Social media has long since staked its claim as the ruler of digital communication. But we can't overlook the fact that social sites are also dominating as a thriving marketplace for nearly everything imaginable.
People aren't just selling used baby gear and old refrigerators, either. Real estate agents are tapping into every square inch of social media marketing capabilities to sell the most important item on their spec sheet: their brand image.
In a digitally driven world where consumers spend nearly 1 out of every 5 minutes online engaged in social networks, real estate agents can no longer avoid the social media takeover that is reshaping the real estate landscape at a quickening pace. If you have not already positioned your real estate persona on social channels, you owe it to yourself to take a closer look at how social media can improve the way you do business:
According to a survey from the National Association of Realtors, 21% of real estate activity in 2012 was from repeat business. In addition, 21% of real estate activity stemmed from referrals. People don't buy from people they don't like, and they wouldn't refer their friends and family to someone they couldn't trust. And with such a high percentage of business coming from people you've already partnered with, or people who know people you've partnered with, you can't afford to let a bad experience ruin your good name.
Social media can make or break your reputation as a real estate agent. Once you put yourself within the socialsphere, you stand the risk of receiving 1-star reviews and damaging comments that the whole world can see. But, it also provides you a golden opportunity to showcase your successes, kudos from happy clients, and 5-star reviews that will plant a positive image in the minds of your prospects.
If fear of negativity is keeping you from giving social media the green light, know that there is plenty you can do to offset the effects. First and foremost, don't ignore any feedback; instead, publicly reach out and try to resolve any issues. Second, ask satisfied clients to leave you a nice comment or review on your social pages. The more 5-stars reviews you gain, the more it will distract from a lone 1- or 2-star comment. And finally, never use fake reviews. The internet is besieged with paid reviews, and readers can generally see right through them. Which means your reputation might take another hit.
If you haven't established a professional business page on social media, chances are clients and prospects may visit your personal profiles. If someone is trying to decide whether or not to do business with you, they don't want to sift through family vacation photos, status updates, and meaningless content to find out more about how you as a real estate agent can help them.
Building and maintaining a page specifically for real estate purposes has its perks: you get access to special business-only tools like paid advertising and analytics; you garner a specific crowd of followers separate from your family and friends to which you can direct your marketing; but most importantly, you present a professional, consistent image to clients and prospects, while giving them opportunity to learn about You, the Real Estate Agent.
Social media users, especially those on mobile devices, increasingly turn to a business's social pages first for research and reviews. And if yours isn't there, your prospects are likely moving on to someone else within their reach. If prospects can't reach you in a way that's convenient for them, they'll have a hard time believing your ability to take care of them. Like it or not, social is the new business liaison, and it's not going anywhere anytime soon.