“As agents, we’re at a point now where every day we need to be able to show our value to potential consumers, and that goes beyond the house itself…”

NEW YORK — Following the marketing trends of 2018 could put your real estate business at an advantage over the competition. Molly McKinley, the executive vice president of marketing for Relola, and Heather Elias, a Realtor and founder of LoCo Real Estate, highlighted the top 10 trends of the new year for an audience at Inman Connect in New York on Wednesday afternoon.

1. Micro-influencers

“In a noisy world, micro-influencers are one of the only ways you’re going to break through to new audiences,” McKinley said.

In the past, an influencer had to be a celebrity, athlete or individual with immense fame, but in today’s landscape, there are influencers in niche fields everywhere. Anyone with an online following, whether it be a local Facebook group or large Instagram presence, can be an an influencer.

Facebook’s ever-changing algorithm — the latest being a change to ensure users see less content from brands and more from friends — will put an even greater emphasis on tapping micro-influencers, especially if they’re not a brand page but an individual.

2. Community ambassadors

In a similar vein, McKinley and and Elias emphasized the importance of building relationships with community ambassadors.

“As agents, we’re at a point now where every day we need to be able to show our value to potential consumers, and that goes beyond the house itself,” Elias explained.

Beyond the physical property, an agent needs to sell a buyer on a neighborhood and its community, which can be achieved through building those relationships with school officers, local business owners and elected leaders.

3. Sticky content

It’s beneficial to any agency to drive customers to their content, but making them stay is a whole different game. To get potential clients to return to your website, according to McKinley and Elias, the content needs to be aligned with your audience.

“You have to create content that they care about,” McKinley said.

4. Professional graphics

“We’re in a visual world now,” Elias explained. “We can’t be creating word docs and using comic sans fonts and expecting to look professional to our customers. We’ve graduated beyond that.”

Elias recommends bringing in a marketing professional to help you craft and perfect eye-catching graphics.

“The reason why this matters — in this noisy world, you have microseconds to grab someone’s attention,” McKinley added. “If it’s not going to jump off the page for you, it won’t for someone else.”

5. Quantity over quality

Gone are the days of the “spray and pray,” marketing strategy, according to McKinley, where an agent just tries to canvas an area. It’s more important to have micro conversations with the right people and really direct your marketing.

“In a digital world, we have these amazing tools that allow you to segment and target,” McKinley said, noting the importance of using analytics to fully understand the individuals you’re trying to reach.

6. Livestreaming

In a reality television world, it may seem like everyone knows everything about everyone else, but in a relationship-driven business, being an open book can be a smart play. Livestreaming video is the perfect way to give potential customers an insight into what type of agent you are.

“We all hate doing video,” Elias admitted. “It’s uncomfortable.”

“But it’s authentic and it’s you,” she added. “It’s what somebody is going to get when they meet you for the first time.”

By creating content on the fly, you can really connect with an audience.

7. Explainer videos

Explainer videos are perfectly crafted to drive traffic to your website through search engine optimization. Many searches are conducted in the form of a question, so McKinley and Elias recommend that agents take the five questions they’re asked most on a daily basis and turn them into short explainers.

“When you create content that’s aligned with search, you have a higher probability of being found,” McKinley said. “These how-to videos are a great way to showcase your expertise and create evergreen content.”

8. Relationships

It seems so obvious in a relationship-driven business, but it’s often important to get back to the basics and build great relationships.

McKinley and Elias recommend building genuinely empathetic relationships with clients, which will make all the difference.

9. Mobile-first

Design for websites used to be based entirely on the way a website or other piece of content would be displayed on a web browser, but today, more and more individuals are doing their internet browser on their mobile devices.

“If they can’t work with it on a mobile device, it’s gonna be an annoyance,” Elias said. “Be mindful of every piece you’re sending out.”

10. Beyond the inbox

It’s impossible to read every email you get, so sometimes it’s important to try and reach potential clients outside of typical emails using strategies like in-app messaging, chat boxes and Facebook messaging.

“Think of all the different ways you communicate with your family and friends,” McKinley said.

Read all of our coverage from Inman Connect NY 2018.

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