What can you do to improve your social media selling ability?

In this interview Matt Lahood, CEO of The Agency, shares the names of some superstar agents that use social media exceptionally well to sell not only properties but themselves to prospective vendors.

Matt highlights the power entertaining your followers has in helping you to stand out from other competing real estate agents. He also shares tips on how to talk to your clients about their marketing budgets. Adds that social media should most definitely be part of your marketing mix, and that letterbox drops are a lazy way to connect with your community. 

Matt tells a story about how a short video testimonial helped secure one agent’s next client alongside his personal views on the power of video over photos in your social media posts.

Click below to watch the video.


Following is the video transcript.

Superstar agents using social media to sell

Melanie Hoole

So, do you have any social media superstars in your network?

Matt Lahood

We’ve got a gentleman who just joined us in WA called Paul Tonich. What he is doing on social media is amazing. He does something like he gives a car away every year to one of his clients. So he gets them in this sort of zone of keeping in touch via his social media. Then he gives a car away at the end of the year. 

Ben Collier, his things are amazing. Danny Grant and Rick Woodward have done some very clever things, they really worked to Halloween and changed all the signboards for The Agency. That got huge momentum. So they’ve done that in the last couple of years. Also one’s tall, and one’s short, and they have this joke thing going on and at their open houses, they do very clever things like, ‘beware, Agent 10 metres away’ and they put that on social media. Their community in the lower North Shore has responded in spades to that.

Melanie Hoole

And it’s great because through advertising, you can really hone in on your patch and ring fence it. 

Matt Lahood

Absolutely. And Brad Gillespie, Ben Collier, are two agents that are cleverly adding value. Brad did something in Erskineville, he raised money for a local school, and so he did that through social media through his clients. That was called ‘erco berzerker’ for Erskineville. 

Ben’s always putting some suburb stats out like, what happened in this suburb? What’s happening around Paddington and Woollahra. So people click on that, because they want to know, what new shops are opening? What the record property price was, in the area? 

So, I would say that sort of group of people, there’s a lot more in our group, but I think those four to five agents in The Agency network stand out to me.

Entertain to stand out from other agents

Melanie Hoole

So it’s really interesting that you’ve got to be part entertainer, part comedian, and there’s a lot of people with really fun personalities in the real estate industry. And to see that come through on social media is great, as it creates a different impression of what real estate people are traditionally known for.

Matt Lahood

Absolutely, I think you’ve got to make it fun. In this industry we work six days a week, in some instances seven days a week, and you’re getting calls all the time. So to stand out, all you need to do is just do something a little bit different, like what Danny Grant and Rick Woodward have done. 

The Halloween posts stood out miles for them, I got a lot of comments on it personally, how clever they were around it. And then the way they are just doing a sale. You know, it’s a short and tall sort of agent working together. And they brilliantly work together and put a bit of humour into it. So that makes people want to do business with you.

Melanie Hoole

And you got to have a bit of humour dealing with the general public as well.

Matt Lahood

Don’t just be a boring person just putting up a sold sticker, that doesn’t add value to anyone.

Melanie Hoole

I agree, it doesn’t resonate. You’ve got to stand out, and put your personality on the line.

Matt Lahood

Think about this, if you actually put a sold sticker up, then interviewed the buyer about the experience they’ve had, then interviewed the seller about the experience they had, then did some stats on the market that weekend, then put it out as a post. Now that’s better than going sold and cracking the bottle of champagne. Because that type of post is going to get passed by, I think. 

It’s the same time you’re going to use to do it. So you might as well just say, hey, just say you know, this weekend we sold this one, but the clearance right now in the market is 64% and the highest price in Coogee was 1.2 million for a unit down near the beach.

Talking to vendors about marketing budgets

Melanie Hoole

So, VPA, which is vendor paid advertising – what I want to know is should social media be in the mix?

 Matt Lahood

That word, VPA, I just don’t like it at all. I don’t know why it’s something we have to score agents, agencies score their agents on, did they get VPA? When I’m coaching our agents Mel, I say to agents, if you think the owner should advertise, if you think that’s the right thing for their property after you’ve spoken to them. You’ve seen what they need, and what their wants are, (people sometimes don’t want people in their house, so want an off market sale). If you think that’s the right thing, you should give them some stats around your last clients that were happy with the same advertising plan. 

If they don’t want to advertise and they only want to spend $1, and you want to be their agent and they want you, well you don’t want to be pushing them, you give them what they want. It might be a couple of photos, might be a soft sell on social, whether it’s Facebook or the such. 

Melanie Hoole

Such as paid advertising on Facebook?

Matt Lahood

Yes, it doesn’t have to be vendor paid advertising. 

I have sat with owners before and I’ve said to them, “Look, how do you want to do this?” and they’ve said “Look, we want to tell everyone about the property as it’s our biggest asset. We want it in Sing Tao. We want in the Chinese Herald. We want it in the Jewish News. We want it advertised everywhere.” Then just give them the best campaign. 

Then, I’ve gone to other owners and they’ve said, “Look, we just want to know if you’ve got any buyers left over from that one you sold around the corner?” 

So pushing or coercing a vendor to do something because a real estate agent wants to do something, I think that’s finished those days. In my personal opinion, you’ve got to diagnose before you prescribe with the vendors. So sometimes I walk in, and they say “Look, I know I need to be on realestate.com.au and domain.com.au. We know that’s where we want to be. And we know we’ve got to do photos, and we know we’ve got to style it.” 

Melanie Hoole

So, they’ve taken that information from the internet. They’re educating themselves, before they come to the agent. 

