Real Estate Social Media Myths: BUSTED!

Although slow on the take up the real estate industry is finally catching on to the fact that social media is not only a viable means of marketing but also one of growing importance. This has lead to an influx of agents and offices who “absolutely have to be on such-and-such book”, which has in turn lead to an absolute flood of abandoned profiles and page owners frustrated by a lack of results for their efforts.

We’ll make some enemies here, but: Don’t Blame The Network. Like the old adage says you can’t expect results from work you didn’t do.

To help combat some of this frustration we want to offer a quick dose of reality in order to dispel some of the most common pitfalls and aggravations most real estate professionals run into when they do decide to put in the effort to run their own social media profiles.

All I have to do is post listings.
No. There is rarely a more poor way to run your social media presence. Your audience is exposed to thousands of pieces of “buy my stuff” marketing every single day; when they are on Facebook they very likely aren’t there looking to be spammed.

If you’ve branded your page correctly visitors will already be able to tell you are in real estate, and while it is fine to feature your listings having an endless stream of house pictures on your page not only does nothing to encourage fans to visit your website (where you hopefully have those listings in more detail) but it also discourages fans from caring what is on your page in general.  Solution: Post content relevant to your area, your fan base, or to showcase who you are.

Everyone I Follow Will Follow Me Back.
No. While it is good to like others pages and to interact with posts as your own business page as frequently as possible it is no guaranteed win. People sometimes will follow you back just because you followed them ( especially on twitter ), sometimes they won’t. Don’t rely on this happening. This is like showing up at a party where you don’t know a single person and expecting everyone to stop what they are doing in order to come over and talk to just you. Solution: Interact with other pages beyond just liking their page once. Frequent interaction can increase engagement.

I Shouldn’t Share Other Peoples Stuff.
No. Isn’t this SOCIAL media? Isn’t it supposed to be all about being social and sharing the great things you find? More than just a like or a plus one, sharing other peoples posts can drop the spotlight on you as someone who might be an online ally. It also allows you to more easily diversify your own content; after all, what’s more boring than someone who only talks about themselves all the time? Solution: Share! Share often!

Automation Is the Best!
Definitely NO. While automation can save you time your quality will suffer. There are even any number of services that you can pay to post content on your behalf – the drawback? It’s the same content spewed out on a thousand other pages. It’s not effective. It doesn’t show that you care about what you are providing your fans and even if that wasn’t true, particularly on Facebook, posts that are auto-generated from third parties can receive as much as 60% less visibility. Solution: Schedule your posts if need be, even hire someone to post for you, but make sure quality is maintained.

Pass Me My Blanket, I’m a Guru.
And it only took two weeks!
Yeah. About that. Not going to happen.
The internet is full of self-proclaimed gurus who know all the right buzzwords ,and even what some of them mean, but nothing worthwhile ever came easy or over night. Consistent effort will bring results, but don’t expect to have a thousand fans in just a few days without buying them. Beyond knowing how to use the tools within the systems effectively, and being able to create great content, there really are no deep dark secrets to mind blowing success in social media. Solution: It takes time; you’ve got to put in the effort – or pay someone else to – in order to see real results.

book1The good news?
None of this has to be hard! We’re glad to talk shop and offer great free tips and training to our real estate website clients. If you’re just getting started, or aren’t even sure where to begin, you may enjoy our Social Media Primer: Seizing Your Digital Destiny. We’d love to send you a copy at no cost or obligation, just send us an email and let us know you’d like a copy.

Mobile Responsive REALTOR® Websites

realtors, go mobile!
With more and more internet users logging in to social networks and the web via mobile devices it’s more important than ever to be online and to have a website that performs well. Some surveys suggest that as much as 40% of all web traffic is now created via a phone, tablet, or other mobile device.

While all of our websites function well on a variety of devices we’ve shifted our focus with industry trends and are now proud to offer a fully mobile responsive website template for our customers. In addition, if you’re looking to go custom we can provide some of the very best, most affordable, custom real estate web design in the industry.

Understand, this is not some cheap redirect, or forward to a mobile.yourwebsite trick – this is true 100% natively mobile fluid design.

Did you know that you could have a fully functional resource for your potential clients online 24/7, 365 days a year working for YOU — all for less than you’d pay each day for your morning cup of high-test coffee? IT’S TRUE!

Take a look at our latest designs, check out our Realtor websites, and be sure to visit our Facebook Fan Page to stay up on the latest developments and tips for seizing your digital destiny!

Real Estate Social Media: Selling Versus Serving

vacuum_cleaner_sales

If you’ve been using social media for a while now ( with any success) you’ve likely already noticed that as an advertising platform it doesn’t quite work the same way as traditional mediums have in the past. Call it information overload, call it saturated with sales, call it what you will: your social media audience doesn’t want to be sold to.

