Photograph by Anita Patterson.
The following is written by Alex Cortez.
In an industry that is centered around building relationships, real estate is a prime candidate for social media success. However, many real estate agents use Facebook, Twitter, and other sites merely as another platform of ‘marketing’ by advocating their listings without providing further value to their audience.
The value in social media comes from connections made. Here are a few tips based on my social media successes and failures:
1. Be REAL.
Don’t just spout off listings, or they get lost in the ‘noise’ and your audience will tune you out. Real estate transactions can take an extended period of time (we all know short sales that have gone upwards of a year to process) and clients want to know that they will have professional representation but also that they can get along with their realtor.
Show your personality, relate to people, and be genuine. Be the real you, for better or for worse (hopefully for the better), and customers will respond accordingly.
2. Be the expert in your niche.
When I started in social media, my first folly was in strategy: I wanted to be a guru of everything Maui real estate-related. Instead of being an expert, I was someone who knew very little about a lot.
Since then, I shifted my focus to the area where I live and work, which has paid off by generating a number of high-quality leads who sought me out based on what they perceived to be expertise. I feel much more confident and comfortable talking about my niche than I ever did in trying to talk about everything. Particularly for a destination location such as Hawaii, potential buyers are not familiar with the area and rely on experts to guide them through the process.
Be the master of your niche.
3. Be social.
It goes without saying that social media is primarily focused on the social engagement aspect of its platform, yet for too many it is about ‘yelling’ their message without listening. Social media is a two-way/group conversation, not an advertisement platform.
Engage prospective clients by asking questions, responding to comments, providing insightful information that solve their problems, and listening.
4. Be thankful.
No one is obligated to ‘Like’ your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter. Sending a small ‘thank you for…’ note can go a long way towards establishing a rapport, from which a long-term, genuine relationship can be built.
Let people know that you are a real person ready to answer any questions they may have within your niche of expertise. Automated responses are a thing of the past; taking a small amount of time to send a well-written personalized note can pay huge dividends.
The social media landscape is changing constantly and some social signals are now being weighted by search engine algorithms. In order to have a successful, lead-generating, social presence: Be Social, Be Yourself.
Alex Cortez is a NYC transplant to Hawaii. He finances his poor golf playing by selling Wailea real estate. Tweet him @MauiResearch.