Real estate agents should create their own online content.
And they should try to tell a backstory on social media.
And (perhaps hardest of all) they need to get over fears about appearing on camera.
These are just some of the social media strategies that consultant Katie Lance recommends for real estate professionals who want to successfully harness social media, and which she’ll now be sharing with Realty One Group agents as part of a new partnership.
The partnership, announced today, pairs the brokerage’s more than 11,000 agents with Lance’s #GetSocialSmart Academy, a subscription-based social media coaching service for real estate professionals. Lance told Inman that she will be doing quarterly webinars for Realty One Group agents over the next year as part of the partnership, as well as holding some in-person coaching sessions.
Lance said that the partnership fell into place after she was drawn to Realty One’s innovative leadership team.
“They are people first in a lot of ways,” she said. “I’ve gotten to know Kuba [Jewgieniew], their CEO, and they really kind of treat their associates like family. It’s a relationship business, and that’s really at the heart of what we teach.”
In a statement to Inman, Realty One Group Vice President Cory Vasquez expressed excitement about the partnership and said her company is “committed to providing the best-in-class resources for our sales professionals and helping our agents and brokers grow their business with smart social media strategies.”
Vasquez added in an email to Inman that Realty One Group has been talking to Lance “for some time” about working together.
Lance (who previously worked for Inman), started her eponymous real estate consulting firm in 2012. Four years later, she launched the #GetSocialSmart Academy after noticing that while there was a lot of information on how to use social media, most of it was outdated and not directly related to real estate.
“A lot of brokerages and franchises kind of struggle with a lot of social media training and best practices,” she explained, “because it changes all the time.”
In the time since launching #GetSocialSmart Academy, Lance has struck up partnerships with Berkshire Hathaway, Windemere and other well-known companies.
Lance’s partnership with Realty One Group also comes as numerous players in the industry scramble to figure out their social media strategies. Last week, for example, Warburg Realty — a major New York City brokerage — announced its own partnership to beef up its social media marketing abilities. Other recent social media announcements include Curaytor launching a service that oversees customers’ Instagram posts, and Realogy’s new Facebook ad service.
The new partnership between Lance and Realty One Group is set to last one year, though Lance said she was open to renewing if it goes well. In addition to webinars and in-person coaching, it will also give the brokerage’s agents discounted access to #GetSocialSmart Academy’s online training materials. That access typically costs either $97 per month or $970 per year. But Realty One Group agents will now get it for $47 per month or $470 per year if they sign up in April, or $67 and $670 per month thereafter.
Lance said that the training she provides for Realty One Group will touch on a number of different topics, but offered a preview of essential tips for agents trying to figure out where to begin:
The largest social network has been assailed by bad press lately, including this week when it was charged with housing discrimination. But Lance said Facebook is still an effective tool for agents.
“Where we see a really big opportunity is for agents or brokers who are committed to creating original content,” she explained.
Lance suggested agents create things like podcasts, videos and websites that include original commentary and insights, and then posting that content on Facebook where it can organically land in other people’s newsfeeds. That content may not make it in front of everyone on the platform, but it “helps to attract the people agents really want to work with.”
Agents should also consider creating content that lives natively on Facebook itself and that can be posted on other platforms. For example, agents who make videos have the option of putting them directly on Facebook, or post them on YouTube and share the link. Lance, however, recommends doing both because “Facebook always will prefer content that lives on Facebook.”
“If you have video content, upload that video directly to Facebook but also load it onto Youtube and create a blog post around it,” she said.
Facebook-owned Instagram is “growing by leaps and bounds,” Lance said, particularly in the use of its Stories feature. Stories has managed to “disrupt” the typical newsfeed approach to social content — where information is displayed in a straightforward vertical column — by foregrounding content that is “here today and gone tomorrow” and which “is not perfectly edited.”
Lance advised real estate agents to embrace the rawer, more personal tone that thrives on Instagram’s stories. That may turn off some viewers, but it’ll also help others connect more meaningfully to an agent’s “vibe”
“I think it’s okay to have a little fun, and have an opinion, I think it’s okay to lean into who you are,” Lance said. “Ultimately we really make the decision to work with [agents], or to continue working with them, based on who they are.”
So how exactly should agents do that?
For starters, Lance said agents “just have to get over being on camera.” She also suggested they tell a backstory, either about their own work or the properties that they’re showing.
“The average consumer is really fascinated by real estate,” Lance said. “I think that people think its very glamorous and I think its’ really interesting when agents show people the in-between, the questions they get asked all the time, the behind the scene stuff that you don’t necessarily get to see.”