There has been increased discussion over the past few months over Google Plus, as a social platform that many thought was just a “fad” is starting to win people over through sheer tenacity with a push from Google in “rewarding” people who post to or connect their blogs and websites to Google Plus. Bill Gassett recently wrote a helpful article about Google Plus and real estate for Inman News. In that article, Bill addressed the difference between Google Plus and Facebook, and gave some reasons and tips for using Google Plus for real estate. I’d like to elaborate a bit more on that article to include a few specific ways you can use Google Plus for real estate.
Using Google Plus for Listings
Before you even begin to list a house, most real estate agents have a listing presentation. Whether paper or electronic, a listing presentation includes specific marketing offerings that you’re willing to provide to the seller. More and more, those marketing offerings include different forms of online marketing. Online marketing can take shape in Google ads, Facebook promotions, featured space on websites and email marketing. What should be considered, however, is how Google Plus can be used for listings.
Google Plus Communities
First, you can create a Google Community in Google Plus for the neighborhood the listing is featured in. You then can invite others in the area to participate, asking them their favorite features of the neighborhood and area. Ask their permission to quote their reactions in other material marketing the area. Be sure to link between the marketing material and the Community to ensure maximum exposure. Once the Community is established, you can start marketing different listings in that area, as well as draw attention to other listings in the neighborhood. However, you have to make sure that the majority of your posts are actually community-related, and not real estate-centric. Don’t shove things down people’s throats – offer it as part of the community information.
You can also directly market listings and related website information in Google Plus directly. You can post to a Google Plus feed much in the same way as you post to a Facebook timeline. Google Plus LOVES images, so be sure that you use clear, high-resolution images that portray the listing in its best light. Provide snippets of information about each room or feature of the home, with a link back to your website where more relevant information can be found. Make sure you’re publishing to public as you do so. Google Plus loves keywords, so be sure to incorporate the specific keywords you want attributed to yourself and to the property in the post. Examples can include neighborhood names, street names, and even generic labels like #realestate. No matter what, be sure that the address is always included in the post. You want your listing found – using too vague of a label will ensure it gets lost in the cloud.
Using Google Plus for Buyers
Google Plus can also be useful in real estate for buyer clients. Like sellers, real estate buyers are becoming more attuned and attracted to real estate agents who use similar technologies to themselves. If you don’t know what your buyers are doing or where they’re looking, don’t be ashamed – ask them. It’s better to know where they’re getting their information from so you can understand their knowledge basis, as well as be able to provide other (perhaps better) sites and/or apps for their use.
Google Plus Communities
Sellers aren’t the only ones who can benefit from Google Plus communities. Creating a safe place for your buyer clients in Google Communities is an overlooked, but useful, tool in your real estate business. Using Communities, you can address all buyers’ questions in one place. Oftentimes, there are buyer questions that go unasked, or uncertainties unaddressed. Some of these can be rectified by creating a place where frequently asked questions can be brought out into the open, other buyers can interact with each other, and most importantly, people can feel like they’re not only in this process. Inviting your vendors, like mortgage brokers and title companies, into these conversations can also be useful as they can create a relationship outside of email and the office.
Google Plus Hangouts
While it’s nice to think that we can be face-to-face with our real estate clients all the time, reality often proves that we can’t. For those times when either you’re physically unavailable, or your buyer clients are elsewhere, Google Plus Hangouts provides a nice alternative to email. It’s easier to present information to a buyer, or discuss important aspects of the real estate transaction, in real-time with body language, than trying to interpret an email or phone text. Even better and unlike Skype, Google Plus Hangouts provides the opportunity of having multiple people included in the conversation – so you could have partners in different states discussing a transaction with you, and even have your mortgage advisor, home inspector and/or title company chime in on the conversation.
Google Plus for You
Aside from the opportunities Bill discusses in his article and Google authorship (which you can learn more about here), Google Plus gives you another place to post links and offer better insight into who you are. What do you love most about your area? What is your passion in real estate? People want to learn more about you and see what drives you – Google Plus affords a great place to share that information.
Another way to showcase your knowledge is to have a Google Hangout On Air. Google Hangouts On Air allow you to broadcast a hangout to the public (not just to invitees) through live streaming. You can even take questions beforehand to answer on air. The purpose behind this is to engage a wider audience – what better place to show off your real estate prowess? What’s your specialty? What’s your focus? Take it from just a reply email to a larger audience…you never know who you might catch.
These are just a few ways you can use Google Plus in your real estate business. What are some ways you’re using Google Plus in your real estate business?