From Facebook to LinkedIn, Instagram to Twitter, real estate agents have myriad social media marketing tools at their disposal. The sheer number of options can feel overwhelming… and how is a busy agent supposed to have the time to keep up with every trend and new development?
Given that 69 percent of American adults (i.e., your potential client base) have at least one social media account — and more than 40 percent use social media to research brands, products and purchases — you’ve got to stay on top of your social media game. Unfortunately, social media’s near-ubiquitous reach also means that a major misstep can lead to disastrous consequences for your brand.
When your focus is on helping clients buy and sell property, rather than hashtags and engagement, it’s easy to miss the mark. But misusing this powerful tool — or forgoing its use altogether — is risky. The key lies in utilizing social media effectively, in ways that engage your target audience, build brand awareness, and move leads further along the funnel.
While no one expects real estate agents to know everything about digital marketing, there are a few fouls that can tank your strategy. Here are six examples of social media marketing mistakes real estate agents should avoid:
Mistake 1: Spammy Content
When you spot spam-like content in your social media feed, how do you react? If you’re like most social media users, you ignore it or, if it’s really bad, block it. Whether it’s in an inbox or a Twitter timeline, no one likes spam.
What constitutes spam? Don’t send overly promotional, repetitive content. Instead, focus on content that provides value to your target audience. Concise posts that get right to the point, accompanied by clear, attractive photos, offer more value to your potential clients. Consider content that focuses on useful topics like, for instance:
- What you should know before buying your first home
- How sellers can best stage their home to sell
- The three rules of selling your house
- How to come up with a good offer to buy
- The seven keys to negotiating your home sale
The options are endless; real estate in particular lends itself to content creation because there are so many buyers and sellers itching to have their questions answered.
If you notice your engagement dropping, don’t simply push more content out there or (worse) add gifs or emojis in an attempt to get attention. Providing quality, relevant content that helps your audience make purchasing decisions by offering relevant information will help build your authority.
Mistake 2: Subpar Photos
When it comes to making an impact, nothing beats using visual images in your posts. Studies indicate that people retain information much longer when paired with images; perhaps that’s why 80 percent of marketers use visuals in their social media campaigns.
In the world of real estate, images are especially key. Without a great set of photos, who’s going to want to come view a property? Given the primacy of photos, it’s surprising that many real estate agents use sub-par photography on their social media.
Let’s face it: Pictures snapped from your iPhone just aren’t enough. A professional real estate photographer will have the right tools and knowledge to create attractive, high-quality photos that will attract the clients you seek and help you sell homes.
Homes marketed with quality photography sell 32 percent quicker and have a higher selling price; more and better photos mean less time on the market. Consider professional photography an investment in your marketing and business success.
Mistake 3: Product Instead of People
While all of these components are important to your marketing strategy, it’s easy to swing too far toward the “product” and away from people. We know, we know… we just talked about the importance of using high quality images. But pictures of properties aren’t enough to create engagement. Social media is all about building relationships.
This means not focusing your posts solely on (appealing, high-quality) images and descriptions of properties, but rather incorporating stories that will engage your audience.
As a real estate professional, you’ve likely heard of the so-called “four p’s” of marketing: product, placement, price and promotion. When it comes to social media marketing, we think one more “p” is needed — people.
It’s OK to post pictures of that fabulous new house you just listed, but it’s also important to balance those posts out with a personal touch. For instance, write a post about the family that just moved into their first home that you helped them find, or a story about a local community center doing great things for a neighborhood where you have several listings.
Image ALT Text: A happy home buyer and her child walk around their new neighborhood.
Focusing on engaging posts that tell stories, rather than simply images and descriptions of available properties, will show your human side. This approach will help you build relationships and trust through your social media marketing.
Mistake 4: Crossing that Red Line
Of course, you want your social media posts to be engaging, to garner a reaction. But sometimes the desire to get shares and comments can go too far.
Posting photos, comments or sharing others’ content in an attempt to spark debate can backfire, especially in today’s sensitive online environment. An audience with raised eyebrows — or worse, that’s offended — won’t benefit your online reputation or your brand.
Remember: Anything you post online will exist forever, even if you delete it. One moment of poor judgment can hurt your business. As a general rule, if you have think twice before making a comment, hitting share or posting content, don’t do it. The resulting controversy may not be worth the additional attention.
Keeping administrative control of your social media accounts is key. If you allow marketing assistants, fellow real estate agents or others involved with your business to post, it’s easier for errors or missteps to take place. If you let others serve as account administrators, be sure you trust them.
Mistake 5: Reposting Others’ Content Incorrectly or Too Often
Reposting content created by others is certainly a time-saver, and there’s nothing wrong with sharing content from other agents or publications you admire… as long as you only do it occasionally. Finding the balance between posting useful content written by others, and sharing your own engaging content is extremely important. You want to be the authority on your area of real estate – reposting other peoples’ content too much may make it look like you have no idea what you’re talking about.
Additionally, when you do choose to share content from a source you admire, make sure you’re doing it the right way. Simply copying someone else’s post is a big social media no-no. Be sure to properly attribute ownership.
The same warning applies when you’re sharing another agent’s listing. Say, for example, you visit another agent’s open house event and then post content about it on your own social media. While this may seem like no big deal, some agents may view this as a breach of their representation agreement with clients. In a nutshell, you must get permission from the listing agent before posting about their listing, so do them the courtesy of asking first. And always tag them in the post, making sure to be up front about who the listing agent is.
Mistake 6: Inconsistent Branding
Social media offers an ideal way to brand your business. In order to be effective, however, you must offer consistent branding across your social media networks, your website, your blog and anywhere else you leave a digital footprint.
Start by using the same profile image across all platforms. This will help your audience be sure they’re following the right agent. Hint: Potential clients tend to respond better to human images than company logos, so consider using actual people in your profile image. You can always use your logo in the cover image.
And speaking of cover images, use the same one across platforms, as well. Your company logo and contact information is a logical choice. You may have to resize your image to fit each social network platform correctly. Don’t slap an image on each one and walk away; stretched or cut off images will not help your cause.
Pay attention to style features such as colors and fonts in your branding, as well. Consistently is key to a recognizable brand.
Social media offers a valuable set of marketing tools to real estate agents. If you avoid these six mistakes and use these platforms correctly and effectively, you may find that online marketing helps you attract leads, build your brand and bring in new business!