With so many geographic locales nationwide still suffering from housing woes, Realtors® are turning to social media in greater numbers to not only help generate sales, but for branding as well.
The National Association of Realtors® reports that almost half of its members are now using social media; an additional 9 percent plan to in the future. Mashable reports even higher figures – 84 percent of all real estate professionals are using social media (see graphic).
So what are some innovative sites, programs, tools that Realtors are finding useful?
There’s a gazillion examples; here are a few:
As reported by Power Up, a social media site providing a welter of real estate-related information and advice, here are five ways Realtors are using LinkedIn:
Company Homepage: Self-evident; testimonials can also be linked and a Realtor’s firm can be listed for employees to add to their LinkedIn profiles.
Data Mining: Use polls/surveys to better understand clients and what they’re looking for.
LinkedIn Ads: Can target advertising to those folks more apt to call an agent, e.g., people who have recently moved, higher income earners, etc.
LinkedIn Groups: Realtors can connect with clients, fellow Realtors – by participating in various forums, people get to know you and you may glean some valuable market intel/industry knowledge.
References: Testimonials help raise a Realtor’s profile.
Being on Facebook and Twitter is a given. With Facebook, many Realtors add their clients; they also communicate with them on their Wall. Twitter can be very time consuming; it can be beneficial if you concentrate on building a local following, e.g., if you live in San Diego, focus on local/regional real estate trends, issues, ideas, news, developments – going national probably won’t result in any new listings.
Key, of course, is don’t use either social media tool for a hard sell – postings/Tweets should be more educational and informative to further help with branding/positioning – ‘WIIFM’ (‘What’s In It For Me’, e.g., the client), is paramount.
Realtors are using YouTube frequently now to provide prospects with virtual tours of homes they’re listing. But many Realtors who may not want to spend a lot of time crafting their own videos are relying on various programs to do this for them.
One of these tools is Wellcome Mat. The company’s co-founder, Phil Thomas Di Giulio said the majority of videos being uploaded consist of property tours, neighborhood profiles, brokerage information/updates, or agency advertisements.
“The common identifier with each is engaging and capturing the imagination of the viewer online while delivering information about a property, place, person or town,” said Di Giulio.
While still relatively new, Pinterest is becoming another way for tech-savvy Realtors to showcase listings and indirectly, themselves and their agency. Many have created their own pin boards highlighting salient features of a particular property.
And two more tools are catching on – Google Analytics is being used by Realtors to send home sellers weekly reports so they can see how many viewers their property websites are getting; and quick-response (QR) codes are being employed on ‘For Sale’ signs so people can sidle up to a house, point their smart phone at the sign, and immediately download details.
“In the real estate world, listings, open houses and tours are the main stepping stones towards making the sale, and the digital world has made those steps much easier.”