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Top 5 Mistakes Real Estate Agents Make Online

August 27 2014

Househappy Top5Mistakes Social

1. Equating a social media presence with a social media strategy.

Anyone can create a Twitter or Facebook account, but not everyone can use social platforms as a business tool. Before you start posting, take time to hone in on what you want to accomplish overall and on each channel. Set consistent and realistic goals for the three "Ps" (posting, performance, and paid) and then stick with them.

It's possible to track performance of social content without using a paid service. Google's Analytics Academy offers free videos that walk you through how to use their tools to track and collect actionable data, as well as how to create reports that evaluate digital marketing performance.

It might seem obvious, but many agents treat their professional accounts as though they are personal accounts. Consider the content that you are sharing and how it reflects on your business; sharing political views, off-color humor, or using an poor-quality image as your profile cover are all common mistakes.

Connecting with potential clients on social media can be tricky. Requesting to friend a potential client on social media can be off-putting, especially to younger buyers. A recent panel of buyersA recent panel of buyers at the Florida Realtors Conference & Trade Expo revealed that young buyers draw a strict line between professional and social connections. As on participant said, "No Facebook. Your liking a picture of me on the beach with my girlfriend is weird."

2. Responding to online leads too slowly.

Time is money. And that maxim is never more true than when it comes to online leads. A recent whitepaper from the WAV Group showed that, on average, it takes agents 15.5 hours to respond to an online inquiry it takes agents 15.5 hours to respond to an online inquiry. Another report from Market Enhancement Group, Inc. showed that two-thirds of all homebuyers said their agent's response time was slower than they expected; the number of dissatisfied customers rises to nearly 80 percentnumber of dissatisfied customers rises to nearly 80 percent when the buyers are millennials.

It's important to develop a system for responding to inquiries, so it's worth investing the time and energy into a customer relationship management tool (CRM). Look for one that integrates with tools that you already use, like Evernote, Mailchimp, and social media for a seamless transfer of information.

Be hyper-aware of the form of communication that you choose. Young buyers will not check the voicemail that you leave—in fact, many of them have never even set up the voicemail functionality on their phones. According to an article in the New York Times, "time is, again, the main deterrent, but the rarity of voice mail makes some ... wary of their messages' import." Takeaway? Choose email or text message when possible, relying on voice calls for emergencies only.

3. Discounting the power of property photos.

Photos are the single most important factor for homebuyers. We've written about ways that you can use your mobile phone to take better images, but one of the most consistent mistakes that agents make is to not share their property photos frequently enough.

Incorporate photo sharing into your social media strategy. The Harvard Business Review put together a comprehensive report on how age and gender play into viral marketinghow age and gender play into viral marketing. After you determine what your audience is most drawn to, you can utilize that insight when hiring photographers or snapping your own property images.

Think outside the box—don't rely on tweeting and posting exterior images with a generic statement like "Recently listed!" to garner attention. Instead, a photo of a well-appointed kitchen with marble counters could be used for an engagement post about marble vs. granite countertops. Do your homework so that you can make each image work twice as hard for your online marketing efforts.

4. Overlooking your parent company or brokerage's content.

If your brokerage is a franchisee or part of a larger company, there's no need to look anywhere else for current and sharable content. Companies like Coldwell Banker have expanded beyond the traditional company blog model to include partnerships with content creators like Buzzfeedpartnerships with content creators like Buzzfeed to reach a wider audience. Posts like Searching For A Home In Your 30s vs. Your 20sSearching For A Home In Your 30s vs. Your 20s are perfect for sharing on social media.

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate licenses their name from the Meredith Corporation, which publishes a magazine of the same name. Agents can source DIY, decorating, and other home-related content from the magazine's websitewebsite to inspire and engage potential buyers.

The lesson is that searching for quality content can be as simple as looking in your own backyard. Time spent writing your own articles or listicles can be better used scheduling posts. Adding a project management tool like Trello or Evernote to manage your content calendar, is also helpful—especially for managing multiple topics and tracking conversions.

5. Investing in a blog... and then forgetting about it.

Creating a blog is easy, but the upkeep can be tough. In order for a blog to help with search engine optimization. Search engines are more likely to crawl sites that publish more frequently, but the reality is that most blogs aren't properly set up to take advantage of search algorithms. Hubspot put together a well-rounded reviewwell-rounded review of what you can do to make your blog more SEO-friendly.

If you're willing to invest in creating and updating a blog, make sure you explore all avenues for promotion, including paid social. Promoted tweets on Twitter and sponsored posts on Facebook can help you make sure that your target audience sees your content. A recent piece in MediabistroMediabistro showed that nearly 99% of all social media posts generate little to no engagement. Relying on organic posts to raise awareness of your blog on social media is like throwing a penny off a skyscraper.