Whether you are a real estate agent or a real estate agency principal, there will come a point in your business when you consider employing someone to manage your social media channels.

You may have tried to manage your social media accounts yourself up to this point. Or you may have asked the existing staff, such as your niece or nephew or the real estate office receptionist, to manage your social media content. In most instances, these scenarios are unrealistic as you do not have the time, and your receptionist or family most likely doesn’t have the right skills.

So, what next?

You have two options;

  1. Advertise and employ someone to manage your real estate social media marketing in-house, or
  2. Research and engage a real estate social media marketing agency to manage your online marketing and advertising.

Recruiting real estate social media staff

As a digital marketing agency owner, employing and training staff to look after the social media marketing needs of real estate businesses is a core competency of mine.

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First, you need a clear idea of all tasks the employee will undertake. If you have yet to be hands-on with your real estate social media marketing, then you may not know what’s needed.

Here’s an essential list of what a social media marketer should do day-to-day;

  1. Check and respond to social media comments and direct messages
  2. Plan the monthly social media marketing calendar
  3. Identify a different daily message (audience, topic, content type and format)
  4. Write written content (blogs, reports and scripts)
  5. Prepare an image or graphics
  6. Schedule social media posts across multiple platforms
  7. Run paid advertising
  8. Track organic reach and engagement
  9. Report on return on advertising spend (ROAS)
  10. Provide feedback on what messaging works and what doesn’t work, then incorporate this knowledge back into the real estate marketing strategy

Based on the above list, the skills required are as follows;

  1. Real estate industry experience so they can respond to requests and comments knowledgeably
  2. Strategic marketing and project management skills
  3. Understand real estate personas (buyers, sellers, tenants, landlords)
  4. Excellent written English (or Chinese etc.)
  5. Graphic design skills (knowing how to use Canva does not count)
  6. Social media platform knowledge (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok)
  7. Advanced social media advertising skills (audience creation, ads management, different advertising products, e.g. carousels, reels, stories, lead capture forms, messenger bots)
  8. Ability to interpret social media insights and reports
  9. Ability to interpret social media advertising results (ROAS)
  10. Knowledge of industry benchmarks and whether the real estate brand’s results sit above or below them
  11. Compliance, the collection of marketing data is heavily regulated, and there are hefty fines for businesses that breach the rules

What would someone suited to this role requires the following qualifications and skills;

  1. A marketing communications degree (or similar)
  2. A digital design degree or TAFE course
  3. A project management course
  4. Strategic marketing skills for small business
  5. Creative writing skills (examples)
  6. Graphic design skills (examples)
  7. A natural creative who enjoys art, design or photography and undertakes these pursuits in their spare time
  8. Keeps their own social media channels up to date with beautifully curated media formats and tasteful messaging
  9. Loves technology, keeping abreast of the changes to social platforms, can self-teach tech tools and can troubleshoot problems when they arise (e.g. account restrictions, social features changing)
  10. 2+ years of real estate industry marketing experience
  11. Has the maturity and resilience to work in a fast-paced and often high-pressured work environment

How does all of the above sound to you? Know anyone of this calibre?

The right staff for a small business

In my experience running a small business, it is better to employ someone with maturity, several years of work experience, and, even better, someone who has bought and sold homes (as a consumer), as they can work autonomously, i.e. without a supervisor or manager. However, finding these people is more challenging than you might think.

Over my 20+ years employing, training and managing staff (both technical and creative) in large corporations and my own businesses, I have learnt that there are pros and cons to hiring people in their 20s versus 30s and upwards.

School leavers and university graduates versus mature staff

There is an assumption that the younger generations are better equipped to work in social media marketing roles than the older generations. I have yet to find this to be the case.

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Generation Z and younger do not fear technology like some baby boomers and some Gen X, and are generally happy to click the buttons and see what happens. But there is still a large gap between their life experiences and work experiences.

Twenty-somethings need nurturing and training, which can take up much of your time and energy. In comparison, thirty-somethings and up can hit the ground (or role) running. They’ve already mastered Microsoft Office or Google Business Suite and know how to manage their time effectively. They might even teach you a thing or two!

Twenty-somethings want to try out different roles and companies before they settle on a career. Once they’ve learnt all there is to know in their current position; they’ll seek new job opportunities elsewhere. So, you’ll be starting over by resourcing and training a new employee. Thirty-somethings and up have different priorities. They are ready for stability and maybe some flexibility to work whilst raising a family (this applies to both men and women). They will value working with friendly people in a good culture, alongside the ability to work remotely.

Administration staff versus creative staff

There is also an assumption that social media management roles are administrative. Although some elements of a social media marketing role are repetitive and easy to learn, most skills require someone to be highly creative and digitally technical.

Before I employ someone in a social media marketing position at Hoole.co, they must complete a project that includes an element of creative writing and graphic design. I need to see if they are a creative thinker, have good communication skills, have a creative eye for matching colours and selecting imagery, and have the design skills to put all these written and visual materials together. Their submissions must be well formatted and show a good eye for detail.

