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Tiffany Pantozzi barely skipped a beat. Well, that’s what her tens of thousands of followers and clients saw.
The founder of Align Real Estate is among the top agents in Central Florida, a cluster of markets that have seen a flurry of activity fueled by in-migration after the start of the COVID housing market.
When she was first expecting her baby girl last year, she decided to be strategic in how she presented herself publicly via her social media platforms, where she’s garnered tens of thousands of followers.
“I actually hid my pregnancy up until about eight months,” said Pantozzi, who gave birth to daughter Stella late last year. “I didn’t tell anybody I was pregnant.”
She had heard of other women in real estate losing opportunities simply because they decided to become parents, and she knew she could handle running her team, managing her client base and succeeding in a red-hot real estate market.
“I hid that because I didn’t want anybody to discount my ability to perform being a new pregnant mom,” she said.
What she presented publicly was just one of countless strategic decisions Pantozzi and her team make when executing a marketing plan and generating tens of hundreds of thousands of views across social media channels.
Those views aren’t just for attention, either.
“I’ve sold millions of dollars of real estate because of my videos,” Pantozzi said. “Google owns YouTube. Where do people mostly start their search? On Google. And you potentially have the chance of coming up.”
Pantozzi will be a panelist at Inman Connect Las Vegas next month. She spoke with Inman about building her business, her marketing strategy and working as a new mother in real estate.
The following interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Inman: What was that process like deciding to keep the fact that you were going to be a new mom hidden from your clients until the final months of your pregnancy?
Pantozzi: Pregnancy is scary. You hear a lot of scary stories. And I didn’t want to share prematurely. But on top of that, I’ve heard personally stories where women didn’t get certain opportunities because of them being a mother or being pregnant, and I didn’t want to risk that for my business. It doesn’t feel good to have to do that, to have to not share.
I have a friend who specifically went into a listing appointment pregnant and was interviewed by another woman. And when she did — and she’s a rock star, OK? — and when she didn’t get the deal and she asked why, the woman said, ‘Oh, you’re pregnant. You’re going to have your hands full.’
My intent wasn’t to focus on this, but it really seems important to shine a light on it. It seems really important and unfair to women in real estate.
There’s a lot of hard working moms out there. Right? And it sucks that you have to, you know, maybe not feel comfortable sharing because you have to protect your business.
You’re a marketing expert. Social media and videos are on point. What was your strategy once you told your followers you were having a baby and then eventually did have Stella?
I announced it about a month before I was due. And then when I had the baby, I did take three months off where I had my team managing things.
Even through those three months where I was not outside in the market and going to meetings, I was still strategically posting things to show that I was working my business. You would see tons of posts. Nobody knows I skipped a beat because I was posting information. I had all this content lined up. So it wasn’t like I fell off the face of the earth. And I sprinkled little bits of my baby in there.
Everybody has their own priorities. I don’t care how bad they feel for you or what could have happened in your life. Their focus is the sale of their house or the purchase of their new one, and that’s their priority. They’re going to have sensitivity to you, but only so much. So you have to really be careful with what you share, because perception is reality in today’s society with social media.
I was going through your YouTube, your Instagram, your different social channels and took note of lots of different things. Including videos that seemingly don’t have anything to do with selling a house. Can you talk a bit about your strategy?
You have to think of yourself as the local media company. People love free information. They love to learn for free.
You’re educating your viewers. You’re in the know. You know the developments that are coming to the market, the things that are happening in your neighborhood, the market stats. You have to be the one that is sharing that information so people start to build trust in you.
The strategy really is about building out an arsenal of really great videos that show you in your market and they’re videos that can work for you while you sleep.
What would you tell agents who might not be leaning into social media or videos or online marketing? Maybe they think their following is too small or that it doesn’t matter.
For anybody to have the excuse of like, ‘Oh, I’m not a social media person or I’m not good on social or I have a small following.’ It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t hinder your ability to market a property through those channels. You can have five subscribers on YouTube, but you can have a video that gets 15,000 views because you marketed it right and you ran ads on it.
I know that I am able to maximize the exposure I get for my clients because I’m doing all the old school aspects of marketing and the boots on the ground stuff like the door-knocking and the local mailers. But I’m also doing social media, too, where my Instagram, my YouTube, TikToks, whatever it takes is getting seen by hundreds of thousands potentially across the world.
If you don’t have a following, it doesn’t mean you can’t be effective at marketing a property through social media. That’s never going to be a good excuse because there’s many ways to leverage those channels to give your property exposure without having a following.