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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Real Estate Agents and Social Media

Have you ever been on a bad blind date? Not just a regular bad blind date, but a sitcom level blind date. Where the other person just talks and talks and talks - always about them self - and should you get a word in edgewise the conversation is invariably shifted back to them. By the time the waiter brings the bread you are wishing that you had prearranged a fake emergency as an escape hatch. You eye the restrooms, praying there is a small, open window you can shame-crawl out of totally willing to fall into a damp, trash filled back alley to flee into the night. This is how I feel when I visit a Realtor's® Facebook page. Or Twitter. Or YouTube. Really, any social media profile.

Thankfully, I don't have to chew my hand off to escape. I can just close the website. And then throw my laptop into the heart of a volcano...

So why do real estate social media pages remind me of the time I tried to impale myself on a bread stick? It seems to be because agents don't understand how social media works. Their pages are all about them. They populate their pages with their accomplishments instead of showcasing their professional skills. People don't hire an agent because the agent sold some house; they hire an agent because they believe the agent can sell their house. They need to know that the agent has the tools and experience necessary to get them the most for their home.

So how can an agent avoid being just another bad blind date? Well, the simplest way is to not have a social media presence in the first place. Agents have been told that social media is must in this day in age, but it is far better to have no social media presence than it is to have a bad one. Creating a social media page just to neglect it and let services like Circle Pix or Paradym auto populate your page is like buying a gun just to shoot yourself in the foot. No blind date means no bad blind date.

Unfortunately, most agents don't realize what a good social media page is. They register their information, dutifully fill out the requisite fields, cut and paste the same biography they used everywhere else (assuming that they have one), grab some image they (probably) stole off the Internet to place as a banner, and let their auto-pop services fill their page with cookie cutter posts about new listings. This of course assumes that the agent even possesses the technical skills to get this far. I admit, I have done just this for dozens of agents, mistakenly assuming that they would take the initiative to learn how to moderate their pages effectively only to check back in to see that they have done literally nothing to their page since I created it - including ignoring messages from potential clients. So what posts make a page a good page?

Share Your Listings and Sales (30%)

I know, I just said don't fill your page with your listings. I will repeat it. Don't fill your page with your listings! Fill. As in, don't populate your page exclusively with your listings, but DO post your listings. You are still trying to sell these homes after all, right? You can even let auto-pop services like CirclePix post your listings for you. It can be a real time saver and the quality is pretty good for the price you pay for the service.

So how many posts should be your listings? The rule of thumb is about 30%. People, potential clients, should be aware that you are still listing and selling homes without being buried in an avalanche of listing/selling posts about houses they are not interested in.

Share Your Professional Skills (40%)

Remember, "People don't hire an agent because the agent sold some house; they hire an agent because they believe the agent can sell their house. They need to know that the agent has the tools and experience necessary to get them the most for their home." Give your visitors proof of your capacity to perform your job competently. Instead of just telling them you are the best agent for them, explain why you are the best agent for them. Show them how you can make their home buying/selling experience a pleasurable one.

One of the ways that you can do this by having a place on your page for reviews and ratings so that others can read testimonials from previous (not former, never former) clients. Another way to do this is to post thumbnails and teasers for your professional blog. Blogging is a frequently over looked social media that can really generate and maintain clients for professionals of all kinds, not just real estate agents. Unfortunately people think they need to be Hemingway (okay, Rowling) to be a blogger. You don't. You just need a topic, a keyboard, and a passing familiarity with grammar and spellcheck - and being a little annoyed by things from time to time helps. Blog about what makes a new listing great. Blog about how to get a home ready to sell. Blog about a subdivision that you enjoy selling homes in. The trick is to use your blog to illustrate your skills without rubbing your reader's nose in them.

You can also share blogs written by other people in your industry. While this doesn't showcase your skills, it does hint at your awareness of your industry. These blogs need not be written by other agents; they could be written by builders, loan officers, interior decorators, landscapers, do-it-yourselfers, or any of the companies that work in real estate marketing (hint, hint).

Showcasing your professional skills should take up about 40% of your posts.

Share Your Service Area (20%)

Did your local team perform well and go to the state finals? What is crime like in your town? Any major road construction that may be affecting your market? When is the fair? Share information about anything happening in your area. This shows that your are interested in your area and are aware of things that may affect your clients. Also, these posts create a nice contrast from real estate.

These posts should consist of about 20% of your total posts.

Share Your Life (10%)

This is often the most difficult aspect of social media. The social part. The sharing of unsolicited personal life experience on a public page. Well, get over it. No one is asking you to share your innermost thoughts or your concerns about that suspicious new rash or your fears about a previously unnoticed mole. People just want to connect; to know that you are human. Just get married? New child? Child graduating? Don't be afraid to be proud of yourself and the accomplishments of loved ones, especially your children. Don't forget that a major catalyst for buying a new home are these very life changes. Marriage. Growing family. Emptying nest. These brief spotlights on your life can make a real impact on your relationship with clients, even before you meet them.

These posts should consist of about 10% of your total posts. This may seem a bit low, but remember: every post should have a bit of you in it. Your blogs express your thoughts, your choice of posts hint at what is important to you.


These percentages are rough guidelines. Feel free to tinker with them as you moderate your profile. Do what feels right to you. Also, don't fret if your percentage of listings exceeds 30% during your market's peak. It is a busy time. Your listings should grow and you should be putting your energy into serving your clients during this period. It is okay if you turn down your blogging and focus on giving your customers what they need. Just remember to pick things back up when the market cools back down. Also, when the market is low take this time to reflect and rant. Write some blogs that you do not intend to share until later. Use your downtime to write blogs to post during your next peak season. Let things balance out throughout the year.


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