…but how are we supposed to SELL anything?!

A wizened social media sage once said:

“Social media isn’t about selling to the people you’re connected with, it’s about connecting with the people you’re selling to.”

The secret, like in many things in life, is finding the balance. Your marketing efforts must serve your success, but to be effective online they must also serve your clients.

Chances are the people in your sphere of influence, your fans, already know you are in real estate . Those who are newly exposed to your digital presence likely won’t have a hard time figuring it out, especially if your social media portals are properly branded.

So why are you selling selling selling so hard? And if social media marketing isn’t for selling what GOOD is it?!

Increase Awareness
With so many major national portals out there, and most agents, offering basically the same search capability on their websites the content you create on your website and social media portals may be the only chance you get to stand out from the crowd.

Shouldn’t you then do your best to show them who you really are and why they should choose you over one of the other nameless thousands?

If you specialize in a particular niche market this is especially important to focus on as even if your audience knows you are in real estate generally they may not know you have a special expertise they could benefit from.

Establish Trust and Become an Authority
People trust others that they know and interact with more often. By creating a page that is interesting, informative, and relevant to your audience you are establishing yourself as a source for quality information and as an authority in your field. Encourage fans to ask you questions; use them as status updates or blog posts.

It’s never bad to look like you know what you are talking about.

Both of these things together can boost overall brand recognition and keep your name in the fore-front of past clients minds – who as we know in real estate can become return clients! – as well as in the periphery of new fans as well.

BUT HOW DO I SELL STUFF?!
Patience grasshopper. The path to enlightenment is wrought with dangers and distractions on all sides. It is good to feature your services or product from time to time, especially if you have something worth tooting your horn about.

For best results follow the hamburger rule of social media: 80/20. You want 80% of everything you post to be interesting, relevant, humorous, or related to your audience or your community – the 20% that’s left?  That’s for your harder marketing. Give this technique a try and see how it works for you!

Working in this industry we see the best and the worst of what’s being put out there on the web by real estate professionals. We’ve got to tell you, there is no surer way to cause your fans to become non-fans or  even worse to have them just zone out of your efforts altogether by creating a stream of posts that is nothing but pictures of your listings. Face it, it makes for REAL uninteresting reading. Every once in a while take a look at your own page from an objective viewpoint.

Keep these things in mind when evaluating your impact:

Would YOU want to read the things you post there?

Does your content feature local area events or interests?

Are you establishing yourself as a SOURCE for what your audience needs?…or just adding to the noise?

When you DO market are you be sure to drive traffic to your main hub?

We’d love to hear the things YOU are doing on social media to be different and to better serve your clients rather than just trying to SELL to them.

REALTORS: Don’t let the Winter months catch you napping!

beanieIt’s the holidays at last; for many that means time to turn off the cell phone and put business aside to focus on other things. And while that is certainly true, the holidays and these colder months do tend to be slower months for real estate, so there’s no reason to just toss away productivity altogether.

It’s a good time to make the most of some extra down time in order to get a running start on Spring. If you make the most of the available time you may be surprised to find you’ve already gotten a jump on making sure the coming year is a prosperous one. Here’s some ideas:

Rejuvenate and Re-evaluate.
Take some of that time for you. No,REALLY. By not taking care of yourself you only make it harder to find the strength and motivation to do the things you must. It’s also good to take time to reflect on the current state of your business as well as where you want it to go. Give some thought towards what you can DO to make those things happen.

Clean out the cobwebs.
The ones in your contact database. We know we know! UGH! Contact management. Yeah, it’s tedious, but having an updated and current list of valid contact will only help you focus your marketing efforts more efficiently. It wouldn’t hurt to take the time once your list is clean to go ahead and get a spring time or new years mailer ready to go as well. Don’t just throw out old leads – in many cases buying cycles come back around, so even if they’re not buying now they may be in the future, or looking to sell.

Spin Some NEW Webs.
When was the last time you looked at your own real estate website? When was the last time you edited or added anything to it? Block in some time to take a look at your website and review the information there to make sure it is current and geared towards your target audience.

Go Prospecting!
No, not for gold…although, maybe of a different kind.Holiday prospecting isn’t limited to Christmas cards! With SO many networking and social events going on this time of year it would be crazy not to get out and make the most of at least a few of them! You may be surprised to hear this from a tech company but face to face time is still one of the most powerful methods of gaining referrals and making new clients around. If nothing else it’s generally a way to get some great free food and beverage!

