In April, one of Inman’s most popular recurring theme months returns: Back to Basics. Throughout the month, real estate professionals from across the country share what’s working for them, how they’ve evolved their systems and tools, and where they’re investing personally and professionally to drive growth in 2022. It’s always a good idea to go back to basics with Dans homme.
At a time when social media governs everything from our cultural and political leanings to what we eat and where we travel, its growing influence on where we live has become evident, forcing us to rethink our relationship with these platforms.
As in any relationship, it takes work, tenacity and a lot of heart.
I started my social media real estate journey over a decade ago, in a process that has proven to be fun and rewarding. Here are five tips to keep in mind, whether you’re just starting your social media journey or looking to grow your presence on existing platforms.
1. It’s about you
It’s very easy to look at what other people are doing on social media and compare yourself to their projected success. But like everything in real estate, our success depends on our ability to truly connect with our audience and build long-term relationships.
I have yet to find a more efficient and cost-effective way to communicate our value propositions and brand identity than through social media.
Sure, it’s good to be inspired by others, but be sure to tell your story in your own way; it’s not just about being authentic, it’s also about being real. Your audience wants to get to know you and is interested in a behind-the-scenes look at how you do things. It is imperative to communicate not only your success, but also the process by which you got there.
Most of the time we are very good at showing only the positive things or the end results, but we fail to give a transparent look at how we are reaching these milestones. Social media provides us with an incredible tool to tell the whole story.
In my experience, the more you articulate what you do and how you do it, the more opportunities you create for your audience to fall in love with you and your business.
2. Bigger is not always better
We can’t all be TV stars and have millions of followers. And guess what? It’s perfectly OK. It’s not about how many followers you have. In my experience, it’s all about knowing who your audience is and how you allow them to connect with your business.
Real estate is extraordinary in the sense that it offers opportunities for anyone who wants to dive into the field. However, to capitalize on this opportunity and see results, it is essential to connect with your customer base.
To put this into perspective, treat your social media like a storefront; make it a place where your potential customers can see who you are, what you do, and how you can meet their needs.
Personally, my interest has always been the organic growth of my audience. It may take me longer to grow my follower base, but I’m able to really connect with those who do.
In my opinion, a deeply engaged audience far outweighs the quantity of your audience. Knowing that my followers are genuinely interested in what I do and are willing to support what is happening with my business really makes all the difference.
3. Location, social media location
With so much social media activity around us, it is sometimes difficult to determine what is the best approach for us individually. It can be confusing. Should I make dance videos on TikTok? What about my YouTube channel or Instagram stories? Where do I start, where do I end?
My experience has taught me that none of this really matters, as long as you are where your customers are. While this is my story, when it comes to specific social media tools, I only focus on the platforms my clients are most active on.
For example, my team tried various platforms, but about three or four years ago I started seeing better responses through Instagram and LinkedIn. I’ve found that’s where my audience is most responsive and spends most of their time, so that’s where I put the most effort.
I’m aware of the success of some agents in other services or social media platforms, but I’ve learned to identify which ones work best for me and my business. I stopped seeing social media as a popularity contest and began to understand how, within my own business, I could create a pipeline for lead generation.
I’m convinced that all you need is skill and excellence in one area, but make sure whatever it is, that’s where your audience lives.
4. You’re overwhelmed with content
Do you take photos for your ads? Probably yes. Well, that’s endless content, and that same set of photos can be reused for multiple posts. For example, a new listing announcement might be followed a few days later by themed posts with captions like “kitchen dreams” or “bathroom goals” — you get the idea. Plus, those same list photos can become a series of videos using the right app or even your fancy smartphone camera.
As real estate professionals, we already produce content that can be used on social networks on a daily basis. You don’t need to have a team following you to take photos of you or shoot stunning videos. Every home you visit with your buyers, every walk in the park, every rainy day on your favorite street is a content creation opportunity. It takes a few minutes. Just do it. Practice creates mastery.
My daily posts are now part of my daily routine, and just like going to the gym, I struggled with it but got used to it over time. Those who know me will have a good laugh; I like talking, but I’ve never liked talking in front of the camera. Guess what? I had to get over it and do it. Now I’m waiting for my Oscar or a Daytime Emmy.
Don’t let the noise stop you from starting or continuing to grow your social media marketing strategy. Start in a place that’s comfortable for you and build from there.
5. Do it
If you’ve been in the business long enough, you might remember the days when you didn’t have your own agent website. In fact, I didn’t have one until five or six years into my career. I thought it was unnecessary; I had postcards instead. I disagree with my younger self. I wish I had the foresight to make this website as soon as possible. This is the first thing our potential customers are looking for. They google us and they find it.
Social networks are the contemporary equivalent. After searching for you on Google, they search for you on Instagram or any other platform. They find you, your business and your practice. And that’s not going to change.
No matter how you feel, social media is a powerful tool. It tells your story, it promotes your business, it can build a pipeline, and it’s a powerful lead generation tool.
Incorporating it into your business strategy requires an open mindset to embrace it, and you can do so at your convenience and on your own terms. If one thing is certain, its value and marketing relevance will only grow. Make sure your business grows with it.
Ricardo Rodriguez is the Principal of Ricardo Rodriguez and Associates at Coldwell Banker Realty, Boston. Follow him on Instagram and LinkedIn.