Are you receiving the benefits of using social media in your real estate sales business?
If you are like many real estate agents, there is a good chance that you aren’t getting as much of a benefit from your social media activities as you hoped that you would.
Why is that?
Well to start off with, many people approach social media like it is a magic pill that they can put into place and it will immediately begin to generate massive amounts of business form them.
THIS IS NOT TRUE!
Social media is a long term play, not a short term one. You should be looking at using social media to generate long term relationships with clients, and build a “brand” and a reputation that will lead to higher levels of business over time.
That being said, social media is one of the best places for you be to be able to generate short-term results as well.
If used correctly social media marketing can greatly increase your exposure, and help you generate more leads & clients pretty quickly.
The key is to use social media the right way.
So what is the right way to use social media?
To be honest there isn’t really a simple formula for the “right way” to use social media. Every person, and every business, is different. What works well for you may not work well at all for someone else. It takes testing, and experimenting to see what works best in your business.
I know, you were hoping I would give you a simple formula that you could put into place. Unfortunately I can’t do that.
I can give you something that works even better…
Many highly successful people will tell you that it is not the things that they do, but the things that they don’t do that lead to their success.
So lets take a look at the 5 things that you shouldn’t be doing with your social media marketing:
Mistake #1: Using a Personal Profile instead of a Business Page on Facebook
This is the most common mistake that real estate agents make. In fact many aren’t even aware this is a mistake.
For most of us, the idea of having more than one “profile” on Facebook is something that we have never considered.
So why is it important that you use a business page instead of a personal profile?
If you choose to use a personal profile for your real estate marketing activities you are in violation of Facebook user policy and your account can be banned.
On top of that there are a number of additional reasons that you should use a business page rather than a personal profile:
- Unlimited Connections. On a Facebook personal profile you’re limited to having 5,000 friends. While that may seem like a lot now, over time that limit can become a problem. Many people you come into contact with may be interested in the information you’re sharing now, but over time they may become less interested. If they never unfriend you after their interest has subsided, the fact that they’re taking up one of your 5,000 friendship spots will become an issue.
- Access to Audience Insights. One of the most powerful tools offered by Facebook is their audience insights. This is only available on business pages. Audience insights give you access to analyze things like page engagement levels, post reach, demographic information, and so much more. Analyzing this data will allow you to create better posts – and ads- over time, and allow you to better target your potential clients.
- Ability to Create Ads. You maybe thinking that you don’t want to spend money on paid advertising, but over time this is something that you will want to consider. Facebook ads are quickly becoming one of the best forms of advertising available to real estate agents. If you want to increase your exposure, and grow your business, Facebook ads are one of the very best ways to do so.
- More Professional Appearance. This one is simple. Using a business profile makes you come off any more professional light. It also helps to ensure that you are complying with real estate commission rules and regulations (more on this below).
- More Targeted Audience. One of the reasons that some people choose not to use a business page is that they say “I want to be able to get my business in front of all of my current friends.” However, even on a personal profile you do not get in front of all of your friends when you post something. In fact, you only get in front of a very small portion of them. And on a personal profile you don’t have any data to show you how many people your content is getting in front of – you have this data on a business page. On top of that, there is a decent chance that many of the people that see your post on your personal profile are not legitimate potential clients for your business. Getting your post in front of your grandma who lives in a different state is not going to help you sell that home you just posted pictures of. By using a business page and allowing people to like and interact with that page, you are more certain that the audience that see’s your posts is actually interested in your business.
If you aren’t already using a business page, you NEED to start one right away.
Mistake #2: Going for the “Sale” in Too Many Posts
In his New York Times best-selling book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook entrepreneur and author Gary Vaynerchuck talks about how we should look at marketing – social media marketing to be specific – like a fight. A good fighter throws a lot more jabs than right hooks. In fact the best fighters throw a ton more jabs than right hooks, and only throw the right hook at the perfect time.
What is a right hook in regards to marketing?
It’s where you ask for something.
It’s where you go for the sale.
Its where you make it about you, rather than about them.
If you look at the social media profiles of most real estate agents, you’ll see that almost every post involves some type of right hook.
What do I mean?
About 80% of an average real estate agents social media posts focus on something that they want to get out of the relationship with their audience, with most posts falling into one of these categories:
- Advertising a new listing they have for sale
- Asking for referrals
- Asking people to call them so that they can help them find a home
Why is this a problem?
Because all three of those categories are about you. And to be honest, most people don’t care about you, they are too busy caring about themselves.
Unless they are in the market for that exact type of home, they don’t care about your new listing.
Unless they are about to begin the home search process, they don’t care about your post advertising your buyers agency services.
So does that mean that you should never post these types of posts?
Of course not! These are all great right hooks. They should be posted, that is how you generate business from social media.
However, they should be posted less often.
So what should you do now that you are throwing less right hooks?
Start to jab more!
What’s a jab in regards to marketing?
It’s something that provides value with nothing asked in return.
Simple as that.
If you want to grow a better social media presence, start focusing more on the jabs and less on the right hooks.
Want a good percentage of jabs to right hooks? Try 3 to 1 to start out with. Then adjust from there.
What does that mean?
Throw 3 jabs before you throw 1 right hook.
Post 3 things that benefit your audience for every 1 post that benefits you.
If you look at the profiles of the best social media marketers they all follow this rule. And many of them don’t stop at 3 to 1. Many are at 10 to 1 or even 50 to 1. Find what works for you and your audience, but focus on giving more than you ask for in return.
