Real estate is an old industry. We’ve been buying and selling property forever, so of course its marketing methods are very traditional. Think billboards near busy highways and print signs at train stations. Not to mention the half a dozen leaflets in your mailbox every week.
It’s obviously been working in the past, when the real estate industry in Australia was flourishing and house prices were jumping at an exponential rate.
But it’s 2019 and we’ve had the biggest property slump in the history of the industry. Banks have tightened their lending practices. The few buyers remaining are biding their time. This means sellers are less likely to take a chance on a smaller agency. The only ones surviving are the big brands with an even bigger presence.
So how does the average real estate agency compete in this new space? Living on your referral network will only get you so far under the present conditions. Waiting it out isn’t an option either. It’s time to get creative and head to where your prospects hang out in droves – social media.
Don’t replace – diversify
We’re not saying traditional media doesn’t work. By all means, the more you can afford to get your face out there, the better. We’re simply saying that digital isn’t just for your kids anymore – there’s a whole market of people out there who own homes or are looking to buy homes that work, play and live on social media. And on social, they’re not hiding from you when you ring their doorbell.
Of course, it’s not as simple as setting up a profile and posting some videos of you walking through one of your listings, or sharing some memes that only other real estate agents will find funny. You have to have a real strategy in place. One that’s going to make the investment worth your dollar (and more importantly for agents, your time).
Most agents that have been in the game for years have a large network. After all, every friend, friend of a friend and neighbour might want to buy or sell a home one day. Then there’s referral business if you’ve done a good job. But when that network dries up, what do you do? Or what if you’re new to the industry and don’t have all the connections that your competitors do?
A few years ago, you probably would’ve hired someone to go prospecting for you. While this might still be a worthwhile plan of attack, you could also start reaching out on social media. Join local community groups on Facebook and business groups on LinkedIn, and start running advertising campaigns that capture the eyes of your potential clients.
In real estate, your brand reputation is everything. If you’re introducing yourself to a potential new client and they’ve never heard of your company, you’re fighting an uphill battle to win their business – especially under the current market conditions.
Social media gets your brand in front of your potential clients before you’ve even stepped foot inside their home. If you’re running the right kind of ads with on-point targeting, there’s every chance the next door you knock on might recognise you from their news feed.
All of this leads us to..
It’s all well and good being in someone’s news feed, but if it’s not converting into new listings, what’s the point? That’s where social media does something different for real estate agents.
When you’re in someone’s home, pitching your ability to sell their property for a great price, and they ask you what makes you different from the rest, you can point to your profiles. Most real estate agents will erect a sign out the front of the property, put another sign in their shop window, and list it on realestate.com.au. Beyond that, they rely on open inspections to generate enough interest to sell.
In a hot market, this method works perfectly fine. Right now? It’s not always that simple.
Thankfully, you’re different. You’ve got an entire network of followers that you can target who may be looking for a property just like your client’s. You’ll generate buzz in a way other real estate agents can’t – and make sure their home sells for the price they want. Of course, the amount of engagement you receive is crucial for this approach to work, so it’s important you’re sharing the right kind of content.
What kind of content should you share?
First thing’s first, you need to think about who you’re targeting. Owner occupiers, property investors, buyers or all three? Each have different goals, so they’ll resonate with different types of content.
Secondly, if you work in a specific location, you’ll need to make sure the content is relevant to the people who live in that area – especially considering you’re selling yourself as an expert for that particular market.
Once you’ve figured those two points out you can start creating your content pillars:
You and your business
Whether on your company’s Facebook page or your personal LinkedIn profile, you need to share personal content about yourself – and any other consultants you have working for you. Not only does it promote brand awareness, it also fosters a relationship between you and potential clients and establishes trust.
Consider sharing birthdays, anniversary dates, clubs you’re a part of, or charities you support.
Now they know who you are, they need to know that you know what you’re talking about. This is where you get to talk shop – in a way that your target audience can understand, of course. For example, if your post is targeting a property investor, you can be more detailed. For the average buyer (and most owner occupiers), however, you’ll need to tone it down a little.
Consider sharing stats about the market, answer questions about concerns in the media or explain the benefits of property staging.
Your client’s stories
Anyone can post a good testimonial. What really resonates with people is the story. Why do you think we’re all so obsessed with reality TV stars and Instagram influencers? If you’ve helped someone sell their property so they can afford to buy their dream home, that’s the journey you need to take your social media audience on.
Consider shooting a video of your client’s story, including a testimonial, a shoot through their home and what happened at auction day (if possible).
You’re a local expert who loves the area – show that off! Share your knowledge of the local events. Connect with other businesses and support each other. Been to a local sporting match or a great restaurant? Post, post, post. Even a random picture of a pretty sunset from an iconic location in your area will help you to connect with your community.
Consider setting up a calendar for all the key dates in your area so you don’t miss out on any opportunities.
Set goals for your campaigns
All of this is well and good, but now comes the hard part: setting clear goals for all of your campaigns. This is where you ask yourself what you want to see from your efforts. Will you use it for brand awareness and leverage? Or will you try to create a network and generate leads? Or why not a mix of both?
Whatever you decide upon, you’ll need to set a benchmark and goals. You’ll then need to report on your campaigns and optimise them as required. Look at what’s receiving engagement and what’s not, and tweak your posts moving forward to ensure they keep performing. This could mean changing the content, the targeting or the platform, as well as a number of other factors.
Most importantly, you need to…
Spend money to make money
We’ve focused on content a lot in this post. And while it’s totally crucial, you also need to put your money where your mouth is on social media.
That means don’t rely on purely organic posts. You’ll need to boost some of your content, so it appears in the news feed for longer – and for the right people. If you’re aiming to generate leads, you’ll also need some advertising, ideally with some sort of contact form or landing page to capture details.
Of course, your paid advertising will also need to be regularly optimised to ensure you’re getting a solid return on investment. You need to spend money to make money – but you also don’t want to throw money away.
Start seeing results
If you’re ready to start taking advantage of social media, the best way to do so is by engaging a performance marketing agency like Impressive.
You’re the expert in property, which is why you’d never recommend a client sell their own home. Impressive is the expert in digital marketing. Our experienced team of copywriters, designers and social media specialists know exactly how to make your real estate agency stand out.
Get in touch with one of our digital strategists and start seeing results today.