Social Media for Real Estate: 5 Steps to a Winning Strategy

HDC_Social_Strategy_Blog_2737_1200x600If you…

are a real estate agent, not a social media expert;

want to use social media, but aren’t sure where to start;

want to get more leads and conversions from your existing social networks,

then this article is for you.

Here you’ll find out how to create or revamp your real estate social media strategy to reach new prospects, build your brand, connect with clients, and win more leads and referrals.

Creating a social media strategy for real estate doesn’t have to be hard. These five tips will help ensure it isn’t. All you need to do is:

  1. Prepare.
  2. Establish a content strategy.
  3. Build your brand.
  4. Track and measure results.
  5. Refine your strategy.

And we’re here to show you how.

Prepare

Preparation—having a real estate social strategy—can make managing social networks easier and more effective. Before you start creating posts and sharing listings, you should do three things:

  • Choose your social sites.
  • Build your profiles.
  • Set goals.

Choose your social sites

Whether you’re considering opening your first social account or have dabbled in social media for years, it’s important to weigh the cost and benefit of each social network you’re thinking of using. The cost will primarily be in time. Decide how much time you are willing to put into social networking and if the commitment is worth the potential benefits.

  1. Time: As you gain experience, you’ll be able to manage your social media accounts quicker and more efficiently. Even when you’re at your most efficient, however, each of your social accounts can easily require a couple hours’ maintenance each week. Decide how much time you can dedicate each week, then decide how many social accounts you can handle.
  2. Audience: Once you know how many social sites you can handle, narrow your options by identifying which ones your customers are using. According to a 2016 Pew Research Center study, 79 percent of adult American internet users are on social media. Of that number, 78 percent of Facebook users fall into this age group, followed by 25.5 percent on Instagram, and 22 percent on Twitter.
  3. Money: Creating a business profile is free on just about every social network. However, money gives you the power to reach and engage with an audience beyond your normal reach. Include a social media marketing budget to see really great results from your social accounts.
  4. Reason: Each social platform engages with its audience in a unique way. For example, Facebook is built around clicks and comments while Twitter requires users to communicate in 140 characters or less. Instagram is all about images, and Snapchat content disappears within 24 hours. To hit as many demographics as possible, diversify your platforms.

Build your profiles

Once you have decided which social media sites to use, you will need to create a business account on each network. Throughout the process you should keep the following in mind:

  1. Images: It’s important for your audience to be able to recognize you quickly whether they are on your website, your Twitter profile, or your Facebook account. Use an existing, up-to-date photo or take a professional headshot and use this photo (sized appropriately) on each of your business profiles. Many social sites also allow you to upload a personal banner on your site. This is a great way to incorporate your logo (sites like Fiverr.com, Freelancer.com, and Upwork.com are fantastic places to hire a graphic designer). Remember to keep your banner consistent across social media profiles, too.
  2. About pages: Your business about page isn’t really supposed to be about you; rather, it’s your chance to tell potential clients what you can do for them. A modified version of your elevator pitch that includes your primary niches and other important keywords works well for the about page or bio section of your profile.
  3. Contact information: While social media sites are great, your goal should be to have people reach out to you directly. Make sure you include your phone number, website link, and email address in your profile so visitors can easily reach out to you. Including hours of operation can also be helpful.
  4. Privacy settings: Once your information is plugged in, make sure your profile is “public” so that people can see and interact with your posts, as well as contact you.
  5. Add links: Make it easy for people to find your social networks by adding buttons to your website and email taking visitors directly to your profiles and pages. You can also include your social networks on business cards, flyers, and signage by including your account handle or username.

Set goals

Your primary social media goal should be to generate leads and conversions. Your secondary goal can help you achieve this. Your social media goals should evolve as you gain a stronger presence, but they should always be measurable, attainable, and have a clear start and end date.

Examples of social media goals for real estate include:

  • Receive 100 leads from back-to-school social campaign, ending August 15th.
  • Generate 200 eBook downloads through Facebook ads between April 1st to September 30th.
  • Receive 25,000 total Twitter re-tweets by December.
  • Increase next month’s traffic from Snapchat to landing page by 10%.

Schedule too tight for social? Let the Homes.com team do the work for you!

Establish a Content Strategy

Once you know what you want to achieve to meet your social media goals and boost your real estate business, decide upon a plan of action. Your real estate social strategy should include:

