Guest Post By: Carole Gurule, Onyx Communications
Here’s the thing: 2017 wasn’t just a big year for Arizona real estate. It was also a big year for online marketing – meaning, a lot has changed in recent months. Facebook’s Newsfeed got a complete revamp, Instagram quietly rebooted its algorithm to kick spammers to the curb and Twitter, well, let’s just say…they’re on major bot patrol.
Not surprisingly, we’re getting a ton of questions from our mortgage and real estate clients about how they can remain relevant and ahead of the curve with their online marketing strategies. The most important thing we can tell you is this – right now, it’s all about a return to the essentials.
Here’s what you need to know.
When it comes to social media, we truly believe the basics are best.
No matter what anyone tells you, remember this: You really don’t need to be on every single social media platform. In fact, we advise against it. We’ll spare you the full geeky details, but social media these days really is all about quality over quantity. Top platforms like Instagram and Facebook are even rewarding profiles with active and engaged communities over those with just sky-high follower numbers. To do social media “right” as a Realtor, you need to be authentic and consistent.
Not sure where to start? First, identify one or two channels that make the most sense for your brand and audience. Instagram is great for eye-catching homes and visuals while Facebook is the channel-of-choice for longer-form content. LinkedIn should be a part of your strategy if you’re looking to increase business from industry peers or related professional networks.
No matter which channel you choose, be a true resource for your community. That can include past and current clients, future homebuyers and even other real estate experts.
Congratulations, you are now a storyteller.
Nobody, I repeat, nobody follows a Realtor on social media just so they can be sold to all of the time. Or, if they do, then they’ll follow you just until their home is bought or sold and then they’ll drop off the digital planet. To keep people engaged longterm, your social media should focus more on storytelling.
Google, Facebook and Instagram even favor websites and accounts that are creating unique and quality content. Your social media, blog posts and even online advertising should connect potential clients to the heart of what you do and who you are – to the human aspect of what you do.
Allow your audience to get to know you before you serve up a sales pitch. Mix in some raw and relatable content – your recent professional wins and struggles or some behind-the-scenes glimpses into #realtorlife – along with free resources that will make their home-buying or -selling process easier.
Give them plenty of reasons to come back to your social media profile or website before, during and even after working with you. This way, you’re nurturing a long-term relationship, increasing the chances that they’ll reach out the next time they need a Realtor or, better yet, recommend you to their friends and family.
We can’t say this enough – it’s time you got ready for your close-up.
Did you know? Homebuyers are 600 times more likely to click on a video in an MLS listing than they are to click on a photo. Think what a smart video marketing strategy can do for your sales goals! Now, we recognize that professional listing videos can be an expensive investment so that’s why we recommend a two-pronged strategy.
Use Facebook Live video to give a quick and interactive glimpse into a new listing. Give followers a heads-up that you’ll be going live on a certain day and time by publishing the information alongside a gorgeous professional photo or virtual tour of the home. Encourage them to tune into the live Facebook tour with questions or requests of which features to highlight in your video. Once the live recording is finished, pay to boost the post on Facebook in order to expand your reach.
If you’re going to invest in professionally-produced video, we also recommend doing a biopic – essentially, a story-like promotional video of your brand. Post this video in a prominent location of your website, do a blog post around it in order to boost SEO and publish it on your social media channels. If you’re publishing to Facebook, this is another case where you’ll want to relegate a bit of advertising dollars to promote to a wider, targeted audience.
Studies show that 92 percent of consumers looking to buy or rent a home start their search online. With a strategic approach, consistent message and thoughtful consideration of the buyer and seller needs, online marketing is an essential tool to growing your brand and expanding your client base.
Carole Gurule is the founder of Onyx Communications, a consulting agency specializing in marketing for the real estate, hospitality and lifestyle industries. Follow Onyx Communications on Instagram and Facebook.