Your personal brand is what drives your business. This makes its promotion vital to your success as a real estate professional. You want past clients to be talking about you and you want prospective clients intrigued by what you have to offer them. All-in-all, you want to be at the top of the list when someone is looking to hire an agent in your area.
In the past, agents trying to promote their personal brand would plaster their faces across benches, billboards, and property signs, all in an attempt to gain familiarity with and reach out to home buyers and sellers in their community. While this can still be a powerful approach today, the majority of marketing efforts have moved online, ushering in an entirely new way of connecting consumers with skilled real estate professionals.
And for those real estate professionals looking to leverage this digital medium to generate results without spending a fortune on marketing, social media is the clear-cut winner thanks to its extensive popularity and little-to-no barriers to entry.
If you’re not already promoting your real estate business on social media, it’s about time that you step up to the plate. As of January 2014, 74% of all internet users reported being active on at least one social media platform. When taking age into consideration, 89% of survey respondents aged 18-29, and 82% of those aged 30-49, reported being social media users.
As a real estate professional, these two demographics are likely to make up a huge percentage of the properties being bought and sold in your area – and not reaching out to them via social media may mean missing out on a significant number of deals.
Furthermore, a strong presence on social media won’t just help new clients find you, but also help them find out more about you while they’re trying to decide which agent to hire. Two-thirds of buyers and sellers look into real estate professionals’ reputation extensively before hiring them. By actively managing your online presence and social media profiles, you can take better control of what kind of results prospective clients find about you in their research.
Top Social Media Platforms for Real Estate Professionals
With social media’s popularity and prominence in our society, it’s no surprise that there are literally hundreds – if not thousands – of different sites out there catering to all types of users. Luckily, as a real estate professional looking for the most effective use of your time and resources, it’s pretty easy to identify the platforms with the most potential.
If you want to get the most “bang for your buck”, the majority of your social media activity should be spread among Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. In addition, many agents actively use Google+, which comes in fifth on the list of most popular social networking sites, with about half as many users as third-place LinkedIn.
Facebook – With nearly 1.25 billion active users each month, Facebook is the undeniable king of the social media world. Its wide-spread use makes it an absolute must for any serious real estate professional.
Twitter – As of the end of 2014, Twitter had grown to an average 288 million monthly active users. Twitter is wildly popular thanks to its use of simple and easy Tweets with a maximum of 140 characters. This makes it great for quick messages or to share links to informative resources.
LinkedIn – The social networking hub for professional users, LinkedIn connects hundreds of millions of people (they broke the 300-million user mark in 2014, gaining an average of 6.6 million new users each month for the fifteen months prior) looking to expand their list of business contacts and professional sphere of influence.
Plan Your Social Marketing Approach
You wouldn’t record a television ad without a script or send direct mail without a value proposition, so why would you approach social media without a clear-cut plan either? Although your online presence on social media will always be evolving, you should have at least a structured framework to help guide you along the way.
There are two main things that you should consider when creating such a plan: when and how often you’ll be posting, and what kind of content you should be sharing with your friends and followers.
1. Established Fixed-but-Flexible times for Posting
Being active on social media – at least in a way which helps to promote your real estate business – takes more than simply posting a status or sharing a link from time-to-time, whenever you get the urge. Instead, you need to be posting quality content on a regular basis – not so frequently that it’s overwhelming or annoying, but often enough that you stay fresh in the minds of your prospective clients.
You don’t necessarily need to post at the exact same time every day, but you should at least have a rudimentary schedule that you stick to.
2. Post Content That Interests Your Target Demographic
Posting two or three times a day isn’t enough to connect with your readers – you actually need to be sharing information that they care about.
According to real estate expert and co-founder of Curaytor Jimmy Mackin, “The content we share is how people are going to perceive us. So if we’re always posting advertising, if we’re always promoting ourselves, people are going to see us as that type of person.” He goes on to recommend that agents look at their last ten posts and ask themselves “How much of the content I’m sharing is actually solving peoples’ problems?”
What he’s basically saying that is that if your content is purely self-promotional and of no actual interest to your fans and followers, they’re not going to be very engaged, and won’t stick around as viable leads for very long.
Tips for Social Media Success
Even with a commitment to growing your social reputation and a rough idea of how you’re going to do so, it’s the little things that are what’s going to determine how successful you are. There are countless ways for real estate professionals to grow their business on social media, but it’s important to focus on some of the most powerful while trying to get your digital presence off the ground.
Here are four tips that you should be following in order to jumpstart your social media results:
· Become Known as an Expert – Most real estate professionals focus on specific property types and farm areas. If you have strength in a certain niche of your market, make sure that you promote this fact and provide useful content which stresses your expertise.
· Keep Readers Engaged – On top of posting content that your readers care about, you should also be aiming to post content that they want to comment on, talk about, and share with their friends and colleagues.
· Share Client-Generated Reviews – Reviews tend to be among the most reliable resources used by prospective buyers and sellers when trying to hire a real estate professional. Collect reviews from clients and share these positive experiences across all of your social media profiles.
· Don’t Forget the Videos – In real estate, visuals are important. Curb appeal can determine how much interest a listing gets, and a staged home is much easier for prospective buyers to visualize living in than an empty one. If you really want to “wow” your fans and followers, be sure to occasionally share relevant, visually-aesthetic videos and clips. This could be anything from important news segments to stunning property walkthroughs.
Cross-Promote Your Online Presence
The key for long-term success is not to try and develop each of your social media profiles separately, but to instead work on growing them all together with a focus on your online presence as a whole. This means cross-promoting your different social profiles, websites and blogs, and client reviews across all platforms, helping users following you on one site connect with you elsewhere.
Not only does this cross-platform promotion help to synergistically grow your presence, but it also forms a deeper connection with prospective clients as they’re exposed to your brand in a variety of different ways.
For example, you may have a follower on Twitter who uses the site occasionally, but is much more active on Facebook. By Tweeting a link to an interesting post on your Facebook page, you can attract them to a platform where they’re much more likely to engage with you. In other words, you’re able to leverage your contact list to better connect with prospective clients in a way that’s more effective for their unique style and preferences.
Start Building Your Social Presence Today
Regardless of whether you’re promoting yourself on two social media platforms or ten, the secret is to make sure you’re getting in front of the right demographic with the right content. When you’re promoting yourself on social media, you’re not just attracting new clients and more income today; you’re also helping position your business to succeed in the long-run.
If past trends are any indications of the future, the digital world is likely to become even more integrated with our daily lives as we move forwards and technology advances further. By working to develop your online presence now, you’ll be much better suited to reap the benefits of your social reach for years to come.