We’ve all done it at some point in our online journey. Crafted a tweet or written a post or pointed people to a link…pressed ‘Publish’…and clasped our hands together in silent prayer:
Our Google of Real Estate and Online Whims, We come to you in prayer.
Thy crawling spiders, thy algorithm, on laptop as on mobile.
Give us this day multiple views and shares, and forgive us our punctuation and grammatical sins, as we forgive those we see every day.
Lead us not into buying of leads or friends, and deliver us from trolls.
For thine is the traffic, and analytics and Adwords.
In thine own words, “Don’t be evil. (But make lots of profit.)”
Helpful as this silent treaty might be to the great Googleverse, its efficacy is in question. And yet it seems most real estate agent’s online strategy consists of throwing a giant net out of words and listings and pictures, with the hopes of snagging enough fish to keep themselves fed.
As with any marketing effort, the better foundation than ‘hope’ is a strategy. Here are 4 tips to create an online strategy that will lead to better returns than the “Post and Pray” method:
1) Know thy Audience
Who are you trying to reach with your online efforts? And no, “everybody” is not a choice. You can’t please everybody and you can’t write for everybody. However, if you have a target demographic or even an ideal real estate client in mind as you create your online content, you’ll have a greater chance of directly reaching them.
2) Know thy Platforms
Once you know who you’re trying to reach, you’ll better understand where to reach them. Overall, Facebook is the most popular network of both sexes, and almost all age ranges, but LinkedIn actually beats out Twitter among U.S. adults aged 30-49 and YouTube reaches more adults aged 18-34 than any single cable TV network. (Source) Not only do you need to know where your audience is, but once you understand what platform you’re using, you can understand how better to craft a message to reach them. You can use images and video plus words on Facebook and you can actually publish whole articles on LinkedIn, but you better know your hashtag game if you’re using Instagram and how to express yourself in 140 characters or less if using Twitter. If you’re blogging, you need to know what your consistent keywords will be and to whom you’re addressing your posts.
3) Know thy Message
What are you trying to convey? Are you broadcasting how awesome a real estate agent you are? (Not recommended, by the way.) How about instead demonstrating your local expertise and how in touch you are with your community? You could give insider’s information about upcoming events in the area. Or you could showcase your activity in the market, along with some helpful hints on how to navigate the waters as a buyer and seller. Maybe it’s discussing what’s going on in the real estate world: market rates, different kinds of mortgage loans, changes to the system (like the upcoming closing changes in August), etc. Know who you want to be before you go online, and make sure your messages echo your brand and its values.
4) Be Consistent
Giving people something of value is just the start. Once you do that, you’ll lead them to expect more. If you’re able to deliver valuable material on a consistent basis, you give people a reason to come back (and to seek you out). One of the best ways of ensuring this is by creating a content calendar for yourself. Pick up to 3 platforms you want to reach your audience on. Now create a calendar using a grid system. (I created an example calendar here as a rudimentary template, and the second tab along the bottom shows an example with filled-in content.) You can then use this as a way to time-block your week using your existing calendar system (Google Calendars, paper calendar, etc.), as well as as an accountability system with your partner, team or coach. If you do have an assistant (virtual or otherwise), or are a member of a team, this content calendar can also become a shared or tasked duty so you don’t have to work on it alone.
So, before you resort to prayer to get your content seen, craft a plan. Decide on your audience, choose which social platforms work best for you and for them, devise a content strategy and execute it on a consistent basis. (Even better, all of these tips are blessed by the Google itself!)