what they want to hear and see. But even then, they might still scroll right on without engaging with you in any kind of meaningful discussion. When that happens; when only 3 out of a billion people like your page, there are things you can do to increase that number.
- Understand why your targeted audience is online: Are they looking for houses to buy or are they looking for a realtor who can help them find the right house? Either way, positioning yourself as the industry leader in your field will give you a better chance of engagement.
- Use call-to-action prompts: Sometimes, all you really have to do to get the engagement you want is ask for it. Hold contests that reward people for liking your page and such.
- Incorporate humor: People like to laugh. When they log onto social media, they want to be entertained. If you do not do this, they will move right on to someone who does.
This video shows you how you can incorporate a light moments with some rapping to make your video stand out. 81,000+ views is not bad at all:
Know your social media audience and use social proof
Still do not know the importance of social proof to the success of your real estate brand? Think about it this way: when was the last time you went out for a nice dinner without looking up reviews of your chosen restaurants online first? There is a very good chance that it has been a while. With 3,000 likes and only 120 dislikes, that restaurant can’t be all that bad. You start thinking, they might just deserve a chance, after all, 3,000 people can’t all be wrong. That is social proof at work.
By increasing your followers as well as social media engagement, you will be turning your brand into a massive snowball that simply attracts more likes and comments as the days go by. People will begin to perceive you as trustworthy just because others have ratified that fact by the number of likes you have.
Why real estate agents use social media to sell homes
- 80% of all potential homebuyers are searching for their new homes online.
- 68% of all home buyers today are Generation Y (Millennials).
- 83% of all potential home buyers want to see images and videos of their targeted properties online.
- 42% of all home buyers say that their first step was to look online.
- It is going to be cheaper to buy a home than rent one in the U.S (by 35%) in the coming years.
- 41% of all millionaires use LinkedIn.
These numbers clearly show why social media for real estate agents is no longer an option you can overlook. Not only is it important when it comes to selling to an increasingly digital market, but it will also help you show your sellers that you are tech-savvy, and willing to explore all avenues to ensure that their listings sell.
With the number of people looking online for their first house increasing and an impending boost in the actual number of people looking to buy since it will be cheaper than renting, real estate agents have an incredible opportunity to leverage social media marketing to attract, capture and convert this market. Social media is:
- A wonderful way to build your brand and reputation:Get people to notice you through social media engagement and show professionalism in how you handle online conflict.
- An excellent opportunity to network with buyers, sellers and other realtors:Platforms such as LinkedIn and Active Rain are excellent for professional networking within and without your niche.
- A brilliant way to diversify marketing efforts: Step outside the traditional marketing norms and let your creativity go wild with social media for real estate agents.
Social media for real estate agents presents the perfect opportunity for you to toot your own horn without appearing to do so or conceited in the process.
Proven social media strategies that help real estate agents sell homes
They say that in real estate sales it is all about location, location, location. As much as the actual physical location of the house matters still, as a realtor it is all about where you approach your targeted market. The statistics above show that 68% of all new home buyers are now Millennials, and 80% of all of them look online for homes to buy.
As a real estate agent, one of those ‘locations’ should be on your social media page. Here are some wonderful social media marketing strategies that work for realtors the world over.
- Build an attractive property website: This is where you will be directing all of your traffic and hosting all of your listings.
- Have an active presence in all the big social media outlets: From Pinterest to Twitter and Facebook, have a presence in all of them and observe social media posting etiquette rules as they apply to each specific platform.
- Take high quality pictures and write exceptional copy: Use Instagram and it’s over 300 million users to share lifestyle photos of your listings. Instead of the typical boring listings images, share images of neighborhoods, swimming pools, kitchens and families having fun in the backyard of your listings. Pair these photos with the appropriate hashtags to attract the right kind of client.
- Add social sharing to all your property pages: Make it easy for people to share your listings and recommend you to their friends and family.
- Make viral videos of the properties: Sharing a home video tour on YouTube is one of the best ways to create a buzz around your listings. Share these videos on all of your social media pages.
These ‘best social media for real estate agents practices’ will help you get more likes, more shares, and create a buzz around your brand that will foster better customer engagement.
Social media mistakes that real estate agents should avoid
Remember that the very first word in ‘social media’ is ‘social’. Try as much as you can to implement this concept in all of your posts. Study your audience and discover what it is they like and what they respond to best. Then go right ahead and keep studying. Find out what it is they do not like and respond to negatively. These are the things you should avoid.
