Social media can help realtors find a wide audience, in the right area and at the right time. Even with limited resources, savvy realtors can build meaningful relationships and earn more clients.
How do you do it?
The sheer array of platforms and marketing techniques seem overwhelming. Here are five practical tips to get you started in no time.
1. Start two-way conversations
A staggering 94% of millennial homebuyers are taking their search online. This creates incredible opportunities for real estate agents to connect with them there—but only if they truly understand their audience's motivations.
It's tempting for realtors to promote their business and new home listings relentlessly on social media. After all, isn't that what those platforms are for?
Not exactly. For potential homebuyers, constant, in-your-face promotion has minimal appeal. If they wanted endless advertisements, they could just flip open a magazine or turn on the TV. Treating them this way shows a fundamental lack of understanding about your target audience.
The vast majority of potential homebuyers are searching for information. They have questions. If they're considering buying for the first time, they're probably intimidated, too.
Savvy real estate agents use social media to walk everyone through the process, creating stronger bonds than the constant sales pitch approach. Instead of just posting endless promotional content (a one-way broadcast), you open up two-way conversations. The audience becomes a key creator of the shared experience.
This takes on many forms. It might be searching Twitter hashtags and offering advice to those in your local area. Tomorrow it might be hosting a Q&A session on Facebook Live. Next week it might be something as simple as asking a question in your newest listing photo caption on Instagram. Whenever you can, invite your audience to participate in the conversation.
Yes, you can still find opportunities to promote your listings. But, a commitment to being relentlessly helpful builds trust and authentic relationships.
2. Choose your social media platforms wisely
Social media is fast-paced, chaotic, and changing constantly. It's easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of platforms.
Realtors new to social media might feel the pressure to "be everywhere." Pressed for time already, they drive themselves crazy trying to maintain a presence on a dozen different accounts.
This approach actually leaves them worse off than before. Because they've spread themselves so thin, it's impossible to get the traction needed to build an audience on any platform.
What could you do instead?
Start by taking a deep breath. Acknowledge there are tons of platforms out there—and a lot to learn. And accept that you'll see the best results by focusing on just a few right now. Begin the journey with proven social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Which platforms deserve the majority of your focus? A lot depends on your audience. Beyond the overall popularity of the platform, consider where your target market spends their time online. You wouldn't want to launch a Snapchat strategy when trying to sell retirement condos—the demographics there skew too young. If you're selling commercial real estate, consider connecting with successful professionals and industry organizations on LinkedIn.
Do some preliminary research to pinpoint where your audience is most engaged. Using those insights as a guide, narrow your focus to a few platforms as availability allows... which brings us to the next point.
3. Post consistently (and strategically)
A successful social media for real estate strategy is a lot like a successful relationship-building strategy in real life. You need consistent contact—and interactions that provide value and motivate people to keep coming back.
The goal: create enough interactions for your audience to get to know you without overwhelming them to the point they tune you out.
This is a delicate balance to maintain, but the good news is it's something you can always adjust as you go. Feedback from your networks (whether you're gaining or losing followers, their engagement, etc.) will tell you if you're headed in the right direction.
You can use social media software to schedule posts beforehand. This gives you the freedom to meet with clients, work open houses, and attend closings all while building your presence automatically. It's easy to post multiple times a day this way.
Posting frequency is one thing, but you also have to consider the nature of the content itself. Most content breaks down into three different types:
- Time-sensitive/promotional. These posts advertise new properties on the market, open houses, or your brand in general. Think of listing photos, tweets urging prospects to give you a call, and virtual tours with Facebook livestreams or 360-degree photos.
- "Evergreen" how-to or informative. This content answers questions, shares tips, or finds alternative ways to provide value. It's just as valuable a year from now as it is today. This could be decorating tips, a checklist to help you see how much house buyers could afford, or cool DIY renovation project ideas.
- Fun or entertaining. This content might not be directly related to real estate, but it's a great way for you to showcase your personality. It might be a review of a new restaurant in town, a heads-up about traffic on the way home, or even those viral cat photos. Social media just gets prospects in the door. It's your personality and expertise—real-life relationship skills—that will close the deal.
Understand the goal of each post you make, and mix things up to engage your audience and keep them coming back.
Finally, remember that there's no need to create all this content yourself. Supplement your own efforts by sharing, retweeting or linking to other great content. Your clients are a great content source—whether it's sharing a quote from their testimonial or a photo of them toasting a new home.
4. Remember your past clients
Social media is a great tool for realtors to build relationships and land clients. But, that's only part of its appeal. It can also help maintain relationships you've already developed.
What happens when those closing papers are signed? Clients feel a rush of adrenaline, but after a few months, everyday life creeps back in. An incredible 70% of homeowners can't even remember their real estate agent's name one year after closing.
It's a shame to have those relationships slip away after you've spent so much work building them. With a little social media love, it's much easier to maintain them. That way, when clients are ready to move again or recommend a realtor to family or friends, you'll be the first person who comes to mind.
How can you do this on social media?
Release a steady stream of that evergreen content we mentioned earlier. Brainstorm all the things you wish you knew when you moved into a home. Is it design inspiration? Checklists to get organized? Ways to prepare for the winter or save money on utility bills?
You can also broaden your content from real estate itself. Now that your client has moved, they're living, working and integrating into the community. They might be interested in that new restaurant down the road. Or the best summer camps to send their kids. You can become their go-to source for all things local.
5. Measure and keep learning
You're sending emails to clients, working open houses, and putting out yard signs. (Not to mention trying to keep up with your own personal life.)
You don't have endless hours to pour into social media that isn't paying off. How are your tweets performing compared with your Pinterest posts? Should you be posting on Facebook or focusing on Instagram?
These are the questions that can frustrate you to no end. Instincts might give you some indication, but measuring will let you know for sure.
Fortunately, it's never been easier to collect data on social media performance. It's easy to see which posts get the most engagement in terms of likes, retweets and comments. But, if you're looking to see what's really moving the needle in terms of sales, why not create unique landing pages for each platform?
A landing page simply directs visitors whenever they're interested in contacting you, seeing a new listing, and so on. Tailoring them for each social media platform allows you to track where leads come from. You can also find out a lot more about each user's interactions with your brand and their path to becoming a client.
Keep an eye out on which platforms, campaigns and topics perform best. As long as you keep tracking your analytics and tweaking your strategy, it will gradually get more effective. This optimization process never ends, but the payoff increases over time.
Over to you
Social media has become an essential piece in every realtor's marketing toolkit. Thankfully, it doesn't have to be overwhelming anymore. Apply the tips above while launching your real estate marketing strategy, and you'll build an impressive audience, engage them, and bring in more business.