When you’re first deciding where to start when incorporating social media into your real estate business, it may be difficult to know which platforms may make the most sense. It can be especially confusing when you’re trying to engage in social media across the whole spectrum at the same time. Let’s take an overview of social media, which should help you decide where you want to start in social media, and how you should tailor your online business plan to fit your goals.
LinkedIn is the most professional of all the social media platforms, and therefore is a “must-have” in your social media repertoire. Even if you’re adverse to having an online presence in general, LinkedIn provides you the opportunity to present yourself with the most professional foot forward. One of the biggest attributes of LinkedIn is that it has immense Search Engine Optimization (SEO), ensuring that your name and professional information are near or at the top of every Google search. Think of LinkedIn as your online resume – include a professional photo, all of your current (and, when relevant, past) professional information and don’t forget to include any received real estate designations and/or awards. LinkedIn is also a great way to reach out to other real estate professionals, vendors and clients. Since LinkedIn isn’t as casual as the other social platforms, it’s also the least “scary” when it comes to connections. Even if you’ve subconsciously dismissed social media from your online business plan, reconsider adding at least LinkedIn to your online platform.
The juggernaut in the room is Facebook. Whether it’s a Facebook profile or Facebook Groups or Facebook Pages, there’s a pretty good chance that you or someone you know is on Facebook. While younger people have been leaving Facebook (usually because their parents are on it!), the average demographic of a Facebook user makes them very attractive to real estate agents. According to iStrategyLabs, the average Facebook user is 25-54, with an increase of 80.4% in the 55+ age group over the past 3 years. (Source) While Facebook Pages have recently seen a pretty steady decline in engagement due to Facebook’s adjustment of their algorithm, the possibilities of tapping into the Facebook network shouldn’t be discounted in an online business plan. Especially of note is the enhanced Facebook Search which was rolled out late last year, enabling users to target people with specific interests in specific areas. Whether this is used for engagement or for target marketing, Facebook’s data collection is a useful tool for anyone in sales.
It’s been argued that no one ever buys or sells a house on Twitter, and this may be true when looking at using Twitter in a direct fashion. However, Twitter can actually be useful for real estate when you look at it from a networking perspective. Twitter is not only a great resource for networking with fellow agents in the area; Twitter can also be used a listening and engaging platform for real estate agents in other parts of the country and overseas. Being able to crowdsource information about real estate practices and techniques in one place can be extremely useful when looking to improve your own real estate business. Furthermore, the relationships created and nurtured on Twitter can prove invaluable, especially when it comes referrals. Finally, Twitter is a good place to share links – not only to listings and other content on your website, but also important informational articles highlighting your knowledge as a local expert.
Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, etc.
There are many other different social media platforms that are gaining in popularity besides LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Pinterest is probably the best-known and most-used of all of them. Pinterest feeds off of our increasingly image-hungry culture, with the ability to “pin” favorite images that link back to different websites on what are pretty much the equivalent of online dream boards. Pinterest has created opportunities for professional individuals and companies to create their own space, and can be a great way fore real estate agents to reach people with stunning photographs of home interiors and exteriors that link back to a website. Pinterest has also recently released the ability to pin specific images to locations, further feeding into a number of real estate use possibilities. Instagram also relies on images to reach audiences, but has also integrated video into its platform. Instagram is more encouraging of direct engagement than Pinterest, and can be used for unique business marketing. Thus far, Instagram is more popular with younger demographics than the others. (Source) Like Pinterest and Instagram, Tumblr also relies on imagery, but in a blogging format. Tumblr allows people to use words and images to create easily shareable spaces, ideas and posts online. Tumblr engagement is mixed, but can be beneficial – just look at the Corocoran Group out of New York City as an example! There are a multitude of other platforms to consider, including Google Plus, but be aware when making your choice that you need to consider target demographic, adoption rate and the company’s investment before putting your hard-earned money and time into a fleeting concept.
Whichever social media platform you choose, choosing one or two platforms at maximum to initiate your online business plan will help ensure the greatest success. Oftentimes, online strategies fail because people try to do too much at once. While sharing across platforms can sometimes make sense, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t always make sense. Being able to focus and do something extremely well will help you stand out and reap online rewards.