September is Marketing and Branding Month at Inman. Tips for better branding and in-depth features on how to take advantage of marketing tools provided by Zillow, Redfin and other platforms are all in the works in addition to insights from experts. You’ll find it all at Inman, as well as our two-day virtual, flagship event, Your Playbook for the Fall Market, in October.
This article was last updated Sept. 22, 2022.
When was the last time you took a good hard look at your online presence? Your digital footprint, aka online presence, has never been more critical than it is right now. The National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) 2021 homebuyer and seller research found that a whopping 95 percent of buyers used the internet to find their home, and 73 percent of sellers only contacted one agent before hiring them.
It’s imperative that you put your best foot forward and optimize all aspects of your online messaging about yourself and your business.
We make sure to optimize our agents’ online reach through a digital footprint audit at our company. In the video above, Karina Caraballo, marketing coordinator at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida, joins me to share our top tips for auditing your online presence.
The digital footprint audit checklist
Here’s a breakdown of the areas we detail on our checklist to help you cover all your marketing bases with confidence.
We begin with a section that evaluates each agent’s website.
Your website is your digital business card. No matter what website platform you use, having a concise and professional website is critical in today’s environment.
Our team uses Boomtown for individual websites, and the overall goal is to make sure that the backend is set up to ensure that the agent looks good from the front end.
Ensure that you have an updated headshot and a professional bio. Verify that your social media accounts are linked so people can access them easily and that your contact information is readily accessible.
Make things simple for your audience so they don’t have to work hard to find you on different platforms, and make sure that your IDX feed is active so people can search properties from your website.
Finally, make sure your testimonials are visible on the first page because they provide credibility as people learn more about you. We’re in the business of getting people to know, like, and trust us; testimonials are a great start.
Agents often ask me whether they should have a personal page or a business page, and my answer is: You need both. The best agents, in my opinion, blend the two so that there’s a natural overlap.
Add your brokerage as your workplace, your company website, and update your headshot on your personal page. Fill in all the questions about your education, where you grew up, schools you attended and places you’ve worked.
These are additional ways for people to find common connections. Know, too, that it’s OK to share your business page information on your personal page, but don’t let the professional dominate the personal.
For the Facebook business page, update your headshot and include all relevant contact information. Include a cover photo and company branding and a personal bio in your “about” section.
Fill out every blank that Facebook provides for your profile because that information will help you drive more organic traffic to your page. You can share testimonial graphics here as well as blog posts from your website, and you should invite your friends and family to follow this page.
For your Instagram profile, begin with a creator account instead of a personal account, which will allow you to select an industry and access insights related to the content on your page. The creator account also gives you access to music and additional editing options.
Your bio page is a snapshot resume, and people make very quick decisions on whether they decide to follow you or not. An updated headshot is a must. Clean, professional photos with a smiling face are always helpful. The bio portion needs to highlight who you are and why people should follow you.
Examples would be:
- [Your city] Realtor
- Specializing in helping [whoever you help]
- Accolades [top agent or hundreds of families helped]
- Follow for tips on [whatever you cover]
Instagram only allows one link, but most agents have a website along with a desire to connect with their followers on other platforms. The best solution is Linktr.ee.
Linktree gives you the ability to connect your audience to all of your content in one place. You can have links to your website, your other social media platforms, your YouTube channel, your most recent video or article or your website page going over why someone should list their home with you.
Linktree keeps your bio clean and gives followers that are interested a way to learn more about you.
Your content should be a mix of business and personal posts, stories and reels. Each of these types of content is important for different reasons.
Posts stay on your content page. These are the parts of your content people will see when they first check out your page. This content should be a mix of photos, videos and quotes. Think of posts as a broad idea of what people can expect if they follow you.
Stories are short video clips (15 seconds or less) or photos. Stories expire after 24 hours, making them more personalized. These are great for letting people be a part of your day, sharing stories about your day, or documenting the things you see or do during the day. Stories help personalize you to your followers and deepen relationships.
