June 1, 2018.
You learned how to set up your Facebook page in The Ultimate Real Estate Social Media Guide, Part 1, and your Instagram Insight in The Ultimate Real Estate Social Media Guide, Part 2. Now it’s time to put what you’ve learned into practice.
What’s the secret recipe for social media success? 12 realtor-approved tips
By now, you’ve hopefully tested the waters with a post or two (or twenty). To help you gain a following from zero, or to reach an even larger audience, we asked real estate agents and other professionals to share the secrets to their social media success.
Here’s what they said:
1. Know your audience.
Weaver says his topic bridging strategy for Facebook and Instagram, which he mentioned in Part 1, only works when you have a firm grasp of your target audience. To get there, he suggests putting pen to paper (or finger to smartphone or keyboard). “Create a one-page description of this imaginary person. This should include specifics, not just general demographics. Then create a posting that would attract this person.”
2. Never, ever boast about your credentials.
Use topic bridging instead. This goes for both Facebook and Instagram, Weaver says. Start with understanding your audience and then create a bridge of posts on topics they’re interested in (see his high-end home versus DIY home improvement example above) versus advertising your credentials directly. “By using this strategy, you can gather a large audience of the right type of people,” Weaver says. “Because they will interact with your content, your posts will always be in their feed.”
This strategy puts you in front of your audience regularly, Weaver explains, and your name will be at the top of their minds. When they’re ready to buy or sell, they’ll know who to contact.
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3. Brag about your clients.
In between posting about relevant topics to your audience and avoiding shameless self-promotion, Jeff Miller, co-founder of Maryland’s AE Home Group, says turning the focus outward can work wonders. “Our favorite Facebook marketing method has been to brag about our clients on our business page. When someone buys or sells a house, we always take their picture and post about their new accomplishment.”
Miller says he finds that a buyer’s friends and family are much more likely to read a post and visit their page when it’s shared like this since they recognize the people in the photo. For realtors, this approach is a subtle way to grow your referral network without coming across as pushy.
4. Jump on Facebook Live.
Going live can be intimidating if you’ve never done it before, but, hey, everyone’s doing it. In fact, Evan Roberts, real estate agent and owner of Maryland’s Dependable Homebuyers, considers the use of Facebook Live key to the success of their agency’s Facebook profile. “Video is the future of content, and Facebook has backed this thought by giving video content priority,” Roberts explains. “We’ve found that our Facebook Live videos receive three times the number of impressions, furthering our brand awareness in a more effective manner than text and photo content ever could.”
Cody Swann, CEO of Gunner Technology, agrees that video has become the major social battleground (and was named by Forbes as one of the biggest social media trends for business in 2018). “Facebook and Instagram are rushing to push this content to get ahead of others like YouTube and Snapchat,” he says. “Facebook Live is a great way to get attention, provided the live video is long enough for people to have a chance to discover it and ask some questions.”
5. Boost your posts.
If you reach a tipping point where you feel your Facebook posts aren’t gaining any traction, there may be a reason, Taylor Kincaid, Social Media Director at Online Optimism, says. While Facebook and Instagram are ideal platforms for reaching both potential property buyers and listers, Kincaid believes they are also saturated with posts from other realtors. “Most users may not be seeing your content,” he explains.
According to Kincaid, this is where the “Boost Post” feature on Facebook can really help you reach the right people. “It’s worth it to pay a little bit to amplify your reach to a more targeted audience. Facebook’s targeting options allow you to send posts to people with behaviors like ‘Likely to Move’ and interests in websites like Realtor.com, Zillow, and Trulia.”
Kincaid says boosting a post in this way will point your content toward the right people and, most importantly, toward an audience who will ultimately be more likely to purchase or list a home with you.
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6. Create ads.
As Cat Smith, radio host, producer, and social media manager, shared in her talk entitled “Optimizing Social Media for Your Real Estate Business” that she gave to the Women’s Council of Realtors in 2018, taking the time to create Facebook ads, even beyond boosting a post, can be worth it. “With ads,” Smith says, “You can enter target information for all sorts of things — all the way down to behaviors like ‘Likely to Move.’ These ads can be placed using Facebook Ad Manager.”
