If you’re working in the real estate industry, you already know how vital it is to have a social media presence. No longer an option, a social media presence is now a necessity, offering more than a connection with prospective and past clients. It’s also an important tool for seeming knowledgeable, professional and relevant. In short, it’s the ultimate branding platform.
The most recent RISMedia Content Solutions webinar, “Beyond Likes: Move Past the Competition with a Next-Gen Social Media Strategy,” looked at ways top producers are utilizing social media to reach success.
Sponsored by Homes.com and Outbound Engine, the July 20 webinar broke down ways you can move past the competition with a next-gen way of looking at social media. If you missed the webinar, don’t worry. The following recap can help catch you up.
The webinar was moderated by Verl Workman, founder and CEO of Workman Success Systems. Guests included Bob Patterson, national broker consultant for Homes.com, Andrew Glass, director of industry outreach for Outbound Engine, Cindy Ambeuhl a Realtor® with The Agency in Los Angeles, and Vivienne Wagner, a social media and content strategist and the president of Houndstooth Media Group.
“Buyers are younger and younger, and they’re online,” said Ambeuhl. “They’re not in the paper. Five percent of consumers are reading ads for a total of 5 seconds. But they’re always on their computers, their phone. You can’t fight it. Get on board, or you will be left behind.”
So how can you not only get on board but go beyond the basics? The webinar’s experts walked us through it.
Track Your Traffic
Wagner noted that to make the most of your social media presence, you should not only be posting, but tracking your traffic. This way you can see what works, what doesn’t and where to expend your energy.
“A lot of people think social media is fluff,” explained Wagner. “Something you do when you should be working. But it’s actually quantifiable. It should drive traffic to your website which you can track, and build brand awareness, which you can track through growth of engagement on platforms, and your follower numbers.”
How can you track your analytics without becoming overwhelmed? Wagner suggested Jetback over Google Analytics, as it’s easier to navigate and doesn’t overload you with information that may not be useful.
Why does it matter if you’re getting traffic? Aside from the obvious (hello, referrals), the more traffic you receive to your site, the more visible you become to those who want to find you, Wagner explained. Yes, she was referring to the algorithms behind the Google search engine. The higher your website traffic, the better your search rankings will be. Simply put: The more traffic coming to your site, the more important you are to Google.
Crafting Your Brand
When deciding what to post and share, remember you’re using social media to craft your brand. So don’t merely report the news. Become the ultimate source for housing information in your area. Add evergreen content–topics consumer search for all the time. Do you have a blog? (Pst, you should.) Write about travel, where to stay and eat in your area, or the top attractions in your neighborhood. Consumers will always be looking for these things, and when they look, they will find you.
When it comes to sharing on social media, remember that you do not need to be sharing your own content all the time. In fact, you shouldn’t be. Sharing posts from other organizations that align with your vision can help your followers connect with you and understand where your values lie.
Going beyond Facebook
Facebook is a great place to start on social media, but it’s no longer the king of social media platforms. In fact, it’s far from it. “If Facebook is the only thing you’re doing you’re missing out on a holistic marketing plan,” said Wagner, who went on to discuss two other platforms you should be using.
While Pinterest has 100 million monthly users, Wagner noted that not many agents are utilizing the platform, because they aren’t sure how to market their listings there. But perhaps that shouldn’t be the goal. Instead, use Pinterest to position yourself as a knowledgeable asset for design and housing trends, which will act as a platform to grow your web traffic. The best thing about Pinterest is that you don’t have to have a Pinterest account for consumers to be able to pin your content. All you have to do is create quality content, and make it easy to pin.
“Basically guests are coming to dinner whether you like it or not, so you better have some food ready,” said Wagner. How do you do this? If you have a blog, make your blog posts more “pinable” by adding attractive text over your header images, or going with vertical over horizontal images, which are more Pinterest compatible.
Will you find a buyer on Pinterest? Likely not. But you may have a post go viral, which will improve your web traffic and appease the Google gods, which will make clients have an easier time finding you in the future. It’s all about focusing on that end game.
According to Wagner, Instagram is the hottest platform in the real estate industry, because it’s photo based, and the use of hashtags make it easy to search and find content. It also speaks to the millennial generation–the next wave of homebuyers.
“Out of 400 million active monthly users, 46 percent are millennials,” said Wagner. To start up a winning Instagram account, you first have to have the proper set up. Make your username your first and last name so you’re easy to find. Add a short bio about who you are, and add a link to your website. Next, it’s time to start ‘gramming.
“On Instagram, you’re sharing part of yourself,” said Wagner. “It should not be a sales pitch. Your feed is a reflection of who you are and what you’re interested in. You need to be authentic on Instagram. It’s vital.”
Wagner suggested you mix your photos up; include professional accomplishments with family moments, hobbies and interests. These things will help clients get to know you, so they want to work with you. “Chemistry is important, even online,” said Wagner, who then went on to break down how to use a hashtag which, simply put, are topics of conversation.
Use these clickable topics to jump into other people’s conversations, or to start your own. Use a large hashtag (#RealEstate or #Architecture) to tap into a huge pool of conversation, but also smaller ones so you don’t get completely lost (#HoustonRealEstate). You can also create your own custom hashtag (#123NameStreet) to close in on just pictures of that property, like a photo album. Increase your exposure by jumping into small, medium and large conversations.
To wrap up the webinar, Ambeuhl and Wagner ran down how often you should be posting.
“Post every day,” suggested Ambeuhl, whereas Wagner said once a day is not enough; She suggested posting once a day on Instagram, five to eight times on Facebook, and one to 12 on Twitter.
Sound like a lot? Go slow at first.
For more next gen social media insight, view the webinar in full, below.