3 Social Media Tips for Real Estate Agents
Successful real estate agents are some of the best networkers on the planet. They were educating clients and growing their businesses through networking opportunities long before social media existed. These same agents can leverage social media to complement traditional strategies. Real estate professionals that learn how to tap the power of social media to increase their book of business will stay ahead of the competition as purchasing power continues to shift to the next generation. Following are three tips to help you move to the next level with your social media efforts.
1. Understand the value of social media content.
The first big wave of social media for business happened in the late 2000s. (Facebook launched February of 2004.) Back then many professionals rushed to get as many "likes" as possible for their brand’s Facebook page. This may have stroked egos, but it failed to create conversions. In social media, soft conversions are engagement with your social posts. Inbound prospects that are acting in part of in whole due to social media posts are hard conversions.
So, should you post pics of your current listings with "call now" buttons? Yes. And no. In Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, Gary Vanderchuk talks about keeping social media social. Fresh on a Monday morning, in the office, it's easy to forget how irritated you were last night browsing Facebook when endless ads started dropping into your view. Those ads interrupted your social time on Facebook. They did not add value to your life. Vanderchuk talks about the value you give customers over and over and over as you engage with them on a social level. Your prospects find value in humor, information about your local area, and engaging personal content such as recent good books or local music you had a chance to see. As that relationship is developed, you gain tacit permission to lay out some sales bait. That social engagement is bolstered locally as you engage with local prospects through "live" social engagements in your community. Good old fashioned networking
Case in point. Without exception, the posts our customers engage best with involve things like resurgence of live cut Christmas Trees or even this fun little weather report from northern Wisconsin. I put the weather report on my personal Facebook Page and then shared it to my business page. Understand the math of these posts. In 2018 the average number of friends on Facebook was 338. That means that when someone engages with your posts, especially if they share it, you have the potential to connect with an additional 338 people.
2. Understand the value of reputation.
Word of mouth still drives sales better than any other advertising or marketing option. But the new word of mouth is social media; specifically reviews on you social media platforms and website. Over 70 percent of online shoppers will check out reviews of products and sellers before initiating any sales activity.
This means it’s critical that you build a collection of online reviews. Reviews should land on your social media platforms. They can then be ported over to your website. Companies like Broadly automate the process of collection, filtering and placement of reviews. You can also collect these reviews yourself. You can see the impact Broadly has had on our reviews here. These review still live on their native platforms, in this case Facebook and Google. They are ported to our website by Broadly as well. On word of caution. Buyers are much more informed than in the past, even to the point of realizing that reviews can be purchased rather than earned. This would be a good time to read my blog post, Can You Trust Social Media Reviews.
If you are working solo, every time you close a deal ask for a review to be placed on one social media platform. Include simple printed directions for that platform that you hand the customer along with other closing documents. Then create three more opportunities over the next three weeks to ask for that review. This can happen through a thank you card, an email or a text. When using an email or a text, include a link to where you want them to go to leave the review.
Even as you are work with prospects that are just kicking the door step rather than shopping for the right home, ask them to provide a review after you spend a few hours showing them properties. The time you have invested in those showings, with no compensation from the prospect, is a strong motivator for the prospect to leave a review if asked. It's the law of social reciprocation. You can read more about this is To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink.
Also, as they write that review two things are happening. First, they are reinforcing their own positive view of you. You become more memorable and important to them. Second they become a bit more "socially obligated" to make a purchase through you when the time comes. What would they tell your friends if they left you an awesome positive review after a Saturday of touring homes and then worked an agreement through another realtor. This is a form of social obligation.
3. Understand the value of personalized service.
Delivering personalized service is nothing new to a seasoned real estate agent, but scaling interaction through social media resources is key. If you are interacting with your past customers and future prospects online you will get to know them. As that is happening you will notice when they start poking around for a new property. Because you interacted with them through meaningful content over months or years, because you have been social, you are now well positioned to offer your services.
But agents don’t get calls just to buy and sell property. Especially in small towns, agents are the unofficial Chamber of Commerce. They field calls about everything from restaurants to restoration companies. (One of our largest restoration jobs came through a realtor that goes to our church.) So, stay connected through social media around a wide variety of interests. When you see your target demographic asking about a restaurant for a family reunion step into the conversation. If they have a great time, they will trust your advice on restaurants. And if they trust your advice on restaurants, they are more likely to trust your advice on real estate.
When utilizing social media focus on frequent informative or entertaining content, get word of mouth going by collecting reviews and making them visible, personalize service by interacting toward customer interests, not just the sales opportunity.
4. Email as Social Media
I know, this is an article with 3 Tips. Here's a bonus tip. Start thinking of email as a highly personalized social media platform that can get engagement rates that easily exceed other social media rates if crafted well. I average over 32% open rate on our monthly emailed newsletter.
Using a 3 party service like Mail Chimp, you can quickly set up emails with professional templates. You can personalize them through use of data tags. Data tags are fields within the email that are automatically populated with personal information. For instance, instead of a generic email to "Dear Customer" the data tag makes it "Dear Susan." Data tags are becoming much more sophisticated and can reference very detailed customer information. Basically, if you can down load it into an excel spread sheet you can likely load it into an email template. This means you can make personal mentions about the name customer's kids and dogs and favorite vacation if you keep good track of that information.
Curious about what an emailed newsletter with a 32.6% open rate looks like? Click here.
Eric Nei the Cleaning Guy
Owner and CEO of Clean As Can Be Services and Lakeland Restoration.