  • A content schedule.
  • A posting app.
  • A variety of content types.
  • Value to your audience.
  • Local content.
  • Easy-to-share content.
  1. Create a content schedule: A social media content calendar is a way to pre-plan (up to several weeks in advance) what kind of content you will publish each day—eliminating the need to scramble to figure out if you should be posting something business-related, taking a poll, or sharing something inspirational.
  2. Choose a posting app: A posting app (such as HootSuite) will help you post to multiple social sites at once and allow you to input your posts several days in advance. This can help cut down on the time commitment for each network you use. For even greater results, Homes.com Social Fuel includes a Social Broadcaster that allows you to post to Facebook, Twitter, and your Homes Connect website blog in minutes!
  3. Content types: Include a wide range of mediums in your plan, such as Slideshare, eBooks, contests, videos, articles, listings, and photos. Providing a diverse range of content will keep your pages fresh and help draw visitors back to your content again and again.
  4. Provide value: Creating and sharing great content plays an important role in maintaining a strong online presence, but if you aren’t providing value to your audience beyond real estate, they won’t have any reason to keep up with your business once they have bought or sold their home. Make sure your content strategy provides value to buyers, sellers, and your community in general. DIY guides, home improvement ideas, local news, and area guides are all great ways to do this.
  5. Post local content: You’ve heard the phrase “Home is where the heart is.” Nothing captures someone’s attention quite like local photos, events, or information: things that have an immediate impact on someone’s life. Post local content frequently.
  6. Make your content easy to share: Keep engagement in mind when you create and post content. Ask your readers questions, invite them to comment, or recommend they “like and share” your post with their friends, family, and co-workers. Share your website and blog content socially, and make it easy for your audience to share it, too, by adding social sharing buttons to your blog and website.

FREE Printout: Expand your reach: Track Your Online Performance -> Improve Your Results

Build Your Brand

Building your brand using social media is all about growing your business. It should be both a goal and a means to reach your other social media goals. Building your real estate brand on social media requires you to:

  • Track consumer trends.
  • Understand what your audience wants.
  • Humanize your brand.
  • Engage in real-time marketing.

Track consumer trends: Before you can sit down and start creating content, it’s important to get an idea of what your audience will be interested in. Look at what’s trending in the news, follow local groups, and pay attention to what topics are generating conversations. Are locals excited about a new restaurant? Is there an upcoming local event that people want to know more about? If so, consider forming a partnership with the restaurant or hosting a Facebook Live interview between you and the event host.

Understand your audience: Social networks are great tools for building your business, but only if you use them right. Ensure your online presence isn’t all about you and focus on helping your clients and audience. Someone looking at your posts should be able to clearly identify the benefit of following you socially.

Also consider what your audience will find useful. If your audience is primarily composed of empty nesters, articles recommending child-friendly restaurants aren’t your best bet. Think about what will interest your audience and address the topics they care about. If you do this, they’ll want to interact with you.

Humanize your brand: Showing your audience the people behind your logo is a good way to build trust with your audience. Humanize your brand by doing things like sharing behind-the-scenes photos of what’s happening in the office (birthday parties, work anniversaries, or silly moments) or by telling funny or inspiring stories of things that you saw or experienced while showing a house.

Engage in real-time marketing: Engagement goes both ways. If you want people to interact with you, you need to be prepared to answer their questions, reply to their comments, and work on building rapport with your audience. As you interact more with your audience, they will feel more comfortable about reaching out to you with questions, comments, and requests.

Track and Measure Results

Engagement

Track changes in interaction on different posts to determine what your audience does and doesn’t like, then use this information to refine your posting strategy.

  1. Likes: These are called different things on different social sites, but whether they’re called likes, favorites, or something else entirely, tracking what sort of content and what topics generate the most likes is a fantastic way to get a broad idea of your followers’ interests. Pay attention to how many likes videos, photos, and links get, then shift the proportion of each content type accordingly. You should also consider what topics—local news, business recommendations, DIY ideas—get the best results.
  2. Shares: When someone shares one of your posts, it enables the friends of the person sharing your post to see it too, expanding your post’s reach. Track what kind of content gets the most shares and post more of it to expand your reach.
  3. Comments: Some content will encourage your audience to comment on your posts. When someone leaves a comment, you have a great opportunity to start a conversation with that person.
  4. Followers: Your followers are people who have indicated on their social profile that they would like to receive your content. They receive your posts directly in their newsfeeds. Paying attention to the kinds of content that receive likes and shares will help you develop your social channels to appeal to potential followers.

If you plan on managing your social presence across multiple social networks, you will want to get set up on a reporting platform like Homes.com Social Fuel, which combines all those stats into a single report.

Refine Your Strategy

It’s important to have an overall social media strategy guiding your real estate business, but it’s also crucial to realize that each social network is different. Posting short text-based messages isn’t going to cut it on Facebook, but is perfectly fine on Twitter. Here are some tips for advertising and promoting your real estate business on some of the major networks.

HDC_Social_Strategy_Image_02_FacebookFacebook for Real Estate

As the largest social media site, Facebook should play a big part in your social media strategy. Some considerations you may want to keep in mind for Facebook include:

  1. How often to post on Facebook: Try to post at least 3-4 times per week. Post during popular browsing times to give your posts the best chance to be seen. Some of the best times include late afternoons during the week, 8:00 to 10:00 pm on Thursdays, and weekends.
  2. Facebook Ads: You can use Facebook Ads to create a dramatic increase in exposure with minimal investment (just $5-10 can show great results). Advanced targeting tools allow you to narrow your audience by age, location, and interest in real estate, among other things, to ensure you maximize your ads’ effectiveness. See the Facebook Ads for Real Estate series for step-by-step ad-creation instructions or let Homes.com manage your Facebook Ads for you.
  3. Facebook Live: Facebook Live is an easy way to get information to your audience and win a preferred ranking in the newsfeed. Instead of spending time and money planning a traditional buying or selling seminar, try doing it over Facebook Live. You can also go live to host a Q&A session, do a neighborhood tour, review a local business, or highlight local events.

