Nobody likes someone who is an ego-maniac. A lot of real estate agents get a bad rap, because some agents think that to build a great personal brand, they need to talk about how great they are. This is very off-putting for many people — especially your Gen X and Gen Y clients who are slow to trust and quick to judge anyone who calls themselves an "expert."
Personal branding — the art of packaging and presenting yourself — has become vital to both career and business development, especially as a real estate agent.
Here are five simple strategies that real estate agents can use to instantly set themselves apart from the pack:
1. Craft a compelling pitch. You need to be able to clearly define yourself, and sum up precisely what it is you do, in 30 seconds or less. When in doubt, make a simple bullet-point list of the skills you excel at. Ask yourself: How do I see myself? Your pitch needs to be brief and to the point.
2. Take control of your name. Input your name or your business’s name in Google, and see what comes up. It’s vital that the majority of results that appear, especially the first ones, all speak to the same clear message.
You should not only own a website with your personal name as the domain (a given, right?!), you should also have profiles on all major social networking services (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) under the same name. Even if you plan to do nothing else on social media, as a minimum, set up your profile.
3. Create strong branding platforms. Personal branding is about establishing yourself as someone that brings unique, indispensable real estate services and skills to the table. You need to create platforms (blogs, Facebook pages, online video channels, etc.) that can help broadcast your skills and experience to as many people as possible.
All of these platforms should also be stamped with your signature name, logo and imagery. Once built, it pays to pump out content through them that illustrates your expertise.
4. Be generous with your time. Acts of kindness and generosity serve to generate goodwill and help build invaluable relationships and contacts that can pay off immeasurably. Charitable work presents great opportunities to establish trust, grow your personal/professional network and make a positive impact — you never know when it might lead to a vital mention or referral.
Go above and beyond the call of duty. It doesn’t just speak to personal values and work ethic. It also presents a prime opportunity to demonstrate your expertise.
5. Accessibility is the name of the game. Whether using blog posts, tweets or your professional Facebook page, accessibility is the name of the game. Not only do people need to know you’re out there, they also need to know where and how to reach you, that you’re available to connect as needed and will respond to requests for outreach in a timely fashion.
This doesn’t mean having to broadcast your personal information to the world or staying up until 3 a.m. responding to 200 e-mails. But it does necessitate that you not build too many layers of insulation between yourself and incoming queries, and be respectful of acknowledging people’s questions and feedback (even if it’s just through a series of blog posts).
The bottom line: If you want to be a go-to real estate agent, you’ve got to earn people’s trust. That means being genuine, listening and responding quickly!
Bonus tip No. 1: At some point you will want to work with a professional designer to help create your brand for you — i.e., your look, logo, imagery, etc. Don’t take a short-cut. Hiring a designer will help save you time and money in the long haul.
Bonus tip No. 2: Be respectful of your brokerage’s brand and image. Although you are independent, pay attention to style guides and/or branding standards your brokerage has published. There are many ways to differentiate and brand yourself but still stay within your brokerage branding guidelines.
Would love your comments and feedback — please leave me a comment below!
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Katie Lance is the marketing manager for Inman News. Future of Real Estate Marketing is a part of Inman News.
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