The following is a guest post by Leslie Mann, a real estate agent with Gibson Sotheby's International Realty of Weston, MA.
Buying or selling a home is an important financial (and emotional) decision. Most people are full of questions when they undertake this endeavor.
Your clients want more than someone with a real estate license. They want an agent who will protect their interests and help them navigate the complexities of property ownership. The agent they choose must be someone they'll feel confident having by their side throughout the process.
That's where social media comes in. If applied correctly, it can be a great way to open a dialogue, share advice, and forge an ongoing relationship with buyers, sellers, and renters. In this post, learn the benefits of using social media for real estate, a handy list of do’s and don’ts for agents to follow, and examples of posts you can incorporate into your real estate social media strategy.
Real Estate Social Media Marketing
- Promote the town, not just the house.
- Be yourself.
- Educate your buyers.
- Chat with your followers.
- Respond to comments, good and bad.
- Avoid simply shouting about your home listings.
- Don't forget video.
- Never assume you're only connecting with first-time buyers.
- Talking to yourself on social media doesn't do your page any good.
- Don't ignore your existing clients.
Ryan Tombul, Nashville Realtor, J.D., says, “Social media doubles as an avenue for free marketing that allows agents to supplement exposure for listings within their own personal network and beyond.” Read on to discover real estate social media strategy tips, as well as things you should avoid.
Tips That Agents Should Embrace
1. Promote the town, not just the house.
Homebuyers want to know the good, bad, and ugly of each town to which they're considering a move. Yet, most real estate blogs simply give buyers basic demographic statistics and perhaps some flowery language about the area. Instead, use your social media channels to provide potential clients a far richer understanding of the markets you serve, letting them know the pros and cons of each neighborhood.
Many cities have a "@CityOf ..." Twitter handle, which you can mention directly in your own tweets. Use these handles to promote properties you have listed in that city. City accounts on Twitter tend to be receptive to these shout-outs and might retweet you — increasing your post's reach to their followers.
Instagram Business accounts are also prime real estate (no pun intended) for you to post beautiful photos of the town in which your properties are listed.
2. Be yourself.
I've heard of many realtors who pay a ghost writer to write their marketing copy, yet this approach has its shortcomings. The copy simply doesn't ring true; it fails to give clients a sense of who you really are. Studies show that consumers want to make a personal connection with those whom they do business with, and there's no shortcut to writing your own authentic social media content that resembles who you are as a real estate agency.
Let your personality shine through across each social network you're on. It's a great way to open a dialogue with a client before they ever pick up the phone.
3. Educate your buyers.
Some of the most trying days as a real estate agent prove to be great lessons we can share with our clients. Talking about common real estate pitfalls makes your buyers smarter, giving them a smoother browsing experience and qualifying them to work with you.
Social media is the perfect outlet for this. If you have a blog, consider writing articles about home-buying tips, and use social media to promote them. Perhaps you can tweet a "Real Estate Fact of the Day," hashtagging #realestate while you're at it.
4. Chat with your followers.
Home buyers today expect instant responses to their questions, but where they ask those questions has changed.
Home buyers are calling real estate agents much less than they used to with questions about a property or neighborhood. They're going online, using Facebook's Recommendations feature, and tweeting at real estate offices on Twitter. Be ready for this outreach, answer them, and use these questions as an opportunity to start dialogue with followers who might be in the early stages of the buying process.
5. Respond to comments, good and bad.
Respond promptly and courteously to engage readers who post comments on your social media sites. One caveat: Don't feel compelled to respond to those who post abusive comments. Social media does lure its share of online bullies, and not every remark aimed at your is worth your breath.
Resist the temptation to get into battle with your harshest critics, and acknowledge those who praise your service. A lot of people who reach out to you are simply looking for more information about a listing -- or a listing they might've thought was still available, but has been sold or rented. Absorb their frustration and use their comment as an opportunity to pivot their interest to other properties.
Practices That Agents Should Avoid
6. Shouting about your home listings
It's fine to let people know about the homes you're marketing, but don't make the house itself the primary topic of your conversation. Think about common questions home buyers and sellers ask you, and turn these into posts. Provide valuable content and you'll keep people coming back.
7. Forgetting video
There are more than 8 billion daily video views on Facebook.
It's tempting to skip the expense of shooting and editing a video, but online video is an important element of home marketing. Think about it: Home buyers are visual buyers, and if done well, a video creates an emotional connection with them that they might not have from just a photo-based listing.
YouTube videos also improve your website's ranking in search engines like Google -- a common place where home buyers and renters start their search for a new home.
8. Assuming you're only connecting with first-time buyers
According to a recent PDF by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 24% of home buyers in America are 41-50 years old or younger. About 22% of them are first-time buyers. If you think you're just talking to first-time home buyers on social media, think again.
If you think you think you're just talking to first-time home buyers on social media, think again.
Social networks like Facebook are great places to engage "fans" and learn what they're looking for from their agent, but keep in mind they're not all new to the buying process. Have content suited for all levels of home-buying experience ready to serve up to your fans and followers -- you never know whom you'll be connecting with.
9. Talking to yourself
A post, link, photo, or tweet on your profile might look nice to you, but it means very little if it doesn't resonate with the people who are following your page.
Social media is more about listening than about talking. Pay attention to what people are saying about you and your brand. Solicit and gather feedback through informal polls or via free survey services like Survey Monkey or Google Forms. This will ensure each and every piece of content you share on social media reflects the interests of your customers.
10. Ignoring your existing clients
Invite your previous buyers and sellers to join you on social media. That way, your sites becomes richer communities of shared experiences and objective advice from those who recently completed the home buying/selling journey.