I get a lot of vendors come to me directly, and I get property developers too. I don’t work directly with vendors, but they’re asking for more help advertising online. They know that Google is a great tool. They know that Facebook is a great tool. They see ads popping up on social media and they want to know how they can get their property to show up there as well.

Social media should be part of your marketing mix

Matt Lahood

Yes. And to answer your actual question before, socials I think definitely, it has to be part of the marketing mix. 

Now, whether you’re doing your normal property marketing campaign, then you launch the property to your own database as an agent, if you’re building your own audiences, which you should have, on LinkedIn, Facebook, and so forth. Social media should be included in property campaigns.

So I’m seeing a lot of sales being achieved off social media platforms now. And I don’t think that’s a threat to the REA and the Domains and all that there. Everyone’s got a place.

Melanie Hoole

Yes, it’s just ‘share of wallet’. There’s lots of places that you need to be, to make sure you have overturned every stone.

Matt Lahood

That’s it. And the old humble forgotten signboard is probably still one of the best marketing mediums out there. I’ve sold plenty of properties off of signboards before, because what happens, people come to the area and have a drive around. 

If you go to a new area and you want to buy a property, the first thing you do is drive the streets. The next thing you do is you look at who’s got the signboards then you ring that agency up because they’ve probably got more choice. 

That’s probably prior even than digital. Then they go on to the internet and that’s when they start to download floorplans. That’s the beautiful thing about digital, you couldn’t do that years ago, when I started. We used to glue an instant photo on an A4 piece of paper with a glue stick and do a typeset square and you would only be able to take 10 to the open because we could only get 10 photos printed.

Melanie Hoole

Thankfully those days are gone. 

Letterbox drops are a lazy way to connect

What do you think of mail cards and DL cards? Have they seen their day?

Matt Lahood

Look, I think they’re market specific. In some of the more salubrious markets people get offended. In some places, people have nannies or other people emptying their letter boxes. So, you are never gonna get through to them anyway. A lot of people have got ‘no junk mail’ signs on their mail boxes these days. And a lot more people are environmentally aware now, so they don’t like printed stuff appearing in the letterbox. I think you really have to pick your marketplace.

Melanie Hoole

Even the government no longer sends you anything in the mail. So it’s like the ‘last man standing’ is a real estate agent.

Matt Lahood

You’re exactly right. It’s probably the lazy person’s way of connecting with the community. If you go past any bus stop or visit a Sydney airport lounge everyone’s on their phone or iPad. So why don’t you just try and find a way through to them on their device, that’s going to be quicker to get in front of them than through their letterbox. 

The other thing is there’s still a place, I feel, for letting the neighbours know by face when a place has listed. By knocking on the door, you can say face to face; “Here’s a brochure. I’ve listed this property.” I don’t understand why agents don’t do that. That’s actually a reason you’re knocking on someone’s door. Then just go down the street and around the street. It’s a 10 minute exercise to push your profile and to help the owner sell. And that’s going to get more cut through than doing letterbox drops.

A short video can result in your next client

Melanie Hoole

True, so digital doesn’t replace face time in person, but you can get to know the person through digital media, through videos. 

You’re a fan of videos?

Matt Lahood

Yes, absolutely. Probably the biggest thing I’m a fan of, full stop, would be doing videos. Even if it’s a three minute, two minute, one minute video on anything. That’s much better than just doing no video.

Melanie Hoole

What’s the benefit to the agent?

Matt Lahood

I think they’re going to get more cut through.

Melanie Hoole

And video gets a much better lift in the social media algorithms as well. Video is actually favoured over all other forms of social media content. So we should make use of that, while the Facebook’s of the world and other social media platforms are giving us that benefit. 

Matt Lahood

I also think that the quality of the cameras on our phones are now good enough for an amateur person to record a video. 

Melanie Hoole

Ah, don’t tell Jake (our videographer) that!

Photo versus video on social media

Matt Lahood

No, it will never beat the professional videographer with lighting and everything but I’m saying for a 20 second or 30 second quick grab, for an amateur they are foolproof in a sense to just quickly do something. 

They’re never going to replace a professional doing a video recording. But why wouldn’t you do it, especially if you’re at an auction? When the hammer is going down, why wouldn’t you keep your hand on the video instead of taking a photograph? And then post it on your socials. 

People want to see the auction in action. A photograph is a photograph, if a picture tells 1000 words, well, the video must tell 100,000 words.

Melanie Hoole

And it shows the story as it plays out.

Matt Lahood

And, it’s more emotive. There’s less emotive connection I guess in a photo than there is in a video, would you say that?

Melanie Hoole

Oh, definitely. Because you get to hear somebody’s voice, you get to see their personality. 

Matt Lahood

One agent I know got selected to sell a huge property off of a video they posted that was simply interviewing their client. Now, the client didn’t say that they were the most amazing agent. They just thought the agent’s humble demeanour was good, and the way they approached the property listing and were grateful for the sale. The viewer then called the agent, and said I saw your video on social media, can you come and sell my house? That was nothing to do with the result or anything magic. Now imagine, if the agent had just taken a photo of popping champagne up instead, they wouldn’t have got that listing.

Melanie Hoole

We’ve got to get over our own barriers, over our fears of putting ourselves in front of the camera. 

Thank you, Matt. Thanks for letting us come to your home in Bondi and hear about your team and what you think of digital marketing.

Matt Lahood

Thanks, Melanie. You’re welcome anytime. I hope I’ve added some value today.

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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