A question that’s often asked of me is “Which social media channel is the best for real estate?”.

In this video, Valentina Borbone and I discuss the virtues of old-timer Facebook and it’s younger sibling Instagram. We outline the dos and don’ts of LinkedIn, the best use for Twitter, and point out that Pinterest is totally untapped.

Valentina Borbone is very similar to me. She’s been a marketer for many years. She conducts training and has an agency that supports all types of businesses. Enjoy these insights as Valentina and I discuss the best social channels for property professionals.

Click below to watch the video.

Following is the video transcript.

The best social channels for real estate agents

Melanie Hoole

Valentina. Let’s discuss the different channels. So, a lot of people wonder where they should spend their time and their energies. I’d really love your insights on what you think each social media channel is for and what kind of content and purpose you would make use of it for your own business. So, Facebook.

Valentina Borbone

Excellent. So the first thing about any channel is always picking the channels to be on where your customers are, there is absolutely no point being on Twitter if your customers aren’t on Twitter. So that’s the very first step in picking a channel.

Is Facebook a great channel for real estate agents?

Valentina Borbone

Facebook is one of the oldest social platforms, it’s not the oldest, it’s one of the oldest. And because it’s evolved over time, it has a plethora of content opportunities. So it can do pictures, it can do video, you can share very easily, but it is very personal. So you collect followers or fans, and usually, you have to add them as a friend.

So in that perspective, you need to have some existing relationship, and even from a brand page, I need to have value coming from you as a brand to be in my personal world, to be in my feed. I’ve only got a finite amount of time that I can spend on these channels and digital. So if you’re not offering me something valuable and something that solves a problem for me, I’m kind of done. I don’t have time for you.

So if you’re going to be on Facebook, I’d certainly think about who your audiences are, the younger generation is definitely moving away. But in saying that, and I’ll put a caveat around that – In Australia, there are 16 million users of Facebook, there’s only 23 million in our population. So when I hear that the younger generation doesn’t use Facebook anymore, I can’t seem to find another platform that can offer me even roughly that amount of viewers in one place. So consider that.

Melanie Hoole

I want to ask you a question about the baby boomers because the great thing about our industry, or the real estate industry, is that we’re not actually focused on the younger generation. The main people that are selling homes are up sizers or the downsizers.

Valentina Borbone

They are on Facebook, and they love Facebook because it’s on their terms. So the initial reason that a lot of the Baby Boomers, I guess, and Gen X are on Facebook is so that they can continue a relationship with their children or grandchildren. And Facebook can sometimes the only technology they have. So they all migrated for that purpose. And you know, as soon as mom and dad are on the same platform, you get the hell out of there. So absolutely, Baby Boomers are a high user of the Facebook platform.

Is Instagram an app of interest for real estate agents?

Melanie Hoole

So Instagram, that’s part of the Facebook family now. So who’s there? What would you share in that environment?

Valentina Borbone

So Instagram definitely has a younger following much greater than Facebook, but it’s a visual platform. So it’s about inspiration, aspiration, it’s about motivating me. It’s very similar to Pinterest in a way in terms of being able to follow or collect ideas and things that you might like so the visual aspect makes it a lot quicker and easy to digest content.

Instagram doesn’t rely on sharing at all, in fact, to share on Instagram is nigh on impossible unless you download an app to do it a Re-gram app so Facebook doesn’t want the Instagram platform to be the same.

So I would say if you’ve got a very visual product, then Instagram is definitely the place to be. On Facebook, we read posts, on Instagram we see posts. So there is a big difference. And there isn’t as much conversation I guess that happens on Instagram from that perspective.

Melanie Hoole

And we have to remember that Instagram was a mobile app and is still a mobile app first and foremost.

Valentina Borbone

Yeah, it wasn’t really for web even though we can see stuff on the web. It’s still, you know, at its core an app.

Should real estate agents promote properties on LinkedIn?

Melanie Hoole

So let’s move on to LinkedIn. Should you just repurpose everything like photo’s of your sold signboard stickers, and you know your ‘what’s open this Saturday’ onto LinkedIn? Is LinkedIn, the right place for that type of content? Who’s on LinkedIn? And what should we share?

