A successful real estate agent is a social butterfly.
If you’re in the business, you already know that busy agents talk to dozens of prospective buyers in the course of a day. That can make for a hectic schedule. That’s why many of us are relying more and more on the Internet to announce new listings, to advertise open houses and to reach out to clients.
Facebook, of course, is the social medium of choice for many real estate agents. With more than 1 billion active users, the social networking site is the lingua franca of modern communication. It’s free to use and should be considered a necessary component.
Facebook has excellent tools to target and interact with very specific audiences. In addition to a basic page for your business, there are Facebook Ads and Facebook Groups. Facebook Ads lets the real estate agent zero in on a specific class of clients using demographic filters such as age, gender and interests. Facebook Groups allows the agent to set up exclusive groups around, say, a certain type of property.
There are several other online media tools—all of them available to you free of charge—that naturally complement Facebook. Smart real estate agents are taking advantage of them, too. These are Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.
Twitter is like a light, more agile version of Facebook. It’s a powerfully personal (and friendly) way to let people know what properties you have available. Do local searches to initiate conversations with other real estate professionals and consumers in your area. There are also Twitter applications that can automate certain functions and alert you whenever someone uses one of your target keywords. So if someone says “I’m looking for a house in (your area)” you get an alert and can respond quickly.
YouTube gives the real estate agent a new way to show off the property for sale. In addition to a walk-through tour, a video can include interviews and testimonials. Many buyers would rather watch a video than read a lengthy text description, so let them take a virtual tour of the property. People love pictures, but videos are even more trustworthy. Add voiceovers to explain what is being shown. Don’t just make videos of the properties; make videos showing off the local attractions. Show a little neighborhood flavor and you’ll see improved responses. Use keywords in the title, and “tag” your videos with the keywords that will help people find them. You can customize your channel with your logo and other business details to present a professional YouTube destination for buyers to find and return to.
LinkedIn is the less gregarious cousin of chatty Facebook. It gives the real estate agent a chance to formally promote himself (or herself) to a network of fellow professionals. Join local LinkedIn Groups, particularly Groups where you are likely to connect with your target audience. Linkedin Groups is similar to Facebook Groups. Create a complete profile and get recommendations (the LinkedIn equivalent to testimonials). Realtors should make sure the brokers or firms they work for are included in their profiles (and that they appear in the employee lists in their employers’ LinkedIn Company Pages). Finally, LinkedIn Ads, which can be targeted by location and other criteria, are worth the small investment. Test different ads and approaches until you hit on the techniques that work best for your business.