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Social Media as an Essential Tool for Selling Real Estate in the Time of COVID-2019

By Mihaela Lica Butler | April 13, 2020

The COVID-19 crisis forces many businesses to adapt to what public health officials have coined as social distancing.

social distancing

Because trading in-person is now hard, entrepreneurs finally see the value of social media and turn to a variety of channels to reach consumers – social media being the most flexible and affordable of all.

On March 28, 2020, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has issued an advisory memorandum on identification of essential infrastructure workers during COVID-19 response.  In the document, real estate agents are identified as essential workers. Among other measures, this document stipulates that “Everyone should follow guidance from the CDC, as well as State and local government officials, regarding strategies to limit disease spread. Workers should be encouraged to work remotely when possible and focus on core business activities. In-person, non-mandatory activities should be delayed until the resumption of normal operations.”

Given restrictions on in-person activities, real estate agents find alternative ways to connect with homebuyers. Social media is now an essential way to reach customers, but it requires time, effort, and different strategies for each platform. It is often hard to decide which of the top social media sites would work best for each agent. Here are some tips for using social media effectively:

Choose the Social Media Network That Best Suits Your Needs

Decide the format you want to communicate updates to your potential buyers. While all allow both visual and text updates, some are more focused on images, while others work better with text.

For example, Facebook is the largest social network in the world, with 2.45 billion monthly active users as of Q3 2019. According to the company, over 48% of its ad revenue comes from the United States and Canada, although only 10% of the overall users of the social networks come from these countries. Another interesting statistic is that 74% of its users are high-income earners. The SproutSocial index revealed that 89% of marketers use Facebook in their brand marketing efforts. So, it would make sense for realtors to choose Facebook as a marketing channel.

Facebook encourages users to share all kinds of meaningful and engaging content, and each business has its content strategy. Some focus mainly on video – according to 99 Firms, 100 million hours of video are watched on Facebook every day – while others share links to articles, text updates, or text and image updates. Posts with an image generate more engagement than simple texts. Video, on the other hand, seems to be more successful, and live video broadcasting is the most effective tool for many businesses.

  • Live video is becoming a vital tool for social marketers, and 42% of them have already developed a strategy for Facebook Live (SproutSocial)
  • 70% of marketers use Facebook Live for reaching a new audience (99 Firms)
  • Daily watch time for Facebook Live broadcasts grew 4x over the course of a year, and on Facebook, 1 in 5 videos is now a live broadcast (Facebook 2020 Insights)

Based on these arguments, here are some of the aspects to take into account when you choose a social network for your real estate business:

  • How popular is the network? Think about active monthly users over overall users. In other words, which platform reaches the largest audience? Here you should also consider if you target a local or an international market.
  • What’s the engagement on the network? 74% of users are on Twitter to get and share news as the platform is more popular with journalists and celebrities. Facebook is used to engage with friends, family, coworkers, and groups, while Instagram is used for photo moments and stories.
  • What’s your content strategy? What type of content should you focus on? While Facebook gets over 8 billion average daily video views, does creating video content make sense for your business? If 85% of Facebook users watch videos with the sound off, is your video content compelling enough to make them turn the sound on to hear your message?
  • Do you have a social media calendar? Each social media has a different type of audience, and the time and frequency you should post updates vary. The social media calendar is an integrated part of your content strategy?
  • Do you have a social media manager to respond to comments and to engage with consumers timely and authoritatively, or are you going to manage the account on your own? A social media manager must be familiar with every aspect of your marketing and with the industry to give compelling answers that don’t damage your brand.
  • Do you plan social media advertising campaigns? Ads and boosted updates must be relevant and mindful of the current worldwide situation.

These are just some of the generic aspects to think about when you decide on which social media network to focus when you shift your business from in-person operations to online outreach. You can still do a lot: hold virtual open house events, publish property photos, plans, descriptions, post industry news, invite your followers to a live broadcast event to share real estate tips, and the list goes on.

If you already have one or more social media accounts, rethink your content strategy for the current realities of the world and keep your followers in the loop with kindness and compassion.

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Mihaela Lica Butler is senior partner at Pamil Visions PR. She is a widely cited authority on public relations issues, with an experience of over 25 years in online PR, marketing, and SEO.She covers startups, online marketing, social media, SEO, and other topics of interest for Realty Biz News.
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