Most real estate agents have a social media presence, but are they really giving home buyers and sellers want they crave? Buying or selling a home is an important financial–and emotional– decision. Most people are full of questions when they undertake this endeavor.
They want more than someone who’s just experienced in the industry. They want someone who will protect their interests and help them navigate the complexities of real estate. It is important that the agent they choose is someone they’ll feel confident having by their side throughout the process.
That’s where social media comes in. If applied correctly, it can be a great way to open a dialog, share advice, and begin to forge a relationship.
Here is a handy list of social media dos and don’ts for real estate agents.
- Invite buyers in – Home buyers want to know the good, bad, and ugly of each town they’re considering moving to. Yet most real estate blogs
simply give buyers basic demographic statistics and perhaps some flowery language about the area. Give potential clients a far richer understanding of the markets you serve, letting them know the pros and cons of each area. Be honest and forthcoming with a wealth of information and opinions. Let them know why you chose where you live and they’re more apt to turn to you for advice.
- Be yourself - I’ve heard of many realtors who pay a ghost writer to write their blogs, yet this approach has its shortcomings. The copy simply doesn’t ring true; it fails to give clients a sense of who you really are. Studies show that consumers want to make a personal connection with those they do business with. Let your personality shine through. It’s a great way to open a dialog with a client, before they ever pick up the phone.
- Take advantage of controversy - Some of the most trying days as a real estate agent prove to be great lessons we can share with our clients. Tell readers about common real estate pitfalls to help them have a smoother home buying/selling experience.
- Chat -
Home buyers today expect instant response to questions, day or night. Use a free widget like Meebo to allow home buyers to initiate a chat session with you, right from your blog.
- Respond to comments, good and bad – Respond promptly and courteously to engage readers who post comments on your social media sites. One caveat: Don’t feel compelled to respond to those who post abusive comments. The social media space does lure its share of online bullies. Resist the temptation to get into battle with them, instead help to solve their problem.
- Shout about your home listings - It’s fine to let people know about the homes you’re marketing, but don’t make that the primary topic of your interactions. Think about common questions home buyers and sellers ask you, and turn these into posts. Provide valuable content and you’ll keep people coming back.
- Forget video - It’s tempting to skip this expense, but online video is
an important element of home marketing. If well done, video creates an emotional connection with buyers—and improves search engine optimization. Video is 50 times more likely to appear on the first page of Google search results than a text page, according to Forrester Research.
- Assume you’re only connecting with first time buyers - The fastest growing Facebook demographic
is women over 55. At last count, there were already nearly 30 million U.S. users ages 35-54 and more than nine million U.S. users age 55 and older on Facebook. It’s a great place to engage “fans” and learn what they’re looking for from their agent.
- Talk to yourself - Social media is more about listening than about talking. Pay attention to what people are saying about you and your brand. Solicit and gather feedback through informal polls or via free services like TweetBeep or Google Alerts.
- Ignore your existing clients - Invite your previous buyers and sellers to join your social networks. This way, your sites becomes richer communities of shared experiences and objective advice from those who recently completely the home buying/selling journey. These contributors may prove themselves to be your strongest advocates.
How do these ideas translate to industries outside of real estate?
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