Women standing in an empty home to sell

7 Rules for Real Estate Social Media Marketing

Social media just might be a real estate agent’s best marketing tool—if you use it effectively. If you are just starting to experiment with real estate social media, or if your efforts have failed so far, you may need some guidance. Follow the seven rules below to make the most out of your social media marketing initiatives this year.

1. Establish a plan

If you don’t have a plan, make one. If you do have a plan, it’s probably time to revise it. Samantha Reeves, a senior real estate and home-buying expert at Veterans United Home Loans, suggests that you take some time to plan a real estate social media strategy. She advises you to ask yourself:

  • Which platforms do I already know really well? It will be easier to work with a platform you are already comfortable using.
  • Which platform would I like to learn? If you already have a social media presence, where would you like to branch out? Take time to familiarize yourself with the new platforms.
  • How much time do you have to commit to social media? “Scheduling time in your day to post, moderate and create ads is imperative because consistency over a long period of time is what delivers results,” Reeves adds.

2. Focus on building relationships

If you are just focused on selling, you will lose followers fast. Do not use your real estate social media accounts strictly to share properties and tout your accomplishments. Follow the 80/20 rule, with no more than 20 percent of your content focusing on your services. At least 80 percent should provide value to your followers. Speaking of …

3. Create meaningful content

Don’t make the mistake of merely re-posting content from other blogs and websites. “Provide your unique insight on your blog about the neighborhoods, business, people and your success stories,” says Aalap Shah, co-founder of SoMe Connect, a Chicago-based marketing agency that works with real estate agents.

Quality content draws people in and keeps them engaged. It also offers you an opportunity to build your credibility and thought leadership. Followers will learn to trust you as a valuable source of information, and that increases the likelihood that they will use or recommend your services down the road.

4. Tap the power of photos and videos

Videos are where it’s at, says Frank Klesitz, the founder of Vyral Marketing, a firm that creates marketing solutions for real estate and mortgage professionals. “Putting videos on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube is imperative. Use video to answer burning questions about your local real estate market or the most frequently brought up topics by your customers, and share them everywhere,” he says. Videos are more memorable and are more likely to be shared over and over again. And with apps like Vine and Periscope, they are easy to create and post.

“I get a lot of traffic to my website from Instagram because I frequently post videos, images and things that resonate with my target market,” adds Stacy Doherty, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Canton, MA. “I have a Facebook page and will always sponsor new listings with a call to action to visit my site or share the post. We live in such an image centered world, that people are more likely to pay attention to images and videos than they are text.”

5. Think local

Think about how you can offer a more tailored, personalized approach. For example, Naomi Hattaway of 8th & Home, a real estate and relocation company in Virginia, says “We utilize three private Facebook groups—a global group with 3,700 members, a local group with 15,000 members and a hyperlocal group with 400 members. We provide consistent and real value—not just boring real estate centric stats—to our company Facebook page, and then we push that out to the three groups. We pride ourselves on our very hyperlocal content and community engagement,” she says.

Follow that lead and create specific accounts—and content—for different segments of your client base, zeroing in on the neighborhoods or niches you serve.

6. Be “in the moment”

Jayson DeMers, founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, a Seattle-based SEO agency, predicts that in 2016 social media users will want more on-the-go updates that are happening in the moment, as opposed to content that is posted after-the-fact or scheduled weeks in advance.

Capitalize on the trend and use Instagram, Twitter, and Periscope to provide real-time updates and videos.

7. Interact with followers

When followers comment on your posts, retweet your messages or share your content, thank them. Additionally, share their content if it is relevant (if you have their permission).

While it may be tempting, do not delete negative comments or respond with your own negative input. Doing so just makes you look bad. Instead, invite the person to call you so that you can gain more information about why they were displeased, and work to rectify the situation. If a comment crosses the line with threats or vulgar language, then you should block the person and report him or her to the social network.

More on real estate social media marketing

For more insights on real estate social media strategies, check out McKissock’s course on Social Media Marketing: Reaching and Networking the Affluent. This course is specifically designed to give real estate professionals working in the luxury real estate market the information and tools to grow their business via social media.