Graham Wood is senior editor for REALTOR® Magazine. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Go Beyond Facebook: Winning Strategies for Every Other Social Media Platform
We’re so hooked on Facebook that it seems we’ve forgotten about other social sites. Practitioners tell us how they work other platforms to benefit their business.
June 6, 2014
Everyone knows that social media channels are powerful marketing tools, but somehow the conversation usually centers on Facebook. We’re either talking about Facebook dos and don’ts and whether we should post listings on Facebook or agonizing over what makes the perfect Facebook profile. It’s like we’re Facebook-obsessed!
It seems like some of us may be forgetting that there is a slew of other social media platforms out there, and they all offer a great way to grow and promote your business. And there are things you can do on these other platforms that you can’t do on Facebook.
We spoke with several real estate practitioners and companies to find out which social media sites other than Facebook they use most often and how they use them to work for their business.
I live where a majority of people vacation, so I sell a lifestyle more than a home: boat life, fast cars, beautiful women, amazing restaurants, partying. I’ll post photos of myself on the boat with other REALTORS®. When people in Chicago are digging out from under snow, I’m posting a picture of me on the boat. That’s the lifestyle I sell.
I post pictures of me in a friend’s Lamborghini. I’ll post about fashion and show how fashion trends correlate with the home. It allows people to get a sneak peek at how I live and what South Florida has to offer. I’ve done four to five transactions that have correlated with Instagram just this year.
Every so often, I’ll post a listing. You want to remind people what you do. But I have some colleagues who do nothing but post homes, homes, homes. And I’ve noticed that their engagement goes down when they do that because people get bored.
—Carlos A. Melendez
Associate broker, Florida Premier Realty
Lake Worth, Fla.
I post 10-second videos of my listings, which gives potential buyers a quick glimpse and leaves them wanting more, as opposed to the traditional virtual tour. I don’t know anyone who is marketing daily video campaigns in my area. I also post photos of me and my customers at closings, as well as pictures of the beach. I make sure to link my Facebook business page and Twitter account to my Instagram account because photos and videos get the most views.
I also interact with people on Instagram. I explore photos that strangers post and make sure to “like” or “comment.” This gives me more exposure. If I leave an interesting comment, usually the person who posted the photo will explore my profile and “like” or “comment” on one of mine.
I get a lot of idea for posts by exploring hashtags relevant to my industry, such as #RealtorLife. Other REALTORS® around the nation use this and post open house schedules, success stories, or humor.
Ocean Properties & Management
New Smyrna Beach, Fla.
I get probably a third of my business from Facebook, so I’m trying hard to use Pinterest to direct anyone to my Facebook business page. I use cows as my gimmick and slogan (“MOOvin’ with Morales”), so I’ve been trying to create humorous memes and post them to Pinterest weekly. Then I try to link the source back to my Facebook business page. I also have a Cows board, where I get a lot of likes and repins. Those, too, I try to link back to my Facebook business page. I borrow ideas often from other real estate professionals who have good Pinterest boards.
Keller Williams Fox Valley
St. Charles, Ill.
I can create pinboards all about homes: home decor, color palettes, rooms, doors, window treatments, and so much more. I can take it a step further and create boards about my area. For example, I would refer to our beaches, landmarks, great restaurants, and so on. This not only attracts locals but visitors from out of state as well.
Of course, I slip a board in about listings, mortgages, and credit tips, too. However, that’s a small part of my board profile. Keeping it about things that others are interested in will help gain more followers.
You can interact by liking or commenting on a pin. You can also send a pin to someone else, which then helps it become more viral. I invite others to contribute to my boards, as that helps expose my board even more.
I have just begun, but I have followers from all over the country. No direct business yet; however, I use it to build contacts and exposure, and one day, you never know what may come of it.
Fort Myers, Fla.
