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How to Use Your Local Knowledge to Build Trust

January 03 2015

agent front of listing 2I love looking at property listings on search portals. For me, half the fun of clicking around is seeing how different agents present themselves online. I like to check out their profile to see how much effort they've put into fleshing it out. Have they claimed their past sales? Are there testimonials? Did they write a bio? Can I get a sense of them as a professional?

If there's not enough information there, I can't. And if I can't get a sense of them, I can't trust them. It's not that I mistrust them, I'm just indifferent. Indifference is your enemy, because it drives prospects away and into the arms of competitors who are more mindful of their online image.

Online Presence Done Right

But enough about agents who are doing it wrong online. On a recent search session, I found one Realtor who's definitely doing it right. Jimela Bewley has a fully leveraged portal profile that makes her seem warm and knowledgeable, but it's her websiteher website that really blows me away.

It's so simple, but so user friendly because it gives real estate consumers exactly what they want--local information--with neither fuss nor muss. It's just gorgeous local photography married to accessible content about each of the areas she serves. The domain name is wonderful, too. CentralCoastLiving.com underlines exactly what the site is about--what it's like to live on the Central Coast--and inspires consumers to picture themselves living there.

How to Enhance Your Presence with Local Knowledge

If a website overhaul isn't in your immediate future, be sure to at least audit your site and see if the local information it offers is relevant and useful to consumers. Many templated websites come with generic, pre-written content that does little to inform. Consider replacing it with real, useful copy--the kind that could only come from a local. If you're able to add pages to your site, create a new page for each area you serve and lean on your local expertise to make every one as informative as possible.

Once that's covered, you can also offer helpful information to consumers in the following ways:

1. Track local events via Twitter - Did you know that Twitter lets you create custom widgets to embed onto your website? You can leverage this by identifying the hashtags for local events and creating a widget that follows those events, like #MyTownFestival, for example. In times of big weather events or other natural disasters, you can become a source of helpful information by following those hashtags (like #NewYorkBlizzard) and embedding the widget onto your site. If your area has a common hashtag for tracking school snow days, this can be very helpful to parents.

2. Highlight local contractors and service providers - Once the storm goes, plenty of people are going to be looking for contractors to repair the damage done. If you have a list of trusted providers, share that on your website. For an elegant, hands-off solution, Nest4Less offers a free directory of local service providers that embeds easily into any website.

3. Make use of maps - We recently talked about how agents can leverage Google Maps, but did you know that Pinterest offers some pretty neat mapping features, too? They're called Place Pins--basically, pins that are enriched with geolocational data. You can, for example, create a board full of place pins that highlight the best local area restaurants. Visitors to your board can click a point of interest on the board's map to see the corresponding pin, or click a pin to see where it's located on a map. It's a visually striking (and practical) way to show off your local knowledge and acquaint others with your area.

The beginning of a new year is a great time to evaluate what message you're conveying to the world. Take stock of your website, online profiles, social media accounts, email signature, and more today to make sure your digital persona is one that consumers want to trust.