Using Facebook to post listings, share real estate content and even go live on video is pretty ubiquitous among real estate agents today. But then toss in YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and a sprinkle of Clubhouse, and now you have an abundance of platforms on which to engage clients and prospects, but perhaps little time or understanding of how best to do that.
Maximizing the social media landscape to increase engagement and revenue was in focus earlier this month when a dynamic panel of top-producing agents gathered to discuss the topic in detail during RISMedia’s “Spring Into Action” virtual event.
Co-presented by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), the event was held on April 8, attracting more than 5,000 attendees, who tuned in to learn from more than 75 of the industry’s top leaders, coaches and trainers.
In this session, “Creating an Engaging Online Presence With Social Media,” moderated by Marki Lemons-Ryhal, global virtual keynote speaker and international best-selling author, ReMarkiTable LLC, panelists Phil Gerdes, luxury agent, Long & Foster; Lori Holden Scott, lifestyle specialist, John L Scott Real Estate; Alex Salazar, team leader, The Salazar Group Powered by RE/MAX Gold; and Harrison Beacher, managing partner, REALTOR®, Coalition Properties Group/Keller Williams Capital Properties, shared in detail, their key social media strategies for using these platforms to engage their audience, create leads and close deals.
RISMedia is making a limited number of “Spring Into Action” sessions accessible to the public. Readers may view this dynamic session in the video below:
Lemons-Ryhal kicked off the session asking panelists what social media platform they’ve utilized more than ever this year.
“We’ve had a lot of great success utilizing the Facebook Live platform,” said Scott. “Through COVID, we weren’t able to get people in to show them open houses anymore, so we’ve been utilizing Facebook Live to give tours. And we’ve been scheduling those on Fridays at happy hour time.”
Gerdes added, “In 2021, we’re spending a lot of time focusing on Instagram and TikTok, pushing hard with Instagram Reels. We’re finding that the engagement you get with Reels is through the roof because they are still very new, and the algorithm allows you to just maximize engagement across the platform.”
Similar to TikTok, Reels is the latest video feature from Instagram that allows users to create 15-second video clips set to music and share to their Stories, Explore Feed and Reels tab on a user’s profile.
Salazar is on Team Facebook this year. “Instagram is one of those platforms where I really wish we would engage more on, but I think I’m going to stick with Facebook and continue to use it. We seem to have more of a following there, and that’s the demographic we’re going after.”
Beacher, while a big proponent of Instagram, is exploring a newer platform, Clubhouse, to promote client engagement.
“Where I get the strongest connection and strongest return on investment is still Instagram,” Beacher said. “However, Clubhouse has actually presented a great opportunity to host conversations and get really fast and rapid engagement. So I’m going to continue to put the effort and interest into Instagram…but we are also incorporating Clubhouse because we are getting such rapid return on investment and really strong engagement.”
Clubhouse is an invitation-only audio-based social media app. The product allows people to talk and join different chats on different subjects. You can either listen or choose to share your thoughts. IGTV video is an app that can be used alone or in tandem with Instagram. It’s essentially Instagram’s version of YouTube, designed for the mobile-optimized viewing of long-form videos. Any user can set up their own channel and share video content that’s up to an hour long.
Diving deeper on Beacher’s use of Clubhouse, Lemons-Ryhal asked what’s one tip that every real estate professional should implement when it comes to using that platform.
“There’s a very fine line to dance between bragging and purely educating,” Beacher replied. “I think you get the best return on investment when you approach the content you put in a space like Clubhouse through the lens of education. If you can actually lean into education on that platform, you’ll get the strongest return on investment. Last night, I got three strong leads that I’m working on and am referring out from a one-hour conversation.”
For Gerdes, a former dance choreographer, incorporating an entertaining element with his real estate business on social media feels natural. Known for his real estate advice delivered via some impressive dance moves on Instagram Reels, Gerdes said using your own personal talents to educate your followers about real estate can be a winning combination.
“For all of us, real estate is super exciting and it’s our thing and it’s what we’re into, but it’s important to notice that it’s not the truth for everybody,” Gerdes said. “So when we’re putting out social media content, we want to be sure we’re always thinking about those things. We do want to entertain because we want to be in a position where people consistently watch, so they continue to see what we’re doing. But on top of that, we want to make sure that the information isn’t just a song and dance; it really does leave somebody in a position where they can go from, ‘hey I just saw this,’ and then apply it in their thoughts about whether they should buy or sell—whether it’s today, tomorrow or a year from now.”
He added, “I think the kicker there is that we are always maintaining a level of consistency, because a one-off video is just a one-off video, but when people know they can count on you, you’re ultimately building trust, so maybe today they’re not willing to buy or sell, but when they are, they already know your name; they already know that you’ve been the one to pour into them, and that’s how top-of-mind marketing works in your favor,” Gerdes said.
Salazar also uses Instagram Reels to attract investors and close multiple real estate leads.
“With Reels, I take that investor through the entire process, even the bad stuff like the offer was rejected. Using Reels is really the idea of getting them engaged and then having the conversation afterward from the videos that we’re showing.”
His most engaging Reels to date?
“My most engaging—we do a lot of new construction—is that process of new [homes] and having that ‘HGTV theme,’ to our videos, but with a real person who they might know. I engage with quite a few people in this area and that’s just how we’re doing that.”
Beacher has had great success through volunteering and servicing others. Lemons-Ryhal asked how that same success strategy applies through the lens of social media.
“What has been a social media volunteer win for you?” she asked.
“Back when we used to be able to travel to conferences, which is something I’m going to project and hope it happens again this fall, at NAR annual in San Diego, the opportunity to demonstrate exactly what happened at those conferences was really powerful,” Beacher said.
“It would both show my sphere and potential clients at home that I wasn’t just out partying, or going to only the networking things, which were awesome and do have a lot of value, but that I was having the chance to actually speak and educate and elevate the brand that they associated me with.”
In closing, the panel was asked what strategies they employed to get over their initial fear of creating videos.
Holden Scott: “I would set up my camera on my window sill when nobody was home and just talk to it. I’d swear and roll my eyes and play it back and do it again, and do it again and do it again. So that’s what I would be a proponent of—just be alone in your house and just start.”
Gerdes: “One tip I have that I like to share with people is set up a camera on your desk when you’re working and just do some work, set an alarm, and once that alarm goes off, maybe every 10 minutes, talk in the camera for about 30 seconds about anything. And then get back to work. And when the alarm goes off again, talk in the camera again for about 30 seconds and then get back to work. And what you’re going to find is that you’re going to get more and more comfortable with the camera.”
Salazar: “In the beginning I was very self-conscious about the way I sounded, the way I looked and the content I was putting out. It was very rigid. When I started to just simply talk to the lens instead of talking to my image, I got more comfortable with it. I started having other conversations. I started showing some personal stuff, and now I feel very comfortable talking on camera.
Beacher: Whenever I’m coaching my team, agents or other people about getting started with it, I’ll say, you have to consider the light. A little bit of light can make a big difference, and also consider your angles. You have to take into mind how the person consuming your video is going to see you as well.”
Final tip from Lemons-Ryhal? “I need people to wipe that camera lens off. I do not leave home without my credit card and my lens wipes because I know for video, we always have to stay ready.”
Spring Into Action 2021 Sponsors
National Association of REALTORS® Center for REALTOR® Development
Real Estate Webmasters
The Corcoran Group
Stay tuned to rismedia.com for additional coverage of RISMedia’s “Spring Into Action” virtual event.
Beth McGuire is RISMedia’s vice president of Online Editorial. Email her your real estate news ideas to email@example.com.