Twitter for Real EstateHDC_Social_Strategy_Image_02_Twitter

Creating a foothold for your real estate business on Twitter can be tough. If you’re going to succeed, it’s important to know:

  1. How often to post: One of the most common mistakes real estate agents make with Twitter is not being active enough. Because Twitter’s feed moves in real time, users are more accepting of large volumes of tweets. You can easily post twenty or more times a day without overwhelming your followers. You can also share the same message multiple times as long as you space it out.
  2. What to share: Short updates, great quotes, and links to interesting articles, webinars, or other resources are all great things to post.
  3. When to use hashtags: Including a hashtag (e.g. #realestate) in your tweets makes your post searchable so that people can find it even if they aren’t following you. Tags like #southatlanta, #newhome, #openhouse, or #househunting can help people with those interests find you. Using two or three hashtags per post can help you win new followers.
  4. Who to follow: Building your own Twitter following is easier if you connect and interact with users who already have a strong, relevant following. If you interact with their posts, their followers may decide to follow you, too.

Instagram for Real EstateHDC_Social_Strategy_Image_02_Instagram

If you’re unfamiliar with Instagram, it is a social network that allows users to take or upload videos and photos to share with their followers. Primarily used on mobile devices, Instagram has one of the best returns on investment for real estate of any of the social networks. When planning your Instagram strategy for social media, remember to:

  1. Have fun: Instagram isn’t the place for super-serious listing photos. Try posting selfies in front of your latest listing to let people know it’s on the market and get some instant facial recognition.
  2. Post multiple photos: You can create additional interest and give a better overview of your listings or area by adding multiple photos to a single post.
  3. Use hashtags: Using five to ten hashtags on each of your Instagram posts can help you connect with more people and create new followers. Remember to keep the tags relevant

Snapchat for Real EstateHDC_Social_Strategy_Image_02_Snapchat

Snapchat is a mobile social network that allows users to take, edit, and send pictures and videos to specific users as a message or post them as a “story” for other users to see. Snapchat messages only last a few seconds before they self-destruct, but “story” content lasts for 24 hours. Here are some features to remember while formulating a Snapchat real estate strategy:

  1. Selfie filters: One of the big draws for people on Snapchat is the ability to add a selfie filter to your photos that can turn you into different animals, add virtual accessories, or accentuate different features. You can use this to exaggerate your facial expression to, for example, make yourself look incredibly happy after an offer gets accepted. Find different ways to show your sense of humor with selfie filters.
  2. Geofilters: You can accentuate the area you work in by using Geofilters. These are similar to a selfie filter, but they are area specific. For example, several neighborhoods in New York City have their own geofilters that are only available to people who are physically there. You can use these in a neighborhood where you want to do geo farming or around your next open house to gain attention in those areas.
  3. Snap videos: Snapchat allows users to take ten-second videos to share with followers. This is a great way to highlight a great view, impressive back yard, or favorite feature of a new listing.

Pinterest for Real EstateHDC_Social_Strategy_Image_02_Pinterest

Pinterest’s primary value to your real estate business lies with the great content you can find and share on other social media sites. While the site itself hasn’t generated many leads for agents, it’s an invaluable resource for finding cool DIY projects, dream homes, and landscaping ideas.

 

LinkedIn for Real EstateHDC_Social_Strategy_Image_02_LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great site to connect with peers, form mastermind groups, and find great business tips. However, if you also sign up for LinkedIn’s ProFinder program, LinkedIn can be a great place to generate real estate leads. If you use ProFinder, make sure your regular LinkedIn account is complete and updated with:

  1. A quality photo.
  2. A catchy headline.
  3. A background image that supports your brand identity.
  4. A summary of your career history, qualifications, personality, and success stories.
  5. Recommendations.
  6. Posts to assert your knowledge of local real estate.

Conclusion

In summary, to create a winning real estate social media strategy, you ought to:

  1. Prepare by choosing your social profiles, setting them up, and creating goals.
  2. Establish a content strategy that includes a content schedule, a posting app, value to your audience, and content that is varied, local, and easy to share.
  3. Build your brand by tracking consumer trends, understanding what your audience wants, humanizing your brand, and engaging in real-time marketing.
  4. Track and measure results from likes, shares, comments, and followers.
  5. Refine your strategy for each of your social sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

Need additional help planning your social media strategy? Call us for a free consultation at (888) 651-8956 to learn how Homes.com SEO Fuel’s team of dedicated real estate experts can manage your Facebook Ads, LinkedIn profile, Twitter, online reputation, and more or check out the links below for more social media advice.

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Hannah Graham

Hannah Graham

I joined Homes.com's support team in May 2012 before moving to marketing in 2015. In that time, my nieces have grown numerous and my two pups, Annabel and Aya have grown enormous!
Hannah Graham

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