Using Social Media for Real Estate
It may not seem like the right channel to use for your industry, but using social media for real estate has various benefits. Most significantly, there are more than 3.78 billion social media users globally, and the average person spends close to 2 ½ hours using social media every single day. So, statistically speaking, your audience is already on social media — why not meet them where they already are?
Second, social media also offers targeted advertising options tailored to audiences in specific locations — isn’t that just what realtors look for?
Lastly, having a social media presence helps you build brand awareness and generate trust with your audience. They may not be ready to make a purchase yet or even reach out to begin a conversion, but if they see you’re consistently active on your platforms, or they come across one of your advertisements, they may make a mental note of what you offer and come back to you when they’re prepared to begin their process.
COVID-19 has also impacted the real estate market, just as it has for other industries, so leveraging social media will help you stay up-to-date with current trends.
Social Media House-Buying Trends from COVID-19
While social media has always been a tool for realtors to leverage, COVID-19 has brought it center stage.
One of the biggest changes is the rise of virtual showings. Some agencies reserved virtual viewings for specific circumstances or luxury homes, but it has now become a common practice: “We used to keep our virtual tours for our luxury homes, but we’ve found it adds to the home buying experience for our clients,” says Lisa Alexander, president of Del-Co Realty.
As health and safety restrictions are lifted, virtual showings are likely here to stay as buyers have realized a significant benefit from them: reduced costs. Buyers searching for new homes in locations they’re not in can save time and money on travel costs until they’re sure about their options.
The length of the searching process is also lowered, as buyers can view multiple homes in a short period via online video or virtual tour, as opposed to waiting weeks for an open house or for there to be a space for them during a showing.
Given its relevance, let’s go over the various ways to leverage different social media platforms to share real estate content.
Real Estate Social Media Content
Realtors can benefit from using many of the same platforms that most businesses can benefit from — Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Let’s discuss how you can use them, and then go over content ideas to share on each platform.
Facebook for Realtors
Facebook is an excellent tool for real estate professionals. It offers various high-quality options: targeted ads for local listings, Facebook messenger for conversations with clients, and the ability to share multiple forms of multimedia: images, videos, and even live video.
Instagram for Realtors
On Instagram, Realtors can create a business account and include contact CTA buttons so those who land on your profile can send you a message on the platform, an email about a property image they saw that intrigued them, or other personalized options.
The platform is great for sharing high-quality image content, and the image below is an example of a new property announcement.
TikTok for Realtors
TikTok is an emerging platform for all industries, but it can be extremely beneficial for realtors, especially considering that the audience favors behind-the-scenes type content, which is exactly what house walkthroughs are (the video below is an example).
Can anyone guess what this floor plan goes for before specials?👇 #houstonapartments #midtownhouston #houstonmidtown #apartmentliving #houston♬ original sound - smartcityhtx
In addition, TikTok users don’t expect content to be high-quality or professional-grade, which is even better for realtors that can just use a phone camera on-site to take a video. Below we’ll go over additional content ideas to post on social media.
Real Estate Social Media Ideas
Going live for open house and virtual showings.
Realtors can do this on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, and a benefit to going live is that the videos can be saved and later shared to your profile, acting as an additional form of content.
Answering audience questions.
All social media platforms are a great place to answer audience questions, as you can engage with your audience and develop a rapport that leads to a working relationship. The TikTok below is an example of a realtor answering an audience question about financing a home.
Down Payment for a $350,000 house! #tiktokrealtor #smallbusinessowner #downpayment #firsttimehomebuyer #realestate♬ original sound - JoceM
Another benefit to answering questions publicly is that it’s public, and everyone can see your responses. This can help interested buyers approach you with qualified, further-down-the-funnel questions.
Share customer testimonials and success stories.
All platforms are a great place to share customer testimonials, helping you use user-generated content to establish legitimacy and credibility with your audience. The Facebook post below is an example of a client testimonial.
Property photos are a must for realtors on social media, especially on Instagram and Facebook. You can give clients a sneak peek of what to expect from the property and entice them to reach out to you to learn more through a virtual or in-person tour.
Here’s an example of high-quality property photos on Instagram:
You can share property photos on TikTok as still images, but the platform is better suited for video.
Property videos and tours.
All three platforms are great for video, as it gives your audiences an interactive way to learn about different properties. If they’re still curious after watching the video, they can click on a CTA button on your profile to ask for more info.
Here is an example of a property tour on TikTok:
This is what $629,900 gets you in Texas 🏃🏻♂️ 💨 #dealswithdavid #texas #realestate #realtor #corpuschristi #newhome #newconstruction♬ Diamonds - Sam Smith
And here’s an example from Instagram:
Relationships between agents and clients are important, as they trust you to take to heart the things that they care about and point them in the right direction. As a result, using social media to share realtor bios is worth considering. Your audience can learn more about what you offer and reach out if it feels like a good match.
If you're looking for more supporting information, the statistics below will further emphasize the importance of using social media for real estate.
Real Estate Social Media Statistics
- In 2020, 44% of real estate agents generated the most clients via social media, only topped by referrals.
- 82% of agents plan to improve their social media presence to grow their business in 2021.
- The National Association of Realtors 2021 Realtor Technology survey found that 53% of respondents say that social media is one of the most valuable technology tools they use.
- 74% of realtors use Facebook for professional purposes.
- Clubhouse, a social media app that prioritizes audio, has real estate conversation clubs with over 50k followers.
- 81% of older millennials, 80% of younger millennials, and 78% of Gen X found their home on a mobile device.
At the end of the day, your followers may prove themselves to be your strongest property advocates.
If you take the time to create a social media presence that includes high-quality photos of the properties you sell, you interact with clients, and you follow a consistent schedule, you’ll likely find yourself generating new clients and closing on more homes.