In the fifteen years since Facebook launched among a group of Harvard students, social media has become crucial to the way brands interact with their public – and that includes the property sector.
If you haven’t been using social media to its full extent, don’t imagine this means of communication will go away any time soon. It is projected that social media will have more than 3 billion global users a month by 2021 – that’s a third of the world’s population.
How does social media help estate and letting agents grow?
The instant, shareable nature of the platforms, means that an effective social media strategy can raise awareness for a campaign or service rapidly. Done well, social media can enhance your estate or letting agency’s reputation, giving customers a warm feeling about you and a loyalty to your brand. Do it badly and, at best, you’re wasting your time.
Social media is constantly evolving, so you need to be aware of new trends and new ways of attracting an audience. However, it’s better to do one or two things well than to create accounts for every platform going and manage them in a half-hearted fashion.
The most important thing is to have an effective social media strategy and commit to it, posting relevant and useful content regularly.
Which social media channels are best for advertising in the property niche?
Social media is one of the cheapest forms of marketing available, and the ROI it’s providing to estate and letting agents and other businesses in the property sector is growing more and more every day.
There are many social channels out there so do you invest in all of them or select those sites that will provide the most ROI at the lowest cost?
The best way to decide which social channels to use is by investing time in defining your ideal targeted segment (i.e. who are your ideal clients you want to attract) and understanding which channels they prefer to use.
Here are the top 6 social channels to be used by real estate agents in 2020:
Facebook is by far the most widely used channel so if you are to choose one, Facebook is the winner.
With over 2 billion daily active users, ranging from first time buyers to vendors approaching retirement, from landlords’ wannabes to property investors and anyone in between, you can rest assured Facebook can help your business grow.
Whether your business goal is brand awareness, website traffic, lead generation, or online conversions, Facebook can make a make a big contribution towards reaching your goals (when used properly).
Another channel gaining popularity among property buyers and tenants is Instagram. Owned by Facebook, Instagram has all of the same paid benefits of Facebook, but Instagram also has its own set of organic benefits. It’s worth investing in this channel if your ideal target segment is 40 years of age or younger.
Read more about How to use Instagram for Businesses in Property in this article.
You can use Pinterest if you have inspiring images of property interiors or exteriors. It’s a great social channel used by interior designers, garden designers and architects but also estate agents but unusual or interesting properties on their book. As this is a very visual platform, pay attention to the quality of your images.
YouTube has the benefit of visual content, but unlike the other social media sites that we’ve listed so far, it’s owned by Google! YouTube has access to Google’s advertising platform, and you can use this to your advantage when running YouTube ads.
You can create your own videos, such as interview videos, local area videos, tips and advice videos, property listing videos and client testimonials.
Twitter is one of the older social media platforms, but Twitter is most known for its feed of real-time updates. It’s great for brand exposure but do not expect direct leads from it, this is not its purpose.
To get the most out of it, you really should be posting daily, in fact, several times per day and don’t forget to use hashtags so vendors and landlords can find your posts easily.
LinkedIn is considered to be a social media platform for business and is a great channel if you are looking to engage with landlords with portfolios or property developers.
LinkedIn’s advertising platform is not as advanced as Facebook’s in terms of its campaign functions but there is a lot you can do for free. You just need to invest the time into it.
Read more about: How real estate & letting agents can benefit from LinkedIn in this article.
Looking to make social media work harder for your property business in 2020? Follow those nine top tips:
1. Get personal
What’s so unique about social media is that it demands a personal touch. There is no place for a stuffy corporate voice – you need to reveal the personality behind your brand, and it needs to feel authentic.
Do this by telling your story in a human way that people can relate to. Have a tone of voice that speaks direct to your customers and feature your staff, letting their personalities come through. If all of this feels awkward at first, look at how successful brands do it and learn by example.
You could, for example, take your followers behind the scenes to reveal the human face of your agency, giving them insider tips or showing them how things are done. Savills uses staff members in videos on Facebook and Twitter to give a personal face to the business.
2. Show commitment
If you don’t have much of a social media presence, getting established will take time – it can take up to a year to get a good following and properly find your voice, so stick with it.
It is vital that you commit to the platforms you are using. If you don’t have time to manage several accounts, don’t create them. It’s better to do one thing properly than be on a platform for the sake of it.
Post regularly and make sure you respond promptly to any customers who interact with you. You also need to analyse what’s going on – measuring what works to boost engagement so you can learn for next time.
3. Use tools to help you manage multiple social media accounts for business
Make the most of your time by scheduling your posts in advance – there are plenty of tools to help you do this including TweetDeck, Hootsuite or Buffer. Schedule anything you can in advance, such as links to blog posts, newsletters or videos. Supplement this with fresh content reacting to trending or current issues.
If managing multiple accounts feels daunting, remember that you don’t need to create new content each time. You can repurpose existing content to catch new audiences. Ideally do so in a creative way – a blog post issued via Twitter could become a Facebook video and Instagram story, for example.
