As a new real estate agent, you face fierce competition in the industry. The key to success lies in establishing a strong personal brand that sets you apart from the crowd. In today’s digital age, personal branding is more important than ever. A solid personal brand can help you establish your reputation, connect with potential clients and ultimately increase your sales.
One expert in the field whose name is synonymous with personal branding to build a successful career in real estate is Stacey Ross Cohen. In her recent book, Brand Up: The Ultimate Playbook for College & Career Success in the Digital World, she outlines “Brandamentals” which are universal principles to help stand out and land on the top of a decision-maker’s list.
The insights provided in Brand Up are geared toward younger readers who are thinking ahead to the college application process and the launch of their after-graduation careers. As Gen-Z becomes a force in the industry, it reinforces the truth that it’s never too early to think about how you’re presenting yourself, especially online and on social media.
Whether you’re a younger agent just starting out or a career switcher who’s never had to think about your personal brand before, you’ll learn a lot from Cohen’s approach. Here are a few of her favorite, actionable strategies for creating a brand that helps you do more deals.
1. Audit your online presence
Search your name online and take note of how you show up. Remember, Google is the new resume, making it essential to present a professional and polished image online.
The first step toward conducting a self-audit is to identify your purpose, strengths, values and passion. Some real estate professionals differentiate themselves through their achievements (e.g., deal volume), while others boast added value (e.g., JD, MBA, mortgage industry background, staging certificate).
To get started, pinpoint phrases that best describe your expertise: Condo expert, data guru, historic landmark authority, luxury specialist, interior decorator or Green specialist. Also, identify words that best describe your personality: Driven, persistent, honest. And to gain a 360-degree view, it’s equally important to understand how business colleagues and friends perceive you.
2. Know your audience and competition
Define your target audience and arm yourself with intelligence about what drives them to take action. First, determine who you’re talking to; consider age, gender, personality and profession.
Then, identify your client’s pain points: How can you solve their needs better than your competitors? What is their preferred channel of communication? Answering each of these questions thoroughly is imperative.
In order to stand out, you need to gather intelligence on who you’re up against. Then, be better than them. One key question to answer in this process: What niches are not being exploited within your local market?
3. Crystallize your UVP and why someone should choose you
Once you figure out your audience and competition, you’re ready to put your stake in the ground. Your brand should tell a story about who you are, what you do and why you do it. This narrative should be authentic, engaging, and resonate with potential clients.
What sets you apart from other real estate agents? Define your unique value proposition (UVP) and use it to differentiate you from the competition. By investing the time to develop a compelling personal narrative that communicates your value, you can establish a solid personal brand that stands out in a crowded market and resonates with your target audience.
4. Relevancy rules: Develop platform-appropriate content
To captivate your audience, it’s crucial to develop content that is not only good but remarkable. Your content should extend beyond mere words; incorporate visually striking elements to entice your readers.
Before publishing your content, pause and ensure that it is relevant and relatable to your intended audience. Consider what’s in it for them and adjust accordingly. Whether you’re crafting articles, blog posts or videos, ensure that the content is shareable, engaging and actionable. Appropriate humor can further drive interaction and an attention-grabbing headline can make all the difference.
5. Maintain a consistent drumbeat and amplify your brand message
Share positive client testimonials, success stories, and curated or self-published content on various channels, including blogs, social media, print collateral and email blasts. It’s essential to showcase not only current listings but also properties you’ve successfully closed.
Aim to post once a day, five days a week, and focus on one social media platform if time is limited. Ensure that your online profiles, including Instagram and Facebook, are up-to-date and harmonious. A cohesive look and feel across all marketing materials, including your website, business cards, and social media profiles is critical.
Consider every touchpoint, such as email, voicemail and Zoom calls, and utilize your email signature line to reinforce your brand with a photo, tagline, and recent awards. Lastly, make sure you adhere to your brokerage’s brand standards and policies.
6. It’s all about relationships
Your relationships are your pot of gold. Purchasers and sellers often make decisions based on their relationship with the individual Realtor, not the business entity. Invest in networking and build strong relationships with clients, colleagues and other industry professionals. Actively put yourself out there and join committees and organizations (both professional and community). Give before you get, and say “thank you” often.
Building a personal brand takes time and effort, but the rewards are well worth it. By consistently applying these “Brandamentals” and persistently working to build your brand, you can establish yourself as a leader in the real estate industry and achieve the success you deserve.
Here’s to perfecting your brand. And remember: It requires routine maintenance and monitoring to ensure your message is heard loud and clear.
Christy Murdock is a freelance writer, coach and consultant and the owner of Writing Real Estate. Connect with Writing Real Estate on Instagram and subscribe to the weekly roundup, The Ketchup.