Dismal home sales have forced an uncomfortable reality on real estate agents: innovate or fold up shop. In 2010, new home sales were lower than ever. Since then, the housing market appears to be slowly improving. For instance, existing home sales crept up 1.4 percent in October 2011. Current news stories aside, today’s realty market is no basket of cherries. If realtors hope to successfully close sales, they must adopt innovative, effective marketing techniques.
Marketing real estate used to be a ground game. Just stick up your sign and wait for the phone calls to pour in, right? That might have worked during the boom of the 1990s, but home sales in the new millennia are significantly harder to come by. One real estate marketing tool many thriving agents swear by is social media. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites are now crucial ingredients in marketing. Real estate is no exception. In this article, we explain how realtors are using social media to sell properties. We also give you a leg up by outlining the most inventive, effective ways to use social media as a real estate marketing tool. First, though, let’s consider why social media is an effective tool for marketing real estate.
Expanding Your Reach
Social media is an excellent real estate marketing tool for boosting your reach. At the same time, it can act as a highly targeted real estate marketing tool. Thinking about reach, social media sites make it easy for people to share information with their friends. For example, if you post a customized video listing to your 300 Facebook friends, and a couple of them post it to their 300 friends, you’ve just tripled your reach.
However, the real power of social media as a marketing tool is that it is both far-reaching (you can post a public message to your board) and targeted (you can send a message to just those people who might be interested). As in many industries, marketing real estate is about getting your message in front of the type of people who are highly likely to be interested. So it is more effective to send your direct mail flyer to people who have specifically requested home sales information, rather than spending hours sending your flyer to every single person in a neighborhood. Facebook and Twitter allow users to share stories with their entire clan, or just with people they think might be interested. (Facebook and other social media sites also offer targeted advertising.)
Using Social Media to Market Property Online
The first step in using any social media site as a real estate marketing tool is setting up a company profile. Once your company is listed, it’s time to participate. Rather than seeing social media as a one-way conversation, like most advertising, it’s important for agents to see it as a two-way street – one where you provide helpful information and users ask questions, leave comments and make suggestions. In addition to posting your listings du jour, provide expert information for homebuyers and property owners. For instance, if one of your clients recently asked a question about closing costs, you could post a quick video response. This user-centric approach will keep visitors returning to your page for ongoing advice.
Corcoran Group in New York provides an excellent example of how to use social media for marketing real estate. Expert employees regularly post helpful advice to Facebook and Twitter. For instance, CEO Pam Liebman consistently posts video responses to housing questions from Facebook and Twitter users. Social media marketing results have been excellent for Corcoran. They’re seeing more traffic to their site, users are spending more time on the site, and they’re generating business directly through Facebook and Twitter.
Syndicating Customized Listings on Facebook and Twitter
Why stick with static home listings when you can add pizzazz? For instance, there are services available that make it easy for real estate agents to create eCards and customized home tour videos – these are extremely helpful tools for marketing real estate. Using such websites to create and distribute content ensures listing information is consistent across the internet. Furthermore, online listings and tour videos are easy to post all over the web, from Craigslist to Facebook to Twitter. A home tour video may include a slideshow of pictures, details on each room, music and charming animations. Your social media followers are more likely to share such rich, interactive content. To successfully market real estate with social media, keep searching for online tools that allow you to create engaging, sharable listings.