There is no doubt that social media has changed real estate marketing forever.

Social media allows us to reach potential customers, provides a platform for rapid, visual, real-time communications, and maximizes marketing efforts in ways that many of us would not have imagined just 10, or even five, years ago.

It also allows us the opportunity for more accurate, targeted campaigns and the ability to gather much more information about each lead.

However, increased information does not automatically guarantee a sales lead. Successful lead generation provides more than contact information; it lays the groundwork for a successful customer relationship.

Relationships are the basis of real estate, which is why social media works so well for real estate marketing. Although much has been made of the distance that the digital world creates, when used well, social media allows agents to connect with users in a much more personal way.

Through lead generation, any social media bite is an opportunity to establish trust. And to establish trust, you must know your customer.

Casting a wide net does not cut it; personalization is mandatory. Here are three steps to personalize your lead generation program:

Talking to the right audience

The first question you should ask yourself is: Who do I want to talk to?

At my company, we use detailed demographic information including age, location, income and length of time a person has been living in a home to identify people we can help.

Based on your firm’s expertise, identify who you can help — and what you can offer them. 

Providing valuable content

Once you identify your target audience, get to know what they are looking for. Potential customers use the internet and social media to do their initial research when looking to buy or sell.

One of the best ways to get your firm on their radar as a potential partner is by offering them valuable information.

On Facebook, we offer tools that inform users about their neighborhood markets, providing a look at what they can buy at a certain price point, as well as an estimated home value. To access these tools, users provide personal information that we collect to better understand what that customer needs.

My firm also uses ZapLabs to connect their sphere of influence with relevant, creative content. This technology allows our agents a view into our leads’ online behavior, information that helps us personalize our follow-up.

Most social media content needs paid dollars behind it to reach people.

However, your firm’s account should also be sharing relevant content, both on your own pages, and in groups where your potential customers spend their time.

Try to be consistently active, so members get to know you and see you as a part of the community. Your consistency will establish trust and make your content 10 times more valuable. 

Creating positive, memorable interactions

The industry is becoming so internet-lead frenzied, it is hard for any agent to cut through the clutter. Your ability to win clients will come down to showing that you care.

In customer service, every touch point has impact. Your follow-up with the prospective customer should be as personal as possible. Every interaction should prove you know what the customer needs and that you have the expertise to be able to help.

Creating these memorable interactions ensures that an agent’s personal network will also be a powerful source of lead generation.

Word-of-mouth is still one of the most powerful tools because people trust their networks. An agent’s friends, family and past clients play a significant role in making an agent known, recommended and trusted in their communities.

Leave all leads with a positive experience, even if you do not end up representing the buyer or seller. Every positive customer service experience adds to the likelihood you and your agency will be remembered — and recommended.

Justin R. Wrobel is the New Jersey Regional Manager of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Rand Realty in Northern New Jersey. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

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