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Real estate agents are already fluent in the art of storytelling, whether through well-crafted words, compelling images, or dynamic video. And these tools have only become more important as more client interactions take place online. But choosing where to spend your time online can be a challenge. Which channels are most worth your investment? And how do you stay ahead of the social media curve?
“Social media is an excellent tool for homebuyers,” says Vlad Popach, Founding Member and Broker at Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty. “They’re able to take a glimpse into a real estate agent’s business, experience, and lifestyle, all before inquiring for services.”
Today, leveraging Facebook and Instagram to share images and insights is table stakes for many luxury agents. The question has become: which channels should you be using when? And where can you find your next social lead? Here are specific strategies for four channels, from the perspective of three top-producing luxury agents.
Luxury agents are familiar with Facebook, and there are many tried-and-true strategies for maximizing the platform’s effectiveness. It’s one of the channels most conducive to sharing written content and is more likely to connect you with mature prospects rather than emerging affluents.
“We differentiate our content between Facebook and Instagram to cover a lot of ground,” says Popach, “With the former being more business and finance-centric, and the latter being more business marketing.”
Glenn Norrgard, Senior Global Real Estate Advisor and Associate Broker at Sotheby’s International Realty in New York, also recommends the Social Ad Engine, a proprietary company tool custom built in partnership with Facebook for placing ads and generating leads. “I find this to be a targeted approach to focusing each piece of content to a specific audience.”
It’s hardly news that Instagram is a popular platform with millennial homebuyers. Norrgard recommends diving into the existing Instagram audience by using “a mix of personal and professional posts with hashtags that try to reach out to new audiences to increase that following.”
He follows a rule of thirds: “One third of my posts are personal — photos of my hobbies, which include cooking and skiing. One third relate to real estate in general: I post links to articles that may be of interest to those looking for real estate content, and I highlight other agents from my professional network and their listings. And one third are related to my endeavors in real estate, such as my own listings.”
Even though Instagram may be less popular among more seasoned real estate buyers, content can still reach them through their own social networks. “My largest sale to date came from a teenager watching one of my Instagram videos and sharing it with his parents,” says Dylan Tent, Sales Manager at Signature Sotheby’s International Realty. “That’s why it’s important for me to be represented on all platforms.”
Your clients are using YouTube — whether or not they’re aware of it. Buyers and sellers may not intentionally begin their journeys searching for video content online — but many will engage with video content that’s embedded in the other channels they browse. That’s why YouTube is an important platform to keep active as you lay the breadcrumbs across your customers’ feeds.
Maintain an active YouTube channel, and incorporate your videos into your personal website, your real estate listings, other social media accounts, and your email marketing campaigns to maximize reach. Even without a high number of direct views, your YouTube channel is an effective repository for video content that can be embedded elsewhere.
The more established channels aren’t the only worthwhile places for agents to spend their time. Newcomer TikTok has seen a meteoric rise as one of the most popular channels for video sharing, particularly among younger prospects. “Recently, I’ve seen a lot of engagement on TikTok,” explains Tent. “My page grew rapidly from zero to 22,000 followers. I have a video with over 1,000,000 views, and several others in the hundred thousand range.”
While real estate videos on your Instagram account or YouTube channel may be expected to have a certain level of professional polish, Tent has found that TikTok is more open to raw, authentic footage. He often syncs his clips to popular music tracks, promoting not only his properties but the luxury lifestyles they help make possible.
“The most important thing is using the platforms consistently,” says Tent. “Many agents try to post things a few times and stop when they do not get immediate results. It was two years before I had a transaction that resulted from Instagram.”
For Popach, connecting with prospects through online channels comes down to delivering exceptional service. “Key takeaways for agents wanting to engage with clients on social media regardless of channel: be of value, provide quality content, post frequently, and interact with your followers.”
About Sotheby’s International Realty
Sotheby’s International Realty was founded in 1976 as a real estate service for discerning clients of Sotheby’s auction house. Today, the company’s global footprint spans 990 offices located in 72 countries and territories worldwide, including 43 company-owned brokerage offices in key metropolitan and resort markets. In February 2004, Realogy entered into a long-term strategic alliance with Sotheby’s, the operator of the auction house. The agreement provided for the licensing of the Sotheby’s International Realty name and the development of a franchise system. The franchise system is comprised of an affiliate network, where each office is independently owned and operated. Sotheby’s International Realty supports its affiliates and agents with a host of operational, marketing, recruiting, educational and business development resources. Affiliates and agents also benefit from an association with the venerable Sotheby’s auction house, established in 1744. For more information, visit www.sothebysrealty.com.
The affiliate network is operated by Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC, and the company owned brokerages are operated by Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc. Both entities are subsidiaries of Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE: RLGY) a global leader in real estate franchising and provider of real estate brokerage, relocation and settlement services. Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC and Sotheby’s International Realty Inc., both fully support the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act.