1. Tweak your audience.
Remember the target audience profile you created for your Facebook page? With Instagram, you may be reaching out to the same type of buyer — only slightly younger. Ashley Peeling, Social Media Marketing Coordinator at CLV Group, considers Instagram a prime platform for reaching a younger demographic. “Millennials are more attracted toward the images and visual elements over text-based platforms,” she says.
2. Use hashtags, as long as they’re relevant.
It’s the obvious question many Instagram users are too afraid to ask: What’s the purpose of hashtags, anyway? Peeling says using searchable hashtags can broaden your reach and connect you with those searching for the products and services you offer — as long as they’re relevant.
The good news is that there’s plenty of wiggle room with the hashtags you select. Kincaid reminds us that Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post. “I like to try and use as many as I can in each post I create,” he says. For those worried about hashtag-overload, Kincaid shares his trick of the trade: He says the best way to keep extra hashtags hidden so your posts don’t look “spammy” is to include them in the first comment below your post rather than in the post itself.
3. Be unique.
On Instagram, visuals are key, says Kincaid. To stand out, he suggests sharing images of homes with character and details you might not see anywhere else. “Editing your photos to be bright and colorful will help give your Instagram an appealing aesthetic that people will want to follow.”
4. But don’t go overboard.
While being unique can help you catch attention, taking it too far can have the opposite effect. Peeling suggests keeping your Instagram business posts clean and natural. “Avoid posting too many photos with text overlay and keep the images simple yet interesting,” she says.
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5. Try Instagram Stories.
You’ve mastered Facebook Live (or at least, made an attempt), and now it’s time to take it to Instagram. As Swann explains, Instagram Stories is Instagram’s response to Snapchat. “These quick videos, which expire after 24 hours, get pushed by Instagram as it attempts to steal users back from Snapchat.”
For this reason, using Instagram Stories can have an advantage. “With video, Instagram and Facebook are playing catch-up a bit, so they have an inherent reason to push this type of content,” Swann says.
6. Create video ads for listings.
Roman Daneghyan, CMO of cloud-based video maker Renderforest, which provides services for realtors, considers using video ads to be his best tip for realtors in 2018. This, Daneghyan says, is still the preferred way to promote listings on social media. “Creating video ads on Facebook and Instagram can easily help to increase sales on houses because people, who you’re going to target, are more likely to watch a video than visit a website and check information about houses.”
Not only are video ads on Instagram and Facebook more convenient to watch, but Daneghyan says video ads will market more effectively. “A buyer will get all the information about listings and details simultaneously. Realtors can create this kind of video in several minutes, and these videos will contain all the details their prospects would wish to know, from the address of a house and contact information to the number of beds, baths, and a lot more.” Daneghyan predicts that listing videos will only continue to gain momentum because they’re so easy to make.
Is it really worth putting this much into social media marketing as a realtor? The realtors and tech professionals we interviewed say yes. For realtors, gaining a strong social audience has the potential to ignite a word-of-mouth wildfire.
“Both Facebook and Instagram are making strong shifts away from business content in favor of organic content from personal friends and family,” Swann says. In almost all cases, implementing these tips and putting the extra effort into cultivating your audience could be the deciding factor in getting your content noticed.
Once you get those interested buyers contacting you through social media, it helps to have a reliable lender in your corner. At Cornerstone Home Lending, Inc., we value our partners as much as our team members, and that’s saying a lot. We’ll go the extra mile to help give your buyer a smooth, stress-free experience with a 100-percent commitment to on-time closing. With this exceptional customer care, your client can leave happy – and they’ll be more likely to tell their friends. Click here to become a Cornerstone Realtor Partner and get prequalified buyer referrals.
For educational purposes only. Please contact a qualified professional for specific guidance.
Sources are deemed reliable but not guaranteed.