Tonya Eberhart is the founder of personal branding firm BrandFace, LLC. Michael Carr is a former BrandFace client-turned-co-author and partner. They focus on helping real estate professionals become the face of their business and a star in their market. Learn more at BrandFaceRealEstate.com.
6 Ways to Connect Beyond Real Estate
If the items you share online are all about buying or selling a home, you’re missing chances to appeal to future customers who aren’t quite ready to make a move. Here’s how to target everyone with your content.
November 4, 2015
Take a look at the content you’re sharing on your blog and social media feeds. Is it mostly market reports, tips on how to qualify for a mortgage, or articles about why now’s the time to buy or sell? It’s not that those aren’t good things to share; they show your expertise as a real estate professional. But how relevant is it to those who are following you online?
The likelihood is that most people who connect with you aren’t going to be ready in that exact moment to buy or sell. So if you’re sharing a lot of industry-heavy content, it’s going to matter only to the few who are currently in the market. You want your content to appeal to a broad base of potential customers, especially those who are likely to make a move in the future but aren’t there yet.
So how do you produce fresh and interesting content that’s meaningful to an audience beyond those already interested in real estate, yet still tie it back to your business goals? Here are six types of content that can set your brand apart.
- Community: Our community — our schools, churches, sports teams, parks, and attractions, just to name a few — is what connects us as human beings. Become the expert who brings your community to your followers. Consider video interviews with city officials about the next big development project. Use a live-streaming video app to broadcast from a local event. Share “things you didn’t know about our home town” once a week. You can learn some very interesting things by consulting with historians at your library or historical society. Over time, this could turn into an amazing video or podcast series.
- Philanthropy: Your charitable works and efforts to support the community say a lot about who you are, and many people will be attracted to doing business with you because of this. There are agents who are hesitant to promote these efforts because they don’t want to come across as exploitative. Keep in mind that many charitable organizations — especially local ones — have small marketing budgets, so they rely on outside forces to promote their initiatives. Not only do they need you to promote them, they want you to. But your instincts are right: It’s not about you. So just make sure your content focuses entirely on the organization you’re helping, what it does for your community, why you believe in it, and how others can join in the cause. Then it becomes a huge win for all.
- Hobbies: Maybe you bungee jumped from one of the tallest bridges in the U.S. You’re an expert chef and use only locally grown, organic foods. You’ve done mission work in Haiti. You almost played professional baseball. OK, you get the picture. People are interesting, and people are interested in interesting people. We remember others based on their unique traits. And most of all, people love the story behind the face. Don’t go overboard with talking about yourself, but share a piece of your personal life and what interests you most. You’ll be surprised how many people will feel a strong, positive connection to you based on your hobbies.
- Creative connection: While important transactional information won’t resonate with all your social media followers every day, you can still find creative ways to engage them on the topic of real estate. What if you posted a photo of a different front door each Friday? It’s the entry point into our private lives and even gives a peek at our style when we adorn it with seasonal decor. At the bottom of each photo, watermark it with your logo and include a thought-provoking quote. You could even ask your audience to come up with their own title or caption for the photo. It’s something people don’t see every day, and it has a clear business connection.
- Experiences: Whether you’ve had an interesting experience buying a big-ticket item or a fateful conversation with a stranger in an airport, share it if you think it ties into a life or business lesson. Here’s a personal experience I can share: When my family was purchasing our first home in Columbus, Ohio, our real estate agent took my young children to Burger King’s indoor playground while we were finishing paperwork. At the time, my then-3-year-old son was accustomed to going into the women’s restroom with me. So when our agent was taking him to the bathroom, he instinctively went to the women’s side and had to be escorted out by a restaurant patron. Talk about a humorous customer experience! Any experiences you have that relate to your ideal customer are opportunities to connect beyond the business world.
- Influencers: “Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future.” You’ve probably heard that saying, and it’s relevant to everyone from teenagers to business leaders. Perhaps you have some mentors you like to recognize and tell why they’re important to you. Sharing the people and things that influence us is what makes us human. No matter how successful your business, you didn’t get there alone. Recognizing others for their contribution to your life is a way to show humility and show that you stay connected to the world around you.