With 13 years of experience as a REALTOR®, Al Cannistra of San Antonio Homes - Texas Premier Realty deals in residential properties located in and around San Antonio and the Texas Hill Country.
Specializing in new homes, first-time buyers, relocation and seniors, Cannistra has a need to adopt clients across generations, so he has incorporated social media into his overall lead generation strategy.
Here, Cannistra discusses the importance of social media in real estate today and how programs like RISMedia's ACE have helped him reach more clients through the automated posting of quality editorial content.
Why is social media so important to success today in real estate?
Today is no different from the past—it is all about being relevant and current—but the vehicle to get there is very different. Much like the REALTOR® of the past, we need to maintain contacts. Prior to social media, it was a struggle to keep in contact without crossing the line into being a nuisance. Too much paper contact ended in the trash as junk mail and was no guarantee that you would be chosen over someone with the next pretty postcard.
Yet, without contact, previous clients often did not remember their agent when it was time to sell and buy again. Social media allows constant relevance, tempered contact and actual “connection” at far less cost. I do not view social media as selling anything but me—and it is about congeniality, not bragging. Social media allows agents to establish trust but there is an obvious caveat: The interaction on the internet is incredibly fast and a misplaced error can change your image overnight. Be honest and be vigilant.
How do you use social media to improve your business?
There is a school of thought that says choose two social platforms and concentrate. While there is some validity to that opinion, I focus on four platforms and have a presence on many more. I suppose that is why I have somewhere around 40,000 social followers. If someone asked, "do you really need that many?" the answer is no - it is quality over quantity. Yet, I am making an effort to have a better chance at reaching more of my clients and expanding my base among potential clients and peers.
How do you go about extending your social media reach?
One of the challenges of extending the reach is being able to share somewhat different content—or at least different timing on posting the content. Otherwise, you appear to be a spammer. I try to balance time and cost with benefit, and that is why I look to reliable resources like RISMedia's ACE (Automated Content Engagement) to give me the content I need. I also use auto-posting tools to share the same post but at different times. The auto-post resource also allows me to share some posts that are evergreen and further take advantage of using the material again. I use PostPlanner to do that but there are many other options. Use of hashtags on posts allows indexing and discovery.
Social media allows constant relevance, tempered contact and actual “connection” at far less cost.
What made you interested in ACE in the first place?
I was looking for something that would allow me to make daily contact without me investing a lot of time. I don’t have time in my day to do that kind of stuff. My background is in the corporate world and I had an army to do whatever I needed, but once I got into real estate, I realized I had to do everything myself. This works for me.
How has ACE been a valuable tool for your business?
ACE is a cost-effective branding tool, requiring minimal (or no) manual effort. It’s an easy way to maintain relationships and generate new prospects by providing informative content—not a sales pitch. It’s a format easily shareable by email or in social media with residual benefits. And it’s a tool that allows promotion of your own brand and the required broker branding. One thing that impressed me right out of the box with ACE was the ability to add logos. That’s important because I am building my own brand, not just the broker’s brand.
How have you incorporated ACE into your day-to-day social strategy?
I am using it every day. I have it set up on auto-pilot so it will post to my LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook pages. I’m also a subscriber to PostPlanner, and I grab the link and put it into that with a 24-hour delay, repeating Twitter and it goes on my two other Twitter accounts. About 40,000 people are exposed to that every day.
How has ACE helped you interact with prospects and clients?
Engagement! I’ll get people months later who will come back to me with something from a post. You never know where that will come from. It’s getting that saturation out there and the residuals are great. If you want to get your name out there, this is an easy way to do it. You can blast it everywhere.
Can you give me an example of another way you have used social media to help your business?
A highly visible success using social media is the recent change of our business and domain name from MySATexasHomes.com to SanAntonio.Homes. We made this change so that we’d have an easy-to-remember domain name that will be one of the most identifiable in the real estate industry, and to leverage the organic SEO benefits of a domain name that includes relevant keywords on both sides of the dot. We successfully used social media to quickly and inexpensively get the message out about our new web address.
To learn more about ACE, please visit ace.rismedia.com.