Social media for real estate agents: the good, the bad and the ugly
Social, social, social…. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia…
We aren’t the first to say social media for real estate agents matters. You know it matters. But it can be overwhelming to identify best practices for the various social channels that are available to you. And how can you use social media for real estate marketing?
We took a look at the top six social channels and put together a cheat sheet for you.
Description: Facebook is still the juggernaut of social platforms. Sharing pictures with links boosts your success substantially.
The good: The most common age group is 25 to 34, at 29.7% of users. That makes it a sweet spot. Make a strategic decision as to whether you will use a personal page or a business page to market your real estate services. They offer different benefits and features.
The bad: Facebook is a noisy neighborhood. Featured posts, silly cat videos and game invitations litter the average person’s feed, meaning it’s harder and harder to be seen in this space. Be prepared to pay for boosted posts to ensure your content is seen by the people you want to have see it.
How often?: Put your prime real estate (pun intended) on Facebook while giving some love to your other homes on faster moving networks like Twitter or Pinterest. While Pinterest and Instagram are image-focused, Facebook provides a nice mix of visuals and copy, so you can really write out what makes the house special while also giving enough space to use photos.
Description: Twitter is a rolling conversation. It’s a fast-paced network that is not designed for the overly verbose. Each tweet is limited to 140 characters or less.
The good: The real gold of Twitter is its search. You can use it to tap into conversations about your hometown, neighborhood or city and join those streams with relevant, informative responses.
The bad: Many agents complain about a lack of engagement via Tweets. But Twitter is a high effort platform. For people who use it, they really use it. It’s about being where your prospects can find you.
How often?: The 80/20 rule applies here. If you post 10 times a day, only 2 of those should be about you or your listings. The other 8 should be retweets of valuable content or sharing the Twitter love for those you follow.
Description: On Pinterest you can upload, save, sort, and manage images—known as pins—and other media content (e.g., videos and images) through collections known as pinboards.
The good: You create your own account, and then create unique “boards” that focus on various topics, such as “Gorgeous Gardens” or “Chef’s Kitchens.” You can create a Pinterest board for a single property that, in addition, to property photos, highlights major benefits of the area.
The bad: Pinterest can be a black hole of time. Until you get used to it, or partner with someone who totally gets Pinterest, it can take a while to get used to. Also be aware of copyrights for images.
How often?: There isn’t really a limit to how much you can use Pinterest. Create as many boards as fits your schedule!
Description: Google’s social networking platform pulls from your gmail ID and lets you create circles based on levels of connection, ie friends, acquaintances, neighbors etc.
The good: The best part of Google+ is that it’s owned by… Google. Which means content you share on that network will rank very well in organic search. Google+ also offers Hangouts, which are easy to run video conferences. These are very handy when you can’t meet a client in person!
The bad: While 665 million people are active on Facebook, 350 million are logging in to Google+. The demographics are slightly different, skewing older and more male – not necessarily a bad thing. That actually means you won’t have as much overlap with Facebook in your sharing.
How often?: Google+ has such good SEO benefit, it’s a great place to post at least daily. But keep in mind that 80/20 rule!
Description: Here is where folks check out your resume. LinkedIn is a great spot to craft a detailed story about yourself, your real estate experience and your business style.
The good: LinkedIn offers an easy to use “endorsement” system right on its landing page, allowing your network to endorse your specific skills quickly. You can also request personal referrals via the network, and choose whether or not to post them.
The bad: LinkedIn isn’t as dynamic a channel as Facebook or Twitter. You can share blog posts and automate a feed from both of those, but responses aren’t as high. It is, however, considered an excellent source for professional networking.
How often?: Post too often on LinkedIn, and folks will tune you out. Strike a good cadence with a couple posts per week at the max. Be sure to be a good listener, too.
Description: With an impressive twenty-three percent increase in active users over a six month period, it’s easy to see why the real estate industry is taking notice of this picture sharing social platform.
The good: Beyond posting and tagging images of your latest listings, you can also geo-tag your images, so they show up on the Instagram Photo Map. Instagram also lets you include short video clips.
The bad: Make sure to pay attention to anyone who comments on your posted photos. These are the only metrics you will get to see what kind of traction your shared images are getting.
How often?: Major brands post an average of 1.5 times per day to Instagram. They say there is no drop-off in engagement for posting more, provided you can keep up the rate of posting. But again, metrics aren’t exact.
The overall rule for all these channels is this: it’s not about sharing information. It’s about engagement. Imagine a digital coffee shop in which you can flit from table to table, joining chats here and there.
PRO AGENT TIP: Don’t throw your thoughts over the transom. Cultivate a conversation.
So what about the ugly part of social media? Well, about now you might be thinking to yourself: how am I going to do all this social media work and be an active real estate agent? That’s the ugly: time management. Social media can easily become a black hole that stops paying off if it becomes all consuming.
And you can get started creating social proof with digital ads that follow home buyers and sellers on the web sites they visit every day.