Most estate agents are highly skilled and experienced marketers with tried and tested methods for getting results for their clients. However, the growth in social media has been so rapid that many estate agents simply haven’t been able to stay on top of all the opportunities it offers them and their customers. So how can the power of social media for estate agents be harnessed in an effective and affordable way?
If your social media strategy isn’t working (or is entirely non-existent!) and you want to start getting real results, the following ideas should help you make an impact in the social sphere.
Why estate agents need social media
Social media allows you to do a number of things which can help your company. Some of these are likely to lead directly to an increase in business while others will take longer to produce tangible results. All, however, should be important goals of your social media for estate agents strategy.
Building brand awareness
One of the simplest and most powerful things social media lets you do is getting your name out there so that potential clients and partner businesses know you exist. A strong presence on core social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn means you will be more visible online.
Achieving brand loyalty
The old saying goes that 20% of your customers will bring in 80% of your business. Social media allows you to nurture your customer base by giving them a reason to keep engaging with your brand. If you can use social media marketing to keep the right people engaged, you are likely to get much more business out of them on a consistent basis.
Driving traffic to your website
Social media is usually most effective when it’s sending people to your website. For estate agents, this most often means getting potential buyers and renters to look at specific property listings. To do this you must master the art of showing off your onsite assets in an engaging way that resonates with your customer base.
Engaging with customers
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of social media for estate agents is that it lets you engage in two-way communication with your audience. You can ask their opinion, answer their questions and talk directly to potential business partners. This helps customers feel more connected to your brand while giving you a valuable insight into your target market.
Establishing brand identity
Even more important than showing people you exist is demonstrating what kind of business you are. Sharing a good mix of your own knowledge through blogs, infographics and other original content alongside carefully selected content from third parties, lets you prove to your customers that you are an expert in your subject.
They don’t call them social networks for nothing! One of the key points of social media for estate agents is that these networks allow you to connect, not just with potential customers, but also potential partner businesses, others in your industry, the media and all sorts of other useful brands and individuals.
Work out who you could benefit from connecting with and you can quickly start forging meaningful connections in the social sphere.
Top 5 ways to use social media for estate agents
Once you have decided what you want to get out of social media, how do you actually go about achieving it? The following are some of the key types of content you should be posting to your social accounts and what you can hope to get out of it.
Boosting your listings
The most basic, obvious thing you can do is to post your properties to your social accounts. This means more people should see your listings which, if written in the right way, will drive extra traffic to your site.
— Edwards and Co (@edwardsandco) November 9, 2016
However, if you look at this estate agent’s timeline, posting listings is all they are using their Twitter for, which is a huge mistake. Although posting your properties on social media can boost their reach, it’s not a way to build a long term following as most people aren’t permanently on the lookout for a new home.
So, while you should definitely post listings to social media, especially if there is anything particularly remarkable about them, make sure they are only part of your content strategy to avoid boring people.
Become a resource
Savills regularly share forecasts for how they expect property prices to change over the next five years.
— Savills (@Savills) November 4, 2016
This kind of original, unique content is interesting to customers and useful to others in the industry and the media. It is highly likely to get shared, increasing your brand reach. It may even be used as the basis for news stories in the press, who will likely link back to your website, potentially driving large amounts of traffic you wouldn’t otherwise have connected with.
When you create information like this, you need to make sure the message gets out. Follow property journalists, magazines, blogs – anybody that reports on your industry and has influence over the people you want to reach. A good percentage of them will likely follow you back, meaning they will see when you have new, useful content.
Frank Knight has a fantastic tool which lets you see information about the property market in your area. This includes the average price of properties like yours in your post code and how prices have changed over the past 5 years.
— Knight Frank (@knightfrank) November 10, 2016
A resource like this gives people an immediate reason to visit your site and is something others are likely to share with their own followings as it is so useful and interesting. Social media for estate agents allows you to quickly get resources like this in front of a huge number of people to whom you have no direct connection.
Connecting with people’s emotions is always a good way to get them to engage with your brand. Strutt and Parker used their Twitter account to promote a competition asking children to design their Christmas cards with all proceeds going to a youth charity.
