Real Estate, as we have come to know it, has changed forever. It took quite some time, but finally the industry which was once based on tradition and snail-mail, is now online and moving at the speed of light. Technology has given us the ability to scan barcodes, share listings on Facebook, update all of one’s contacts simultaneously through a “Tweet”, and complete hundreds of other integral tasks with the push of a button.
Through the use of social media, agents, sellers, and buyers, can all transact efficiently and effectively from anywhere in the world! According to a recent poll done by the National Association of Realtors, more than 60% of real estate professionals conduct business using online social media tools. (I would personally wager that the top producing real estate professionals across the country are amongst the 60% who utilize social media as a selling tool.) This being said there is a difference between using social media, and using social media effectively!
In order to make the leap from having an account to effectively utilizing that account, we must understand the strengths of each platform, individually. Below are the “Big 8” social media tools, and how they are being used to redefine real estate:
Facebook has given Realtors the ability to post listings, open houses, photos, events, and even manage groups of contacts or create business pages. The true power however lies in its ability to draw attention to yourself, and your product(s) in a friendly, non-intrusive environment. Tip: Start by creating a page that highlights your skills as a professional, to attract attention from all the right people (remember to keep it fun and engaging).
Twitter is your opportunity to share what’s on your mind (in 140 characters or less)! “Tweeting” a combination of original thoughts and links to your listings seems to be the best recipe for keeping users engaged. This platform is more about staying in the forefront of your target audience’s mind, by constantly reminding them who you are and what you do. Tip: Sync twitter with your other social media platforms; this will allow you to make one update and have it syndicated across all of your mediums.
LinkedIn is geared towards connecting professionals. By creating a strong profile on LinkedIn agents can connect with professionals who either have the means to purchase property, or have the need to sell property they currently own. Tip: post business related articles that you find interesting, so that pro’s in your network will see you as an expert in the industry. (Check out jhhre.com/blog if you need some content to post.)
A blog is essentially a digital journal (no, not like your sisters) where one can write as much as they want, about anything they want. Being perceived as more of an expert in real estate than your peers, is what we like to call a competitive advantage. By writing on topics that are pertinent to your target audience, you can establish yourself as an expert; therefore the next time they think real estate, they will think YOU! Tip: Leave emotions out of it, and filter your opinions when it comes to politics; talking about how you disagree with someone’s favorite president is the easiest way to lose that reader. Go to blogger.com to get one started.
YouTube allows agents and brokers to do everything from posting virtual tours of properties to creating a weekly video blog. Studies have been shown that consumers respond more positively to a message when they hear it and are able to put a face to it. Have a message to tell the real estate world, or want to show a walkthrough of that gorgeous new listing you got? This is the place! Tip: Create a YouTube channel so that you can organize your videos, share them effectively, and ultimately build a following.
The new arrivals:
I am sure you have heard the name before, because Instagram has taken off in a big way! Starting as a photo-blog, where users could post photos they had taken and wanted to show off, Instagram has turned into a juggernaut in the social media game. Tip: Create a catchy username, post photos of houses, functions, and yourself, to familiarize viewers with your brand (the trick here is to not post too often and annoy people, but to post enough so that you are constantly on their mind.)
Pinterest is like Instagram in the sense that it is very much photo related, but it is more social in the sense that it allows you to put tags on your photos. For instance if we took a picture of one of our listings in Glendale, we would post it on Pinterest and add the tags: Real Estate, Glendale, Listings, For Sale, etc. This way anyone who has “pinned” one of these category’s to their wall will be able to see our photo, thus increasing exposure. Tip: Put a photo of your business card on there and tag it for real estate, your city, and several other categories you find interesting, because you never know whose eyes are watching!
Hashtags The Ultimate Social Media Tool:
If you have spent any amount of time on any social media platform, then I am sure you have seen this symbol before “#”. Commonly referred to as a hashtag, this is a way for you to get your post/photo/tweet/update on to lists where viewers can find them by association. Tip: by adding #RealEstate to any of your posts etc. they will be added to the #RealEstate page, give it a try!