Realtors are some of the best marketers in an offline person-to-person environment. You’re incredibly brilliant at getting to know your clients on a very personal level, getting involved in your community, and connecting with your local market.
What you’re not very good at is applying this to your social media. (Well, most of you aren’t!)
You need to think of social online like you do social offline!
Social media provides a way to further connect with your local clients and groups. Social can build trust, and spread your marketing through friends of friends.
But how do you do it?
How to Use Social Media for Real Estate Agents #1: Facebook
Facebook is where people go to to connect with friends and family online. Most Realtors want to connect with friends and family of clients. It provides trust and word of mouth marketing.
How can you, as a good real estate agent, tap into this market? How can you get your name and listings marketed to your local clients using the largest social networking site?
Here’s a few simple tips.
Set up a Facebook Page. Don’t use your personal Facebook account for your real estate services. Why? It lacks professionalism, and you miss out on a lot of essential business features (such as the ability to run Facebook contests, and check your Facebook Insights). It’s really easy to make a Facebook Page, and it’s worth the effort.
Once you have a Page, use it to engage your clients:
1. Post about Your Neighborhood. Show off your listings’ neighborhood. This both markets your area to prospective residents, and it also shows your passion and knowledge of where you are selling homes. For example, If there is a new community centre being built, post about it, and express the merits and how it will make the lifestyle better for new (and existing) residents.
2. Use Images when you Update. Images on Facebook are the most engaging types of content. The more Likes, shares and comments your posts get, the more they will be viewed in News Feeds by the friends of your Facebook Fans (people who Like your Page).
3. Post about Events in Your Neighborhood. Show how wonderful your city culture is. Post about local events in your town. If you’re going to a neighborly event, tell your Fans, and invite them to jo4. Show you Care About Your Clients. You do this in person, so show you care about your clients on your Facebook Page too.
The new clients know who they are, and it shows prospective homebuyers that you genuinely care and follow up.in you. Ask questions, too, to spark engagement. Post pics of the keys to their new home and say congrats to them BY NAME!
5. Engage with Contests. Contests and Sweepstakes provide an amazing way to create more engagement on your Page, and have fun with your Fans. You can use all kinds of contests to develop deeper relationships with your clients, get to know their likes and dislikes, and promote yourself as a realtor who listens. You can even use them as a way to market your listings, too!
On Facebook, you need to use a third party app to run contests and sweepstakes. I have heard Wishpond makes incredibly simple to use Facebook contest apps, and they give you a comprehensive social contact database too – for your email lists.
For example, run a Vote Contest to ask your Fans what photo they like best from your latest listing.
Or, run a Photo Contest on your Page. You can use photo contests to get more images of a new listing, to follow up with clients who’ve recently renovated, or to get photos of your neighborhood, etc.
6. Post Your Listings. Yes, use Facebook to post your listings, too. The golden rule in social media is 80/20. That is – post 80% of your content about lifestyles, customer interests, and other updates; post 20% of your content about you and your product. This keeps your social media social, and engaging.
When you post your listings, keep the personality of you and your Facebook Page. This is not a print ad. Tell about the home, and what points will sell it. Tell how many bedrooms and bath. Tell the address. Tell the price. But keep it engaging.
Ask questions about your new place, to get comments about what people like about it, what they like about the neighbourhood, or comments about the schools and community facilities. Post about your Open Houses, too.
7. Use Geo-targeted ads. Facebook lets you target your ads very specifically. You can use promoted posts, for example, to get your great Facebook posts seen by other Facebookers in your geographic target market.
How to Use Social Media for Real Estate Agents #2: Twitter
Twitter is another amazing way to keep connected to your clients. Twitter gives you 140 characters (or less), to give updates to your Followers. Use it to engage, and keep strengthening your relationships.
1. Tweet Tips about Staging and Moving. Help out your clients (and yourself), by teaching them how to stage their home for better sales. Post links to good articles and videos on how to present a residence when you’re selling it. And teach about how to pack and make a move less stressful.
2. Tweet Local News. Twitter tends to be a great place for news. If there’s a new school being built in your area – tweet about it. Good news stories to show how great your neighborhood is – and how well you know it.
3. Tweet Questions. Post questions to your followers to encourage a response. Engage with your audience. For example, ask:
What’s the best thing about moving to a new home? #moving #newhome #sacremento
What would your ideal kitchen look like? #kitchens #daretodream #newhome
How often do you renovate your home? #newhome #renovations #homedecor
4. Use Hashtags. On Twitter, using hashtags gets your Tweets seen by more than your Followers. Use relevant and specific ideas and points from your post. Please refer above after each question there is a # (hashtag) and key words to get found by those looking for your subject matter.
