By: Emile L’Eplattenier, Fit Small Business
Updated: July 31, 2017 | Published: November 1, 2016
There’s no two ways about it: building a social media brand means more eyes on your listings, more clients calling you up, and more turnaround. Whether you’re trying to sell that next house or snag that elusive first time buyer, you’ll do it a lot faster if you’ve got a social media presence. And with 2.3 billion users spending a good chunk of their time browsing social media—an average of 50 minutes per day is spent on Facebook alone, according to The New York Times—getting eyes on your social accounts shouldn’t be hard. So why does it feel like it is? Because social media is huge in another way.
With dozens of websites and apps (and more popping up every day), the landscape is vast, and agents often end up awash in options, either with too many accounts or not enough accounts that aren’t building up the following they had hoped. But there is an easier way to get the kind of lead generation you want without wasting tons of your marketing dollars.
The key is targeting the best social media options—those proven to attract real estate leads—and building a marketing plan tailored to getting the most out of those accounts.
There is no denying Facebook is huge. Odds are, almost everyone you know has an account. But when it comes to real estate marketing, Facebook has a huge benefit over nearly every other social network: demographics. Facebook reaches everyone. Regardless of age group, income level, or location, almost everyone is on Facebook, and you should be too.
Here’s how to pull it off:
- Create a complete business page. Before you start looking for ‘likes,’ make sure you have a complete profile. Link to your business website, list your contact information, list your service locations and experience in your bio, and upload photos of homes you’ve sold. If your profile isn’t complete, Facebook users will only take one look before moving on to another agent.
- Post three to five times a day. If you really want to amass a following, you’ll need to post frequently. Most experts agree that three to five times every weekday is the sweet spot.
- But don’t be boring. Facebook gives you a unique opportunity to post many different things—links, slideshows, videos, personal rants, you name it. Avoid the urge to oversell yourself and focus on posts that will be valuable to your followers. Share community information, insightful articles, and tours of unique homes you’re listing. By focusing on value, you’ll engage followers and, in turn, generate leads.
- Purchase ads, carefully. Facebook ads are an inexpensive way to boost business. On average, people pay $24 to have their ad shown 36,364 times. But your ad may fall on deaf ears (or blind eyes as the case may be) if it isn’t targeted properly. Aim to keep your ad local, and decide before you start spending if you want to promote your Facebook page or gear users toward your business site.
Instagram has amassed a huge, loyal user base. Don’t let the photo-based sharing deter you. Smart Insights found when it comes to interaction, Instagram blows other social media sites out of the water with a whopping 70 interactions per 1,000 followers. Getting started on Instagram is easy.
Here’s how to pull it off:
- Take unique photos. Instagram is photo-based, meaning you’ll have to take (and post) a lot of photos to get attention, but skip the boring front-of-house shots. Look for unusual features, close-up opportunities, or stand-out rooms, and use the in-app filters and features to boost the appearance of the photo before you post.
- Use hashtags. Every time you post, include at least one hashtag. This will help followers find you. Selling historic homes? Hashtag it. Have an amazing farmhouse kitchen? Hashtag it. You get the idea.
- Interact. Instagram relies on interaction. Follow historians, community leaders, architects, and real estate publications. Like or ‘heart’ their photos, comment, and watch the followers roll in.
Pinterest is often overlooked by agents, but it shouldn’t be. The site has a huge fan base and many dedicated followers actively ‘pinning’ every day. Building up your Pinterest ‘boards’ (collections of clickable photos) will take dedication, but the payoff will be worth it.
Here's how to pull it off:
- Focus on photos. While you can tag any link to your Pinterest boards, links with just text won’t look very visually appealing on the site. Instead, focus on articles and listings that have strong photos to grab the reader’s attention.
- Link boards to your business website. You’ll generate the most leads if your ‘pins’ link back to a source you own, like your business website. Blog posts work great for this. Write a blog post, upload a stunning photo to go with the story, and pin it to Pinterest. Viola!
Twitter shouldn’t be the only social media you use, but the fast-paced feeds can help you generate leads (and crossover followers to other social media sites) if you do it right.
Here’s how to pull it off:
- Focus on following first. Build up a list of Twitter profiles to follow first. Not only will many places follow you back, but you’ll have an easy source of tweets and links to retweet on the fly.
- Tweet often. Twitter relies on short tweets, and things move quickly. To get attention, plan on tweeting at least three to five times a day, and don’t rely on retweets alone. You’ll have to create your own to get the most followers.
- Shorten links. You don’t have a lot of space in a tweet. Always use a shortened link and focus on the text to get the most engagement.
- Use photos. Simple text tweets get lost in Twitter feeds. Including photos with your tweets is a great way to stand out.
Create a Strategy
There’s no denying that social media can help boost your real estate leads. With that said, it doesn’t mean you need to be on every social media platform. Your audience may just be on one platform or may be on all platforms. Some platforms may perform better than others. So it’s important to come up with a social media strategy that will work best for you. If some social media sites perform better for you than others, then focus your attention on those that will give a better return. Overall, a social media strategy and some hard work can help boost your real estate leads to where you want them to be.
About Emile L'Eplattenier
A five year veteran New York City real estate agent and member of the Real Estate Board of New York, Emile L’Eplattenier specialized in selling and renting new developments in the East Village of Manhattan and Williamsburg Brooklyn. He is currently a staff writer and real estate marketing and sales analyst at Fit Small Business.