Choosing the Right Tools for Your Digital Toolbox
July 13, 2021
During a recent lunch get-together, a friend mentioned that she couldn’t find an available home in a particular neighborhood. One of her companions, who lived in the neighborhood, pulled out her phone and posted a Facebook message to the neighborhood’s page asking if anyone planned to list in the next few weeks. Within a few hours, she had more than a dozen solid leads for her house-hunting friend to pursue through a Realtor®. Two weeks later her friend had a new home under contract.
Social media has become an important path to winning clients and closing deals, according to a 2018 study by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). The study revealed:
- 77% of Realtors® actively use social media for real estate in some way, shape, or form
- 47% of real estate businesses note that social media results in the highest quality leads versus other sources
- 99% of millennials (and 90% of baby boomers) begin their home search online (as opposed to in-person referrals)
The key to harnessing the power of social media is using the right tools for your market and client base. Here are a few tools you can use:
Know Your Audience and Yourself
Social media channels attract different users. Baby boomers (born 1946-64) tend to like Facebook, while millennials (born 1981-96) flock to Instagram and Twitter. Boomers prefer YouTube and their children and grandchildren use TikTok. The NAR study noted Facebook (97%), LinkedIn (59%), and Instagram (39%) as the choices of most Realtors®.
Choose digital platforms that work best for your style whether it’s pages, posts, videos, stories, or tweets. Make sure your platform page or channel is refreshed regularly with tips, checklists, market data, and other information clients and potential clients will find useful. Fresh content generates page visits and views and establishes you as a trusted professional. The trick is to stick to a schedule so your followers can expect to see you.
Facebook and other platforms favor posts that get a lot of engagement. Ask questions to generate comments or share posts your followers will enjoy, such as an upcoming local event, so they will like and share it.
Another way to build followers is to look for opportunities to engage with clients and friends who may become or refer clients. “Like” their family and vacation photos and carefully comment when appropriate. Small acts of engagement keep your name in their notifications and get you noticed.
Better than likes and shares are helpful comments. Search platforms for real estate, local area, or neighborhood hashtags for opportunities to comment. Use hashtags on your own posts to make your messages searchable.
Your contact list and database can benefit from social media engagement. Invite everyone to “follow” you on your platforms. Collect names, email addresses, phone numbers from your followers’ profiles and add them to your contacts. The goal is to track all the names, emails, and phone numbers you collect and add them to your database for advertising and follow-up opportunities.
Instagram is all about pictures and offers a perfect space to showcase new listings with compelling visuals. Captions allow for your contact information and enticing details. Instagram posts are a perfect medium to share successes like closings, properties under contract, and just listed.
Video platforms YouTube and TikTok allow you to showcase your brand, properties, and relevant content in different ways. YouTube is the go-to platform for longer videos while TikTok’s 15-second video format is popular with a fast-growing audience. Videos also get attention as Facebook Live virtual tours or question-and-answer sessions. Don’t forget to share your videos across other platforms you use.
Geofencing, or location targeting, may sound intimidating and is a more complex digital marketing tool, but it can be highly effective in reaching a localized target audience. A Realtor® could erect a simple geofence in an area surrounding a neighborhood or development. When mobile device users pass through the area, they receive a location-triggered alert via text message or email. For example, a Lake Martin, Alabama, restaurant was geofenced recently. A group of friends who gathered there for lunch is now seeing ads for a new lakeside development.
Geofencing can be as specific or as broad as needed – keeping in mind that cost is usually based on size. The tool can even be used to fence competitors’ listings so their visitors get information on yours.
The key to the digital marketing toolbox is determining what you and your team can do alone and when to bring in professionals. The National Association of Realtors® offers a series of social media tips and videos to get you started or add to your toolbox.