Real Estate Agents in a Social Media World: A Guide
Back At You Media currently only works with Facebook business pages, but obviously other social media platforms exist! The question is, where do you concentrate your efforts? Every good agent is busy and time for social media is already limited. Let me help you cut through all the noise and explain which social media platforms deserve a bit of your precious time.
Twitter: If you can sell me a home in 140 characters, you don’t need Back At You Media! You’re clearly a selling god. In all seriousness, there’s nothing wrong with being on Twitter as an individual, but using it as a real estate agent will likely prove difficult. People use Twitter for a variety of reasons" keeping tabs on their favorite celebrities, staying up to date on the news, and just for pure time-killing entertainment. Unless you have the time to share and comment on local happenings, be entertaining, and share your listings, Twitter will not be productive for you. It's by no means a bad platform, in fact it's great, it just takes time. On the bright side, Twitter’s advertising platform is much-improved and posts can be shared and re-shared quickly and easily. If older demographics improve, Twitter may soon be a decently valuable asset for the average real estate agent.
Instagram: On the surface, Instagram seems like a pretty strong option since it’s image-centric, but there’s a few big problems. First of all, the demographics of Instagram are very young (90% of users are under 35 years old, whereas on Facebook, the fastest growing demographic is over 40). Next, it’s very hard to organically grow your following on Instagram. Discovery has gotten better, but it’s going to be nearly impossible to get a sizable follower base if you start today from scratch. Sure, you could buy fake followers, but that is a horrible idea! You’ll be spending money on followers that won’t ever like your posts because they’re not real! Lastly, even if you wanted to spend money to get a larger following or to promote a single post you can’t! Instagram’s advertising platform isn’t open to the public yet. I could go on, but hopefully I convinced you that Instagram is not the best use of your social media time at this point.
Google+: If you can name five people that you know that actively use Google+ then I’ll write a whole blog post about it, but until then…we’ll move on.
LinkedIn: A lot of our clients mention LinkedIn when we talk about other social media platforms, but I’m not sure why. LinkedIn is a great place to look for a job or follow up on potential business partnerships, but it is not a place that draws people back day after day for huge chunks of time. If you’re looking for a new member of your real estate team, by all means, check out Linkedin, and it certainly can’t hurt to post your open house or new listing on there, but don’t be surprised if it gets little-to-no traction. You’ve been warned!
YouTube: Everyone loves YouTube, but it should not be the focus of your social media efforts. Obviously if you have a virtual tour or some other sort of cool video (perhaps you are so tech-savvy that you’re already doing drone flyovers of your listings), you would want to share that to YouTube, but if you stop the process there, you aren’t going to get many views. YouTube is a fantastic complementary tool in social media, but don’t just upload your video and forget it! Share it on your Facebook business page and drive people to your YouTube channel. Users who are currently in the market may very well subscribe to your YouTube Channel if they want to be up to date on the latest listings, but just remember that YouTube is just a helpful video-hosting service as far as you’re concerned as a real estate agent.
Facebook: People used to say that Facebook’s younger demographics were reason enough to not spend your business time there…then all those kids’ parents signed up for Facebook (and a lot of their grandparents did too)! Almost 50% of Facebook users are between 25 and 55 and the growth of users over 55 years old has been 80% over the last three years! Facebook has the visual aspects of Instagram, the video capabilities of YouTube, the tools to grow your audience both organically and through one of the best and most affordable advertising platforms available, and the ability to use applications like ours to turn your Likes into Leads.
You might interject that Facebook is just a place for baby pictures and quizzes like “Which Seinfeld character are you!?” That’s fair; you wouldn’t be 100% wrong. That said, try thinking of your Facebook business page like a television channel. For the sake of round numbers, let’s say that 80% of an hour of television is entertainment and 20% is made up of commercials. If 80% of TV was made up of commercials (sometimes it feels that way) don’t you think viewership would fall pretty drastically? By the same token, it makes sense that a large portion of Facebook content is fun, easy to digest, and entertaining and your business page should follow suit! If you post nothing but listings and open houses (commercials) people are going to tune out. Entertain the masses (or better yet, let us do it for you) for a good chunk of the time and sneak in a commercial every now and then to make sure your bottom line continues to grow. If the formula works for humongous television networks, it should work for you too!
Long story short, if you have a plethora of time for social media, by all means, spend it getting acquainted with the variety of social media platforms available and find out what works best for you, but if you’re a busy agent with little to no time for social media, spend what little time you can spare at the hub of the social media world, Facebook.