The average Realtor is 57 years old and has probably spent their career operating in a traditional marketplace without social media. This means that their used to old-school advertising tactics, like billboards, bus benches, cold calls, etc. Unfortunately many homebuyers today don’t speak this language. The more that real estate agents rely on this type of marketing, then the more they establish a negative reputation among their potential leads.
The solution would be to speak the language of your leads. So what is the new language? The biggest demographic of homebuyers in the US are Millennials. In contrast to realtors, their median age is only 29 years old. They are already the largest living demographic in the country, having surpassed the much-vaunted Baby Boomers this past year. Millennials will be the dominant age group for decades to come, and real estate agents need to cater to this new demographic or risk losing their business.
How It’s Changed
Mobile searching has grown over 500% in recent years. These days over 30% of all U.S. adults are accessing the internet via their tablet. Desktop searching is rapidly declining while mobile internet searching continues to grow. The imperative for real estate professionals to stay ahead of competition by ensuring potential clients can easily access social profiles is clear. Through Facebook visitors can to connect with your website, blog, and other valuable information. Additional sites like Foursquare, Yelp, Twitter and YouTube give mobile users instant access to you while on the go.
As for those who remain discontent with social media or just flat-out refuse to learn and grow with the rapid changes -- they’re starting to go by the wayside. Their connection with the customers who used to be their foundation is dissolving. Those customers go to those who are connecting their companies' messages with the very active world of social media. To find out what happens to the agents who ignore this new marketing wave, look no further than your own Facebook. Search for realtors in your area and see who stands out. Then, go to Zillow and type in the same agents you found on Facebook. You’ll quickly find that top agents with the best reviews, those who use the power of the social networks, are the ones getting the most attention.
Why It’s Useful
The changes social media has brought to real estate have been massive. Potential buyers and sellers research and rate agents and firms by posting reviews, reading reviews, viewing pictures, and videos to learn more about who might best serve their needs. The internet gives us information on people that we never would have had before social media. This forces agents and firms to review controlling policies and adjust dated core philosophies, allowing for more freedom of creativity in marketing and brand image.
Reasons to Take Advantage of Social Media
Dominate Locally - Use a digital flyer rather than physical ones to target the homebuyers or sellers on social media. Facebook Live can be used to broadcast property tours and open houses, drawing more attention to the home and also to the fun agents have while working. This kind of showcasing helps demonstrate a real estate agent’s personal involvement and investment in the community, building trust and bringing more exposure.
Brand exposure - Through social media, you can also build relationships with real estate influencers. This allows agents to grow exposure exponentially faster than they would on their own. After all, these influencers have thousands of fans, which are now being exposed to your content. Once you've built the relationships with the influencers, then you build your own fan base. These fans will share your content, growing your exposure even more, while sending signals to Google as well. Google will recognize that this content is more valuable, and your name will pop up sooner on searches.
Earn client trust - Social media opens the door to deeper discussions, beyond those allowed by traditional marketing techniques. It’s a great way to build trust, credibility, and a strong personal brand. Social media can help agents significantly strengthen their personal brand. The more familiar potential clients are with you and your business, the more they’ll trust you.
Build a peer network - Through social media, you can build incredible relationships with people in your field. Your peers can support you by linking your content, increasing your exposure and helping to make your profiles popular and trusted.
Above and beyond customer service - Over 75% of customers will stop doing business with a brand if they have a bad experience. These customers have very high expectations though, particularly on social media. For example, 66% of consumers expect a response on social media within an hour, and 56% of consumers want a response within 30 minutes. However, most fall horribly short of these expectations. Almost 60% of questions and complaints on Twitter go unanswered. Social media offers a chance for you to surprise your clients with over-the-top customer service and the ability to involve yourself with clients in a way bigger brands can’t or won’t.
Establish your expertise - Online reviews impact over 66% of consumer decisions. A real estate agent is nothing without experience and expertise. A real estate transaction is one of the largest financial decisions of a homebuyer or seller’s life, and they’re looking for someone with experience. Real estate agents need to do all they can to showcase their experience, and social media can make all the difference. Establishing your expertise among your clients leads to good reviews leading to more clients._
How To Use It
Understanding why social media is important doesn’t exactly tell you how to use it, however. The important thing to keep in mind is that the key to success is a diverse and active online presence. Social media links home buyers and sellers, providing them with all the information they seek.
Design Social Media Profiles and Pages - Don’t use personal profiles. Rather, you should set up a business page on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and any other social platform you think will be useful. Fill in all of your profile information and post high quality images to optimize your pages for SEO.
Location, Location, Location - Highlight the areas you’re selling properties in. Update followers on recent events and activities happening in the area. Focus on the positive to improve perceptions of the neighborhood.
Keep It Visual - Images are the most engaging type of content on social media. Don’t just update clients about certain properties and neighborhoods with blog content -- update them with images.
Host Contests - Any kind of contest, giveaway, or special discount is a great way to engage with potential clients and to get them to engage with you. It helps to solidify relationships and creates more customers that are loyal.
Carry On Conversations - Engaging comments, questions, and thoughts on social media and in person demonstrates how you value your clients. Mentioning clients by name on your social media pages gives that personal touch, making them feel at home and welcome.
Post Listings - Listings aren’t just for listing sites anymore. Agents can also post them on various social media pages, eliminating the middleman and facilitating direct contact between agent and potential clients.
Use Geo-Targeted Ads - Take Facebook for instance. It has data metrics that make it possible to deliver ads to a certain region and audience. Based on demographics, it can send geo-targeted ads, ensuring that your ads make it to the people who actually want to purchase or rent a property in your area.
Utilize Hashtags - Hashtags have become a universal album for social pages. They group tweets and posts into one place. This makes it easy for users to find posts about a particular topic and for agents to improve their visibility.
Have a Content Strategy - This should include content that’s highly relevant to your brand, neighborhood, and audience. Including things like tips and tricks, educational posts, how-tos, and buying guides are great for social media. Be sure to have a schedule for posting so that it reaches the right people at the right time and has the greatest impact.
Measure Your Efforts - It’s important to know how well your strategy is working and whether or not adjustments need to be made. Tools like HootSuite Analytics and metrics information within the social platforms, like Facebook Insights and Twitter, will tell you how often your post has been share, liked, commented on, retweeted, and more.
Alton, Larry. “10 Social Media Tips for the Real Estate Industry”. Social Media Week. Social Media Week. 5 Jan 2016. Web. 13 Jan 2018. https://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2016/01/tips-real-estate-industry/
Kulman, Evan & Reboh, Adriel. “The Impact of Social Media on the Business of Real Estate”. RESIDENT. RESIDENT. N.d. Web. 14 Jan 2018. http://resident.com/the-impact-of-social-media-on-the-business-of-real-estate/
McDowell, Collin. “Social Service: How Social Media Has Changed Real Estate And What To Do Now”. Forbes. Forbes. 7 Sept 2017. Web. 14 Jan 2018. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesrealestatecouncil/2017/09/07/social-service-how-social-media-has-changed-real-estate-and-what-to-do-now/#685f92061217
O’Neill, Braden. “Why Social Media is Crucial for Today’s Real Estate Agent”. RE Blog. RESAAS - The Real Estate Social Network. N.d. Web. 13 Jan 2018. http://blog.resaas.com/articles/2016/why-social-media-is-crucial-for-todays-real-estate-agent