Getting started on social media

Advantages and disadvantages of the most popular social platforms

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If you’re having trouble deciding which social networks to use to market yourself and your business, you’re not alone. One of the most common (and preventable) mistakes that agents make online is opening up profiles on a plethora of social networks and not logging in regularly. Being nonresponsive to inquiries and comments can quickly damage your customer service record.

Each platform offers something different to real estate professionals. Before you waste time (your own or someone else’s) on a platform that you won’t use, consider the pros and cons of each of the top four social platforms:

1. Twitter

Pro: Amassing a large following on Twitter can take place relatively quickly compared to other major social networks. This is a bonus, because the more people who see your tweets, the higher the likelihood that someone will remember you when they are looking to buy or sell a home.

Con: Unlike other major social networks, on Twitter your tweet will be seen only in the timelines of users who are online at the moment you send the tweet. This means that while you may have a large following, a minority of those followers will actually read your tweet. It’s for this reason that agents should post more frequently on Twitter than on other social networks.

Verdict: Twitter is a great place to show buyers and sellers in your area that you are a local expert, and when handled properly, it can be a great tool. Share local content and interact with local businesses to ensure that your followers are from ZIP codes that you represent. (Take a look at Massachusetts agent Bill Gassett’s Twitter account for inspiration.)

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2. Facebook

Pro: Facebook is the busiest, most popular social network in the world, and it’s not just for teenagers. Fast Company has noted that the fastest-growing demographic on Facebook is the 45- to 54-year-old audience, a great demographic for agents to target.

Con: With Facebook’s recent algorithm changes, fewer people will be seeing your posts. That’s because Facebook is attempting to entice business owners to pay for advertising — although Facebook says it is simply trying to provide the most relevant content to its users.

Verdict: Even with the recent decline in reach, Facebook is a must for all real estate professionals. More and more people are using Facebook to search for services, and growing your “likes” keeps your brand in front of your followers. You should post five to 10 times per week, focusing on people over product — and always post photos and videos of your happy buyers.

If you’re just starting your Facebook page, take a look at Joy Farenden’s All Palm Springs business page. She posts interesting content mixed in with local news and personal stories.

3. Instagram

Pro: Real estate videos achieve 1,200 percent more engagement than regular text or link posts, making Instagram an attractive option. Quick property listing videos shot from your phone and posted on Instagram could very well be the wave of the future.

Con: More than 90 percent of the 150 million users on Instagram are under age 35, according to Blanket Marketing, which means that if your target demographic is over 35, you may struggle to gain traction.

Verdict: While it is a free marketing tool, Instagram is not a must for real estate professionals. The network is still in its infancy compared to Twitter and Facebook, and you may not see results in the short term. However, there is something to be said about first movers on social networks, so if you’re interested in marketing on Instagram, now is a good time to start. Sophie Mehtemetian is a great example of an agent using Instagram to its full potential; take a look at her profile for post ideas.

4. Pinterest

Pro: Pinterest is extremely visual, giving real estate professionals a great place to display their property photos and videos. The platform allows you to create different boards that focus on different locations, property types or community events.

Con: While Pinterest is still growing, its monthly active user count sits at around 40 million, according to Mediabistro — quite a bit lower than the other social networks on this list. Regardless, Pinterest users stay extremely active on the platform, which somewhat makes up for the user count.

Verdict: Pinterest offers a great platform to start sharing property listings and video with you clients. If you’re looking for an example of a real estate agent using Pinterest properly, take a look at Debe Maxwell from Charlotte, North Carolina.

It doesn’t matter which social platform is best for you, but it does matter that you take the time to plan how you want to use social media and then select the best platform for your purposes. This will save you time and earn you the social media presence you’ve always wanted!

Justin Kerby is the co-founder of CAVE Social, a digital marketing agency specializing in real estate. He is passionate about working with clients and finding solutions that help them operate more efficiently.