The changes I made to my Twitter strategy are pretty simple: I got braver. I made a point to reach out to more people — strangers, especially — and make connections. I used the “private message” feature more and responded directly to people, rather than just retweeting. It’s been making a huge difference.
I stopped using Twitter to just listen or broadcast, and I started to make more of an effort to use it to converse. I realized that while I liked Twitter before, I really wasn’t using it the way I needed to. I was spamming my followers instead of creating conversations. There is no ROI there. I stopped focusing on how many followers I had and started focusing on interacting in real ways with the people I was already connected to.
Director of Training, RE/MAX Integra
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
We post videos of all our listings. We try to target the length at one minute and 30 seconds for those, but we go over sometimes. We also do community guide videos and keep those at from one minute to one minute and 30 seconds. Short and sweet is the way to go because you start to lose people after about 90 seconds.
If you’re going to do something, be consistent and put your best effort into it. Create a plan and execute it, even if it takes time to gain traction. Because of our consistent use of video, we’ve become the go-to brokerage for video in our market and beyond.
—Philip Becker, ABR, CRS
Broker-owner, Becker Properties LLC
Agents and brokers can use YouTube to do the things that Zillow, Trulia, and other third-party aggregators can’t do: go hyperlocal with videos and blogs. Hyperlocal means specializing in specific communities using videos and blogs, so when consumers are searching in a neighborhood and see all the information surrounding it, they will find you (the agent or broker). Imagine having 10 videos and 10 blogs all about a specific community. When done correctly, these mediums are constantly and effortlessly working to generate more business.
Here’s the most important tip: You must title your YouTube video with keywords that consumers will use in their Google search. Practitioners must attempt to think how consumers think. In addition, YouTube gives us an opportunity to write content. It is very important to always write something related to the video’s topic in this section. Google will optimize the content and better rank your video. In the contact, have a call to action, and give all of your contact information.
I post my videos on my ActiveRain blogs, our Market Leader website, Facebook, and Twitter. The goal is optimal exposure.
—Bobby Bryant, SRES
Broker-owner, iBuy Realty
LinkedIn is different from Facebook or Twitter in that it allows me to network worldwide. Whereas Facebook is best for the family, friends, and community interaction, LinkedIn allows me to make contacts across the globe.
As a former military spouse and current military relocation specialist, I have a very diverse background, having lived and worked with people around the world. LinkedIn allows me to use my people skills from afar. I ask friends to introduce me to second- and third-tier contacts on LinkedIn, and I connect with like-minded people who share my interests.
Many of my clients are professional military or law enforcement, so I routinely post informational articles that will be of interest to my network, and I extend professional courtesy by commenting and “liking” articles by other contributors. It shows that I understand my clients’ needs and struggles.
—Kalene Gamble, ABR, MRP
Broker-owner, Patriot Real Estate
I have found LinkedIn to be a great source for referrals. I use it to network with local businesspeople: attorneys, home inspectors, lenders, and others. LinkedIn is one of the primary platforms that have helped increase my business 70 percent. I post articles about the market and economy, but I also post personal experiences, which people love because it’s not just about self-promotion.
Century 21 Affiliated
Tinley Park, Ill.
The unique benefit to Google+ is that each post indexes for search engines, whereas on sites like Facebook, search engines don’t have access to individual post content. Google+ is the one channel that has delivered direct results for our SEO standings.
We work hard to post a variety of content on our Google+ page, including listings, videos, price reductions, links to new blog posts, agent anniversaries with our company, and info or fun facts about our city. If one of our Google+ followers does a Google search for “New Listings in Bozeman, Montana” or “Bozeman Real Estate” — or any other keywords that we have used on our Google+ page — our Google+ posts will almost always show up on the first page of their search results.
Another great benefit of Google+ is the communities. We actively post in the “Real Estate Community” and have shared and gained fantastic content through this channel: infographics, helpful articles, even some good old real estate humor. (Who doesn’t like to make fun of Zestimates?)
Marketing coordinator, Coldwell Banker RCI Realty