Sharran Srivatsaa is president of Teles Properties. In addition to building the most advanced agent service platform in the industry, Srivatsaa’s focus includes corporate growth strategy, client advice, and firm-wide operations.
Using Social Media to Sell More Homes Faster
The president of California-based Teles Properties interviews agents to glean best practices for marketing on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter.
August 11, 2016
Social media can help real estate agents maximum their listings’ exposure, speed up sales, and show clients that they are tech-savvy, innovative, forward-thinking salespeople who will stop at nothing to find the perfect buyer. But the key to harnessing the power of social media is to have a smart strategy with a multipronged approach that incorporates the top outlets. Each platform functions differently, and it is wise to diversify the channels you use as well as the content you share. This list of best practices — culled from the advice of some of the top agents at my company, Teles Properties —will best capture your audience and sell homes. Brokers, feel free to pass these tips on to your team.
“Facebook is the new print advertising,” says Teles Laguna Niguel agent Brad Feldman. “No other platform provides as many valuable analytics as Facebook does.”
The value of Facebook stems from its ability to collect data, help you find your audience, and then target your ads and posts to that particular group of users. Traditional print media makes you a slave to the publishing cycle, but Facebook lets you quickly know who’s clicking, sharing, and engaging with your content so that you can retarget ads to certain ZIP codes, geographical areas, and even to specific email addresses. You can also test ad photos to discover the ones that receive the most clicks. All of these analytics and data points can then be shared with clients, who love to know how many people you’re reaching.
Facebook is also a great platform for self-branding, marketing all aspects of the real estate business, gaining clientele, and encouraging an increased referral rate. Facebook directly connects agents with potential clients, so it’s important to always post good, clear photos with detailed captions of the properties you’re trying to sell. It’s also a good idea to build rapport with the community. Sharing tidbits of knowledge and helpful market information develops deeper and more reliable connections with community members, potential buyers, and clients. And unlike Twitter, which has a 140-word character count, Facebook has no limits. So if you have a longer message that you want to share, Facebook is your platform.
“Instagram is a great organic way to reach people,” says Teles Pasadena agent Tyler Harman. “Your message gets in front of everyone who looks at a particular hashtag.”
While Facebook is a quick and effective way to get your message across to everyone on your virtual Rolodex, Instagram can capture the attention of complete strangers who search for specific hashtags. Once you start using Instagram, you’ll be surprised at the number of direct messages you will receive from people who’ve seen your post and are interested in your listing.
Instagram is an amazing vehicle for short video property tours (no longer than 15 seconds). It is also a great platform for posting behind-the-scenes photos of pre-listing house preparation or happy clients finding “the one.” In addition, you can even display your familiarity with a certain neighborhood or city by utilizing Instagram’s photo map, which uses the geotag feature to put a thumbnail of your photo onto a Google map so everyone can see where it was taken.
“Snapchat is about to take over as the social media front-runner,” says Teles Beverly Hills agent Suzanne Wilson. “It’s a platform that people use with intent.”
Because everything you post on Snapchat eventually disappears, you can be sure that users are paying extra attention to the content they view. Videos don’t need to be edited or polished, and you don’t need a high-tech camera or amazing videography skills. Snapchat is more about building relationships than anything else. While you can create Snapchat stories about setting up for an open house or a quick home tour, the best way to use the platform is to establish your brand and personality; it’s about being authentic and creative.
“Twitter is all about engagement,” says Teles Manhattan Beach agent Ellis Posner. “Master the art of hashtags and try to make sure your tweets are always a service to your clients and potential clients.”
Although it can sometimes be a challenge to keep your message to 140 characters or less, Twitter can be a great tool for real estate agents — as long as you focus on cultivating engagement. It’s a good idea to set up Google alerts and RSS feeds and to subscribe to key websites to receive good content that you can share regularly on Twitter. When you post an article that you’ve found — or written yourself — it is a service to your online community. Of course, tweeting newsworthy updates about yourself or your company is useful, too. On this platform, it’s imperative to use hashtags, which categorize Twitter posts by keywords that potential clients can look for. Use them well and often, because that’s how people will find your tweets.
“The great thing about social media is that you can adapt your strategy based on consumer behavior,” says Teles Carlsbad agent Steve Olson. “Utilizing different social media platforms is not only incredibly rewarding for your business but also surprisingly flexible. By creating a smart strategy, sharing relevant, interesting, and creative posts, and staying authentic, you can use the power of the internet to your advantage and, ultimately, sell more homes faster. Social media is and will continue to be a necessity for any modern real estate agent.”