Facebook. Twitter. YouTube. You use these sites all the time to keep in touch with friends and family, to see the latest viral video, and share your vacation pictures with the world, but why would a real estate professional like you spend time on these sites for work?
The point, as it turns out, is that social media marketing is revolutionizing the way REALTORS® list properties, interact with clients, and market their services.
We already know the home buying audience is online. Data from the2009 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellerstells us that:
90% of homebuyers used the Internet as an information source.
77% of Internet homebuyers drove by or viewed a home they saw online.
36% of buyers first found their home on the Internet.
With Facebook rapidly approaching a billion users, YouTube streaming over two billion daily video views, and Twitter users sending an average of 140 million tweets per day, it’s safe to say that a small fraction of those social media interactions are probably Real Estate related. That could be anything from a video tour of a home to a tweet about an Open House.
So you see, a small fraction of a billion is still a lot and it’s only getting larger. This is why savvy real estate professionals are hopping on the social media bandwagon and integrating social features into their businesses.
So where to begin? Here are three easy steps to get you started.
1) Getting Educated:
Learn the rules for success– While all social media platforms are different and require a slightly different execution they still require a consistent branding message. If you’re new to the field of social media marketing, you need to learn some basic rules for success. A great place to start is with NAR’s Social Media for Realtors®: 101 Dos and Don’ts.
Pick a platform that appeals to your strengths and your audience–Every social media platform is different. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to master every platform since there are literally hundreds in the market. You need to figure out what makes you and your audience unique and find the platform that matches your needs.
Master one platform then move on– in social media you need to take baby steps. A big mistake a lot of novices make is to dive right into the deep end of the social media swimming pool before learning how to swim. For others it’s the opposite – they may be successful in Facebook, but completely ignore the huge possibilities presented through Twitter or LinkedIn. Expand your horizons if you want to expand your voice.
2) Social Media is a New Way to Market
Incorporate Social into your everyday process. It’s time to break out of the old-school mindset that if you’re active in Facebook or Twitter then you’re not working. This hasn’t been the case for years now. For example, did you know you can search for people asking real estate questions on Twitter? Who better to answer these questions than you – a true real estate professional! If you’re the leader of a real estate group or organization, you may want to set some guidelines to keep things on track.Here’s a helpful resource from NAR to get you started.
Add your social media profile information to business cards, email signatures, and literature(i.e. Twitter username, Facebook, and LinkedIn profile urls) – Everyone is different in terms of how they wish to communicate these days. Ideally, you want to make it as easy as possible for your new leads to contact you. Having all of your social media sites listed clearly on your business card or email signature not only accomplishes this goal, but it establishes you as a real estate professional of the 21stcentury.
Be a resource for people looking for buyers and sellers– Treat the people you meet and connect with online just like you would a referral from a friend or colleague. The format of communication might feel a little different, but your expertise in real estate hasn’t changed a bit. Make it your goal to be a real estate leader in the digital world as well as the physical world.
3) Stay Consistent
Set a schedule that you can keep up with– You’ll be surprised how quickly a regiment of just 10 minutes a day on Twitter or Facebook can start growing the size of your audience. When embarking on a new exercise plan, a personal trainer will tell you consistency is the key. Think of it like building your social media muscles. The more you do it, the stronger you’ll get.
Be careful about setting up a blog unless you are willing to write at least one post per week–Nothing’s worse than when a user navigating to your blog sees your last post was made in 2009. If you can’t commit yourself to writing at least one post a week then reconsider using a blog. Your schedule might be more suitable for Facebook or Twitter.
Pick a platform that fits with your day-to-day schedule. The most successful way to approach social media marketing is to infuse your efforts with your current professional life. For many, Twitter is great because it can be easily accessed by smartphones on the road. Use the tools and routine you already possess as a way to push your social media messages.
The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® makes it easy by bringing the technology to you. Let us sift through the good and the bad so that you only have to hear what is relevant to you as a real estate professional. To learn more about the benefits and basics of social media in real estate marketing,visit the NAR Field Guide to Social Networking.