A Closer Look at Real Estate and Social Media Marketing
In this post we’ll take a look at how social media can be used by real estate professionals, tips for content marketing, compelling facts and figures of 2011 and predictions for 2012.
Rationale for Real Estate Social Marketing
Why use social media marketing for real estate? As Erica Swallow writes, real estate pros can use social media for real results:
- attract buyers and sellers
- share listings, tours and showings
- lend expert advice
- connect with other real estate professionals.
A Simple Formula for Real Estate Social Marketing
Wondering how to go about using social media marketing? Imforza’s post offers a simple 4-step formula for real estate professionals:
“You just picked up a new listing and need to move it within a few months. If you are effectively using social networks then your process might look a little something like this:
- Announce your new listing on Twitter
- Add your new listing to your Facebook profile and/or page
- Update your status on LinkedIn talking about your new listing
- Post a short, interesting video of your new listing on YouTube.”
* Note: In recent months, real estate professionals have been coming on board too on Google+ where you can include your blog links, home videos and photos, and have a nice way to target your circles of contacts.
Kristi Hines demonstrates 10 Google+ pages for the real estate industry.
While some professionals may find it beneficial to have presences on all of these social networking platforms, others may decide to pick and choose according to where they feel their client bases are more apt to spend time online. Regardless of your decision, probably the most important factor is ensuring that you can maintain and update all of these pages regularly.
Content Marketing for Real Estate
Where does content fit into the picture? Here are several helpful suggestions:
- Luis Galarza suggests sharing industry news, headlines, statistics, poll results on Twitter and Facebook.
- Angela Connor suggests creating an image gallery of every property and commenting on blogs in the real estate industry.
- Elisabeth Holby suggests that online social outlets allow real estate firms to not only post images and videos of their listings, but also “virtually show would-be home buyers around the neighborhoods and incorporate the personality of the company as well.”
- Ruth Ann Macklin suggests a number of content ideas such as: writing about home maintenance tips, local businesses, offering listing alerts, free market analysis, creating an eBook, hosting a contest with local businesses.
A Quick Glance at the Facts & Figures of 2011
The National Association of Realtors offers an in-depth annual technology report that includes a section on social networking. The survey conducted in September 2011 with associate brokers, sales agents, brokers, broker-owners, and managers reports some interesting findings.
Percentage of Use:
For starters compared to 2008, when only 33% of survey respondents were engaged in social media, the percentage reported by respondents in 2011 was up to 90% utilizing social media marketing.
Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube were the most used social media tools among respondents.
31% indicated that they learn about new technology for real estate through real estate blogs, and 14% said “other”which included company webinars, technology blogs and social media.
Valuable Technology Tools
The most valuable technology tools were tablets (e.g. iPad, Galaxy Tab), Mobile desktop tools which included Trulia and Zillow’s apps, and CRM solutions like Top Producer. Respondents indicated that these tools make their job easier and keep them mobile and “in touch.” A few others emphasized that the tools were time-savers and increase productivity.
Over one-third of respondents indicated that they’ll purchase or replace a tablet and smartphone in the next twelve months.
Breakdown of Smartphones
The three operating systems for smartphones were Android OS 35%, iPhone OS 28% and Blackberry OS 18%.
50% of agents and 47% of brokers spent between $500-$2,000 on technology for their business in the last 12 months.
Comfort level with social media s always an important consideration. Respondents indicated whether they were extremely comfortable, comfortable or somewhat comfortable:
Extremely comfortable: 25% of brokers and 33% of agents
Comfortable 30% of brokers, 30% of agents
Somewhat comfortable 31% of brokers, 21% of agents
61% said Internet was very important for lead generation, 31% said social networking and blogs only 11%
See the National Association of Realtor’s full Realtor Technology Survey Report 2011.
Real Estate Social Marketing in 2012
Todd Carpenter, Director of Digital Engagement at the National Association of Realtors, recently spoke with “social-media-savvy real estate professionals” to learn what new tools or trends will have the biggest impact on the real estate industry in 2012.
Social becomes normal
Dan Green, loan officer with Waterstone Mortgage, says, “Brands/brokers will begin actively amplifying their individual agents’ marketing messages. Expect top-down ‘messaging’ within a brokerage for agent Web sites, blogs, and social network presence.”
Ines Hegedus-Garcia, a Miami realtor with Majestic Properties, says, “2012 will not be about the best and newest shiny objects, but instead about how we, in the industry, are able to stay atop technology and able to integrate it into our daily business in a way that is useful. The consumer has learned to ask the right questions, and agents will have to show proof of successful business practices which incorporate technology.”
Search becomes more socialized
Ginger Wilcox, head of industry training at Trulia, says, “In 2012, more consumers will want social proof that their agent is an expert and trusted in their field. Having strong online profiles with customer recommendations will be essential to gain the trust of connected consumers.”
Rise of mobile
Ginger Wilcox predicts, “We saw unprecedented growth in mobile in 2011 and will continue to see mobile explode in 2012, especially with smartphones being the norm and inexpensive tablet options expanding and becoming mainstream…Mobile solutions for real estate pros will be essential to help agents connect with mobile consumers.”
Bill Lublin, managing member for the Social Media Marketing Institute says, The increased use of mobile by consumers will drive agents and companies to create mobile Web sites (as opposed to mobile compliant), participate in local review sites (to demonstrate their connection to the local community), and provide consumer tips on location-based services like Foursquare, Foodspotting, Yelp, etc.”
The ‘Great Data Debate’ Heats Up
Pointing out how in 2011, Edina Realty made a decision to withhold their syndication feeds to third-party sites like realtor.com, Trulia, and Zillow, Bill Lublin states, “Large and small companies alike will be watching Edina to see what happens as they leave aggregators’ sites in an attempt to drive consumers directly to their company site.
A New Focus on Conversion
Jeff Corbett, chief thinking officer for XVentures says, It’s more about who is in your sphere of influence than how many. The focus must be on networking and prospecting practices that can convert into real business.”
Dan Green, loan officer with Waterstone Mortgage, predicts, “In 2012, the agents with the best lead-generation tools plus lead-management tools win. It’s not just *how* you earn a lead, but what you do with it once the lead’s in your CRM.”
You can see Todd Carpenter’s full post on the Speaking of Real Estate Blog.
The real estate social marketing landscape looks even more promising for 2012. Between the existing technology (desktop and mobile apps), increasing comfort level amongst people in the profession on various social networking platforms, and the creative uses of content, we think this is an industry that is positioned to grow and mature with their social marketing efforts.
Are you using social media for your real estate business? Tell us about your experiences and predictions for 2012.
photo by Dan Nickolls