The biggest question in your real estate career arrives in a wave of panic the day you get your license: What do I do now? Here are three great ways to get the ball rolling in the marketing department as a new real estate agent for little or no investment at all.

The biggest question in your real estate career arrives in a wave of panic the day you get your license: What do I do now?

You may have joined a team or a company that brings some training, guidance and even leads to the table, but what should you be doing to capitalize on those efforts? You need to get your name out there and get some deals. 

Most real estate agents are working with little or no marketing budget at this stage in the game, and the mountain of solutions seem to cost money. Here are three great ways to get the ball rolling in the marketing department as a new agent for little or no investment at all.

Social media

Social media is the go-to solution for marketing these days. It’s free, everyone uses it, and it’s the first place you would go to tell people what you do. However, most agents use social media incorrectly.  They treat it like the “For Sale” board on Craigslist, and it turns people off. 

Update all of your profile information so people you haven’t met know that you are in real estate, put your professional headshot with brokerage logo as your profile picture, and resist the urge to make every post about real estate. 

It will be tempting, but try to resist pushing your products non-stop. The idea is that you want to keep and grow your audience. 

For people who don’t know you, they need to see what you do in a glance, but they don’t want to see that you are all sales and no fun. 

As a real estate agent, you add value when you solve someone else’s problems. Give advice on places to eat, lawn care companies, moving companies, events, and yes, talk about how to make buying and selling easier. 

Consult your broker and seasoned agents if you need information on that process. Pepper the real estate value with some human interaction.

Be a connector

There is no getting around the fact that you need to build your sphere of influence as a real estate agent. Proving that you are valuable is a big topic of discussion these days. Few are actually talking about how to do that.

The proven way to bring value is to be a connector for other people.

If you spend time connecting people with your relationships, you will increase your value and your sphere at the same time. 

Connecting a neighbor with a handyman, helping a cleaning company connect with homeowners or co-marketing on social media with a local restaurant are all ways to be a connector. You don’t get paid for the effort, but the return on the time investment is that you become known as the person who solves problems. 

Both are strong reputation goals of a real estate agent.

Micro market value

Information during the first year of real estate is like drinking from a fire hose. It is a fast and furious stream of “you have to know this.” While that may be true in the long-term, it is far more valuable and marketable if you become an expert in a small area at first. 

Committing to one neighborhood or community will make all of your efforts more effective because the audience in smaller. 

Once you pick your area, start adding value to that area. Go to the yard sales, bring sunscreen to the community pool on a Saturday or just stop to chat with people who are out and about in that area are all low- or no-cost ways to get your face in front of homeowners. 

You decide who knows you, but you have to bring the value you add to the people that live there.

Once you have one area mastered, you can grow your expertise. This process can be duplicated over and over in multiple communities. In time, you could be well-versed in a big portion of the entire market. Start small and grow steadily.

It is really easy to get wrapped up in the next shiny object syndrome in real estate. The fact that there will always be “the next thing that will change your business” should be recognized early. 

The key to building your brand and capitalizing on marketing efforts is to make it all about the people you serve. Put your best foot forward both digitally and in person by making your real estate career about the people not the process.             

Kevin Hoover is a Realtor with eXp Realty – Myrtle Beach. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

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