— Strutt & Parker (@struttandparker) November 9, 2016
As well as promoting a great cause, this kind of campaign gets people to connect with the brand in a fun way that encourages them to build positive associations with the company. This means they are much more likely to keep engaging with them and remember them in future.
Become a content curator
Nobody likes being overtly sold to, which is why you need to be wary of turning your social media into a non-stop flow of obvious marketing outreach. One way to avoid this is make sure a good percentage of the content you share is from other people.
Buy-to-let considered a safe haven https://t.co/6hqobn3PSU
— This is Money (@thisismoney) October 12, 2016
Sharing valuable content from third parties helps to establish you as a source of general information about your industry, not just news about your own business. This gives people reason to keep following you and engaging with you so they’ll be paying attention when you do have something of your own to promote.
Social media platforms that work for estate agents
One of the key questions you probably want answered is: which social networks are worth bothering with?
The truth is, it depends how much time you can commit. It’s usually better to put a lot of effort into fewer channels than to try being on all of them and risk giving none of them your full attention.
Facebook and Twitter
Around 32 million people in the UK use Facebook while Twitter has at least 15 million active users in the UK. These are the two core social platforms for engaging with customers and the media and are the perfect place to share your whole range of content. This should include listings, blogs, video tours, onsite resources and anything else you can think of that offers value to your target market.
LinkedIn has over 20 million UK users which is more than half the workforce. It is mainly useful for connecting with other professionals in your industry, advertising jobs and generally establishing yourself as a presence in your industry. LinkedIn content is likely to be more business focused, offering thought leadership to others in similar and related businesses with a view to creating brand authority.
Pinterest does not release data about the number of users it has, but co-founder Evan Sharp claimed in 2015 that they were seeing around 3million pins a day in the UK. It may not seem like the most obvious fit for an estate agent, but it can be a great place to build a following by sharing ideas on how to make properties more appealing to buyers and renters. This will not usually lead to direct sales, but can help build your brand’s reach and customer loyalty.
It’s difficult to know how many people actively use Google+. Most of its user accounts are created automatically for users of other Google products, like Gmail, who may not even be aware they have a Google+ profile.
However, this is not why Google+ matters for estate agents. Creating Google+ pages for each of your offices can help literally put you on the map, allowing you to tell Google where your premises are located as well as providing information such as your phone number and website address for people who look you up.
How to use social media effectively
Getting the most out of social media for estate agents means spending time planning and directing your efforts efficiently. The following principles should help you make your social presence more effective.
Have a strategy
Far too many businesses just hand the keys to their social media accounts to a junior team member on the misguided basis that young people “get” social media. Good social media marketing needs clear objectives and ideas about how you’re going to achieve those objectives.
Get core members of your team together and agree a strategy, then make someone accountable for carrying out that strategy. This will make it much more likely that you will achieve your goals.
Do your research
There is no point going into social media blind. You need to know what your competitors are doing, find out who the key influencers are in your industry and understand where your target market is online and how they use social media. All these things should feed back into your strategy so you can develop a targeted approach allowing you to make the best use of your time and resources.
There is nothing worse than a social presence that has 20 posts one day, then nothing for a month, then 10 more posts, then nothing. Work out a content schedule ahead of time to spread out your posts and plan them in advance.
Make sure you agree a tone of voice and clear idea of your brand identity with the people in charge of your social content. That way you can be confident that what their post will match the persona you want to present.
Track your progress
Pouring a load of effort into social media for estate agents is potentially pointless if you don’t know if it is working. Be clear on what social media metrics matter for your marketing goals and then make sure you track them to see whether your current approach is paying off. That way you know whether you are achieving a good return on your investment or if you need to change your tactics.
Don’t expect to get everything right straight away. Try your initial strategy for a while and see what results you get. Then analyse those results and try to figure out what is working and what isn’t. You should then reconfigure your strategy and try new ideas to focus more on what works and abandon ideas that haven’t produced results.
We work with estate agents throughout the UK, providing social media marketing that gets measurable results. We know how to manage your social presence so you attract the right kind of clients and customers to help your business grow. To find out more about how we can help you with your social media management and more general content marketing, please get in touch.