Category Archives: Social Media for Agents

Social Media and Real Estate Marketing

For the past few years I have consulted with many marketing pros about how to best use social media to promote my real estate business. Without fail, the first thing each of them have suggested is maximizing social media. This is a great idea. I have looked at each of them and shook my head in agreement. Of course social media is necessary. As a motivated agent, I have implemented many aspects of social media in to my business plan.

I attended a workshop given by Realtor.com many years ago at the onset of the social media explosion. I remember this because it was the first time I was excited by the potential and how simple it seemed to do. At the time, it was simple. The “like” button was just introduced.

Facebook was explained as a cocktail party. Those who were using updates to bombard followers were like that annoying person who kept on coming up to everyone and saying the same thing. This analogy was tremendously helpful and I learned the importance of using Facebook wisely in that moment.

I have profiles on the majority of sites and have a pretty good understanding of how these can benefit my bottom line. I have found that these avenues are superb for building a network and staying in touch with not only my sphere of influence, but also prospects. I have also found social media to be invaluable in providing information to potential buyers and sellers.

One aspect I did not fully appreciate was the ability social media has to help my branding, in other words, me. By avoiding being that obnoxious party guest I have had great success in communicating my personality on social media. You can be God’s gift to real estate, but if you are abrasive, annoying or obnoxious in how you present yourself to the public things may not go as planned.

By reposting things that let my friends, family and prospects know who I am, I am reaping the rewards. I have a business page as well as my personal page. I have found that I get more leads from my personal page than my business page. For my business page, I strictly post real estate related items and an occasional deep motivational quote along with how to get in touch with me. If I have new listings I will post photos and an occasional video as well if the property warrants it.

Much to my surprise, I am contacted more frequently by those who view my personal page. As Realtors, we are not only in the business of buying and selling homes, we are in the customer service business. We want people to contact us when they have a real estate need. If we are able to express who we are as individuals, whether funny or serious, those customers will feel a connection with us and be more apt to reach out to us.

By posting small details about what happens to be going on with my family, humor only, and by keeping my status posts positive I am confident that when I direct new potential customers to my Facebook page that they will not go running in the opposite direction.

There are a plethora of other social media sites out there. I am still amazed by how social media has changed the face of real estate in such a short time. It is a very powerful tool in the Realtor toolbox. Growing comfortable with and trying new things is a challenge for those of us who may be tech resistant. It can seem overwhelming to maintain a presence on social media. Do it anyway!

Many companies now hire full time positions to handle social media only. I have found that I prefer some of them over others. I have had good experiences so far with Pinterest and Instagram. I use Twitter and Linkedin less often but remain active on both. It is not enough to just have an account. By taking the time to understand the platform, benefits and purpose of each of the social media outlets we are able to decide which ones best fit our own personal models.

 

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DO THE EVOLUTION- Real Estate Technology in 2015

It seems like every year there are many new tech based applications that are created with the goal of enhancing, improving or streamlining the work flow of a real estate agent. With every passing issue of the many Realtor publications I receive I find more and more great tools available for helping agents manage the many facets of their business. Products range from high end CRM’s such as Top Producer aimed at agents to simple apps that can be shared with clients. I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of available resources. One of the best new lists of the 10 ten technologies out there can be found here.

Taking the time to sort through the variety of options is the first step in determining whether or not a particular tool is going to help propel your business forward. Every agent or brokerage has similar goals, but the way in which they reach those goals is often very different. Some may rely on customer focused information based apps. For those working with buyers the focus is often on current and helpful information about the properties available and managing communication throughout the search process. They are also quite fond of financing centered tools that will help them get in front of the lending process and become informed about interest rates, credit scores or the variety of loan options available.