Reels are currently the best way to grow your audience. They are short-form videos of one minute or less. These are a great way to entertain and educate your ideal follower. Utilizing hashtags will help you broaden your reach and have new followers discover your profile.
Instagram offers multiple ways to grow your audience and deepen existing relationships. Optimizing your profile and providing a consistent mix of personal and professional content will go a long way in helping your business grow.
If you want to go deeper on how to grow your business on Instagram, check out this article on how an agent in North Carolina closed more than $10 million in sales directly from Instagram.
Think of LinkedIn as another professional Facebook and start by emulating what you’re doing there. Update your headshot, and add your brokerage as your workplace, and add a bio that explains your focus and experience to increase your credibility. Finally, add a branded cover photo to your profile.
LinkedIn is a great place to connect with other agents and your professional clients. LinkedIn shifted to a more content-driven site over the past few years, creating an opportunity for agents who post consistent content to build an audience.
You can also build your network by sending connection requests to fellow agents in other markets (ideal for staying top-of-mind for referrals) and coworkers as well as potential customers. You can be really specific in your searches on LinkedIn so you can connect with your ideal clients.
Articles, blog posts, videos and visual content work very well to draw organic traffic. Your content will perform better if it doesn’t draw the user away from the platform, so a direct upload to LinkedIn will work better than a link to a YouTube video or blog post on your website.
Due to LinkedIn being a more professional platform, your brief bio and professional presentation are very helpful in reaching your target audience.
Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business)
When someone wants to learn more about you, they typically begin with a Google search, and Google Business Profile allows you to frame the information people will find there. In fact, if you’re only going to do one thing on this list, start by optimizing your Google Business Profile.
Include your name, brokerage, website and contact information, which you’ll need to verify for Google as an essential step in the process. Include hours of operation, reviews, photos, written content and anything else that helps your audience know, like and trust you.
Your Google Business Profile will be one of the first places people either find you or where they go to check you out. Make sure you include photos, testimonials and content about the areas you serve. Google My Business is crucial now, but I believe a fully optimized page will be even more valuable in the future. Get ahead of the curve, and optimize yours today.
If you don’t currently have one, you can check out this article that goes over the step-by-step process of setting your Google Business Profile up for success.
Here’s a short list of what we just discussed:
- Update your headshot and bio.
- Make sure your social media links are good.
- Check that your IDX feed is active.
- Make your testimonials visible on the page.
Facebook personal page
- Add your brokerage as your workplace.
- Add your company website.
- Update your headshot.
- Answer all questions.
Facebook business page
- Update headshot.
- Include relevant contact information.
- Add cover photo.
- Add personal bio and company branding to your “about” section.
- Fill out all the blanks.
- Share testimonials.
- Invite friends and family to follow.
- Start with a creator account.
- Update headshot.
- Fill out the bio.
- Use Linktree to include all relevant links.
- Create business and personal posts, stories and reels.
- Use hashtags.
- Update headshot.
- Add brokerage as workplace.
- Add bio.
- Add a branded cover photo.
Google Business Profile
- Contact info
- Hours of operation
- Written content
- Anything else that builds trust
If you want to grow your business, optimizing opportunities helps you make a great first impression. Your digital footprint helps people know that they can trust you in their homebuying or selling process. Take action today, and reap the rewards for years to come.
Watch the full video above, and you’ll learn different real estate digital marketing systems and plans of action, including:
- Optimizing your real estate website
- How to set up your real estate website for lead generation
- Optimizing your Facebook personal page
- Setting up your Facebook business page for success
- Setting up your Instagram page for success
- Should I have a Facebook personal page or business page as a Realtor?
- Should I have a personal page, business page, or creator page on Instagram?
- Proper LinkedIn set up for real estate agents
- What type of content Realtors should be posting on Facebook
- What type of content Realtors should be posting on Instagram
- What type of content Realtors should be posting on LinkedIn
- How to optimize Testimonial Tree
- How to set up Testimonial Tree
- Google Business Profile for real estate agents
- How to set up Google Business Profile for Realtors
- What Realtors should be posting on Google Business Profile