Saturday, August 27, 2011
Social media. It's everywhere. Sometimes I feel it's taking over the world. It’s no secret that in order to gain a competitive edge in Real Estate, or to simply keep up with the rest of the pack, agents must utilize social media. For realtors, Facebook in particular is arguably the best social media platform to use as a resource for self-branding, marketing all aspects of the business, gaining clientele and encouraging an increased referral rate. Like savvy prospective owners researching ways to capitalize on the current housing market, realtors must take that same approach with Facebook. Creating a Facebook landing tab for your Page, having consistent Page activity and networking with clients via the social network are all well-known and yes, very effective Facebook tips– but they only scratch the surface. Being good with social media is one thing, but learning to be savvy, smart and differentiated is another. I’ve put together some tips I have learned through my adventures with Facebook that I hope can help you stand out from the pack! Here's how I turned Facebook into the "Carubook"...
1. Have good photos and detailed captions: People love good visuals, this cannot be stressed enough. If the photos posted on a realtor’s Facebook Page are not appealing, the house they’re selling won’t be, either. What’s more, instead of simply posting photos of a home, use the caption portion of a photo to sell the home. Is the home great for a family looking for a place near an elementary school? Are the carpets new? Do delicious apples fall from the backyard tree? The more information and specific details about a home the realtor can provide a prospective buyer without any interaction, the better. This will save a real estate agent time, effort and energy as the number of genuinely interested buyers will increase and those searching for specific home qualities can be weeded out if the home descriptions given do not meet their expectations or needs.
2. Brand your homes and recognize target client: Take advantage of the About Me portion of your Facebook Page. Rather than keeping it bare bones, realtors need to use the section to be honest, describe their niche homes and what homes are most appealing to them to sell. Although, this should be written in the least limiting style of language of course. Is working with families to help them find the perfect family home appealing? Are homes that need a little love charming? Are modest to luxury condos and apartments an area of expertise? If a potential buyer reads that your style of home matches or is similar to theirs that they’re looking for, the selling pitch becomes that much easier on an agent. Moreover, it’s difficult to sell and appeal to a broad audience in a largely varied market. Therefore, the most effective approach to any marketing strategy is to find a target. Thus, the language and the content of a realtor’s Facebook Page can help to define those targets.
3. Be less Obvious:Right off the bat, if a realtor’s Facebook Page’s profile picture doesn’t give it away that they’re in the business of selling homes, then the frequent open listings as status updates will. Instead, after that initial stereotypical first impression on, at least differentiate the content of the Facebook Page. Meaning: on Facebook most real estate agents follow the same rules and they are a dead giveaway just by merely looking at their profile picture. So rather than look like the rest of them– and if the aim is to bring something new to the table in a very standard-thumbed and mainstream industry– stray from being the same. As an agent, just posting what you’re selling is not what social media is about. Instead, show passion, be creative, have a little humor, create conversations, ask questions, be helpful and stand out.
4. Share good news about the economy: The poor economy is making it more difficult to sell homes. However, despite the rough times, when there is a sprout of good news or hope on the horizon, share it!!!! As a realtor, posting good news about the economy on Facebook does two things: it inspires the faith and encourages folks to rethink or reconsider making a big purchase. Also, overall spreading positively is a good thing to do as people tend to gravitate towards positive people.
5. Be apart of the community: Sharing knowledge and relevant events about the community will help a real estate agent to develop deeper and more reliable connections with community members. Through being aware of the community’s surroundings and being tuned-in to what people are interested in, it’s another tactic for capturing the attention of prospective buyers and more importantly, it’s a way of becoming noticed as a community resource and well-rounded agent. For example: “The new organic market off of Golden Lantern has just opened– I have 2 homes nearby- each only 2 miles away! Convenient places to live if you love an organic market! Check out my gallery for pictures if you’re interested” This example post is an easy, enthusiastic and non-pushy way of advertising the sale, redirecting followers to more housing information and sharing some community news.
6. Integrate Facebook into everyday business:Nearly all real estate agents have a business card, and some even have ad placements in the yellow pages or online. For all self-promotional efforts that a realtor engages in, it is important to always include Facebook information. If using Facebook as a valid source is the goal, prospective clients should always be directed to the agent’s Facebook Page. There, ask clients to post a Review on the Page, follow up or ask questions. The more emphasis a realtor puts on their Page as being a contact and informational resource, the more integrated and second-nature that Facebook will become to the agent’s business.
And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.
Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CLHMS CRB CRS GREEN GRI
Past President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900