According to online marketing guru Rich Gorman, the state of marketing has changed considerably for members of the real estate profession. There was a time when the best way for an agent to advertise his or her services and listings was to take out space in the catalogs and flyers that consumers see distributed outside supermarkets—or perhaps even to get placement in the local Yellow Pages. While some behind-the-times agents continue to prioritize these methodologies, the reality is that, in today’s world, the best and really the only way for realtors to effectively engage consumers is via social media marketing.
This is not necessarily to say that there is a one-size-fits all social marketing plan that all realtors can implement. According to Rich Gorman, some agents will benefit from Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Pinterest; others will add YouTube and Instagram to the mix, while others may scale it back considerably, perhaps just focusing on Facebook and Twitter.
The Point of Social Marketing
What really matters, first of all, is that real estate agents understand what social marketing is all about. The point of it is not to become overly promotional or salesy, at least not all the time—because of course, most users do not log into Facebook or Twitter just because they want to view ads! No, using social media is about establishing authority and trust. It’s about showing your clients and potential clients that you know what you are talking about, that you are here to help, and that you ultimately care about helping people get into homes that meet all of their needs—homes they can afford.
There are some other benefits of social marketing activity, as well. Indeed, through social marketing endeavors, you can ultimately boost your clout in the Google and Bing search results—because at the end of the day, the search engines want to promote content that is valuable and that is shared a lot, meaning social media activity is essential. Above all, though, realtors are encouraged to consider social marketing for the simple yet profound reason that it empowers them to engage their clients and consumers in a way that engenders goodwill and trust.
Rich Gorman: Social Marketing Informs and Educates
That’s all well and good, and many realtors will likely offer their agreement to the notion that, theoretically, social marketing can help. The question is, how can realtors actually come up with compelling and effective social media activity, on a consistent basis?
One of the best approaches to take is to focus on informing and educating. Naturally, there are many questions that homebuyers have, especially those who are buying a home for the first time. Offering tips about how to get pre-approved for a loan, what kind of questions to ask about a mortgage, how to interact with a home inspector, what to look for in a home—all of these topics are fertile ones for agents who wish to craft content that helps, informs, and engages.
Introduce the Area
Another point to remember, when devising content, is that realtors often sell homes to those who are brand new to the area, or who are about to move to the area for the first time. For those who may be on-the-fence about a move, your social marketing content can make all the difference. Highlight local attractions, or even summarize some of the most attractive local communities and developments. Shed some light on the area in which you live and work—focusing on upcoming events—and make it all the more enticing for someone to call you about relocating!
According to Rich Gorman, real estate agents constantly get questions, about all manner of topics—so why not turn some of those questions into social media opportunities? If you have five people ask you about how they can find energy efficient homes, that may be a good thing to blog about, or to address on Facebook. You can even open up Twitter or Facebook to accept questions from your followers.
Remember that not all of the content you provide on social media sites has to come directly from your brain. According to Rich Gorman, curating content can often be quite effective. For example, we spoke earlier about the importance of sharing tips regarding the mortgage process. If you come across a news story or blog that speaks, positively and helpfully, about the mortgage process, share it with your followers and fans!
Likewise, continues Rich Gorman, take a moment to share positive articles about the housing market. Don’t make them too technical, but do make it clear to people that now is a good time to buy a house!
Promote Your Listings
Of course, as important as it is to focus your social marketing strategies on providing helpful, informative, non-promotional content, it is equally important that realtors sometimes pause to highlight some of their most attractive and appealing listings. This should not be an all-the-time or everyday thing, but it can certainly be a regular part of your social marketing campaigns—and the good news is, social media sites offer plenty of ways to make your listings shine. Putting up some photos on Pinterest or Instagram or even Facebook can help you capture the visual appeal of your most attractive homes, notes Rich Gorman.
Don’t Forget Sellers
Finally, for all of this talk about appealing to buyers, it is important that realtors not neglect those who wish to sell. Sellers, too, have plenty of questions and concerns, and your social media sites or blog accounts represent excellent tools to use as you seek to educate and inform. Prove to sellers that you are on their side, and that your expertise can help them get the best possible value, in the shortest possible time, for their home.
The bottom line for realtors is that social media sites are no longer matters of luxury. According to Rich Gorman, they are pivotal tools, and no agent can afford to neglect them. By following these tips from Rich Gorman, agents can start down the road to a truly robust social marketing campaign.