5. Tweet about Charity Events. Tweet about local events you support. Show you are connected and trustworthy, and care about your community.
6. Use @mentions to Keep in Touch with Clients. Twitter lets you send tweets to specific people. Aside from using the Direct Messages, send out a Tweet to congratulate a new home owner, or to thank a local merchant for assisting you, etc.
7. Use Contests, Sweepstakes and Group Offers. Like on Facebook, use contests, sweepstakes and group offers to create more engagement with your clients, and get your Tweets seen by their Followers. For example:
Offer a free dinner at a neighborhood restaurant for entering a photo contest.
Ask for a description of a great moving experience, using an essay contest, and offer a gift certificate to a local spa.
A weekend getaway at one of the Gulf condos (try and find out if there is anything planned at the beach for the weekend; festivals, music and check weather)
Host a sweepstakes on Twitter, offering a home decor gift certificate, for viewing your Open House.
8. Tweet about Your Listings. Again, use the 80/20 rule. 80% of your content is about lifestyle and connecting; 20% is about your listings. You do this in your sales, don’t you? Do on social too!
Intersperse your Twitter content with your real estate listings. Include info about your places. Include images of your houses and apartments, etc. Include short videos too, if you have them.
DON’T ONLY TWEET YOUR LISTINGS!
How to Use Social Media for Real Estate Agents #3: Pinterest
Pinterest provides an amazing opportunity to show off the visuals of your listings. This fourth largest social site is all about connecting through images. As a realtor, this sounds like a great match. Your listings get sold by appealing to visual emotions, right? Apply this to Pinterest.
On Pinterest, you set up boards, pin images, and engage by repinning, liking and commenting.
Here are a few tips:
1. Set Up a Board about Your Neighborhood. Sell the area of your listings. Create Board about the amenities, shops and services available in your community.
2. Set Up Boards about Your Lifestyles. Show who you are, too. Set up Boards about your hobbies. If you like to cook – post some of your favorite recipes. If you like to play tennis – post about tennis groups, and where to play tennis in your locale.
3. Set Up Boards about Home Decor. Appeal to the inner designers on Pinterest, and show off beautiful photos of amazing home decor. Link to how-to sites, too.
4. Set Up a Board for your Listings. Keep with the 80/20 rule, but make sure you have a Board specifically for your listings. Make sure your listing Board is located in your first four. This keeps your listings easy to see.
5. Use Hashtags. Like on Twitter (and Facebook, too), you can use hashtags to connect with your market, and extend your posting reach beyond just your Following.
Use hashtags that are specific to your niche and your community. For example, use:
geographic specific tags, like #cottagehillroad
listing specific tags, like #4bedrooms
image specific tags, like #decorate and #newhome
6. Use Contests and Giveaways. Again, like on Twitter and Facebook, use contest, sweepstakes and even group offers to gain more engagement (and ultimately more clients).
Host a vote contest, asking your Following to vote of their favorite image of your new listing.Offer a randomly drawn prize such as a local gym membership.
Make a great photo contest to get people to submit their favorite bathroom. Add a vote element to generate even more engagement, and excitement about homes. Offer a prize such as a gift certificate to a home store.
Make a video contest, offering a weekend stay at a nearby resort. Get your participants to make a short video of what they like most about your recent listing. (This also can get you tons of great, authentic, marketing material for your listings.)
7. Cross-Promote with a Facebook Pinterest Tab. Expand your social reach by getting your Pinterest updates on a Pinterest Tab on your Facebook Page. Don’t worry, it’s not all that complicated – and it gets you more engagement with more of your social connections.
How to Use Social Media for Real Estate Agents #4: Other Social Sites
There are many other social sites real estate agents can use very effectively.
1. Linkedin: Set up business page and make sure your personal linkedin page is filled in – include a good a summary, introducing yourself, and why you’re a good realtor choice (both to buy from, and to sell through).Join local groups and participate in them. Keep connected with your clients, and ask for referrals through the site (just as you would in person).
2. YouTube: Make videos showing your listings. Use a short video to introduce yourself (you can embed this onto your website too!). Use videos to show off the best features in your neighbourhood. Make video contests to get user-generated content (UGC) from your clients.
3. Blog: Blogs are a great way to write about your knowledge of your trade, and get your clients clicking on to your website.
use your blog to post news about the local housing market, interest rates, and property listings. A blog post lets them describe their listings in a longer format than most other social (and traditional print) marketing.
So, there are a few social media tips and techniques for real estate agents. I hope you’ll try out a few of these social media marketing tips. Remember to engage your clients, and use social online like you use social offline!