Valentina Borbone

LinkedIn is definitely a b2b, social networking tool. So business to business and yes, a home transaction can be a business transaction. It can be where you’ll find investors and high net worth individuals who you might be targeting if you’ve got luxury or prestigious property. So, yes, it is a place that you can be as a real estate agent.

No, it is not the place for you to just share the same stuff from Facebook and Instagram to that platform. So the moment I see a ‘Fri Yay’ meme on LinkedIn is the moment I won’t follow you. It’s my professional network. So instead of just selling me the property, talk to me about how it might be an investment improvement in the next 12 months based on the last 12 months of that local property market. Talk to me about the national real estate market and perhaps how that could be relative to me in my age group or in the role that I’m in.

So you might see an influx of marketers moving to a certain area. And I’ve certainly seen that over the years that those trends can happen. So talk to me at a higher level rather than selling individual properties to me, because I just think “Well done you. You’re doing your job. You’re in real estate. That’s good. Now, feed my business brain.

Melanie Hoole

Yeah. And I’ve also seen other people comment on agents posts, that aren’t in the industry, saying, “Oh, I see another real estate agent posting about themselves.”

What I find works really well is commercial because we have some commercial clients. And that’s kind of like their equivalent of Facebook because we’re talking, as you say, business to business and investors and high net worth individuals.

So, I guess market updates would be the right thing there.

Valentina Borbone

Yeah, but I could also relate it to something like either living in the CBD or moving out into a quiet area, and targeting, let’s say, a senior person in their executive role. Actually talking about the rat race of let’s say, the CBD or let’s say Sydney, and that you too can have a commutable life in this environment, which is going to give you more time with your family. Now you’re talking to me as a senior executive and telling me that I can have my cake and eat it too, that’s attractive to me. Not, hey, here’s this great house that’s really far away. You have to sell it to me in a way that’s going to understand that I’m going to understand in terms of my business role.

Melanie Hoole

So all these platforms, you know, we need to think about the customer and who we’re talking to first. So what are your tips to agents about, being less “Me, me, me,” and more “You, you, you, and how I can help you and what’s right for you?” How do you go about that?

Valentina Borbone

So that’s typically a research piece, or what we would call a customer journey and customer persona. That’s the language we use in marketing. And essentially, it says, this type of customer takes these types of actions on these channels. And this is the type of content that they’re looking for. So you can make assumptions through age and through other demographic data, which is useful. So you could say that someone between the age of 18 and 35 is still a first time home buyer. So targeting them around the message of growth and maturity, from one career to the next, and maybe stability. Then, you could actually create content that ties to that type of individual.

But really, you have to do some of that soul searching to say, what are the typical questions I get asked as an agent? You’re likely hearing the same things over and over again, is now a good time to buy? Should I rent or should I buy? And, in the Australian market, that’s definitely changing and it changes internationally as well.

The great Australian dream has always been to own your own home, but that’s because we’ve had the dream of our parents. And now our dreams, as the generations change, are changing and younger people are asking, “Do I really want to be tied down to one place for 50 years. That’s really weird that that’s what mom and dad would want. I want to travel the world I want to experience life. I don’t have to be tied to something materialistic.” And if you put that all back in context.

To our parents going through wartime, they didn’t have a lot to hold on to. So of course, their aspiration was more materialistic and they wanted keep things and show wealth and success through objects. And we’ve come through this other generation where we’re not in wartime, we’re not saving stale bread.

We’re actually saying, I don’t need all these things. And I don’t need prestigious assets to prove that I’m successful. So success to me has a different metric than it would have had to previous generations. And I think we forget that in marketing, that our needs and wants change because our environment and the world we live in changes.

Melanie Hoole

I love that you brought up this topic because it’s something that I have spent a lot of time focused on. We’ve actually analysed each generation and how it has changed. So for me, my day to day and my content team (just like you) deal with strategies for our clients that focus on different generations.

We take a view as to what their lifestyle is and what they want out of life. And then that translates right back to the type of property. So it’s not always big palatial family homes, it might be a lock and leave residency. And, you know, with population growth, there’s more and more townhouses and high-density living.

So not forgetting some of the other platforms. So what are your thoughts on Twitter?

Any benefits to Twitter for real estate agents?

Valentina Borbone

Twitter in the Australian market is not very active. Compared to the UK or US markets. What we’ve seen is a short message service. That’s really what it was. Its immediacy is what’s really attractive in the Australian market.

