Building a recognizable brand your clients can connect to is one of the most important things you can do for your business. Everyone knows you should be unique and offer great service, but many brands start off by making the same mistakes.
To help you start your real estate branding journey on the right foot, here are a few common missteps and how to avoid them.
1. Not having an authentic brand identity
Authenticity means staying true to a brand's essence. Without this kind of transparency, your brand might seem untrustworthy (or even too cookie-cutter) for customers to pay attention to.
The first step towards learning how to build brand authenticity is to answer the following questions, which will help you better envision your brand's identity. Then, take all those notes and find ways to put them into an actionable plan.
Questions to ask yourself:
- Who are you, what do you do, and why do you do it? Tell your story and the story of your brand.
- What's your vision? Your passion? You do not want to lose sight of your goals. Potential clients will respect and follow you because you stick to your guns.
- What do you believe in? What are the core values driving your real estate business? If your brand had a tagline, what would it be?
2. Not using the full power of the internet
Because so many consumers shop online these days, it's easy for them to imagine finding their realtor or their next home the same way. Phones, tablets, laptops—these are our new shopping malls. If you're not harnessing the far-reaching power of the ‘net (such as social media), then it's safe to say that you're missing an entire sector of the market.
There is good news, though: It's not too late to jump in and reap the benefits of digital brand-building. If you're a newcomer to the scene, here are the most impactful ways to get started.
People are very visual when it comes to shopping around for a purchase. They want to see how the clothing will fit, what condition the car is in, and who the people are behind the scenes—just to name a few examples.
Videos that demonstrate the value of your service can be invaluable to building your overall brand. Periscope and Meerkat are two video-creation apps that stream your videos right to Twitter. (You can use a smartphone to record a YouTube video, but you can't edit or make it look more professional without video-editing software.)
Perhaps you'll decide to hire a video production company to assist you in creating your videos. For example, you might want to create video walk-throughs of all your properties to show prospective buyers what they have to offer. A company with extensive experience filming apartments, homes & offices will know how to make your property look great on video.
If you use Instagram for social purposes, then you already know how powerful it can be for brand marketing. This strategy is common among influencers, and for good reason. Instagram images can demonstrate and advertise your brand's products & services, but they're also the perfect place to show off your brand's philosophy and personality.
Because of its unique visual format, it's important to create content specially for Instagram. A few quick snippets will only take a few minutes of your day to make, so make sure to update this platform regularly and keep your followers engaged.
Creating a Facebook business page or group is a popular starting place for social media marketing. It's a reliable way to ask questions and provide customer support, and it creates a sense of community among your followers.
How can you tailor Facebook to real estate branding? Offer first looks at new properties, exclusive discounts, and valuable industry info that will encourage newcomers to follow you. Remember to be visual here, as well: posts with photo or video attached outperform those without.
3. Not building your brand luxuriously
Choosing the right colors, design elements, logos, typography—everything matters if you want to create a luxury brand that represents quality and credibility. But, here's something that might surprise you: You can create a luxurious brand on a smaller budget than you think. That is, as long as you're thoughtful and deliberate about what you're building.
Your brand identity should harmonize with your brand's essence. (Remember authenticity?) It all works together to communicate your mission, your passion, and your unique selling points. Start with your brand values and work towards a logo that represents them well. As you add in new elements, like colors & fonts, make sure they all work together to send a clear, professional message about the quality of your brand.
Finally, remember that your clients can be some of your best brand ambassadors. They know what it's like to work with you, and their story can inspire others to do the same. Collect testimonials from your satisfied clients and from other professionals in your field. (Pro tip: Consider recording them as video testimonials.) From there, you can post them on your website and social media channels.
4. No genuine connection with others
According to Harvard Business professor Mikolaj Jan Piskorski, social media is one of the best ways to build connections to your target market. However, it's not just about being present—it's about finding ways to spark genuine human connection.
This could mean publicly supporting a cause that reflects your brand's values and that others will want to support with you. Another idea is posting original, behind-the-scenes content that helps your audience to get to know you. There are lots of things you can do and new ideas to try.
The point is, by genuinely connecting with your followers, you create positive brand experiences that aren't just about making a profit. Instead, you're putting yourself out there as a real estate brand that wants to help others and to serve your community in a positive way.
5. Not going after free press
Did you know you can jumpstart your brand awareness with local media? Make yourself available for interviews in specialty newspapers, magazines and podcasts. You can easily create a stellar one-sheet bio in Lucidpress (here's a good template) to share with interviewers, so they understand your areas of expertise and how you can demonstrate them for their audience. This can be a great low-cost way to start building a name for yourself.
Lastly, don't forget that you can amplify your own expertise as well. Create and curate content that your audience will want to read and share. You can do this with a blog and with your favorite social media networks, like Instagram or Pinterest. It doesn't all have to be your own content—discovering and sharing others' content can help you establish a presence and build new relationships. Just make sure you share thoughtfully and give the author credit.
Don't get trapped in the same pitfalls other real estate brands have fallen into. Master these principles so you can think outside the box, make real connections, and breathe life into your brand's unique philosophy.