By Justin Kerby
The role of social media marketing in the real estate industry is changing rapidly. Over 50 per cent of marketing leaders believe they’ll invest more money into social media marketing next year, so it’s important to understand how social media is changing.
As an agency owner who helps real estate brokerages develop online strategies, here’s how I believe agents and brokerages should look at social media and use it in their overall marketing plan.
Use social media to build familiarity:
Social media isn’t selling, but it is still a crucial part of the sales process. It’s where you build an emotional connection with your potential customers. Four in 10 consumers now say they are unlikely to become emotionally attached to a brand unless they are interacting via social media, and that number is steadily rising.
Sit on that thought for a second.
Familiarity with a brand makes the difference between a closing and a lost opportunity. Take the time to create high-value content full of local expertise and positive messages. Make your potential customers smile constantly, and they’ll think of you when it comes time to make a purchasing decision. This works for small purchases like buying a Coke just as well as it works for life-changing purchases like buying a home.
Nurture your leads:
In real estate, social media is about nuance, tact and patience. Social media makes its biggest impact during the research and brand interaction stages of the purchase journey. Once you’ve built familiarity with your potential customer and have piqued their interest, use social media as another touch point to nurture a relationship.
Don’t just say happy birthday once a year on Facebook – actually take the time to get to know your audience and engage with their content. Share articles with them that they will care about and show an interest in changes to their local municipality that will affect them personally. Always connect with leads immediately on social media and think about how you can provide value to them on an individual level.
Do your research:
One of the best ways to use social media is as a research tool.
Getting someone on the phone is challenging enough. Keeping them on the phone long enough to establish a relationship is a whole other story. Social media can be used to learn about your potential customers and to get a head start on building a relationship.
After you connect with a lead, take the time to do some research on their local interests and become a source of information for them. Use this to provide value to your potential clients on social media, but also take it offline and use it on calls and at meetings. Knowing your customers on a personal level should be a top priority.
Nuanced inbound prospecting:
Social media should be a core part of your inbound marketing plan. It’s all a part of your strategic chess game.
Just as you should be directing your website traffic into a sales funnel, social media too can be used as an inbound lead generator. Again, assuming you’re creating great content, people will move from the research stage to the interaction stage at some point. Having your social media pages set up with custom chatbots and easy-to-find calls to action is a crucial part of your inbound prospecting plan.
Trigger event awareness:
You can use social media to move deals into the pipe at just the right time, however, there is a caveat to this: You must be creating great content regularly, and you must not overdo it. Your audience most definitely does not want to be sold a home every day on social media. Keep them interacting with your content and engaged with your offering by reserving your events for special occasions. This way when you do need to trigger event awareness, you’ll have an audience willing to receive your message.
Social media is one of the best tools you can use to grow your business, but it shouldn’t be seen as selling. Whether you lead an entire brokerage or are a single real estate agent, shift your perspective to see social media for what it is in the real estate industry – a way to enrich your sales process with more qualified leads and motivated prospects.