A survey by the National Association of Realtors recently revealed that 92% of home buyers use the Internet to search for real estate. This means that establishing a good online presence can significantly improve your ROI and real estate brand.
Real estate agents have many tools to enhance their online brand besides presenting their listings on a corporate website. Among these tools, Zillow is the most popular and recommended for agents looking to improve revenue.
"As the largest real estate website with over 130 million visits per month, Zillow could generate $2.60 in commissions for every $1 spent," writes Emile L'Eplattenier, suggesting Zillow first among 52 other real estate marketing ideas.
Zillow may not be a social media network, but they know just how to engage social media to grow, and you can always follow their lead. Zillow is one of the few corporations that truly understand that social media is about engagement and conversations. They have a powerful Facebook presence, offering listings, tips, resources, home improvement ideas, and much more. They are quick in responding to comments and direct messages, and they address complaints promptly and professionally as well. This is a company that meets its potential customers wherever they are on social media. Their Twitter presence, @zillow, is another great example of how you can use social media to increase your real estate brand.
Looking at Zillow's success with two of the most important social media platforms on the Internet offers excellent insight into how these tools can be used to boost a real estate brand. This 2015 study by PEW Research Center has some concrete data that shows five different social networks. Although the numbers have changed since the survey published in August 2015, there is no doubt that real estate agents need social media to be successful in business today. As a conversational platform, social media enables agents to connect with potential buyers, existing clients, business partners, reporters, bloggers, and social media influencers who can become powerful brand ambassadors.
Regardless of which social media platforms you employ to grow your real estate brand, you should always look to provide value instead of broadcasting listings and sales pitches. For example, this article by Lili Steffens shows you just how important images can be to help you engage with broader audiences. More engagement can make your brand stronger. You can employ several strategies to get more leads with Facebook, including setting up Facebook events and making use of the "Live" video abilities on this social network.
The most important rule of using social media to increase your real estate brand is focused on the value you provide for your fans and followers: become the audience and speak to them as if they were key influencers because they are! When you set up a public business profile or page you should always consider that any fan could turn into a message carrier, and any follower could like and reshare your message to other pages, personal profiles, and even blogs.
Remember that social media is user-driven. Consumers become whatever they choose to be: journalists, reviewers, or critics. So, don’t try to deceive them. Stay away from marketing hype and appeal to their emotions instead. Do not post controversial status updates that can backfire. Posting too much about your business is one of the top mistakes to avoid as a real estate agent.
Many agents also fail to promote their brand consistently across different social media platform. You need to use the same profile picture (or avatar) everywhere, to allow your customers and peers to identify your brand quickly. Also, using similar cover photos is another factor that plays an important role in brand recognition. There is science behind why people respond better to visual marketing. Color is rather important too.
Although is full of noise - information overload - social media can increase your business if you have a strong strategy. Building random profiles is not enough because growth is driven by engagement with the fans and followers. Therefore, if you do not have the resources to manage profiles and pages on different social networks, pick two or three and maximize your efforts there. As far as which social networks are best for realtors, this is a topic for a future article. In the meanwhile, you are welcome to share your favorite networks and the reasons why you recommend them in the comments below.