Marketing is one of those dynamic fields where the channels keep changing and customer preferences continue to evolve. To remain competitive, real estate agencies like any other business, need to stay abreast of these trends and strive to make the best use of them. One of such changes is the use of social media as a marketing channel where there are several platforms which can be beneficial for business growth. Managing any social media account is not an easy feat, regardless of the platform. Marketing on social media has similar basic principles when compared with traditional offline marketing and as such it serves as a multiplier to the basic marketing strategy implemented by real estate agents. The approach to social media is very crucial as several companies use each of the platforms for different reasons. Social media is an important tool for real estate agents to take advantage of the customer journey as it can be used for targeted product placement raising brand awareness among potential real estate investors and customers. This is a significant step in the purchase of many homes as renters and buyers tend to start their search online and more recently through social media channels. The growing trend may partly be due to the fact that millennials make up about 66% of new homebuyers and as over 76.8 million millennials are active on social media within the US market, there is a great potential to attract new real estate investors from social media. In response to this trend, a number of industry experts have shared tips on social media marketing for real estate agents to make the best use of Facebook and Instagram.
Social media platforms for real estate agents
The top social media platforms that real estate agents actively use to publicize their brands and businesses include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. It is therefore essential to clearly define the platforms which would be used and state the goals so as to set the tone and drive the content to be included on each of the platforms. This may also be determined by the client segment and demographics available on specific social media channels. The goals for any social media campaign should be concise and clear so they can be met. It is easier to take the right steps when you know the destination and these goals should be in line with the general goals of the real estate agent. Some simple goals that can be included in the plan are increasing traffic to the website, obtaining more followers, increasing communication and engagement with customers or generating a larger number of property requests. The aim of the social media plan is to buttress the real estate marketing plan, for example, if the main goal is to sell properties faster, then, getting more followers may not necessarily lead directly to more sales so it may be better to focus on content that would generate enquiries about available properties.
Business page for real estate agents
The first step in creating an online presence on any social media channel is to have a functional profile or business page. Creating a professional account goes a long way in reinforcing your brand identity as this would serve as a base for operations carried out on that platform. When creating this profile, ensure that the contact details such as website, address and location, phone number and email address are all accurate and functional. Understand that a certain level of professionalism is required on such business pages meaning that careful attention should be paid to the standard of content such as the profile picture. It may be easier to use the company logo as the profile picture as this makes it recognizable by clients. Additionally, a short description of the company and the services or products offered will go a long way in giving clarity to the potential real estate investors.
Taking an example from Facebook, you can create a professional page for free and this gives you the opportunity to write about the real estate agency stating the mission and even a story of the journey so far. It also has a section dedicated to services, enabling you to describe these in more detail including opening hours and even a map showing directions to your office location. It is also possible to utilize the statistical analysis option showing the level of interaction from visitors to the page. This comes in very handy when evaluating the previously set goals and may be helpful in setting new goals.
Videos for real estate promotion
Using videos on social media has helped a lot of real estate agents to better describe the features of the properties as well as add a personal touch to the experience. Generally, the positive effect of videos on marketing is visible in all industries especially as about 97% of marketers believe that the use of videos has helped them communicate the products and services better leading to an increase in sales experienced by 76% of them. In line with this, many social media platforms offer possibilities to upload videos that would be concise and engaging.
Instagram offers the use of ‘stories’ where the real estate agent can upload a series of pictures or videos to describe any property’s interior and exterior and a similar feature is available with Facebook stories. Real estate agents can be creative with the video content and include any customized characteristics. It is also possible to stream a live video or upload a video as a post on both Instagram and Facebook.
The use of hashtags
Another feature which is useful across a number of social media platforms is the hashtag. This is very prominent on Instagram and Twitter as this guides the search engine function of the platform to reveal content attached to a specific hashtag when a user searches for it. A case can be made for hashtags such as #realestate which is one of the most popular in the real estate industry for posts on Instagram. Using such hashtags guarantee that your post would be presented when interested individuals and potential clients search for the specific hashtag, giving your brand a chance to be found by new clients. It is also useful to use hashtags which may be related to properties available for sale or rent in specific countries, for example, if there are properties available for long-term rent in France, a hashtag like #rentalproperty may be better suited to the post.
Pictures and images on social media
The use of pictures and images is essential across all platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. The visual appeal of the content goes a long way in capturing the user’s attention on all platforms. Instagram is an inherently visually based platform offering several filters to improve the quality of pictures posted as well as a number of features allowing the real estate agent to post multiple pictures at once. These features allow the real estate agent to capture all aspects of the property and communicate this to the users. In addition, captions can be included in the posts to give a proper description of the property while highlighting the top features, furnishings and functionality.
Pinterest allows you to organize the pictures and images into themes which are then presented on specific boards. This platform helps guide users to the content related to any particular theme they are interested in based on relevance of the content. It is possible for real estate agents to feature their content on several boards depending on the focus of the post. Some of such boards include real estate advertisements or tips and information related to real estate trends and news. It is very important for real estate agents to use relevant images and descriptions on their Pinterest posts.
Twitter works for very direct content with a limit of 280 characters per tweet, the message being promoted by the real estate agent has to be precise and to the point. It is also possible to use hashtags which are similar to those on Instagram as that helps to promote the post on Twitter trends. It allows users to retweet some of the tweets from other accounts in a bid to promote cooperation and improve brand awareness within the real estate community. Instagram also has a similar feature where posts can be shared across other accounts. Real estate agents can then tag the other accounts, preferably those related to the real estate industry in the posts made on Twitter and Instagram as interacting with other industry players may increase the visibility within their communities.
In all, it is essential to include the use of social media in any real estate marketing plan as it serves as a simple communication channel for clients and promotes brand awareness through community building and customer relations. Be sure to maintain a certain level of professionalism across all social media platforms so as to project an image which is consistent with the real estate agent’s brand. Finally, review the statistics obtained from the platforms be it Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or any other similar platform, as this helps to adjust the social media marketing plan to achieve the best results and meet the previously set goals.