Whether you work in a franchise model with true-and-tried marketing templates, or you’re an individual agent, you’ll know by now that virtually no-one will touch you prior to ‘checking you out’ online. And online may also be expressed as two-line, as you present your business offering on your agency website and then again on social media. So, as the digital space is now just as essential in real estate as bricks and mortar, it is essential for property professionals to get their online presentation pumping!
Over the past few years, more agents are implementing sub-pages on their agency website. This is where site visitors can click thru to more detailed information about you, and access more detailed information about a recent sale, how you overcame any obstacles, as well as the process it took to deliver a fantastic result — photos included.
Then there’s social media. With a plethora of options to choose from, you’ll first need to work out which choice of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc will work for you and your area. However, be careful in wasting your online time… for example, Snapchat and Tumblr are growing in popularity, but these platforms are aimed at kids and they aren’t the ones signing property agreements.
Although pilloried in many areas, Facebook is still the main player in town.
You’ve got mail
Just like building a house, make sure you operate from a solid base by looking at your ‘farm area’ as if you were a customer. To stand out, you should at least consider a different look than your competitors. Start with noting what your competitors are doing. Are their digital touchpoints all the same? If you were looking for their services, what impressed you the most? Then, improve it.
If they’re talking about local issues, events or activities, what areas are they all missing? If agents are primarily involved with local junior rugby league, AFL and soccer, then it’s time you became a fanatic about netball. Zig when others zag, so to speak.
Make your posts yummy
Get noticed in the ‘digital noise’ that clutters social platforms — especially Facebook — by offering the good stuff. Curate recipes, interesting community stories, local history and even share your experiences at local cafes as well as restaurants (even recommend a dish you enjoyed), and post a shot of the meal.
One of the world’s best known social media practitioners, Garry Vaynerchuk, shared great advice in his book: Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. In it, he advised that no one really wants to look at ads, however, if you lure readers in with interesting content (jabing), after building readers’ interest with the good stuff, you can then WHAM them with a good strong piece about yourself (right hook).
With this constant ‘good stuff’ jabbing, occasioned with a promo about yourself, you’ll maintain (and possibly grow) your audience while delivering information about yourself.
Feed the beast
Usually, an agency (or franchise head office) marketing department creates a fresh blog article, market update video or a social media post and sends it off on a Monday morning. Sometimes they may be bragging points about a great auction result from the previous Saturday, or even a teaser piece about a new listing. Whatever the content, the agency ‘poster’ usually moves on to the next posting. Hardly any time, if at all, is spent on promoting that latest blog article, market update video or social media post.
With the demands of the social-media-gobbling-monster, agents and agencies who are creating content online are creating lots of it to be active in the marketplace, however they’re investing very little time promoting it.
So, here’s an important factor to consider… when it comes to digital marketing and earning attention online, it’s not necessarily the best agent/agency that wins. It’s the best promoted agent/agency that wins. For some, actually creating less content but promoting it more effectively returns a far superior result.
A helpful way to spread your content is to join Facebook or Linkedin groups. However, you’ll need to ‘tweak’ posts to make them relevant to each particular group. Meaning, if you are in a local Thai Cooking group make sure your content includes a reference to a recent Thai restaurant visit; or remarks on a visiting International player if posting on a local soccer group site — you get the picture.
In time, where ever you go, you’ll get used to taking ‘happy snaps’ to post on any of your group connections.
Go shopping for a profile
Another brilliant way to differentiate yourself is to define your involvement in a niche market. The best way to do this is through the communities you are active in. Establishing yourself as the go-to expert in one particular suburb/town is a huge deal and a major differentiator.
As a ‘for instance’, imagine if you posted every garage sale in your area? And, as they are usually on Saturdays when you’re driving between auctions and private inspections, why not pop in and review them online that night? Sure, unless these sales extend to the following Sunday, it’s spilt milk, however readers will enjoy your opinion and maybe match it with theirs’ if they also managed a visit.
Plus, as it’s quite common at garage sales to enjoy grabbing a $50 item for $5, why not pick up a few interesting items and offer them for free online (like a toy for a single mum, or those that may appreciate the uniqueness of the item). People will definitely notice this good will, and it’s another way to build a raving social media fan base — and remember to post a social media photo of the hand over. If the recipient is a bit publicity shy, think outside the square by attaching a sticker on the toy (or teddy?) saying: ‘I’m off to my new home’.
Do I also need to remind you that garage sales are the main way for prospective sellers to declutter? And wearing a suit (or professional lady’s attire), will definitely stand you out.
They said what?
Your online presence must also include testimonials from happy clients — as many as possible — as the power of word-of-mouth is paramount in real estate. And if you can also get your testimonial providers to mention other people (obviously with their permission), you can tag (notify) these people to you posting as well, thereby encouraging likes (and your growing digital profile).
If you’re starting to get bamboozled with all these to-dos, Look up services such as Placester, starting at around $200 per month, they can build your website with a quick setup, and provide lead capture and mobile-ready designs. If it’s too pricey, cut and paste some of that site’s keywords into google and look for more economical/local options.
Even better, quite often there are social media rockstars taking a maternity break. Perhaps you should consider advertising (in your local Facebook community group, of course) for help?
Your daily routine should include:
- Find interesting posts and comment on them. That way your branded thumbnail and comments will progress to other connections on their ‘wall’
- Post several times a week (if not daily) to keep regular activity on your site
- Tag people on your posted photos so your post will arrive on their facebook wall
- Make sure you never post photos of children (unless you have parental approval)
- And, whatever you do, never post without proofreading the content first.
Finally, there’s no history of a real estate agent becoming a social media rock star overnight… it all takes time. So realise you can’t eat a digital elephant straight away. However, if you are consistent and bite away one day at a time… you sure will.