How can real estate professionals survive and thrive in the new social landscape?
The vast majority of real estate agents and investors now claim to be using social media. Most still aren’t seeing the results they hoped for. It is more challenging due to rules always in flux. They tell us we need it. But it isn’t always easy. Done wrong, social can be counterproductive. Done well, it can be one of the best real estate marketing mediums. So how can agents and investors survive on the front-lines of social media in 2015? How can you increase results?
Facebook continues to be a core part of social media marketing for real estate. But it has changed. Many are unhappy with recent changes to reach and the cost of paid advertising. Many feel they are getting less and less for more time and money invested. Most would peg this as a losing customer service strategy – a doomed business model. Many younger members of Generation Y and Z have already kicked Facebook to the curb. It’s now for old people. But, it is so deeply embedded in the daily life of users. Millions of those users are great prospects for buying, selling, and investing in real estate. They are also among the most qualified. And if marketed to correctly, will become powerful interns, brand ambassadors, and referral partners – for free.
The challenge is that the rules have changed. What works has changed. Updates are now shown to far fewer followers and connections. Sometimes they may not get shown at all. To be visible posts must be far more engaging. They have to generate action from those that do see them. This can take a little more effort, investment, and strategy. But it is worth it.
Paid advertising still works for those with a Facebook marketing budget. The key is laser targeting and watching the ROI. Keep an eye on other social media platforms copying Facebook’s evolving rules.
How to Use Hashtags
Due to Facebook’s changes, Twitter may now work better for many marketers. Real estate agents, investors, and brands seeking fast growth and instant results may be better off on Twitter. It depends who you are trying to reach, and the results you are trying to achieve.
Leveraging Twitter in 2015 is less about one-liners. It is more reliant on sharing photos and video. And excellent use of hashtags. Intelligent hashtag anchored marketing campaigns can deliver great results. They have more viral potential. They boost visibility, SEO, and sharing. But they have to be great.
6 quick tips for creating and using hashtags in 2015:
- Keep them short and sweet
- Make them catchy
- Ensure they are easy to spell
- Be unique
- Don’t overuse hashtags in the same post
- Incorporate them into action based campaigns
Get on Google+
Too few real estate pros are using Google+. Less are doing it well. The future of Google’s social network is uncertain. But it still has value right now. Think about it. Many only use Facebook because they think Google will reward them for it. So how much more important do you think the search giant places on Google+ performance? It’s a great platform for visibility and getting messages across to other professionals. It has also emerged as the network for serious action takers. This is in contrast with the frivolity of Facebook. Build those circles, follows, and content.
Video, Video, Video
If real estate is all about “location, location, location.” Social media marketing is becoming all about “video, video, video.”
Smart text and captivating images still work. But look at the most popular social networks with younger generations. Maybe they should read more. But they are watching more video. YouTube, Instagram, and Vine are all growing in popularity with younger generations.
Many real estate pros avoid video because they don’t have pro equipment. Or they don’t feel photogenic. That doesn’t have to be a roadblock. And you don’t have to only publish competing third party content to fill in the gap. Consider how to get more user generated content. Use property videos. Use Google Hangout videos of interviews. Use slideshows.
3 Strategies for Increasing Social Media Engagement
- Publish Less Junk
More content is often considered better. But, given the above trends, 2015 might be the year less is more – at least when it comes to social media. That is posting less, but better quality, more engaging content. Get this right. Then scale away. Focus on more original, unique, and interesting content. Focus on calls to action.
- Maximize What You’ve Got
It’s amazing that so few direct contacts are engaged. Real estate brands should be recruiting more participation from the networks they already have. This is free. Conversions are higher. The exponential potential is more powerful. Are your friends, family members, and employees following you online? Why not? Are your email contacts in your Google+ circles? Why not? Are your Facebook friends following you on Twitter too? Start with these connections before spending money on paid ads.
- Be Generous
Are you ever disappointed with your social media marketing results, shares, and follower numbers? Start by asking how generous you have been. How many new connections and follows have you made today? Not this week. Today. How many posts have you re-tweeted, liked, +1’d, pinned, and shared? Today? Why should others be investing their precious time and reputation in promoting you, when you can’t to do the same? Succeeding in social media requires being social.
Social media can be confusing. What works changes. Invest more time in learning to do it well. Or hire someone that is on top of it.