Note: If you don’t already do so, I would highly recommend that you follow Gary on every social media channel you are on. Also go buy his books. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and many more platforms. Check out his website for more places you can connect with him.
Mistake #3: Only Sharing Your Own Content
Now that you know that you need to share more content that does not ask for anything return, the key is to come up with that content.
There are two ways to do this:
- Start creating lots of content on a daily basis that you can share (time consuming)
- Start sharing content from other people & businesses (not time consuming)
Both can be good options, but for most real estate agents time is money and option 1 will take way too much time away from your ability to actually sell real estate.
Implementing social media marketing into your real estate business will take some time, but it should not detract from your ability to actually sell homes.
So how do you implement option 2?
I’m not saying that you should start sharing your competitors listings, or links to their website. What I am suggesting is that you begin to curate content that will be valuable to your audience, and that is complimentary to your business.
How do you find that type of content?
The first thing you need to ask yourself is “what else is my audience interested in?”
This will be different for everybody depending on the type of audience that you have built. The use of Facebook audience insights can be extremely helpful in determining the answer to this question.
The key is to make sure that the content you share is complimentary.
For example, lets say that your audience is mainly men in their 30’s and 40’s, and that those men are interested in NFL football. Sharing lots of content about NFL football does not compliment your real estate sales business.
Note: You should let your interests and personality come through on your business social media profiles, so if you are interested in NFL football it is ok to share some posts about it. You just wouldn’t want to focus on this as a form of content curation.
However, if those same men are also interested in cars, you could share content about garages and things that car guys may want to have in their garage. You see, talking about a garage is complimentary to homes, and home sales.
This same method can be used in unlimited ways. It only takes 4 simple steps to use this method to create a good content curation plan:
- Find out what topics your audience is interested in.
- Pick 1 to 3 of them that are complimentary to homes, home sales, or your local area.
- Search for local – or national – companies and individuals that create content on these topics.
- Share this content, and relate it back to your business. Make sure that you give credit to the author of the content.
In step number four I said that you should look for local companies or individuals. This is not always possible, but should be used when it is possible.
Real estate is a local business, and connecting with others in the local market will take the content that you share resonate more with your target audience. Also this is a great way to build up some partnerships with other local business.
Assuming that you did a good job in finding content that is complimentary to your business, sharing content from someone local means that you compliment their business as well. This could lead to them adopting the same strategy and sharing your content with their audience.
This can be one of the best ways to expose your brand for free to people who would not normally have known about you.
Mistake #4: Lack of Consistency in Posting
Many agents struggle with the lack of consistency in their posting schedule in one of two ways:
- Posting on a consistent daily basis. Many agents will post here and there, with no real consistency of what days they post. It is important to post on a consistent basis so that you stay on top of the mind of your audience. Depending on the platform, you may want to post a few times per week, once per day, or even multiple times per day.
- Posting consistently throughout the day. On days that they do post, many agents will post a number of posts all in a short period of time. With the speed that social media moves, posting multiple posts all in a row makes it less likely that many people see your posts. And those that do see your posts may be overwhelmed with how many they see all at the same time. They key is to spread your posts out throughout the day.
Which one is more important?
The good news is that it is not hard to post consistently. All it takes is creating a plan, and then putting that plan into action.
If done right, you can implement your plan in 15-30 minutes per day.
I wrote in detail about this for Facebook in The Real Estate Agents Guide to Posting Times & Tools but the information in that post can be applied to any social media platform.
Mistake #5: Failure to Interact With Followers
If you take a step back and look at the big picture, what is the goal of social media?
Interaction with others.
That’s why we all use it. We all want to connect with others.
But many real estate agents aren’t using social media for this purpose. Many are using it to push out content in front of people in hopes that it will lead to business. The problem is that once they get in front of people, many real estate agents are not interacting with these new follows that they have worked so hard to get.
If someone comments on your post about your listing asking for details such as address or price, respond to them with those details!
Note: It is common in the real estate industry to think that you need to turn that person into a lead before you give out these types of details. Many agents will respond with something like “Please register on our website to view the listing price and address of this home. Thanks!” Want to find a way to make sure that 90% of people will never register on your website? Send that message to everyone who asks for details. This mindset, and responding in this way, goes against everything that people love about social media. Being open and sharing details on your social media profiles will make it more likely that people get to know, like, and trust you – and ultimately that will lead to them using your real estate services.
When people comment on your posts, jump into the conversation with them.
It’s not hard. It doesn’t take much time. But being responsive and interacting with your follows will have more of an impact on the success of your social media marketing efforts than anything else that you do.
Mistake #6: Failure to follow Commission Rules
I saved this for last because it is probably one of the last things that most real estate agents think about, but it is one of the most important things for you to consider.
Just like with all other forms of advertising, the real estate commission has guidelines that all real estate agents must follow in regards to the way they do social media advertising.
It is important to check with your state real estate commission, as well as with the National Association of Realtors, to make sure that you are following all of the guidelines that they have set.
While they are different in every state, most state commissions require that you include your name and brokerage information on all advertisements. Some states require additional things to be disclosed – such as license number, or address of your brokerage.
I can’t stress enough the importance to follow the guidelines that your state has set.
So What Should You Do?
Take a few minutes and examine your social media activities.
Are you making any of these mistakes?
I am sure you are. Everyone makes some of these mistakes at some point in their social media marketing. The key is to identify them, and make the necessary corrections.
Eliminating these mistakes from your real estate social media marketing activities can help you to start seeing the benefits that you have been hoping to achieve.