“Information and connectivity is needed more today than ever before,” said RISMedia President and CEO John Featherston while speaking at the TriplePlay REALTORÂ® Convention & Trade Expo in Atlantic City, N.J. last week. “Social media is a form of communication that allows you to reach your clients and prospects with information, and enables you to stay at the center of the transaction.”
Featherston’s comments opened the panel discussion, “How to Drive Better Results from Social Media,” held on Dec. 4 and attended by more than 300 members of the New Jersey, New York State and Pennsylvania Associations of REALTORSÂ®. Featherston was joined by Co-Moderator Charlie Oppler, broker/owner, Prominent Properties Sothebyâ€™s International Realty, and panelists: Ken Baris, president, Jordan Baris, Inc. REALTORSÂ®; Scott Lauri, owner, ERA Central Levinson; and David Rickel, regional manager/senior vice president, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORSÂ®.
The panel shared strategies for maximizing social media to better connect with clients and prospects, as well as build and reinforce relationships with their firms’ agents. Recommendations ran the gamut from investing in programs to automate social media with engaging, relevant content to being sure to like and comment on agents’ posts.
Whatever system you choose to put in place, Oppler recommended that brokers and managers not attempt to tackle social media on their own, but bring in the necessary help. “Be willing to delegate,” he advised. “We hired a head of digital marketing, and an assistant. Agents are often embarrassed to ask questions, so we brought in three interns over the summer to have one-on-ones with agents on social media.”
Baris stressed that an effective social media effort must be multifaceted. â€śYou can’t just post another listingâ€”that gets stale. You have to say something unique about the listingâ€”point out the incredible kitchen or say it comes with a pool for $5â€¦you just have to buy the rest of the house for $850,000. This creates more interest and draws people in.”
“The idea,” added Baris, “is that you should be in people’s minds so that when they’re ready to buy or sell they’re already thinking about you.”
According to Baris, social media is also a great way to show your chops as a local expert. “Make yourself localized,” he said. “Instead of being the diner that sells everything and posting about the entire market, post ‘See the 21 homes for sale in my neighborhood where I rock.'”
Lauri agreed. “Social media needs to be tight local. Talking about the subdivision is better than talking about the town.”
Lauri also uses social media to promote his firm’s Open Houses by posting them as events on his business page. He also strongly suggested testing what you’re doing on social media. “Tweak it and run it againâ€”try long descriptions, short descriptions. You have to constantly be reviewing what you’re doing.”
Rickel deploys social media to build relationships with not only his own agents, but agents at other firms, as well, congratulating them on their various “rock star” achievements. “This has given me a great relationship with agents both inside and outside the companyâ€”but it has to be sincere. If you don’t have a passion for it, you shouldn’t do it.”
Almost as important as the suggested strategies were the social media mistakes shared by the panel. Be sure to stay away from the following:
- Be wary of posting political or humorous (to you) content. As Baris said, “Every action has a reaction. For all the people who like what you post, there will probably be just as many who don’t.”
- Don’t put your whole life out there. “Keep in mind who’s looking and watching,” said Oppler. “You might not want to post your Friday night party experience.”
- “Be careful sharing articles from national media outlets,” said Featherston. “You may share an interesting article from the Washington Post or Fox News, but the article landing page might have advertisements for your competitors.”
- Don’t replace personal relationships with social media relationships. Spend time with people, said Oppler, who visits his 12 offices every week.
While panelists shared a wealth of big picture approaches, they closed with some of their favorite, hands-on tips for succeeding with social media:
Charlie Oppler: Make sure you’re reading the comments people are making on your posts. “There may be someone you haven’t talked to in 2-3 years and this is a great chance to connect with them again.”
Scott Lauri: Follow up on leads. “Social media is one of the places where you can reach leads.”
Ken Baris: Share important and interesting content and make it fun. “Don’t just show a picture of the house you soldâ€”show a picture with the people you sold it to standing in front of the house.”
David Rickel: Don’t waste money. “I bought an expensive Nikon cameraâ€”but my smartphone is as good as the best camera, and I can share the photos on social faster.”
John Featherston: Use social media to be in front of clients and consumers on critical issues. “It’s to your benefit to be the purveyor of great, accurate information.”
To learn more about RISMedia’s social media solution ACE (Automated Content Engagement), visit ace.rismedia.com.
Find more social media strategies, tips andÂ trendsÂ in RISMedia’s Social Skills series.
Maria Patterson is RISMedia’s executive editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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