If you’re like most professionals running your own business in this digital age, effectively navigating the social media landscape may seem overwhelming. At ListingsToGo, we understand the challenges real estate agents face - wearing all hats for all functions of your business. Hiring a social media/marketing professional or outsourcing this task is one way to manage your digital presence. If, however, you are going to delve into social media on your own, here are some tips to guide you toward creating a powerful presence.
Choosing Social Media Platforms for Your Business
Facebook is the primary social media platform used by realtors® at this time. Instagram is increasing in popularity, but requires more direct engagement through instant image posting. LinkedIn may still be an effective place to make connections. Due to the increase in advertising opportunity on Linkedin, sales traffic has increased dramatically and it may not be the best place to showcase your unique value proposition. Twitter is a platform that moves very quickly - meaning content is posted so rapidly, users need to be active if they’re going to benefit from using the platform.
Presence vs. Activity
Given the brief description of sites above, your social media strategy should include a decision about what resources you will put to your online presence. Clearly, posting, sharing, commenting, retweeting…could become a full-time job in itself. In order to narrow the scope, we suggest you choose one platform to focus the majority of your attention on and have the others set up with a presence. You can connect platforms so posts on one site will populate on other platforms. Then check in with the “presence” sites every week/month to see what’s happening there.
Social Media Do’s and Don’ts for Realtors®
Once you choose the platform/s you want, it’s important to know how to work them to get the most from your efforts.
- Do set up a business page and direct all of your professional interactions and relationships there. You can still use a personal page to help promote your business, but make your business page your platform to showcase your knowledge, expertise, services, and engage with clients, prospects, and referral partners. If a client/prospect sends you a friend request on Facebook, you may want to politely decline by sending them an invitation to like your business page.
- Do approach your social media with a value-add attitude. You will get a much better long-term outcome if your orientation is centered around “How can I help you?” rather than “What can I get from you?”
- Do be consistent, relevant, and audience-centered with your posts on these sites. There is no shortage of quality content from well-respected sources, so share it on your page. A good guide for posting is: 2-5 times a week, varied days and times, 1 post each time. Less than 2 times per week reduces your presence significantly and more than 5 posts, or more than 1 post at a time, can end up irritating your audience. It’s easy to unlike/unfollow pages, so don’t give people an reason to leave you.
- Do get to know your audience and give them what they value. As a realtor®, your audience will be people interested in homes, buying/selling property, mortgage lenders and other referral partners. Knowing what your audience cares about makes it easy to tailor your message for them. Sites like NAR and regional associations post great content on industry trends. Sites like Zillow and Trulia put out a lot of fun or interesting content, like home designs or maintenance tips. Local visitor/government/news sites post content about your neighborhood, town, or county. A combination of these types of posts will give your sites the fullest presence.
- Do plan to spend money on Facebook advertising, absolutely! The age-old adage that you can’t get something for nothing is true with social media too. You will need to decide the amount of time and money you’re willing and able to dedicate to this function. Not surprisingly - the more you give the more returns you get. More on Facebook advertising in subsequent blogs, since it is a complex topic.
- Don’t post anything controversial, political, or overly personal. Save your political and social views for your personal page. We’ve heard the argument that being transparent and authentic connects you to like-minded individuals. That may be true, but this approach will also alienate you from others. Keep your business page professional, helpful, intelligent, and interesting.
- Don’t expect overnight success or an impressiveresponse right away. The number 1 reason why professionals stop engaging in social media marketing is time constraints. If expectations are set realistically, it is understood that social media is a long-term investment and worth the time in the long-run.
- Don’t forget the social part of social media. Professionals who get the most benefit from social media - 1. Use these platforms to connect with people they have met in person 2. Ask for introductions to people they want to meet 3. Share and comment on posts of people/pages they value, as a form of networking. Use an integrated approach, online and offline, to market and grow your network.
- Don’t leave messages, comments, or reviews unaddressed. Unless it is clearly spam (written in another language, weird content, or asking you to buy), respond to everything. This is your opportunity to demonstrate your commitment and responsiveness to others. Even if the person is not in your target audience, if it’s public, others will see how you respond and form an opinion about that.
- Don’t use Facebook as your “website”. A quality website is critical to all professionals. When realtors® use their Facebook page, or worse yet, their personal page, as a substitute for a good website, they signal to others that their business isn’t serious enough to warrant what the vast majority of professionals know to be an essential tool. A Facebook page is not a substitute for website, but rather a compliment and integral part of a complete digital professional presence.
At ListingsToGo, we’re here to help you present your best self to your perfect audience. Your website is your critical interactive digital brochure. Social media is your personality, evolving professional presence, expertise, value, and network. We encourage you to leverage as many digital opportunities as you are able, for you and your business. Please reach out and let us know how we can help.