Social media; the land of opportunity. Or so they say.. For several years, I was convinced that there really wasn’t a practical use for social media unless you were using it for paid advertisements. A friend of mine, who felt the same way, actually said “It’s like the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes, nobody wants to be the first to say it’s bullshit.” I believed it. After all, I was posting all of my new listings to Facebook and Twitter with zero response. To further the pain, I would see those few agents that were actually getting a ton of engagement on their posts. Deep down I knew I probably just wasn’t doing it right, but it was easier to call bullshit on it.
Over time, though, here’s what I learned; people aren’t on facebook, twitter, instagram, or any other social media sites to look at real estate listings. Finding real estate listings is extremely easy if you’re looking for them. There are dozens of websites that have listings that anyone can easily find and search. If they’re looking for a property, they’re going to find one. Very rarely is somebody going to see a listing posted on facebook and decide that that’s the one. I know that it does happen sometimes, I’ve even found leads on properties I’ve posted to facebook or instagram, but not much. It’s also not likely that the post about why it’s stupid for somebody to try selling their home themselves is going to make anyone suddenly realize that they need to hire that person as their agent. The point is that sharing listings and bashing FSBOs isn’t the best use of social media.
So what are people on social media for, if not to look at real estate? Well, besides memes and political arguments, people are mainly on social media to connect with people. They want to share what’s happening in their life and see what their friends and family are up to, pictures of their cousin’s new baby, and hoping and waiting for somebody to tag them in a post or picture. I think the real goal of social media is to get the occasional 5 minutes of fame.
The benefit of social media for real estate agents is to give people the opportunity to learn about you, and get to you know you a bit. Instead of only sharing real estate listings and memes about why they should work with a real estate agent, find things to share that your target audience can relate to. Share things that show your personality, your hobbies, and your sense of humor (just be careful with anything controversial, political, or religious).
For example, I share pictures of tacos, my daughter’s track meats, and pictures of my flying. You can share photos of you in the community, talk about topics that others in the community are talking about, and occasionally share some relevant news or information that could benefit your followers. Give yourself your own “brand” on social media. Give people something to expect out of you. One of my titles listed under my name in my Instagram profile is “Taco Connoisseur”, for example.
Then, once in a while, share a listing. Not for the purpose of finding a buyer, but for the purpose of reminding people that you’re a real estate agent and showing potential sellers how well you advertise your listings. If you’re going to post a listing on social media, make sure the photos are high quality and professional looking. Hire somebody to do a video tour and a drone video. Everyone loves those. People that see photos of your listings should be impressed with the effort you put into showcasing the property. In the property description, don’t just list the main features in a short paragraph. Sell the property, use adjectives, impress people. You want somebody that’s thinking about selling their house to see your listings and want the same person that’s putting that much effort into their listings to sell their house.
Choosing the right content to post is only half of it, if even that much. The real social media success comes from your engagement with others. Instagram is great in that it allows you to engage with other people’s content whether you’re connected or not, and even if you operate a business profile. Instagram also allows you to search for posts based on location. You can enter in your city in the location search and see all of the recent local posts. Go through theses, like them, post genuine comments, and follow some of them. On facebook, most communities have a dedicated group where people in the community can share things, ask questions, etc. A lot of real estate agents simply get on there to post their pitch, or a property listing. Instead, get on these groups and engage with people on the topics they want to talk about. If somebody is asking for recommendations for a plumber, comment with somebody you would recommend. When people post accomplishments, congratulate them. When they post a photo they took that they think is really cool, tell them you think it’s really cool, too.
Do you want people on social media to really love you? Share their content. Like I said above, people are looking for their five minutes of fame. If somebody in a community group took a picture of something in the community, share it with a caption about how great of a photo it is. If somebody just opened up a new business, share it. If somebody is organizing an event in your community, share it!
With social media, like many other things, you get what you put in. Engagement is key. The more people engage with your content, the more your content will be seen by others. Most social media algorithms are designed to give more exposure to content that’s receiving a lot of engagement. If it’s getting likes, comments, and shares, they assume it’s quality content that others will want to see. The best way to get engagement, besides posting great content, is to engage with others. People are more likely to like, comment on, or share your content if you regularly engage with theirs. The next best way, is to post consistently. When people see you posting regularly, they’re more likely to engage. Also, when people see your name popping up all the time, they make the assumption that you’re well known.
To sum it all up, show everybody you’re a real person instead of a listing sharing service, become a resource, genuinely engage with others in your community, and do it consistently. There it is. That’s the secret sauce.
EDIT: Oh, and wish people a happy birthday! Some people appreciate that.