Marketing creatives can be like unicorns

In the digital industry, people joke that finding someone with strategic, creative and technical marketing skills is like trying to find a unicorn. I.e. these mystical creatures do not exist.

In fact, marketers or social media marketers are never one-man-bands; they work as a team. Hence, when you engage social media marketers or digital marketers at Hoole.co, we have a production line of specialists that work on each creative message from start to finish.

There’s the marketing strategist
The copywriter
The editor
The photographer or videographer
The graphic designer
The account manager
The social scheduler
The ads manager
The statistician

You can expect some of these skills in one person but not all.

In my digital marketing agency, I teach our social media marketers to do the final four of the above mentioned roles. But they must have an editorial team to work with, as well as graphic designers, photographers, videographers, and even web designers that can provide the technical and visual creative inputs.

In addition, a strategist, either myself or one of my senior and highly experienced marketers, oversees the strategy, sets the objectives, selects the right marketing tools and monitors the results.

Expecting one person to be a master of all things needed for digital media management is unrealistic.

Social marketers that work alone versus in a marketing team

If you are a social media marketer that works alone, the hardest part would be to keep abreast of all the platform changes. Our digital marketing agency’s advantage is that we work across multiple real estate business accounts, so we have a birds-eye view of the industry, take what works well for one client, and apply that knowledge and marketing solution to the next.

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There is also a team of great minds that can troubleshoot an issue. If a client’s social media account is restricted, we’ve got a group of experienced people who have encountered similar problems before and know how to research and rectify the issue quickly and efficiently.

In fact, these are the main reasons that principals of real estate agencies outsource their social media marketing to Hoole.co.

Resolving restricted social media accounts

Most real estate professionals do not have the time or the inclination to determine why their account is restricted or what triggered the problem. Plus, it can become very frustrating when this happens repeatedly. But as a client of Hoole.co, we will do our best to resolve the issue for you, and as we are considered a Pro advertising client by the social media platforms, we have account representatives whom we can call.

Equally, most principals or real estate professionals need to gain the technical skills to teach junior staff members how to manage social media marketing for their businesses. Or project manages the marketing initiatives alongside their in-house marketing staff.

Managing marketing staff is a business hat many real estate professionals do not want to wear.

Real estate businesses rely on industry practitioners

Successful real estate business owners rely on highly skilled practitioners such as tax accountants, lawyers, business coaches, sales trainers, marketing agencies, software providers and recruiters to ensure their business is well-resourced and highly competitive.

Building an in-house marketing team makes perfect sense if you run a national real estate network with multiple offices and brands, but for a single real estate office or small independent real estate brand, it’s overkill.

Why any real estate principal would want the headache of managing marketing or technical staff, I do not know. The creative and digital disciplines are highly technical, and we require subscriptions to many creative tools, code bases and scripts that would make any business owner’s mind boggle.

It’s far easier and more cost-effective to outsource to specialist businesses in the marketing and digital field.

The cost of in-house staff versus marketing agency retainers

If you employ someone in a social media marketing role, the salary should be more than the receptionist’s, and you’ll need them for at least 28 to 38 hours per week. You’ll also need to pay for additional help from freelance photographers, videographers, and brand designers, to supplement the marketers missing skill sets.

If you could find a salaried social media marketer to be your employee for minimum wage, that’s $21.38 per hour (in Australia), $812.60 per week, or 42,255.20 per year. Plus, there’s an additional 10.5% in superannuation and on top of that computer costs. Then there’s your time managing the staff and your accounts department’s need to oversee payroll and paid leave. You’re already looking at an annual cost upwards of $45k per year for your unicorn! And if they genuinely are a unicorn, they are more likely asking for $70k to $90k per year.

A retainer with a marketing agency that can provide between 5 to 12 creative staff (across approx. 9 different skill sets) starts at around $500 or $1,000 per week, which is a much better budget for a marketing and creative team, about $26k to $52k per year.

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Plus, you don’t have to manage the team; the marketing agency owner will. You don’t have to find replacement staff should someone leave; that headache also sits with the marketing agency owner. You don’t have to subscribe to the many different digital tools and creative editing suites and image libraries or codes and scripts because the digital marketing agency also takes care of that.

Honestly, why anyone would want the headache of recruiting, training, managing and paying for marketing staff within their own real estate business baffles me. The sense of control you feel will soon disappear when you realise that you’re now awake more times through the night with more people and responsibilities to worry about!

And, should your social media manager hand in their resignation, it will take you around two months to replace them and then another 3 to 6 months to train the new hire. And, when your employee wants paid leave, who will cover their role? You?

If you’ve been considering employing an in-house social media marketer, you will now understand that having them on staff is more of a headache and more costly than it’s worth. Book a free one-hour consultation with me, and I’ll help put you on a path that’ll get rid of your social media frustrations and digital marketing woes. I look forward to talking with you.


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Written by Melanie Hoole

My team and I specialise in helping real estate and property professionals perfect their personal brand, build a first-class digital profile and implement inbound marketing activities to attract leads. If you are unsure which direction to take with your digital marketing contact me for help.

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