No one understands the evolution of real estate like an agent. Consider this stat that comes courtesy of the National Association of Realtors (NAR): In 1981, 22% of home buyers read newspaper ads to find a home.
Conventional wisdom tells us that percentage is significantly lower today, but the stats back it up. About 25% of American newspapers have folded in the last 15 years alone due to decreasing revenue and declined circulation, which means buyers have increasingly turned to digital spaces while house hunting.
Data from two years ago indicated that 99% of millennials, 90% of older boomers and 70% of the silent generation relied heavily on the internet for their home search. And for many of those buyers, those efforts included social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. With social media’s use among consumers steadily rising, so, too, has usage among agents. If you’re an agent hoping to meet better clients where they already are, check out our tips for building a social media plan as a Realtor.
Identify the platforms that make sense for you
If there’s a home for every buyer, the same can be said for social media platforms. While Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram grab the headlines, other sites like YouTube, Snapchat, and TikTok have millions of devoted fans. Before you build your social media plan, you’ll need to identify the platforms where you intend to be active, and the best way to do that is by identifying those that best apply to your business.
First, take the time to review demographics for each platform and assess your time and efforts to net you the most significant impact. Facebook is king for most people, with 2.45 billion monthly active users, and it is especially popular among users ages 18 to 49. Snapchat has 210 million monthly active users, but only 4% of its users are older than age 56. That means that if you’re an agent who predominantly works with seniors, Snapchat probably isn’t the best place to devote your energy.
Take advantage of hashtags
The point of hashtags is to create a conversation around a central topic, but what savvy marketers recognize is that they can also be an excellent search tool for buyers. By hashtagging words of interest to potential buyers, you’re facilitating discovery of content that the user may not have otherwise accessed. For example, someone looking for new properties in a specific neighborhood might perform a search for that hashtag.
Hashtags are a useful tool on various platforms, with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, among the top places to roll out this strategy. There are also partners like Hashtagify that help marketers boost their success with hashtags by suggesting appropriate hashtags and aiding in the tracking of performance metrics like clicks.
Harness the power of testimonials
Testimonials have long been a powerful asset for salespeople and marketers in all kinds of industries, but especially retail. Unlike buying a tangible good, often summarized as a one-and-done purchase, a buyer or seller’s relationship with the realtor is beyond a transaction. Clients want to develop trust and belief in their agent, not only that they can help them achieve whatever their homeownership goals are, but that they will advocate for them and act in their best interest.
The most meaningful way of opening the eyes of a potential client is by sharing the success you have had with a past client. Agents should use a mix of media to accomplish this, including testimonials comprising video, photos with text overlay and just straight text. A simple quote from the client about what it was like to work with the agent can make a significant impact. And, if you want to take it a step further, those same testimonials can be used on other digital properties like the agent’s website or in an email newsletter.
Utilize social media advertising
One of the nice things about social media is that creating an account and posting at your leisure costs you nothing. The caveat here is that each platform has its own algorithm, which can restrict who sees your posts and how often. As a way to circumvent those limitations, many agents will turn to advertising to reach more people and a targeted pool of potential clients.
While each social media platform touts its own advertising model, you’ll find that most are efficient and cost-effective. Facebook, for instance, allows you to drill into precise targets that are as granular as by zip code or keyword. This type of advertising can be especially valuable for agents who work mainly within a tightly defined core of neighborhoods. In addition, these channels offer a variety of advertising options, from carousel ads displaying listings to video formats.