How Estate Agents can Use Social Media to Sell Houses
Estate agents are some of the best marketers in an offline person-to-person environment. You’re exceptional at getting to know your clients on a very personal level, getting involved in your community and connecting with your local market.
However, applying the same principals to social media campaigns can remain a grey area for many agents resulting in missed opportunities to further connect with local clients and groups to boost real estate marketing efforts. Social can build trust and spread your marketing through friends of friends.
The best real estate marketers think of social online like they do social offline!
In this article, we'll take an overview of Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest (and a few more), focusing on how estate agents can use these platforms for successful social media marketing.
Facebook is where people go to connect with friends and family online and so it's a great place to get your name and listings marketed to your local clients and their friends using the largest social networking site.
Set up a Facebook Page.
Don't use your personal Facebook account for your real estate services. Why? It lacks professionalism, and you miss out on a lot of essential business features (such as the ability to run Facebook contests, and check your Facebook Insights). It's really easy to make a Facebook Page, and it's worth the effort.
Once you have a Page, use it to engage your clients:
Post about your neighbourhood: This markets your area to prospective residents and also shows your passion and knowledge of where you are selling homes. For example, If there is a new community centre being built, post about it, and express the merits and how it will make the lifestyle better for new (and existing) residents.
Use images when you update: Images on Facebook are the most engaging types of content. The more Likes, shares and comments your posts get, the more they will be viewed in News Feeds by the friends of your Facebook Fans (people who Like your Page).
Post about events in your neighbourhood: Show how wonderful your city culture is. Post about local events in your town. If you're going to a neighbourly event, tell your Fans, and invite them to join you. Ask questions, too, to spark engagement.
Show you care about your Clients: You do this in person, so show you care about your clients on your Facebook Page too. You can welcome new homeowners on possession day with a visually appealing and subtle post that mentions no names. The new clients know who they are and it shows prospective homebuyers that you genuinely care and follow up.
Respond to comments and posts: It's important to keep up your side of engagement with your Facebook Fans and respond to their comments and posts in a timely and friendly manner. Thanking someone for posting a picture or sharing a positive home buying experience keeps the momentum going on your Facebook Page.
Engage with Contests: Contests and Sweepstakes provide an amazing way to create more engagement on your Page, and have fun with your Fans. You can use all kinds of contests to develop deeper relationships with your clients, get to know their likes and dislikes, and promote yourself as a realtor who listens. You can even use them as a way to market your listings, too!
On Facebook, you need to use a third party app to run contests and sweepstakes. Lead nurturing app Wishpond makes it simple to use Facebook contest apps and provides you with a comprehensive social contact database too - for your email lists.
For example, run a vote contest on your Page to ask your Fans what photo they like best from your latest listing or a photo contest to get more images of a new listing, to follow up with clients who've recently renovated, or to get photos of your neighbourhood, etc.
Post Your Listings: The widely considered golden rule in social media is 80/20. That is - post 80% of your content about lifestyles, customer interests, and other updates; post 20% of your content about you and your product. This keeps your social media social, and engaging.
When you post your listings, keep the personality of you and your Facebook Page. This is not a print ad. Briefly describe the home, and what points will sell it. Mention how many bedrooms and bathrooms there are together with the location and price and remember to keep it engaging. Post about your Open Houses, too.
Use Geo-targeted ads: Get your Facebook posts seen by a far wider audience than just your fans with paid-for posts. Facebook lets you target your ads very specifically. You can use promoted posts, for example, to get your great Facebook posts seen by other Facebookers in your geographic target market.
Twitter is another great way to keep connected to your clients. Twitter gives you 140 characters (or less), to give updates to your Followers. Use it to engage, and keep strengthening your relationships.
Use a similar content strategy to Facebook, as outlined above.
Use Hashtags: On Twitter, using hashtags gets your Tweets seen by more than your Followers. Use relevant and specific #'s to get found by those looking for your subject matter. For example, use hashtags with your geographic neighbourhood related to your tweets like #MadridRealEstate or #MovingTipsMadrid.
By using hashtags for your local geographic neighbourhood, your Tweet will be found in the respective category listing when someone sees these hashtags feeds or does a Twitter search for them.
Tweet Tips about Staging and Moving: Help out your clients (and yourself), by teaching them how to stage their home for better sales. Post links to good articles and videos on how to present a residence when you're selling it and teach about how to pack and make a move less stressful.
Tweet Local News: Twitter tends to be a great place for news. If there's a new school being built in your area - tweet about it. Good news stories to show how great your neighbourhood is - and how well you know it.
