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The pandemic has radically changed the way real estate professionals do business, as social distancing orders make it difficult or impossible to connect with clients and colleagues in person. Now more than ever, agents are hopping on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and the newcomer, Clubhouse, to connect with like-minded professionals, host virtual listing tours, and share invaluable information with buyers and sellers who are trying to navigate a new real estate landscape.
Managing multiple social media accounts can be confusing and overwhelming, but social media expert Katie Lance told the Connect crowd that’s no reason to tap out. Instead, this is the time to lean in and show your network who you are and what you know.
“When it comes to content in 2021, the best content is content that you create — content that’s in your voice, that has your opinion [and] that has your personality,” she said. “Find your voice for your content and don’t be vanilla.”
“There’s so much noise, so we’ve got to stand out in 2021,” she added.
Here are Lance’s five tips for creating a vibrant social media strategy:
Be intentional with your social media schedule by time blocking
Lance said it’s tempting to adopt a lax attitude toward social media since many of us are used to posting statuses, tweets, and photos on a whim. Although that’s fine for your personal page, it won’t work for growing a professional page and brand.
Instead, agents should set aside time daily, weekly, monthly and annually to review their social media strategy and create content. On a daily basis, agents should spend 10 to 15 minutes engaging with colleagues’ and past clients’ posts with meaningful comments.
“If you feel like you’re posting stuff and there’s not a whole lot of people interacting with your comment, I would encourage you to make sure you’re spending just as much time not just posting, but engaging with other people,” she said. “In the world of social media, an engaging and intentional comment is a comment that’s at least four words.”
Then, once a week, Lance said agents should spend at least 30 minutes thinking about the upcoming week and what they need to share in terms of new listings, news, updates or other content. Next, agents should dedicate a few hours each month to batch create written or recorded content.
“If I’m going to sit down, do my hair and makeup and record one video, I might as well record four or five,” she said of batch creating. “We’ve been doing this for at least the last four or five years, I can tell you it’s made a huge difference in our business.”
Lastly, Lance said agents need to set aside time once a year to reflect on their social media strategy to identify what works and what doesn’t.
“So often we’re working in the business that we don’t have time to work on our business,” she said. “We want to set aside some time to reflect, whether that’s the beginning of the year or the end of the year. That’s super important.”
Create a pillar content plan
After creating a consistent social media schedule, Lance said agents need to create a pillar content plan that includes written, video or audio content. The content should be a mix of timely advice (e.g. how to safely find a dream home during COVID) and evergreen topics (e.g. what first-time homebuyers need to know about closings).
“Pillar content is something that requires time, money, energy and sometimes resources,” she explained. “It’s valuable information in your voice, with your opinion or your personality.”
“It’s not canned, it’s not boring,” she added. “Ultimately, what great content does is tell the story of what it feels like to work with you.”
Find your voice on social media
Lance said agents constantly attempt to market to everyone, which makes it nearly impossible to find and develop a voice that rings true to who you are as an agent.
“I’ll go to an agent or broker’s Facebook page, and I’ll see kind of the same thing,” she said. “I’ll see their listings, their open houses or their virtual open houses. A lot of times what’s missing is, what do they sound like? What do they stand for? What are they all about?”
“When you put yourself out there, that also means sometimes we won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, and that’s okay,” she added. “We can’t be all things to all people and that’s okay as well.”
To find their professional voice, Lance encouraged agents to think about why they entered real estate, who their dream (or nightmare) client is, and what topics and trends really light their fire.
“As a bonus tip, what I would recommend is every time you’re asked a question, every time a topic comes up with a client, with a prospect, make a note of it,” she said. “Use Google Docs or Google Sheets, or even a notebook to keep you organized.”
“As you make that list, you might also make a note of all the topics that came up in conversation when you were working with that client,” she added. “Were they concerned about COVID? Were they unsure if they should move? Maybe they were renters.”
Lance said those notes can be the basis for a robust stream of social media content that allows your personality, passion and expertise to shine.
Next, Lance said agents have a bad habit of sharing a piece of content one time, on one platform. To get the best reach and engagement, Lance suggests agents post their content multiple times on different days and times on various platforms.
“I would imagine a lot of you have never shared the same thing on Facebook more than once,” she said. “We don’t want to be spammy. We don’t want to be annoying. We don’t want to be that person.”
“But at the end of the day, if you’re only posting once a week or twice a week, or you’re only posting it at 9 a.m., and I’m never on social media until lunchtime or after dinner, I’m never going to see your post,” she added.
Lance said agents must create a distribution plan that revolves around daily themes, such as Market Update Monday, Wednesday Wisdom or Throwback Thursday. Themes make it easier to plan content and creates a sense of expectation with your audience.
Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate
No matter if you’re experiencing social media success or tribulations, analytics are the key to staying on top or revamping your strategy. Lance said every platform provides users with free analytics, which can help agents identify which posts perform the best, what days/times to post, and what ideas to ditch or revise.
“[Analytics] are a treasure trove of content and information,” she said. “Check to see what type of content has the highest level of engagement or reach on Instagram, which type of content is getting the most shares or the most interactions.”
“Look to see which pieces of content performed better on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube,” she added.
Lance said agents need to be hands-on with their social media strategy and resist the urge to simply push the responsibility on a social media manager or staff member.
“I know there are lots of apps and lots of tools that are out there that can do a lot of what we’re talking about here today,” she said. “I will also say though, there is not an app that’s going to replace you.”
“I often say social media is like the ultimate dinner party,” she added. “Imagine having the ultimate dinner party with your 10 most important clients, but instead of you being there, you have your assistant there running the whole thing. We would
never do that.”
“But that’s what happens when we hand off our social media completely to someone else.”