Social media is no longer an innovative marketing opportunity. Today it is a requirement. Individuals and potential business partners expect real estate agents to have a presence on at least a couple social platforms. Often times, social profiles are the first or second impression that a potential client will have of you. But are your social media platforms working for you, producing new leads and enhancing your interactions with homebuyers and sellers, or are they just existing out of necessity? If your social media accounts aren’t actively contributing to your success, these tips will help you capitalize on the online opportunities you may be missing.
Engage Followers with Appealing Offers and Content
On several occasions, I’ve had clients say to me, “I don’t get what the big deal is about social media. I already have a website. Why do I need the same stuff on three social media platforms too?”
Truth is, you shouldn’t have the same content on your website and blog and social media accounts. Sure, the standard contact information will be the same, and the description of you and your services will probably be similar as well, but you need to give people reasons to follow you on each social media site. Exclusive offers and unique content should do the trick.
Keep in mind that engagement is far more important than the number of followers or likes you have. Some sites, including Facebook, actually allow historic interaction data to influence how many people see your posts. If no one is clicking on your offers, future posts will be displayed in fewer people’s timelines. That may seem intimidating, but you should take it as a challenge to only post your best content and offers rather than sharing just for the sake of participating on social media.
Let your personality come through on social media (within the bounds of professionalism, of course). People are more likely to interact with a person or company willing to reveal a genuine persona. Showing your character will help you to stand out from other agents and hopefully make the transition from curious onlooker to client more natural.
Automate Whenever Possible
The primary complaint most real estate agents have against social media is that it takes too much time and detracts from other important duties. This can certainly be the case if you’re the sole person responsible for managing social accounts and you’re doing everything manually. The solution is to automate where you can.
You can use free programs such as SocioBoard, SocialPilot, or Crowdfire to help you schedule posts ahead of time and in some cases, automate messages to new followers. For more robust solutions, you can turn to paid programs like Hootsuite or SproutSocial. Free or paid, these programs are really powerful tools when paired with content aggregation sites like Feedly or Viral Content Buzz, which will allow you to quickly find the latest articles and posts that your target audience might be interested in.
My technique is to start the day off by finding content and scheduling that content to be shared periodically throughout the day. This process only takes about fifteen to twenty minutes, and I sprinkle in a few original posts of my own. To maintain high levels of engagement, it’s important that only about 25% of the content you post is self-promotional. Constant advertising isn’t much of an incentive for anyone to follow you on Twitter. Sharing relevant content that you find from across the web will keep followers interested and will increase the impact of your occasional promotional posts.
Respond in a Timely Manner
Of course, you won’t be able to automate everything. When someone uses social media to contact you, it’s important that you reply as quickly as possible, even if it’s just a brief message to let them know you’ll reach out to them later. A 2012 study showed that 25% of people who contacted a brand expected a response the same day. In the years since that study, social media has become an increasingly popular channel of communication, so be sure to have your smartphone equipped with apps for any social media platform you plan to use.
What have some of your social media experiences been? Do you have any particularly effective methods for gaining new clients or serving existing clients on social platforms? Share your stories, questions, or concerns in the comment section below.