Social media can be a powerful tool for real estate brokers looking for new ways to grow their businesses. However, it can also be overwhelming to keep up with the constant algorithm changes and best practices for each network.
It is very hard to be an entrepreneur and market your business while actually working in your business and doing what you're best at: selling real estate! Below are some of the most social media marketing that I see agents and brokers make, and some tips to avoid them altogether.
Focusing on Just One Social Media Platform
The worst thing a real estate broker can do for their marketing is put all of their proverbial eggs in one basket. This is actually true in a lot of life situations, but especially in business where having a fully-integrated marketing strategy can pay dividends over the long term.
That isn't to say you need to be everywhere -- it's important to focus on where you can be present. If that means one or two channels, that is a good start, but I believe that the best social media strategy for real estate brokers needs to use at least three of the big four social networks to hit different audiences with different content.
I've seen Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest all have their moment in the sun. Instagram is riding the wave now, but there are still other social networks that can have an impact on your business. And remember -- Facebook owns Instagram, so you better believe that they are designed to complement, not replace, each other.
Promoting Your Real Estate Listings Too Often
Would you want to read a magazine if all it contained were advertisements? That is how people will feel when they visit your social media pages and only see listings.
I hear from a lot of real estate agents who believe that sharing their listings is how they will merchandise that they are busy and successful. Although you do need to put your inventory out there, it's important to supplement it with content that your audience wants to read.
Plus, your listings are only relevant to a small percentage of people: those who are currently in the market to buy a home. Of course, these people are possible referral sources but we can talk more about how to tap into that audience later.
Remember, you are selling more than just a house. You're selling a lifestyle, a neighborhood, and most importantly, the real estate expertise that makes you good at your job.
Creating One-Size Fits All Social Media Content
When you create content for your real estate social media channels, it's important that you make each piece of content unique. That isn't to say that you shouldn't create templates or have some consistency to your brand. But, you do need to make sure that you take best practices for each social network into consideration when you build out your posts.
Some of the most common issues I see take place on Instagram. Links in Instagram captions are not clickable, yet people often don't realize that and put links in the captions. People can't click on these, so it's wasted space that you could be using to share intelligent copy that educates, entertains or informs your audience.
Another common issue is using the same image on every network. Often this results in your graphics or images on Instagram being cropped, or the copy on graphics being cut off. Often, people will post flyers full of text that probably look great in hard copy but are impossible to read online.
Know the different dimensions for each social network and make sure your content will fit and look its best. Tools like Planoly and Later are great for plotting out your content in advance so you can see what your feed will look like.
Not Using Images and Video in Real Estate Social Media Content
Real estate is a hugely visual business. And yet, when I look at the real estate agents that I follow, I see a lot of links to listings. Sometimes these have images, but a lot of times it's one that auto-populates and doesn't do a home justice.
According to data from Socialbakers, a social media insights firm, Facebook posts with photos have an 87 percent engagement rate, while nearly half of the top 10 percent of Twitter interactions involve tweets with photos.
One of the reasons I love social media for real estate is because whether you have two listings or twenty-five, you will never run out of content. If you have 40 photos of a home, you have up to 40 pieces of content for your Instagram page (I say up to because...well, people only want to see so many toilets).
Plus, you know that you're not just selling homes, you're selling neighborhoods and lifestyles. There are endless ways to merchandise this visually on social media. Canva is my favorite tool for creating graphics that look unique and outside the box, while you can create super simple videos with apps like Wistia and Ripl.
Forgetting to Engage with Social Media Followers
The expression "if you build it, they will come" does not apply to social media at all. In fact, just the opposite is true. It's frustrating to post social media content and not see any engagement on your posts, but the truth is, you have to give to get. If you aren't spending at least 30 minutes every day liking, sharing and leaving comments on social media posts, it's unlikely that your engagement will grow.
It's equally important to reply to the comments that you do get, even if it's as simple as to say "Thanks" or answer questions that people are asking. Social media is about building relationships and if you're just posting posting posting but not stopping to engage, it will be hard to ever make meaningful connections on social media. As you make these connections, the people you're engaging become more than just leads, but potential referral sources. That is why my social media philosophy is "content first, advertising second." Online word of mouth is very powerful and you absolutely should leverage every opportunity.