Lay the groundwork for the coming year.
Do you google yourself? Admit it.
If you don’t you probably should. Better yet, do that first then google your competition. Study and follow and learn. Take what is good from what they are doing and combine it with whatever it already successful for you. It may be a good time to start learning some of those social media marketing skills that you’ve been putting off – it’s only going to become more important next year.

Write your 2014 business plan. On paper. With a pen.
Take your ideas and desires for the coming year and write them down on paper. This tactile experience allows you to let your imagination go wild – sketch, draw, doodle – take the ideas in your head and just get them all out in ink. Now take the best of those and put them in bullet points to be your goals. Put these plans and goals some place near where you work to keep them in mind. They can be as simple as “get an updated wardrobe for meeting with clients” or as big as “be a million dollar producer”. Think about what you want, SEE it in your mind, and then build the things you need to make it happen.

If your plans for the new year include a new real estate website – or even revamping your old one – we’d love to talk to you!

Social Media Tips for REALTORS®

frustrated-computer-guyThe world of social media can be a daunting place. It’s hard to know who to believe, or even what works from what you research on your own. The way is wrought with fast talkers and smoke blowers ready to promise you the moon and stars – and hopefully you’ve not had your taste for social media spoiled by them. If you’ve heard the hype and seen the success stories and are ready to start making use of social media we’ve got a few tips to help you get on the fast track.

First, let it be stated that social media is not the silver bullet for all your website ails. It is merely another tool to apply to your overall digital strategy. It is not guaranteed to boost sales, traffic, or leads; at it’s very core is merely another advertising medium.

Social media isn’t marketing. It’s prospecting. It’s putting yourself out there. It’s making yourself known, and available. Social media allows your potential customer to find you and interact in a conversational way rather than via a promotional one. So it’s important to: Be Interesting. Be Relevant. Be Rememberable!

Not sure what to say to get the conversation part of things going? Listen first! Keep an eye on what topics are trending in your industry, locally, or across the country. Listen to what your customers are interested in, then get to work. Otherwise, you are just shooting in the dark.

Be Persistent. Social media success is made up of the things you do every day. Every day. That means you need to be in there posting, working the system, nurturing followers on a daily basis to see the best results. Considering many systems have algorithms in place to limit your visibility to fans post frequently is often the best way to insure your posts get seen.

Don’t make it all about real estate. Yes, you are REALTORS® yes, it is part of your job to advertise listings – BUT – one of the biggest mistakes we see real estate professionals doing in social media is posting nothing but links to their listings. Sure, it’s fine to link to that Just Listed property, but look at it from a potential fan (who may not even currently be in the buyers market)…are they going to be interested in seeing 15 posts a day that just advertise your listings…or would they rather enjoy more diverse content that might include local event info, home fix-it tips, or other information…? EXACTLY. So, make your content about more than just hyping that next listing.

Use pictures. Social media is a very visual platform, because we as humans are very visual creatures. Text based information posts are great but be sure to mix it up with some good visual content as well. Now, that doesn’t mean just post pictures – unless you are on Pinterest – but be sure to include pictures now and again, with some good “hook” language to describe the image.

Social media isn’t about selling to the people you’re connected with, it’s about connecting with the people you’re selling to. Keep the relevancy of your content focused on the interests of your fan base to see the most success; be sure to keep at it!

Build Your Social Media Army

realtor social mediaSocial media is the fastest growing method for increasing your digital footprint and gaining exposure for your listings and services. More people begin their search for homes, and for qualified REALTORS® online than ever before. To reach this crucial market you need to be highly visible amidst the ever growing tide of real estate professionals online.

In a previous post (brokers) we discussed how TourRE’s powerful website system can help you get all of your agents main web portals connected to your brokerage for optimal online visibility. But even if by some horrible possibility you or your agents don’t have our real estate websites there is still much you and they can do to benefit from social media.

Here’s some tips to turn your agents into a social media army:

Ask them to LIKE and/or follow your company pages and profiles.

Ask them to LIKE, share, or comment on the things your company posts.

Ask them to share a link to the company website as a status update.

Ask them to invite their friends to follow your company pages/profiles.

If they have Google accounts make sure they visit your company site and give it a +1.

Encourage your agents to post their listings and links on the company social profiles.

Get your agents to write articles for the company blog.

Offering your agents special incentives for helping to bolster the brokerages social presence isn’t unheard of either, although in all honesty by them participating in the offices online success they are truly already the recipients of a reward all it’s own.

Social media interaction from individuals is one of the biggest ways to really see results online; these social signals are gaining importance in how search engines rank your websites – what’s more, through social media you are increasing real human interaction independent of  the search engines help. Every agent online makes a difference and with just a little interaction on their parts you can potentially see immense returns.

Have questions about using social media for real estate? TourRE can help! We’re always glad to talk shop and we offer some of the most affordable social media management services online today!