This guest post was written by Katie Rohanna, ZipRealty’s digital marketing manager. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Generating local love — and real business results — from social media is within your reach! Get started with this four-step plan:
1. Shut down your Facebook business page
Facebook business pages were once a great marketing tool for small businesses like real estate agents because it was a free way to reach closed and prospective clients. When you post something to your business page today, though, Facebook uses a complex algorithm to decide which of your fans will actually see your posts in their news feeds. In December 2013, Facebook made changes to that algorithm that is increasingly resulting in fewer of your business page fans seeing your posts in the Facebook news feed. The solution? According to an AdAge report, Facebook recommends paying for ads to get your content seen.
I recommend considering a different approach. If you have fewer than 100 fans — or rarely receive likes/comments/shares of your Facebook posts, regardless of your fan count — consider retiring your page to focus on activities that may drive higher returns for a shorter time (and financial) investment.
2. Take control of your Yelp profile
More than 100 million people use Yelp every month to find local businesses and service providers, according to a February 2013 report published on The NextWeb. Did you know anyone can start a page for you? That’s right, a very happy (or dissatisfied) customer might have started a business page for you — and without claiming the page, you have no control over how your business is presented.
That’s not the only reason to get on Yelp, though. At ZipRealty we believe it’s also one of the best free marketing opportunities around. Most social media sites are focused on connecting people with family and friends; Yelp aims to help people find local businesses, which can mean more brand-new clients for you! According to a 2013 Nielsen study, 82 percent of Yelp users visit the site because they intend to buy a product or service and are trying to inform their decision.
Claiming (or creating) your Yelp local business page can be one of the easiest, most cost-effective ways to make a great impression on consumers actively looking for a real estate agent, and is a must-do for anyone who wants to directly generate leads from social media.
3. Optimize your personal presence on Facebook
Facebook celebrated its 10th birthday earlier this year and it certainly has reason to cheer — 1.23 BILLON people use the social platform every month to connect with family and friends, according to a January New York Times report. Be sure that your sphere and their connections consider you for their real estate team by updating the work history on your personal Facebook profile. When someone searches for things like “real estate agent” or “Realtor” on Facebook, the first people they’ll see are those with mutual friends! These connections are valuable; 42 percent of homebuyers and 39 percent of sellers find their agent through family or friends, according to the National Association of Realtors’ 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.
Optimizing your personal Facebook profile is an easy way for every agent to expose their connections to potential homebuyers and sellers. For those looking to take it up a notch this year, make it a goal to expand your network on Facebook. That new “friend” could become your next closed client!
4. Post about real estate once a week on your favorite social network
Subtly remind your personal network that you’re in the biz by posting about real estate once a week. Facebook is the preferred social network for homebuyers and sellers using ZipRealty.com, according to a recent survey we conducted, but you should focus your efforts wherever you like to engage with your sphere.
Not sure what to post? Start by sharing your success! Friends and family love to cheer each other on, so spread the news when you close a big deal or get that great-looking listing. You can also show off your local knowledge by posting about new businesses or exciting events in town.
Occasionally sharing real estate-related information with your personal connections is a great way to stay top of mind and demonstrate that you’re a professional who’s in the know. You can’t win their business if they don’t remember that you’re an agent! Just be sure to avoid direct requests for business. Posting a useful homebuying article or fun photo of the home sale you just closed is a better way to share your professional side and generate future referrals.