By Laurie Duepner
According to the National Association of REALTORS®, 91% of its agent members have a social media presence. But are they really giving potential clients what they want, and are they portraying themselves in a positive manner?
In my efforts to gain a better understanding about the relationship between social media and our real estate industry, I surveyed the agents of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties in St. Louis as well as potential consumers in our market. I found that 92% of agents surveyed are promoting their business on at least one social media platform, with nearly 70% stating that the main goal is to attract more clients.
However, more than 60% admit that their strategy needs improvement. With technology constantly changing, the way consumers shop for nearly everything is evolving, too. Consumers want to research everything thoroughly online ahead of time and spend time searching for homes and agents prior to making a hiring decision. Social media can be a very powerful tool to market yourself and your business to a large audience in a cost-effective way. So, are you using the power of social media?
Effectively Promoting Listings
In my survey, listings garnered an overwhelmingly higher response than any other posts when it came to what type of content potential consumers want to see on social media. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, 90% of home buyers are using the internet in their home search, with the typical buyer using it on a mobile device. Why wouldn’t you post your listings anywhere and everywhere you can to optimize your seller’s exposure?
Now, I do feel there needs to be a method to this. Consistency, like in anything else, is key. This is not only your opportunity to gain additional exposure for your listing but also another chance to brand yourself. Use visuals! You need the listing to be visually appealing so consumers stop to engage while scrolling through their feeds. Post photos that are going to be attention-grabbing. Only 42% of REALTORS® are using video, and I feel it is a huge missed opportunity. Not only will that video gain more attention but it also gives your potential buyers the ability to walk through and get sneak peaks of that listing. There are several free apps out there to create video, my favorite being Videolicious!
Another huge complaint amongst buyers is that they are not getting the information they want from a social media post. Only 53% of REALTORS® are including price in their listing post. Give consumers the basics and drive them to your personal website for the full listing information. You should have every single listing on your website—or a dedicated microsite for the property—so buyers can easily access all the information. A full 50% of consumers want to see details about your open house: share them. Then, drive them back to the website.
Make sure you are using all the tools you are given. Facebook, for example, is the most important platform to share full listing information, in my opinion. There are numerous groups for agents that are set up specifically to share ”coming soon” listings with one another. Join them and share away! Not only is it a great free marketing resource, there are paid options to guarantee additional exposure. Using Facebook ads and target the specific demographic that you feel would be most interested in that listing.
You Don’t Have to Do it All
Focus on one platform and master it before you branch out! With the numerous social media platforms currently available, it’s a daunting task to master every one of them. It will become very difficult to reach your target effectively and consistently. Facebook continues to be the most widely used platform, while Instagram is reported to be the fastest growing. My research showed that nearly 90% of potential consumers are on Facebook at least daily, followed by Instagram and Snapchat. However, only 18% of agents are posting to Facebook on a daily basis. I do think there are many underused platforms out there so decide what your goals and target area are and plan accordingly.
When It’s Time to Get Personal
One of the most important things to remember is to get personal and be yourself! Your clients want to relate to you and make that personal connection. Do not be afraid to show the personal side of your life. Show off your family, significant other, pets, sports, vacations, hobbies, etc. Now, that does not mean show the world you’re publicly intoxicated, but everyone needs to have a social life and they need to see you outside of just business. There are companies out there that many agents pay to make generic real estate related postings. Although this can provide some consistency and it has its advantages, it fails to show off YOU.
Interact with people, comment on posts, respond to comments and get SOCIAL! You should focus on making new connections as well as harvesting the ones your currently have. With today’s technology, you have no excuse to lose contact with past clients. In no way does that mean it should take the place of face to face contact, picking up the phone or the occasional hand-written note. But social media is a fantastic asset to help you!
It is never a bad idea to research top-producing agents. But, remember to always be honest. Your goal is for potential clients to get to know YOU. I am not saying you need to completely reinvent the wheel, but put your own spin on it and make it yours.
We all have hard days in this business, no one said it was easy. But make sure you stay positive. Everyone loves a happy story so do not be afraid to share it! Post those happy pictures with your clients at the closing table, especially those great stories with your first-time home buyers. Tell the story of their journey, but of course be sure you ask their permission before sharing. How often do you read the reviews first when shopping on Amazon or looking at hotels? Choosing a REALTOR® is a huge decision so wouldn’t you expect the same? Share those testimonials!
Remember What is Most Important
As I said before, real estate is very much a relationship-driven business. Therefore, your overall social media strategy should focus on strengthening those relationships, building trust and providing value to those who need you. Your job is to be their trusted advisor so focus on what you can do for them vs. what they can do for you. I think the most important thing to remember is a bit of advice from marketer Gary Vaynerchuk, “The Best Marketing Strategy: “CARE.”
LAURIE DUEPNER is an agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties and a member of the national REthink Council. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.