So what we tend to see is news coming through thick and fast. You can get updates very, very quickly and opinions very quickly, adding to that live TV, and the live tweets that are coming through and the humour and the comedy and our sarcasm.

So I think for Australians, Twitter is not a huge day to day marketing platform. And the biggest difference with Twitter, and I think a lot of people overlook this is Twitter moves forward from a moment in time, whereas both Facebook and Instagram go backwards in time. So you don’t miss 2000 tweets and go, “Oh, I better catch up on all 2000”, you actually start from that moment forward and might look back just by category for a few.

Melanie Hoole

It’s great for stalking people. You know, like, watching what the overseas president is talking about right now and what nonsense is coming out on Twitter.

Valentina Borbone

Yeah, that’s right. I can teach for a whole day and notice that something’s happening, but I’m not sure what it is. So I’ll use Twitter to go and do a very quick search on what happened and straightaway, I’ll get the news. As opposed to waiting for a news website to update.

Melanie Hoole

Yeah, that’s interesting because I interviewed a good friend. He’s a BBC journalist. He talked about Twitter and how the BBC use it as their main social channel to get news disseminated. So yeah, it’s very news-focused, and it’s fast. You can dip in and out and kind of hear the noise.

Valentina Borbone

Absolutely. And from what you said, with “hearing the noise” that’s other people making that commentary. I’m not waiting for the news wire to deliver me the news. The person that’s standing on the street just delivered it for me.

What’s the purpose of Pinterest for real estate agents?

Melanie Hoole

Exactly. And what about Pinterest? Is that a space where real estate can leverage and build a brand?

Valentina Borbone

Oh, I think it’s one of the most overlooked platforms available for real estate agents. Pinterest is very much a visual platform that is all about aspiring and inspiration. So whilst heavily skewed towards the female, with property the female is generally one of the key decision-makers.

So people use it for renovating a bathroom or renovating a kitchen or actually searching just for beautiful property that they enjoy to look at. I have a board that’s all about treehouses because one day I’m going to build a huge treehouse. But at the same time, there’s luxury property, there’s country-style property, and that in itself as a marketing tool, and I think is massively overlooked.

So what we’re starting to see is Pinterest developing their actual capabilities from a marketing perspective. So being able to click on one of those pins or one of those images and say find me other images that are similar and actually directing leads straight through to that property on an agents website. So whether it be a property, or interiors, a rug, or anything like that which I can click on via a picture. Say a lamp, well you can now say I want to buy that lamp and go to a website that sells those lamps.

So I think people have completely forgotten that when we’re styling our homes, we’re prepping our homes for sale, when we’re looking at hedging, when we’re looking at outdoor seating areas, all of those things and a lot of that inspiration comes from Pinterest. And if I could find the dream home ready and done without having to collect the boards to create it, sold. I love it.

Melanie Hoole

I love the idea that Pinterest is a great way for bringing traffic a lot more in advance of the property going on the market, to your brand, because I’ve noticed that a lot of agents promote themselves at the pointy end. At the point when people are about to list, but a lot of them forget that people are out there engaging with lots of different platforms in lots of different spaces.

So, there are lots of different ways to get your brand in front and centre. Much further back in the thought process or even when they’re not even in the market transacting right now.

Valentina Borbone

Yeah, so I get asked a lot. How do I find an international investor? I say, Pinterest!

Melanie Hoole

Well, thank you so much for sharing your insights today on the different social channels. I’ve learned a lot as well.

Which social channels do you enjoy?

Dear reader, we’d love to hear which social media channels you use most often in your personal life and which (if any, so far) you’ve found success with for promoting your services.

Or, simply, just let us know which channels you’d love to learn more about.

About this video series

Hoole.co’s video series brings together the best digital and social media minds in the real estate industry, to share the wonders of the web and magic of mobile. Subscribe to Hoole.co or follow us on social media (below) for free tips and tricks to grow your reputation and attract prospects, digitally.

Melanie Hoole

Written by Melanie Hoole

Melanie specialises in helping real estate professionals perfect their personal brand, build a first-class digital profile, and implement inbound marketing activities to attract property owners planning to sell. If you are unsure which direction to take with your digital marketing – contact Melanie Hoole for help.

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