Over the past year or so we have seen the rise of Real Estate Agents using Facebook to promote their business or personal profile. The best of you continually add informative and fun content to your page and have seen a steady rise in fans. But there is a disturbing trend to this and this shows complete mis-understanding of how to market yourself online.
If you are a real estate agent who has a page on Facebook and you are reading this, I am going to give you some advice, and some of this will hurt a little, but here goes.
Preaching to the converted
Let us say you have a fan page on Facebook and you update this page daily, you deserve a pat on the back and get one social strategy point, however if you have a website and do not do the same, you lose that point, why? Because you are preaching to the converted on Facebook, they are already a fan. Your first strategy should always be on your own website, this is where the whole world is waiting to connect with you and my guess is that your advice is not the most amazing real estate advice on the planet, where all of your fans spread your word and get other people to join (this is the holy grail of social marketing). The only true way to build your Facebook page is through your own business or personal websites blog and then to select appropriate articles to post onto your Facebook page.
We recently built a site for a local agent in Miami, Florida. Her name is Rachelle Hirt and she wanted a site to market celebrity style homes in and around the Miami area. She has only just started, but she has the right strategy and will learn quickly from any mistakes she makes, but off the bat, she has the right strategy.
Her site is fun and bright and she posts regularly and doesn’t push everything to her Facebook page, she selectively chooses what to post and push.
Note: The website cost just over $1,500 including theme, setup and design elements. Talk to your web developer about doing the same.
Different strokes for different sites
Another thing you must understand is content, if the only thing you post are ‘amazing new homes’, ‘get in quick’ and feel good market news, then you lose another point. The one true reason people will choose you to sell their home, is that they see you understand the local market, you understand technology, they trust you and most of all they like you.
Understanding the local market
Post local sales information and try to break it down as best as possible by property type, bedrooms etc. The more it relates to people the more they will trust that you understand the local market, Talk about property types that are selling well and ones that are not, give people advice on how to get their homes ready for a sale, smart renovation techniques that buyers are looking for. You understanding the local market gets your foot in the door.
One thing to avoid is ideology posts or comments, unless your market is mainly conservative or progressive, do not risk it. Stay away from horoscopes, and religion too. In most cases these only impress the minority, and just alienate the rest.
If you think it is cute to tell your potential vendors that you are a technophobe, then get with the program, you are and will be left behind. You dont need to know quantum physics to understand how a browsers works or how to resize an image, there is a world of information online that can help you to better understand the business you are in and the technology that you use. Spend some time online learning how to get the most out of your web browser, mobile phone, tablet device and computer. Understanding and possibly helping vendors out will impress them in more ways than you think. This is your business now, get it!
Start being honest on your website and Facebook page, display content that helps and hinders you, good or bad, thin or flush, this content makes a trust difference between you and your competitors.
You as a consumer would know that good advice is brutally honest advice. If you believe it when the salesperson tells you every dress you try on you look fabulous in or that Donald Duck tie you wear to work makes you look windswept and interesting then you are naive and in the case of the donald duck tie – an idiot 🙂
But tell me, how many vendors are easy these days? Very few! In most cases vendors are well armed with a good dose of information and an equal distribution of mis-information. You need to be honest and tell them what will work for them and what will not. You need to also post information on your website and Facebook profile that works against you selling more homes and always make a corresponding comment with bad news.
This comment should not be that you always disagree and why (you must always give a valid reason to disagree), but should be informative and sometimes brutally bad for your own motives.
You are awesome right? You mum and dad thinks the world of you, you can do no wrong, in fact you dream of receiving the greatest person of the year award each year. Here is one lesson you must learn when publishing to any website or social media platform. People love self deprecating humor, it gives you a human side to your electronic life. For me, luckily it comes naturally. There are two types of self deprecating humor, the first is first person and this is where you let people know your stuff ups and remind them of this on occasions in the future.
Some of the readers may remember when I got ‘done’ big time years ago by a member on this site on April Fools Day. My default position was to try to repair the embarrassment, but I learned a long time ago (2001 to be precise) – this only makes things worse, so I embraced the fact that I got caught out and just went with it. The lesson from this is always to distrust your own motives and just let the world know that sometimes you stuff up.
The second variety of self deprecating humor and a great example of this type of person is Sam Newman. Yes, there are people that dislike him (most of whom rarely watch or engage with him), but overwhelmingly he is liked.
Sam Newman says some of the most ridiculous offensive things and should be “banged to right” on occasions, but one thing he does magnificently, is when someone makes fun of him and his positions, he laughs, he doesn’t fight back, he doesn’t get angry or show negative emotions, he laughs at himself!
So when people make a comment on your website or social profile (that is not overly abusive) display it publicly, laugh it off, or at least explain why you do not agree. If you are one of these people that blocks or deletes negative comments then you are already a failure and need to get over yourself or your business.
Finally, enjoy your social profile, don’t treat it too seriously, make sure you mix the informative with the fun.
Different Content – Different mediums
Your final strategy should be to not always post information to both mediums (blog and social) keep the mix a little different, otherwise why would they follow you on both your website and social platform? Keep the social posts a little more fun with articles from across the spectrum, if you do post funny stuff, make sure it will appeal and not offend (you can save the offensive for direct messages on Twitter – Anthony Wiener tells me it is very hard to get caught out with this strategy).
So post regularly and make 100% sure your website blog is the king when it comes to your marketing strategy! Make sure your title of your post is informative and describes exactly what the article is about, this is important for subscribers as they scan for articles that interest them.
Titles are everything
Given that we use technology differently today than we did even a year ago, speaks volumes in how we must communicate effectively. Today we are overloaded with so much information, that we care more about the time it takes to scan and read, be it your Facebook News Feed or your blog Feed, titles are everything and if you use Facebook, you should already know this. I cannot emphasize how important titles are. Here is good and poor example.
Poor: Property prices continue to rise. Comment:For who, for what? This is not personal or direct at all.
Good: Mosman, Neutral Bay Sydney see steady rise in apartment sales. Comment:This is going to appeal to homeowners or potential buyers in this area. It mentions location and property type.
How to get the ideas and motivation for writing articles
I use Google Reader (help here) to subscribe to hundreds of different websites. I create folders for these subscriptions. Here are some examples of these folders. Apps, Client, Company, Design, Style, Real Estate News, Technology, WordPress, Social, Travel.
Everyday hundreds of new articles from all of the sites I subscribe to come into my reader. I do not need to waste time jumping to each article. I scan them for ones that interest me and this is usually in the title. Sometimes I write an article about this news, sometimes it inspires me to write something else. The great thing about Google Reader is that it saves me so much time and if you organise it well, it can also save you money (daily deals etc).
If you havent got Google Reader (or similar) then you are missing out on a great little program.
Footnote: One thing that always amuses me is friends on Facebook who ‘accidentally’ click on what is obviously adult spam on Facebook. These are little posts on your news feed with images that have titles that are of the erotic nature, that one of your friends ‘accidentally’ clicked on.
What is more amazing, is that they do not know how to delete this immediately and leave it for me to ponder why this married man (or woman) of three is doing looking at this stuff anyway. Human nature is a wonderful thing isn’t it 🙂