Best Social Media Applications for the Real Estate Industry
Real estate agents have an advantage over many other professionals in terms of how they can leverage social media to grow their businesses. They are in the business of selling themselves and building their personal brands on a daily basis in order to gain trust and establish connections that lead to real estate deals. Social media marketing seems tailor made for the real estate industry.
Social media marketing tools offer savvy real estate agents platforms to showcase their know-how, not just their listings. Setting up presences on popular social networks can exponentially expand your reach. If you work within a larger agency, you should go through proper corporate channels and follow internal guidelines as you set up your social media accounts.
Real estate agents have the opportunity to take advantage of more than just LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, although all three of these popular social networks are effective marketing tools if used consistently and correctly. Even if you use social networks, don't toss out your email list. Email is still the top way to directly communicate with clients and prospects. Remind people in your social networks to sign up for your emails so you tap into the best of both marketing tools.
LinkedIn and Google+
LinkedIn is the perfect place to showcase your resume and network with other professionals in a business-focused setting. For industry networking, join some relevant LinkedIn Groups such as the National Association of Realtors Group. If you own your own business, set up a Company Page on LinkedIn for free, similar to Facebook Pages. You can also set up a Google+ My Business Page that integrates into Google local search and listings.
A Facebook Page can be a useful tool for outreach through connections you may already have through your own personal Facebook profile. While your personal profile on Facebook may feel much more intimate and less sales-oriented for the type of networking that you do, Facebook has rules in place to discourage using personal profiles for commercial gain so be careful. Share what you post to your Page to your personal profile instead including photos, presentations, videos and news and information about your business.
YouTube, Flickr, Instagram and Pinterest
Other channels where real estate agents can shine are image and video sharing sites such as YouTube, Flickr, Instagram and Pinterest. While YouTube is primarily focused on video, you can also create and upload video presentations of images. Flickr, Instagram and Pinterest are visual social networks that accommodate both images and video (Flickr has a small annual fee for video hosting). You can produce images and videos right from your smartphone on location, and then integrate these visuals into your website, blog and other popular social networks.
While uploading video tours of properties is an obvious tactic, think about how you can showcase your own expertise in videos as well. Start with a video bio then think about other video content you can produce that showcases what you know such as tips for buying a home or commercial property.
Social Media Dashboards
Tools that help you manage one or more social media presences are called social media dashboards and each offers a variety of features and can integrate with a number of social networks. Some of the more popular dashboards are Hootsuite, SproutSocial, and MarketMeSuite. Buffer is another useful tool that helps you schedule posts to multiple social networks. All of them offer tracking so you can assess the effectiveness of your social media efforts.
Yelp and Foursquare
Another way to provide information about properties or advice about neighborhoods is to leave helpful tips on location-based social networks such as Yelp and Foursquare for others to discover. On Yelp, you can also set up a business page for your company. On Foursquare, if you have an office with a physical location, you can claim your place of business as well. Both tools give you client insights including their reviews so you can provide direct customer service.
Niche Social Networks
Showcase your expertise on niche networks used by potential clients such as Zillow Advice or Trulia Voices. Many real estate professionals also set up a profile on industry-specific social networks like ActiveRain.
Some real estate agents and agencies use of QR codes, the 2-dimensional digital images similar to bar codes. Anyone can scan these codes with a QR code reader app on their smartphone. QR codes can lead to your website, photos and videos, your bio on a social network, specific real estate listings and even cue up your phone number on their phone. Place them strategically on signs, posters, flyers, and mailers.
Make sure the social media marketing tools you use help you reach your target audience and enhance your communications efforts overall.