Social media channels are great for building your brands’ visibility and enticing people to contact you for help, but are you approaching social marketing properly?
Most real estate agents have ventured into the world of social media to promote either their clients properties or their own brand. However, many efforts fall by the wayside as people discover that creating a social media following and generating leads is not actually as easy as it first seems.
Today, we’re going to discuss the most common mistakes real estate professionals make when marketing themselves through social media channels, and better still why you’re most likely isn’t not generating leads.
In today’s video, we’re going to explore eight fundamental reasons that are holding most of you back.
Click below to watch the video.
Following is the video transcript.
1. You’re probably missing the marketing part.
Believe it or not, being social on social media is not a strategy for generating leads. There’s an important key word missing from the phrase social media, and that word is “marketing”. Social media is conversing with your friends, family and people you’ve met in real life with the purpose of staying up to date. So, social media is about friendship. In comparison, social media marketing is finding and connecting with people who could benefit from your real estate services, who you probably don’t yet know, or you haven’t worked with.
So it’s the purpose of attracting vendors or clients to your brand. Social media marketing requires content, not just commentary. Social media is a channel through which we communicate. It’s connecting people to people. It’s the act of sharing regular information, insights and advice, or answering questions and engaging with people about your products and services. Typically, you’ll do these activities through a multitude of social media channels and provide information in different curated forms. It could be written as blogs or posts. It could be visual, like images, or video, or motion graphics. So social media is heavily reliant on content, not just commentary.
Taking an active approach to social media is an excellent starting point. But marketing your real estate brand in a succinct, attractive and engaging fashion requires a lot more attention to the details and decisions along the way. It’s different to using social media for fun with your friends. You need a social media marketing strategy, your prospects need to know that you’re an expert in your field. So your social media marketing strategy should be entertaining to a degree, but educational to the max. Your social media marketing should include a call to action. What do people want to do once they engage with your post or your social media advert?
Most importantly, your social media strategy should be measurable, and make you money. It may seem strikingly obvious, but for most real estate professionals there’s still a disconnect and an inability to see the difference between the two. I often hear real estate agents say, oh, I’ve tried social media and it didn’t work. Well, they’ve not tried social media marketing. Look at it this way. Just because we live in a home doesn’t mean that we actually know how to sell a home. I’m sure you come up against this daily with your own clients, right? Well, the same applies to marketing your real estate business on social media.
Marketing is a skill that you learn and earn over time. Merely posting updates about your work life, home life, or the properties that you sell is not an effective real estate marketing strategy, and it won’t generate leads in a consistent flow. You need to understand the entire social media marketing, and digital ecosystem in order to set your real estate business up for success.
2. You’ve forgotten to grow your connections
Here’s the next challenge. In fact, I recommend that you make this a literal challenge within your real estate business to ensure that your real estate sales team or property management team don’t drop the ball.
My team and I have helped hundreds of real estate agents get their social media accounts and online real estate profiles in order. This is fundamental to your digital success. But what can you do with these shiny new profiles once they’re all up to date? Firstly, you need to connect with people. And when I say people, I don’t just mean any Tom, Dick and Harry, you need to establish connections with people that live in your neighbourhood (if you’re dealing with homeowners), or people that are rental properties located in your area (if you’re dealing with property investors). In fact, this step is as crucial as your weekly callbacks.
But a lot of real estate agents stumble at the first hurdle because they accept requests to connect with anybody. It can even be a fake profile, a Russian bot or a bad actor, as Facebook likes to call them. So I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it. Don’t pay for fake social media followers; steadily building your own real life connections is the key to increasing your visibility on social media. Most social media channels want you to make at least 20 new friends or followers each week, because that indicates that your brand is active and has a great appeal to people. The type of people that you connect with also helps the social media channels determine who your ideal clients are, particularly if you use your page followers as the basis for your paid social media advertising. So when you’re on the phone to people, making those callbacks, look up that person’s social profile, follow them, send them a friend request.
3. You’re inconsistent with your content
To remain visible on social media you need to post consistently rather than sporadically. Each social media channel has their own idiosyncrasies. But a general rule of thumb would be to post something at least once a week. It’s important to note that I’m not talking about sharing other people’s content. It needs to be your insights and pieces of advice. This strategy equates to 52 chances a year for your social media marketing activities to be seen. Agents often ask me whether their social media followers will get tired of seeing so many updates from them. But the reality is that your followers are unlikely to see every post that you send out, especially if you’re not promoting your content with paid advertising.
