A growing portion of a real estate agent’s time is being spent on social media marketing. And for good reason. Social networking was ranked as either a “somewhat important, important, or very important” lead generation tool for 75 percent of real estate agents in 2011 (Realtor Technology Survey).
That figure is expected to grow as social media plays an increasingly vital role in the lives of consumers.
Consider these explosive statistics:
- Facebook grew to 1.1 billion users in 2012
- Twitter’s active user base has grown 714% since July 2009
- Google+ is adding 14 million active users every month
Ready to access these potential customers via social media? Do it well, or don’t do it at all.
Google Plus users are a tech-savvy, “early adopter” sort of crowd, and they have their own set of rules. If you’re not willing/able to play by those rules, you probably shouldn’t bother with Google Plus.
Don’t do Google+ at all if:
- You’re a social media “bot.” Don’t use Google+ unless you want to make real connections with real people. If you’re not willing to show your personality on Google+, you’re not going to build meaningful, rewarding relationships with other G+ users.
- You aren’t willing to engage. Don’t use Google+ if you’re a selfish user and aren’t willing to comment, share, or cheer on other G+ users. You’ll quickly be disregarded by your G+ peers.
- You “link drop” and leave. Dropping a link without commentary is considered “link litter” (AKA spam) by many G+ users. “Naked links” can quickly get you banned from G+ communities. Don’t post links to your website or an article without telling users why the link is share-worthy.
Do Google+ right:
- Participate. G+ is truly a social mechanism. Join communities, follow others, share praise and offer critiques. Thank those who share your content, and repay the favor. Give out lots of “+1s”: The more you give to G+, the more you’ll receive.
- Share good content. Give G+ users a reason to follow you. Create smart, visually appealing, unique content. It’s okay to share content created by others, but to build an audience loyal to YOU, you’ll need to be a content creating force. Use good photos, a catchy headline, and sharp, clear writing.
- Change tactics when necessary. Is your content receiving lots of “+1s”, comments, and shares? If not, you need to change tactics. Revisit the previous tip (share good content).
Facebook offers “profiles” for personal use and “Pages” for businesses. Facebook Pages help professionals maintain healthy separation between personal and business lives.
Don’t do a Facebook Page at all if:
- You share EVERYTHING. If you think sharing 10-30 Facebook posts in a single day is a good idea, you should NOT operate a Facebook Page for your business. Your business contacts don’t want to see every inspirational message or touching photo that comes your way.
- You can’t use Facebook professionally. Your clients want to see you as a reputable professional. If you’re mainly using your Facebook profile to post photos of your latest bar escapades or trash your enemies, you’re not ready to utilize a Facebook Page for your business.
- You can’t think of anything to share outside of your two current listings. It’s okay to share your listings on Facebook. OCCASIONALLY. Don’t forget to pepper your Facebook Page feed with a variety of local news stories and industry insights.
Do a Facebook Page right:
- Avoid the “hard-sell” approach. Consumers love to buy, but hate being sold to. A constant stream of “Hire me!” or “Buy this house!” is the easiest way to lose followers. It’s okay to advertise your services occasionally, but not to the point of annoyance. Don’t over-sell, or you’ll over-aggravate your potential customers.
- Provide useful content. Give your clients content they’ll appreciate. Has the local market taken a sudden turn? Are design trends shifting? Can homeowners save money with a new energy-efficient technology? Keep users interested, and they’ll keep following you.
- Keep it positive. Don’t hide the truth, but don’t be a Debbie Downer. Provide encouraging messages and clients will subconsciously associate you with positivity.
“Easily Accessible” Doesn’t Mean “Easy”
As social media marketing replaces traditional marketing, building a social media presence is a timely (yet essential) practice for today’s real estate agents.
The new approach has its pros and cons. On one hand, social media is immediately accessible to every agent with an internet connection. Agents no longer need to wait weeks on billboard construction or launch a postcard blitz to get a message to the masses.
But just because social media is easily accessible doesn’t mean it’s easily managed. Good social media marketing takes time, thought, and flexibility. If you’re not prepared to do social media well, you probably shouldn’t do it at all.
Besides, these days it’s easy to find direct mail marketing supplies at a big discount. Just watch out for paper cuts.