Some of the social media marketing mistakes you could inadvertently make include:
- Failing to use videos and images in your social media real estate posts: As informative as text is, they tend to get a little mundane and boring. Spice it up a bit with a few well-thought out videos and images. This video gives you an example of how to get your audience’s attention when showing a listing:
- Intermittently engaging with followers: This is a generally egocentric planet. People mostly focus on themselves. When they comment or write to you, they expect you to write back. If you do not, you will inadvertently turn them away and even against your brand. Not responding to comments on social media is just poor customer service and engagement.
- Focusing on one social media platform at the expense of the rest: Did you know that 59% of all LinkedIn users do not visit Twitter while 13% of them do not use Facebook at all? Yes, only focusing on one platform will implicitly mean that you are losing out on all the potential buyers who do not use that platform but are otherwise interested in finding homes online.
- Not monitoring your analytics and social media ROI: This would be tantamount to shooting in the dark, how would you know when you are hitting the mark? Monitoring and evaluating your social media marketing efforts will give you a clear picture as to which ones are working and which ones need adjusting.
- Embellishing listing features and using fake images: The digital world is full of people who will immediately call you out. The fact that most people look at reviews before they even call you up means that you should never try to cheat your audience. One bad review could mean thousands of dollars in lost potential earnings and a PR disaster for your brand, the likes of which it might not recover.
What you need to do is create an avenue for your clients to get entertained, educated and informed without feeling insulted or ignored. Use all forms of media to this from videos to images, text, and even infographics.
Leading examples of effective social media use for real estate agents
Gary Peer Real Estate – Melbourne, Australia
We have talked about how effective video tours can be in selling your real estate listings. Gary Peer Real Estate in Australia has taken this to whole different stratosphere with their weekly TV show called GPTV.
This video gives you a good idea of how Gary and Phillip are using YouTube for real estate agents, to their benefit as well as that of their clients:
In just under 30 minutes, Gary Peer and his business partner, Phillip Kingston, deliver highly informative and entertaining property news, market updates, and general community information. By taking a light-hearted approach to educating their market through video, Gary Peer Real Estate has made themselves into a household name in their community. This is how powerful social media can be for your brand.
The Boutique Real Estate Group – Orange County, United States
The Boutique Real Estate Group is another example of realtors using social media effectively. Catering for Southern California, they have taken full advantage of the beauty of SoCal and use high-quality videos to showcase homes and the lifestyle surrounding those homes as well as the region they serve.
This video gives you an example of how The Boutique Real Estate Group showcases the lifestyle that surrounds their listings:
They also have an exceptionally active and engaged Pinterest Profile with thousands of pins and well over 33,000 followers. This helps them:
- Create more buzz around their brand.
- Direct more traffic towards the pinned listings.
- Build a better and more visible brand reputation.
- Have more business interest from Millennials looking for the good life in California.
Pinterest is one of the leading social media platforms when it comes to showcasing images of your listings, creating more customer engagement and positioning your real estate business as a reputable brand with good taste.
Brad Bell Real Estate – Brisbane, Australia
Brad Bell Real Estate has taken the social in ‘social media’ to a whole new level. They created an online community dubbed ‘The Hub 4122‘. Here you will find blog posts with useful local news, guest posts by local businesses and events that concern the local Brisbane community that they serve.
Instead of just focusing on promoting their brand, they focused on helping the people around them come together under that very brand. They even went ahead and built a coffee shop on their office building, also called ‘The Hub 4122’.
This image shows regular customers enjoying their coffee and interacting at The Hub 4122:
Here, their vast online community can meet offline, get to know each other, network, and discuss local happenings all under ‘Brad Bell Real Estate’s’ brand. You cannot buy this kind of social currency.
Get clients and build your real estate brand through social media
It is much more than just about how many retweets you get, how many pins you have, or how many likes and comments your updates generate. Social media for real estate agents is about bringing value to the community you want to serve. You need to put their needs first; you need to find a fine balance between promoting your brand and actually being helpful.
What is it that people think of when they see your brand? Do they see just another real estate agency or do they see a resource for all of their home buying and selling needs? Do they feel comfortable engaging with you even when they are not in the market for a house? Is your’s the kind of brand name with which people would happily associate themselves? Do you make them smile, informed and confident that you are leading them in the right direction?
These are all pictures that you can paint of your brand through use of the various social media platforms at your disposal. Use social media as a platform to communicate with your audience. You will gain their trust and with that, their business.