Best Social Media Practices for the Real Estate Industry
Real estate agencies and independent agents use social media to boost their professional reputations and connect more directly with clients and prospects. A challenge of engaging in social media marketing is that it is a constant and dynamic process that takes time and resources to properly manage. Social media is very different from placing an ad on a website that runs only for a specific period of time. Social media marketing is ongoing, and your presence in social networks requires daily attention and activity to be fruitful. That said, you could supplement your social media marketing activities with well-placed ads in social networks.
If you’re in real estate, you know that your success is based on relationships as you meet and guide people toward major purchases and often life-changing decisions. Social media is also about relationship building and the conversations you have with the people in your networks. You can both manage your existing relationships and establish new ones through social networks and provide ways for people to get to know you better to build trust.
With the wide adoption of social media, you’re probably finding that it isn’t enough to publish property listings anymore. Social media marketing requires an ongoing commitment to create real value for consumers beyond a commercial, an ad and making a sale. Use social media to showcase your expertise, establish your credibility and provide content and resources. By actively strengthening your relationships online, you exponentially increase your chances of receiving warm leads and direct referrals from your followers.
To get the most out of social media marketing and avoid some common pitfalls, consider the following:
- Put your best digital foot forward. Start by publishing a photograph of yourself wherever you set up a social media account that appropriately conveys the image you want to project. If you use a professional headshot, make sure it properly conveys your personality, be it friendly, sophisticated or down-to-earth. Don't underestimate the power of a good profile photo when it comes to making a positive first impression.
- Watch your behavior. What you do online is available to many and accessible forever. Even if you are posting to social networks for personal use, consider everything you put online as public even if it is supposed to be private. Before you click to post or publish, consider your professional reputation.
- Engage authentically. Be yourself when engaging in social media marketing. You want to attract potential clients who are a match for you to have a better chance of connecting and closing a sale. When you post status updates on social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, publish content that genuinely reflects your expertise as well as your interests.
- Monitor and listen. Use relevant keywords and terms to conduct searches with social media tools like the search function on Twitter or even Google to identify online conversations taking place where you can participate. Whether searching for "Manhattan apartment" or “relocating” or "house hunting," people are talking about topics related to what you do, and you could be a resource for them.
- Engage appropriately. When you find other people in social networks who are posting publicly about their real estate needs or experiences, be careful about how approach and interact with them. Make sure the contact is relevant, and approach them in a respectful and polite manner as you would offline. Give advice without suggesting someone contact you immediately to do business. Building a relationship online takes time. A quick sales pitch can be a turnoff.
- Respond promptly. If someone reaches out to you through social media, make sure you are paying attention and responding in a timely manner, even if just to say you've received their message and will get back to them shortly. People want - and even expect - to be hear back quickly in social networks and the businesses that are ready to respond can make a positive impression.
Just setting up a LinkedIn profile, a Twitter account or a Facebook Page isn’t enough. Be prepared to participate in those networks on a regular basis to build a following and to engage in dialogue with others.