ByÂ Cassandra Bailey
The online world is a tough nut to crack, especially when your main focus is easing your clients through the purchase or sale of a home. How do you figure out which outlets to use, which to avoid, and how much of your time should focus on this type of marketing?
Well, the first and most important thing to know is that our current world is ALL ABOUT social media. People want something — a book, a recipe, a piece of advice, or a house — the first place they look is online. For realtors, this means that having a name in cyberspace is of utmost importance.
Are you going to get this through your company website? No!
While you should absolutely use and customize whatever web address your company provides, it should not be your main source of online presence. There are a few “musts” for social media usage. Here they are:
Facebook. Whether you love or hate it, it’s the number one way people connect online. It can be an extremely effective tool if used correctly. How NOT to use Facebook for your business — do not set up a profile simply to create a business page and then inundate everyone you know (and everyone they know) with posts about your business. If you do this, people will immediately start to ignore you. People spend time on Facebook to relax; they don’t want things shoved down their throats. How you SHOULD use Facebook for your business — be an active contributor, and go beyond business-related activity. Share info about your lifestyle, your activities, your town, and your business. Have a personal profile and a business page so that you can reference them between the two. Post useful things that will help your connections; for example, if you find a good tip about choosing a title company, post it. People are going to appreciate you for your good information and respect you for giving them more than a constant stream of advertisements.
Twitter. Incredibly easy to use! Link it to your Facebook account and all your Facebook posts will automatically “tweet.” When you are out and about in your town, take pictures of interesting things — a remodeled fire station, a flooded golf course, a gorgeous view, a family of ducks crossing the road — whatever it is that’s unique to your area and that shows day-to-day life. People love this!
LinkedIn. You can get lost making connections on LinkedIn and reading profiles. This is NOT a good use of your time. Your best bet is to have a LinkedIn account, check it once or twice a week, and keep up with your connections. It’s not beneficial to connect to tons of other realtors in your area; as a matter of fact, you should be sparing with these realtor connections. Do try to connect with local businesses, title companies, mortgage lenders, insurance agents, home improvement contractors, home inspectors, and utility companies. You want these people to recommend you. You want them to think of you when someone needs a realtor. You also, of course, want to make connections with your clients — past, present, and future. Again, you want them to think of you when recommending a realtor to their social circles.
Between these three avenues, you should spend about 1 hour a day marketing your business online. You’ll be absolutely amazed at how quickly that hour goes! Be sure to set aside time when you plan to ONLY market and not get side-tracked shopping online or chatting with your best friend via Facebook message.
Something important to keep in mind — your goal for using social media is not to convert every connection into a sale (wouldn’t that be nice?!) rather, it is to get your name out there in cyberspace and have people think of you FIRST when recommending a realtor in your area.