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Social Media Strategy for Real Estate Agents: Why You NEED It

May 04 2010

2010 05 04 0857In today’s highly competitive real estate market, there is a multitude of ways for real estate agents to try to differentiate themselves from their market competitors.  Social Media is the newest “miracle” approach, or so many believe.  Many try, most fail, few succeed.  It isn’t a science, nothing in real estate is, it is all relationship based, a lot like social media.

Agent Approach and Failure
You can hardly glance at a social media site without seeing a real estate agent, telling you what their latest listing has to offer, or how they can better represent you as a Buyer’s Agent. When it comes right down to it, is that the way to win the heart, and mind, of the consumer?  Let’s consider this, in today’s world of DVRs, do you watch the commercials, or do you fast-forward past them?  How is social media any different, there may not be a fast-forward option, but many people will just ignore it.  Congratulations Mr./Mrs. Agent, you just became white noise and were filtered out.  When this happens, and an agent makes repeated efforts, with no response, they tend to say “This doesn’t work!” and give up.  This is exactly where the failure is occurring.

 

Understanding Why?
Why did the agent fail with the above approach?  The reason is simple. Social media is about building relationships, not about just pouring out information.  There is an expected give and take in this new media, but this kind of giving is giving information that the community will find valuable and useful.  When you provide information of value, then the community will also value you.  There is still more to the community expectations, those of you being a human being, of interacting, engaging, and establishing a relationship which will eventually lead to the opportunity to ask for the community members business, after they trust you – the human being.

Engaging a Community
Real estate agents aren’t successful by running around telling everyone “I am a real estate agent!”.  The most successful in our midst employ proven strategies including many of the “old school” techniques – door knocking, calling FSBO listings, and sending out mailings.  Calling your COI is a regular part of how you keep in touch with your community.  Why would social media be any different?  In social media though, you may need to be a bit more stealth in your tactics. You need to connect on a different level, a different interest – not you as a real estate agent.  What are you passionate about? What are your hobbies and interests?  Take those things and develop relationships based on those things, searching for people with similar interests in your geographical farm or market, then “friending” or “following” those people is the first step.  Next you need to build the relationships through shared interactions on that topic of common interest.  You need to be genuine, and who wouldn’t be when you are sharing your true passion.  This takes time, and as you grow those relationships, a trust will develop naturally.


 

Sprinkle in Expertise
As you build and grow the relationships within your community be sure to take any opportunities to offer your professional expertise.  If someone has a question about real estate and reaches out to the community, you should take that opportunity to offer your expertise.  This, along with an obvious mention of your profession in your bio, will help you spread the word to your community.  Everyone has a profession.  All along building the community and establishing trust, you can also drip listings here or there, or mention blog posts you have written that pertain to the local real estate market, asking your friends to take a look and let you know what they think via a comment.  You need a central hub to point back to – this should be your agent website, or blog (although the trend is to combine the two – a blog with an IDX feed is ideal).  Additional techniques include posting photos of listings, sold signs on properties you just completed a contract on, as well as interesting market specific statistics, all help to build your credibility and prove you’re the community real estate expert.

Trusted Advisor
This is when you may have the chance to build that most essential relationship in real estate, you can become the “trusted advisor” to your community, member by member.  The beauty of most social media (especially twitter) is that every message is visible to the community, and when people search for real estate related terms - they find you.  There aren’t only people searching - Google is constantly scanning and indexing information, this helps you build your market (this is where branding yourself is incredibly important, using your name, or a close approximation is the best choice).  Everyone lives somewhere, and everyone buys or sells at some point (or rents), and you can help them with all of these


 

things.  I find these clients to be the most rewarding, as they are also people who I interact with on a regular basis and they are often very willing to share their experience with others, and are often the most vocal supporters.

Why should you listen to me? I increased my business by 50% in 2009, in a down market, through my approach to social media.  Currently 50-70% of my active clients are direct results of my social media activities.

So what are you waiting for?

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