Recently I was invited to speak to a local real estate group on the importance of using social media as part of their marketing strategy. The obvious theme from the group was how to use the available social media tools effectively and stand out from their colleagues.
In big cities where the market is saturated with Realtors, this can be quite the challenge and quite the drain on the pocketbook if you try and use traditional media like billboards and tv commercials. But here are a few of the relatively cheap or free suggestions I gave to this group which should translate into more potential home buyers for them and you.
First, some statistics…
- “The use of social media for customer engagement will increase by 256% over the next five years to become the second most common way to engage customers after face-to-face interactions.” (‘Made to Stick’ by Heath Brothers)
Well I think it’s pretty obvious – we are already seeing how social media is everywhere. These ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ buttons are on every major website, on every commercial and on physical products like cereal boxes and pop cans. As a Realtor, you have the face to face interaction down, you just need to make sure you are utilizing social media as well.
These next few statistics were pulled as recent as January
- One out of every seven minutes spent online is on Facebook (MediaBistro.com)
- 340 million tweets are sent each and every day (MediaBistro.com)
- 300 million pictures are uploaded to Facebook every day via Instagram (MediaBistro.com)
- 61 percent of LinkedIn members use it as their primary professional networking site (MediaBistro.com)
And lastly here are a few stats I found concerning real estate
- “90% of buyers start their real estate search online.” (SmartMoney.com)
- Nearly 80% of real estate agents are using Facebook to market their practice and properties. (Mashable.com)
So again looking specifically at the Facebook #’s above – if you are not using Facebook, you are missing potential buyers and friends of buyers – if someone likes your Real Estate page it is shown on their friends news feed and that has great value because I am most likely going to value a friends opinion compared to a commercial or billboard telling me how much I should like you.
With all that said – tools like…
Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, are becoming a must for any business. And the companies who use social media effectively don’t just ‘blast’ out their message, they are trying to engage their customers and form relationships with them. Work on being down to earth and engaging customers.
Getting Started with Facebook
- Depending on your specific needs you may want a business page rather than a personal page. Reason being some of your friends may ‘turn you off’ in their feed if they start to get inundated with houses for sale, etc. But then again, you can still drop a note to these friends b/c they are potential customers. Your call…
- After you set up a Facebook page you’ll next want to grab a vanity URL. This is free and helps with your marketing efforts because it is easy for people to remember. (i.e. facebook.com/SallyJones or facebook.com/BestRealtor).
- Customize your cover photo (851 x 315 pixels) and profile picture (180 x 180 pixels). Professionalism in these photos is important.
- Attach your YouTube channel to the list of favorites on your timeline page. I won’t go into detail on how to do this here, but involver.com has an app suite that will help you accomplish this. And after you make a YouTube channel, grab the vanity URL there as well.
- On the different social media platforms, make sure and upload images of the homes you are selling and even the ones you have sold so you show your progress. Include a good description of each image.
- Set up your blog posts / Tweets to automatically post to Facebook. If you have a WordPress blog, you can use the jetpack plugin to help with this. Or you can set up the ‘Selective Tweets App’ in Facebook and whenever you tweet a message in Twitter, just add #fb at the end of your tweet and it will automatically get posted on Facebook too!
- Check out apps like Hootsuite and Tweetbot to help manage you social media messages.
- Set up Events in your ‘Favorites’ on Facebook. You can post open houses for example.
- Post information that is relevant and helpful to users and will keep them coming back for more. For instance, some good titles would resemble something like ‘How To Find A Good Home Inspector’ or ‘Top Ten Things To Remember During Your Final Walk Through.’
- Utilize Facebook’s internal analytics tool ‘Facebook Insights’ to gain an understanding of how users are navigating your page
Having a Facebook page is crucial for interaction with users and potential home buyers where you are the brand and you can publicize your listings and engage users. But with that said, Facebook shouldn’t be the only online presence you have – a website allows you to have full control of your online identity as a Realtor – if Facebook changed their model tomorrow or thought you violated their terms of service and terminated your business page, what would you do?
- Start a Real Estate Blog with good and helpful content like ‘Top Ten’ lists or ‘How To’ posts. These sort of blog posts will help you to start ranking in Google Search Results.
- Create content that people find valuable and want to press the Share or Like button.
- Follow other Realtors on twitter to learn how they use it.
- Be Unique – Set up a monthly meeting at a coffee house or something for your followers on twitter/facebook, where you’ll buy them a coffee and they can learn tips from you about buying or selling a home.
- Be Patient – SEO and getting followers takes time so don’t get frustrated. Just hang in there and if you are genuine and good at what you do, you will ‘rise to the top!’