Psst: Hey champ, we’re talking to you.
Yeah, you. Listen, you want to knock every ball you swing at out of the park, right? Be faster and stronger? Earn more? Well, it’s time to start juicing. Everybody’s doing it. Don’t worry, we’ll show you how.
This all sounds so illicit, we know. But we’re not talking about the kind of juice that got A-Rod suspended for 211 games and has probably kept Barry Bonds out of the Baseball Hall of Fame for good. We’re talking about the kind that turns a top-performing agent into an industry mogul. We’re talking about effective social media.
With all the buzz surrounding social media marketing, it’s not surprising that in its 2015 Emerging Trends In Real Estate report, the Urban Land Institute (ULI) touted social media use as the golden ticket for agents looking to gain an edge.
“… Real estate companies that can harness the power of social media to manage and market property will gain enormous advantage over laggards in this arena,” wrote the study’s authors. #Duh!
We already know social media marketing is important. But that’s not the real news. According to media expert and author Guy Kawasaki, chief evangelist of Canva, agents are just a few steps away from realizing social media’s full potential for their businesses.
“I can name other factors that may be more powerful,” Kawasaki says. “Economic conditions, mental state because of economic conditions, good listings, low interest rates, providing good service, achieving good word of mouth without social media.
“But if you took two agents who were operating in all the same conditions listed above, same competence, same listings, etc., then, yes, social media will provide the edge because social media equals marketing for entrepreneurs and small businesses.”
So, before you start posting and tweeting willy-nilly, Kawasaki advocates considering a more measured approach. “A good framework for agents is to think of social media as steroids for word-of-mouth reputation building,” he says.
In that spirit, he recommends these seven rules of thumb for social success:
1. Think locally.
“The densest markets for social media are also the densest markets for real estate,” according to the ULI. “So even though social media enables you to reach hundreds of millions of people around the planet, what really matters are the people in a 50-mile radius,” says Kawasaki.
With that in mind, tailor your content to your local readership. Be sure to post and tweet not just info about national trends, but also about local trends. Tag and mention local followers, “likers” and friends to involve them in the discussion. Tweet and post while attending local events.
2. Make yourself useful.
“Value comes in the form of information and assistance,” says Kawasaki. “You want to establish a position where people see — through your social media efforts — that you know what you’re doing and are helpful.”
That means posting content like this:
- Nolo.com lists tax benefits for homeowners.
- “Real Simple” explains how to winterize a home.
- Lifehacker explains how to deodorize a refrigerator.
- Pacific Gas and Electric Company puts out an article about the best time to do laundry.
- “Popular Mechanics” releases an article about how to install a home electric car charger.
- “U.S. News and World Report” publishes its rankings for public colleges.
“The point is to make yourself useful and valuable,” Kawasaki continues. “To build credibility; to build trust; so much so that you earn the right to post a link to a new listing every week or so. And when people think about listing their home, they’ll consider you.”
3. When you can’t create, curate.
Don’t feel bad if the thought of crafting a 1,200-word blog post makes you want to cower in the corner. You’re a born agent, not a born writer. Although blogging is a fantastic way to establish yourself as a thought leader in an industry, if you don’t have the time or the resources to do it, concentrate your efforts elsewhere. “Curation is easier,” says Kawasaki. “All it takes is an active, curious mind. Just find stuff that a seller or buyer would be interested in.” (Need ideas? See the second point, above.)
4. Schedule it in.
There’s no need to hire a full-time social media manager, says Kawasaki. “You can do this yourself. It will take 30 minutes per day.”
5. Don’t spread yourself too thin.
Choose one or two types of social media and concentrate your time and attention on those platforms. “The most important social media tools for most agents are probably Facebook and Instagram,” says Kawasaki. “Just post good stuff on Facebook and great pictures of your listings and interesting properties through Instagram.”
6. Don’t try to buy your friends.
“There are only two kinds of people on social media: those that want more followers and those that are lying,” says Kawasaki. “The more followers, the better, assuming these are organic, earned followers. Never, ever buy followers. That’s cheating.” Plus, you can always spot a friend-faker when their engagement isn’t nearly as robust as their follower tally.
7. Set content goals and stick to them.
“Agents should post one to two times per day to start,” Kawasaki suggests. “See how that feels. Give it two months. All this will cost you is 30 minutes per day.”
Sabra Morris is the senior copywriter for RUHM Luxury Marketing.