Agents looking to expand their leads always ask if social media is a necessary part of their marketing plan. While most agents have personal Facebook or Instagram pages, they always ask: Which social media channels should be personal or professional? Do I have to post my listings? Does it really matter how active I am?
The answer is a definitive yes. Social media is where your future buyers and sellers are, and frankly, it can make a significant difference to your business. Your ability to sell listings, find new clients, have current clients make referrals and have offers accepted as a buyer’s agent are all part of your brand.
Brands are created, kept and defined by social media. Social media is where first impressions are made, as real estate customers often search agents’ social channels before Googling their background and experience.
There are plenty of naysayers in the industry and are likely veteran agents who have been in real estate for decades. Their clients are solidified, and I’d bet they’re winding down their careers and no longer interested in growing their database. And kudos to those who paved the way for our industry today, but we need to be where our customers are to stay competitive.
According to Axios, approximately 4.8 million millennials are turning 30 this year. A huge portion of those millennials are expected to enter the homebuying market — and they’re online. Eighty-one percent of 30 to 49 year old Americans are on social media in 2021, with Instagram and Facebook being the most popular platforms.
For those of you who are still growing and willing to give this career another couple of decades, social media accounts are a must. That said, there are a few do’s and don’ts you should know.
As agents, it is our privilege to guide people on a path to homeownership and wealth creation, but we need to first build relationships with customers. Relationships are built with trust. Through social media, we can share relatable bits of our personal lives, establish industry authority with facts and advice and share the types of success you can bring future customers.
For me, the golden rule for posts is to always add value. If the post does not add value to someone else — I do not post it. Value can easily be added for free via social media. When considering how to bring value to your clients, think about a few things before posting your content.
1. Identify your target customer
Once you know who your target customer is, you can figure out what social media platforms they’re using and where they’re engaging in relevant conversations. Facebook and Instagram tend to be the gold standard for millennials, but LinkedIn is useful for engaging with older generations.
2. Engagement is a two-way conversation
It’s tempting for agents to promote their listings relentlessly over social media. However, for potential buyers, the constant “in your face” promotions diminishes your appeal and shows a lack of understanding of your audiences. Savvy real estate agents are engaging, creating bonds by opening up two-way conversations.
3. Post consistently and strategically
Social media for real estate is a lot like relationship-building in real life. You need constant interactions that provide value and motivate people to follow you. The goal is to create enough interactions for your audience to get to know you as a real estate agent without overwhelming them.
4. Your work should have a story
Share your closed listing like you are telling the story of living in the home. Give it personality. Share why the seller bought the home and the aspects they are looking forward to the most.
Emphasize your accomplishments, but find ways to do it in a way that creates engagement. Was there a significant challenge you overcame that other buyers may face? People don’t care about what you’ve done; they care about what you can do for them.
5. Post beautiful pictures of homes
Especially on Instagram, the customer experience is everything. The more beautiful pictures you post and the more engagements, likes, shares and saves it receives, the more likely the platform’s algorithm will share it farther and wider to new audiences.
6. Paid advertising is key
While it’s true you can post for free on social media platforms, these tech companies want to make money. They’ve made it harder than ever to go “viral” without paid advertising.
Start small. Facebook’s advertising platform can be overwhelming at first, but that’s because you can target key audiences with your paid promotions. Keep it simple and small at first.
Start off paying $20 to promote a post to a target audience. The following week, up the budget to $30 to the same audience, then read the reports. You’ll start to understand how far advertising dollars will go according to a narrow or broad audience.
7. Design doesn’t need to be difficult
There are free design programs, like Canva, that can create beautiful images in the correct sizes for each social channel.
Facebook and Instagram will even promote images themselves to audiences if you follow their post guidelines, such as using minimal text in images, keeping videos under two minutes, create a compelling headline and follow the technical requirements.
8. Use client testimonials
Like Amazon’s reviews, customers validate their initial impressions by checking what other customers say.
Show what you can do for them by including videos and thoughtful posts from your real customers. Have them share their story of why they wanted the specific house, and highlight any challenges they had and how the team succeeded for them.
“I know I should do it, but can I just hire a company instead?” Yes, there are options to hire companies that will post custom designed images for you. The point is to get started. Like anything else, you don’t need to be the best social media specialist to begin conversations. Just be yourself.
Your channels will seem more authentic and professional over time, and you’ll see your sales funnel work in real time as customers familiarize themselves with your work.
Jenny Usaj is the Employing Broker and Owner of Usaj Realty, a Denver, CO real estate brokerage. Jenny is a member of the Denver Metro Association of Realtors Market Trends Committee.