Additionally, marketing and managing listings is perhaps one element of real estate technology that each agent knows is crucial to success. Agents who best manage the marketing and promotion of their listed properties in the cyber world will see those efforts convert to sales. This is the obvious choice for high volume listing agents and their brokers. Properties are our products and getting available properties exposed to the greatest number of potential buyers is job one. By using traditional and innovative avenues to advertise properties agent are best able to convert leads to listings to sales.

advancement-of-technologyWorking with customers is a key aspect of using and making technology fit in to the plan, however I would argue that for most agent the value that is found in technology which caters to managing the business end is often overlooked or underutilized. The ability to manage mileage, appointments, follow up, social media posts and blogs is something that every agent should consider when deciding which technologies would be suit their purposes. The use of lead generating technology is something that I feel is somewhat less important to me personally. Getting out in to communities and farm areas is the best way to generate leads. I have found that most, not all, of the lead generating tech that I have used to be the least effective way to spend my marketing budget.

There are those who are bent on having the newest and greatest gadgets and technology as they are introduced. This is not always a bad thing, but caution is warranted with this approach. Final decisions about what technology should make it into the real estate tool box should only be made after spending time carefully testing, weighing alternative options and evaluating each individual choice.

There can be little argument that the practice of real estate has changed leaps and bounds over the past couple of decades. Agents should strike a balance between tech overload and complete resistance to new ways of succeeding. By combining all of these elements, and using the most up to date real estate technology, real estate agents can forge a clear path to success and longevity in the business. The trick for maximizing the return on whichever technology is implemented requires constantly evaluation the things that best support the overall business goals. Keep what works and leave the rest. The goal of technology in real estate should always aim to help make things a little easier and more efficient, not to overwhelm and confuse.

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SEO What! I’m Still a Rockstar

SEO What! I’m Still a Rockstar

I have spent the last few weeks putting together a new website for my Real Estate Business. I had decided to move from the drop and drag format that I was using and step into the big leagues with a Word Press site. I was feeling quite confident in my ability to figure it out on my own. How hard could it be?

I quickly discovered that this was like learning a totally new language on a completely different planet. On top of learning the intricacies that is Word Press, I also had to dive in head first to this tricky little thing called SEO. I spent many hours researching other Realtor sites and found out quickly that this task would not be for the faint of heart.

I learned that Search Engine Optimization is something that many Realtors overlook when creating a website. Property search boxes and IDX feeds constituted a majority of the well ranked sites when it came to look and functionality, but the SEO was just not there. Good SEO is what helps direct home buyers, sellers or those interested in other real estate services to a site. SEO is more than just making sure that your page title includes your name or brokerage. The reality is that in today’s market most potential clients, buyer and seller alike, initiate their first searches online.

I work for a smaller local brokerage. We have a great office vibe, are hardworking and like to have fun. I often refer to myself as the “rockstar” agent in our office. Rockstar has become my superstar Realtor alter ego. Don’t judge. It works for me. We are a confident bunch and often discuss how we are going to take over the world at staff meetings. Taking over the world requires SEO. Our quest is going to fall short unless we focus on improving the online marketing of our brand. We do not benefit from the advantage that belonging to a national real estate company affords when it comes to online presence. For me, and the other agents in my office, having a website that will come up when a search for homes or a Realtor in our local area is beyond important.

After many hours of trial and errors, including a good deal of time spent trying to figure out how to get my posts to say Dawn Waters instead of my username, rockstar, I finished with a content rich, easy to use site. I chose to not include IDX right now. Baby steps. The time I invested in learning Word Press and making sure that the site would begin to rank in the major search engines will result in future potential listings and sales.

I created the site from scratch, using a theme from Word Press and did the best I could in making sure the SEO was in a great starting place. It cost me a few dollars. As Realtors, we can really be penny pinchers and when it comes to SEO and websites this is not the place to scrimp. I decided that paying a Word Press/SEO consultant to boost my site up with internal coding and keyword tracking for a few months was well worth the relatively small expense.

Using Word Press is something that I highly recommend. I am not a programmer, but know enough to be dangerous. This experience has opened up a new skill set that I can share with my fellow agents at McBride Realty Group, LLC in Debary Florida. I also have a new appreciation for those who are the real “rockstars” in the world, professional web designers and computer programmers.

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