Tweet questions: Post questions to your followers with hashtags to encourage a response. For example, ask:
What's the best thing about moving to a new home? #moving #newhome #Marbella
What would your ideal kitchen look like? #kitchens #daretodream #newhome
How often do you renovate your home? #newhome #renovations #homedecor
Tweet about charity events: Tweet about local events you support. Show you are connected and trustworthy, and care about your community.
Use @mentions to keep in touch with clients: Twitter lets you send Tweets to specific people. Aside from using the Direct Messages, send out a Tweet to congratulate a new home owner, or to thank a local merchant for assisting you, etc.
Use contests, sweepstakes and group offers: Like on Facebook, use contests, sweepstakes and group offers to create more engagement with your clients, and get your Tweets seen by their Followers. For example, you could offer a free dinner at a neighbourhood restaurant for entering a photo contest or ask for a description of a great moving experience, using an essay contest, and offer a gift certificate to a local spa.
Tweet about your listings: Again, use the 80/20 rule. 80% of your content is about lifestyle and connecting; 20% is about your listings, as with your Facebook Page. Intersperse your Twitter content with your real estate listings and include information about your properties, including images of your houses and apartments together with short videos too, if you have them.
Pinterest provides a good opportunity to show off the visuals of your listings and works by setting up Boards, pinning images, and engaging by repinning, liking and commenting. This fourth largest social site is all about connecting through images. As a realtor, this is a perfect match! Your listings get sold by appealing to visual emotions and so you can easily apply this to Pinterest.
Set up a board about your neighbourhood: Sell the area of your listings by pinning images showing the amenities, shops and services available in your community.
Set up boards about your lifestyles: Show who you are too and express your agency's personality by setting up Boards about your hobbies. If you like to cook - post some of your favourite recipes. If you like to play tennis - post about tennis groups, and where to play tennis in your local area.
Set up boards about home décor: Appeal to the inner designers on Pinterest, and show off beautiful photos of amazing home decor. Link to how-to sites, too.
Set up a board for your listings: Keep with the 80/20 rule, but make sure you have a Board specifically for your listings. Make sure your listing Board is located in your first four. This keeps your listings easy to see and is referred to as being ‘above the fold'.
Use hashtags: Like on Twitter (and Facebook, too), you can use hashtags to connect with your market, and extend your posting reach beyond just your Following.
Use hashtags that are specific to your niche and your community. For example, use:
- geographic specific tags, like #Barcelona
- listing specific tags, like #4bedrooms
- image specific tags, like #decorate and #newhome
Use Contests and Giveaways: Again, like on Twitter and Facebook, use contest, sweepstakes and even group offers to gain more engagement (and ultimately more clients). For example, you could host a vote contest, asking your Following to vote for their favourite image of your new listing and offer a randomly drawn prize such as a local gym membership.
Make a great photo contest to get people to submit their favourite bathroom. Add a vote element to generate even more engagement, and excitement about homes. Offer a prize such as a gift certificate to a DIY store.
Make a video contest, offering a weekend stay at a nearby resort. Get your participants to make a short video of what they like most about your recent listing. (This also can get you loads of great, authentic, marketing material for your listings.)
Other Social Sites
LinkedIn: Set up business page and make sure your personal LinkedIn page is completed - include a good summary introducing yourself, saying why you're the estate agent of choice - both to buy from, and to sell through. Join local groups and participate in them and stay connected with your clients, asking for referrals through the site (just as you would in person).
YouTube: You can refer to our previous article How Estate Agents Can Get the Most from YouTube for some great tips on how to get YouTube working for you. You can use this platform to introduce yourself with a short video which can also be embedded on your website too. Use videos to show off the best features in your neighbourhood and make video contests to get user-generated content (UGC) from your clients.
Blog: Blogs are a great way to write about your knowledge of your local property market and get your clients clicking on to your website. Blogs are also great for SEO and keeping fresh content directly on your website, improving your visibility and search results ranking.
Use your blog to post news about the local housing market, interest rates, and property listings. A blog post allows you to describe your listings in a longer format than most other social and traditional print marketing.
By using these tips and techniques to adapt your offline marketing efforts for your social strategy, you'll quickly see the benefits and advantages as your client engagement increases along with your social profile.
Marketing via social networks gives you an added boost to your digital marketing campaign and also establishes your brand as an authority in your local property market. It's easier for you to get your estate agent's name associated with buying and selling property where you are through the power of social communication.