By Erica Campbell Byrum, Director of Social Media, Homes.com and ForRent.com
Having already examined 10 of 14 trends that real estate pros need to keep an eye on in 2014 with our look at mobile trends and local marketing, tackles the latest trends with five social marketing tactics.
When it comes to branding and marketing in the 21st century, social media has become the number one source for getting your message to the people you want to reach. Aside from branding, social media offers real estate pros multiple opportunities to enhance their results in areas such as sales, customer service, public relations, client retention, and research and development.
Consider your Facebook page. The goal is to connect with “fans,” get your brand message out to them, have them start talking about your message to their connections and then link up to even more potential clients. That’s the entire goal of social marketing—to use technology to build, maintain and grow on-going, positive relationships with clients and potential clients.
Here is what we are seeing as five hot trends that all real estate industry professionals should be integrating into his or her social marketing strategy in 2014.
1. Social Signals Are Running the Show. Social media plays an increasingly critical role in being found and search engine gurus are reporting that Google’s algorithms are increasingly relying on signals from social networks more so than traditional avenues like backlinks and other technical cues, because users are actively curating and engaging with the content there (Search Engine Watch). Pages with a high number of likes, shares, tweets and +1’s stand out because of a very high volume of social signals. Consumer activity on social networks continues to rise and content that they’re engaging with correlates with good rankings (Search Metrics). That is why writing, posting and sharing helpful (and local) information is key.
2. Use Visuals: Study after study shows that today’s tech-savvy homebuyer would rather see than be told, which is why creating videos, posting photos and uploading quick snapshots of properties is vital in growing your business. Use your social media sites to show properties you have sold, showcase your listings and be sure to include plenty of smiling faces and familiar local sites to show your love for the community too. Other ideas are to display fun snaps of your real estate team, showcase testimonials and offer staging tips from professional stagers. Through the use of visuals, you can showcase your story and your brand. For more tips on visual marketing through social media, register for next Wednesday’s Secrets of Top Selling Agents webinar featuring Katie Lance who will tell you how to do just that using Instagram and Pinterest.
3. Share and Promote Local Events and Businesses: Inspire local branding by using your social media channels to discuss the events happening in your area and the local businesses that people can patron. These businesses will appreciate you mentioning them and can possibly be a great source of referrals down the road. You want to be the face of the neighborhood and have people at restaurants, coffee shops and schools know you, and the same holds true with social media—you want to be the real estate face people think of when they go online.
4. Optimize All Channels: Sure, Facebook may be doing wonders for you, but don’t hang your hat there and think that’s enough. Make sure your Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+ sites are doing their job as well. If you’re not already active on these sites, get to it. Your goal is to reach as many people as you can and you want to constantly promote your pages and engage with your audience the best you can. Going back to the visual element mentioned above, Pinterest is retaining and engaging users at two to three times as efficiently as Twitter was not too long ago and accounted for 3.6 percent of referral traffic. Your goal is to interact with users to create trust and build the ultimate online community.
5. Network Via Social Media Sites: Remember, social media is a two-way street. Yes, your goal is to get others to notice you, but don’t forget to keep an eye on what’s happening in the lives of those you are connected with. Be sure to monitor your news feeds, Twitter messages and photos on other social media sites to be aware of any big events happening in the lives of your connections. If you notice someone recently had a baby or child is graduating, send a little congratulatory message. This is a great way to stay top-of-mind and it could even lead to a new opportunity. A new member of the family could mean someone is thinking about upgrading and one less kid in the house could mean the opposite with a house possibly going on sale. Be sure they are thinking of you if and when they decide to move.
And we’ll throw in a bonus tip—Join groups: Between LinkedIn, Yahoo and Google+, there are thousands upon thousands of specialty communities where you can connect to different people. You can join a real estate group and share advice and stories, start your own neighborhood group and get people in your community talking about everything happening in your area, or even join a non-real estate group and just connect with those with common interests (running, sports teams, crafting, etc.). The latter is a great way to network with people who might not be in your regular circles.
To learn more about how you can take advantage of social marketing to become the local expert, visit Homes.com’s informative blog dedicated to real estate pros and innovative social marketing solutions to enhance your visibility and protect your online reputation.