4. You’re not using paid advertising
We have so much online activity and content being created and shared across social media today, it’s becoming more and more challenging to ensure that your message gets seen. Gone are the days of good old free organic love. Today, you need to advertise your properties and brand messages across all the social media channels. Think about it. Screen sizes, the amount of time we have available to spend looking at our devices is finite, but the amount of content created and posted is increasing, exponentially. With the social media algorithms needing to make a call as to whose content gets seen on our screen, some channels such as Facebook have now become pay to play.
5. You’ve not installed the pixel
A pixel is a piece of tracking code that you install on your website to help Facebook capture information about your website visitors. So once installed, it helps Facebook track people, engaging with your Facebook page. That’s why the pixel’s important people that engage with your social media posts or more importantly, social media ads won’t always be in your email database. So you won’t necessarily know their names or have their contact details. By tracking people that are unknown to you, but known to Facebook, a database of contacts can be established in your Facebook advertising account. You can then retarget these unknowns, time and time and time again, cementing your know like and trust factor. Then when they’re ready for professional help. That’s with you. These people will make themselves known to you and they’ll get in touch. Hence the audiences that you build on social media are as important as the email database you have today. You just don’t necessarily know who all those people following you are until it suits them.
6. You’re too protective over your accounts
This scenario pops up from time to time with many of our larger real estate clients, where we manage not only the real estate agencies digital footprint but help elevate real estate agents profiles as part of the program. Now generally we find that real estate agents in their 20s so Gen Y hold their social media accounts close to their chest, and they’re less likely to allow someone other than themselves to manage or add content to their social media accounts.
Thankfully, not all Gen Y’s think this way, just a rare few. And I put it down to a lack of understanding around the difference between social media and social media marketing. The key here is to ensure that the private accounts that you use with your friends and family remain just that private, and you set up a separate set of social media accounts for work purposes. Interestingly, real estate agents that fall into the Gen X and Baby Boomer age ranges are more than happy to have someone else manage their social media accounts. Most of the time, their social profiles have remained dormant with little to no business marketing activity. So they’re relieved to have someone else keep them active and help generate leads. After all, as a real estate agent, it’s better to be in someone’s lounge room listing and selling than stuck in front of a computer screen.
7. You’ve tasked the receptionist with your socials
Now, I’m all for upskilling stuff and giving people a new career path. But please don’t make the mistake that social media marketing is an area of your business that requires no previous experience or qualifications. There’s certainly some aspects of your social media that could be handled by a more junior member of staff, or an administrator. But if you want your social media marketing efforts to generate leads for your real estate business, I’ll repeat that again – leads – then you’ll need to engage a professional marketer, either in house or outsourced. Quite often I hear that a uni student has been employed to work on a real estate businesses social media. Ideally, these individuals will have studied social media or digital marketing at university. With professional guidance and qualified and experienced social media practitioners, staff in your business can be trained to take some of the less technical activities off of your marketing plate. Just like engaging a bookkeeper to help with the day to day accounts, you still need a fully qualified professional, i.e. an accountant to produce your tax return. Hence, it’s a smart idea to get professionally qualified digital experts.
8. You’ve been relying on free advice
Not all social media marketing experts are created equally. As a profession where a relatively young bunch, but anyone worth their weight in gold will have been working in online marketing for several years, and hold complementary skill sets from digital disciplines such as search engine marketing, or online advertising. What I see happening, however, is people with no marketing qualifications or advertising expertise, promoting themselves as social media experts and offering to share their secrets for free. Now, there’s a saying that nothing in life comes for free or easy for that matter. So if someone is offering free advice in a particular field, I recommend that you should check out their past experience and their marketing qualifications. You may also choose to ask them for testimonials from existing clients, and proof that they’ve managed accounts for businesses similar to yours with great results.
Time and time again, my team and I are contacted by agents and principals who have allowed an unqualified person or company to trial services on their social media accounts, seemingly at no cost to them or their business. Reference check and scrutinise companies that offer you free help. They’re most likely hoping to learn a new skill, utilising your account, your time and your budget. Listen to what they have to say but apply some common sense and ask yourself what’s in it for them, because your time is valuable and also equates to $1 amount. So letting someone unqualified learn the ropes or make their first blunders on your social media accounts hold you back and allows your competitors to forge ahead. So be diligent, be smart and stick with professional help.
If you’re struggling for time to do your own online marketing, and keen to explore how a professional team can manage your social accounts on your behalf – to more expertly build your brand and generate leads – then book in a time to chat with me, Melanie Hoole.