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4. Do more than provide a list of properties…
Social media platforms are great for showcasing appealing properties, but make sure you don’t restrict your timelines to lists of homes for sale and rent – experts say no more than 20% of your timeline should be taken up with this type of post.
Look for different ways to present properties – such as by telling the story behind the house move.
This is an example from Rightmove...
Abby wanted a new home and a new way of life - “Having a serious illness puts things into perspective. It makes you realise that you don’t know what’s round the corner so you’ve just got to get on with the things you want to do.”— Rightmove (@rightmove) October 27, 2019
Read her Moving Story > https://t.co/xRcu6b8EGG pic.twitter.com/OrFV8ZXARP
5. …inform and entertain
Audiences demand more than hard sell; you need to provide them with useful information. Help people through the tricky business of buying, selling and renting with tips and advice.
You should also establish yourself as an active part of the local community, posting about upcoming events and news, such as this example from M&M Property...
Here’s your chance to celebrate Islington’s many thriving markets by voting for your favourite marketing trader, so get nominating… https://t.co/WGqYjUe1t9— M & M Property (@MandMPropertyN1) October 25, 2019
6. Vary your visuals
Our Mini’s are back on the road after the festive break, heading towards property valuations and viewings. If you see us around town, give us a wave. ??#property #canterbury pic.twitter.com/aK9Z9i3meF— Charles Bainbridge (@CBestagents) January 7, 2020
Social media is perfect for images, and you should use one with every post - but vary them. Don’t just stick with the same boring shots of houses and their interiors. Photos of attractive pets or stunning views can add variety to a timeline or use nifty infographics to draw your audience into a news blog.
7. Remember, it’s a two-way conversation
More and more people are using social media to interact with organisations – and doing so in a public way. It’s important to monitor your accounts and reply to any questions promptly and helpfully.
Businesses in the property sector are likely to receive the occasional negative post on social media. If someone is complaining about the service they’ve received, investigate and tackle it head-on. Put things right if you need to and explain what you’ve done. It’s also possible you will be targeted by trolls – refute any incorrect information then move on.
Social media accounts are a valuable source of information about your customers, so take note of their comments and posts too. Use polls, to engage them but also to find out what they think.
8. Prioritise video
These days it’s pretty much essential that you use some video in your timeline to engage your audience.
This could be anything from tours of prime homes, to ‘how to’ demonstration videos on practical subjects. Animated infographics can be eye catching and shareable too, such as this one from Zoopla
If you’re not sure what type of video to go for, look at what your competitors are doing. You should also analyse videos by your favourite brands outside the property sector. See what works and whether you could adapt it.
Your videos don’t need to be long and involved. On Facebook, the highest engagement rates come from videos, which are under 90 seconds long.
9. Measure social media ROI for business
All the social platforms give you instant access to basic analysis, such as number of followers, views, shares and likes. These metrics are a useful starting point for measuring your social media strategy and seeing how well some posts do in comparison to others.
They are, however, often termed ‘vanity metrics’ – they might make you feel good, but don’t really tell you anything about how engaged your audience is. A post may attract 10,000 likes but if none of these people explore your brand, take action or advocate on your behalf, the likes are of little importance.
To accurately measure social media ROI, set clear objectives for your social media strategy or campaign, with measurable goals – creating awareness of a service, developing customer advocates or generating leads, for example. Use metrics to gauge whether your social media is hitting the mark, such as clicks through to your website, newsletter sign-up, booked valuations and new landlords or vendors. There are tools to help you do this – read more on this Hootsuite blog - https://blog.hootsuite.com/measure-social-media-roi-business/
As we said at the start, social media engagement has changed enormously over the past 15 years. Change is rapid, and where it will be in another few years is a difficult call. But, while keeping ahead of the game can feel daunting, it’s also one of the things that keeps the world of social media so exciting and packed with opportunities.
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How effective is social media marketing for real estate agents?
When used correctly, social media marketing can be very effective and can assist the lead generation from vendors, landlords, buyers and tenants. It is also cost effective as most of your social media results will come from investing time in creating and publishing content as well as having conversations with your fans and followers.
What is social media management?
Social media management is the process of creating, scheduling, and engaging with your followers via content posted on social media platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You can employ an in-house social media manager or appoint an agency, such as Art Division, to manage your social media accounts on your behalf.
How do I start social media marketing for my real estate agency?
The first question to ask yourself before you start a social media campaign is what do you want to get out of it?
Do you want to attract more leads? Offer better customer service? Build relationships with customers and boost loyalty?
Your answers to these questions will greatly affect the type of content you publish and the channels you use.
Once you have a defined goals, try to dig deeper into the problems your ideal client is currently facing or the subjects that matter to them the most and start producing content that helps them solve those problems or enhances their lives or experiences in some way.
Producing blog articles is the best way to get your social media marketing going as you can ‘splinter’ several posts from each blog article, and therefore sharing useful content, aimed at your ideal clients.