Using Social Media to Generate Leads, Sell Homes, and Build Your Brand
If you’re a realtor, it’s time to buy into the selling power of social media. According to research by the National Association of Realtors, more than 90% of home buyers used the internet during the home buying process in 2012. 63% of home buyers took at least one virtual home tour via the web. Internet searches for real estate agents grew by 46% from 2011 to 2012. The written word is quickly becoming just as powerful as the spoken word when it comes to pushing your name, your brand, and your offerings. Before you start posting, tweeting, and connecting, here are some helpful tips for managing your social media content:
- Create a clear, concise description to use for all of your social media profiles. For example, say, “I am a residential real estate agent, based in Chester County, specializing in single-family homes. Check out my website: www.johndoe.com.”
- Create websites, social media profiles, and accounts that are separate from the company you work for. Spend your time and money building your own brand, so if you do leave a company you are more likely to take clients with you.
- Make sure that posts, comments, and images on your social media sites are strictly business related. Sharing opinions on controversial topics can scare off clients, and property photos may get lost in the shuffle if you constantly upload pictures of your dog.
- Consider using a social media scheduling tool (Hootsuite, Tweetdeck). These tools help you automate the publishing of content across multiple media platforms, saving you time and effort. You can spend just 15 minutes a day and schedule 3-5 new posts to “drip” out during the day.
More than 80% of realtors use social media as part of their work. So…you won’t stand out just by creating a social media presence. You need to create unique content to land a unique following. Below you will find some advice on how to take advantage of specific social media outlets.
An astounding 73% of homeowners prefer to list with a realtor who offers to videotape their homes (postling.com), but only 12% of realtors are members of YouTube. It does not take a math expert to understand the value in using this social media outlet. Here are a few suggestions on how to effectively use YouTube videos:
- Use a high-quality camera to record the videos. Cell phone videos lack professionalism and will likely hurt your credibility with potential clients.
- Try to keep each video to 2-3 minutes in length.
- Use search engine friendly keywords in the title and description of the video (the city/state of your territory).
- Create a welcome video that highlights your expertise and contact information that you can place at the top of your YouTube channel.
- Create video tours of available properties to help lure in prospective buyers.
- Find previous clients that are willing to record a testimonial video. Group the interviews together and post the segment on your channel.
- Produce video tours of the neighborhood to showcase major attractions; schools, parks, community centers, sports venues, etc.
- Create how-to videos for home sellers to help them land the highest possible price.
Referrals still provide the greatest number of clients for most realtors. Most referrals come from friends and family, and you will most likely find those friends and family on Facebook. Your loved ones can help cast a wider net and create lots of exposure for your business through viral marketing. Facebook is still used by many as more of a social outlet than business tool, so make sure your content does not seem too pushy. Instead of posting an update that focuses on price or square footage, try posting a photo with an update that reads, “Can you imagine living here?”
Extra Tip: If you tag your sellers in photos, THEIR Facebook friends will see the photos.
LinkedIn is the best social media site for networking with other professionals in your field. Building business relationships will help you gain access to potential career opportunities and build your brand. Plus, you can often learn helpful hints and tricks of the trade by corresponding with other agents. Make sure to take advantage of LinkedIn groups. Search for groups based on keywords specific to your industry or area of expertise. After locating 2 or 3 relevant groups, make sure you are actively involved by joining discussions, asking questions, and sharing information several times per week.
The key to marketing through twitter is to create a large, local base of followers who can help share your content. Start by searching for prominent local figures, businesses, and fellow agents. After locating them, start following them and follow any of their relevant followers. This tactic works like a virtual handshake and many will follow you back. Most people you follow will look at your profile to figure out who you are and they may even wind up clicking on your website link.
A blog is a good place to create a hub for all of your social media marketing efforts. You can place links to all of your accounts at the top or side of the page. Also, in real estate, it’s very important that you establish a credible reputation in the industry. When you are viewed as an authority in your field, people are much more likely to solicit your help when they need to sell their home or purchase a new one. One of the best ways to strengthen your reputation is by writing a blog. Share information and advice with prospective buyers and sellers that feel overwhelmed with the process.