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Today’s episode is the first in a three-part series on technology; this episode focuses on social media and how we use can use it in our real estate business. So many people engage with social media every day — we and our clients are all in. Today’s guest is Marki Lemons Ryhal and she joins Monica today to talk about the vast ways that we as REALTORS® can use social media to help ourselves and our clients. There are free and paid ways to use social media. Marki is teaching REALTORS® all over the country how to improve social media presence and make social media work better for them.

Many real estate agents are having success on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Facebook is good to reach a large number of people because about two-thirds of internet users have Facebook, regardless of age. Instagram is popular because we are a visual society, and we can get information quickly and succinctly on Instagram. Marki also uses LinkedIn, but this is more useful for those in commercial real estate. As a commercial agent, you could use LinkedIn to join the Employee Assisted Housing Program and connect with Human Resource directors. For people who may be focusing on more niche markets, Snapchat and Pinterest can be other good platforms to utilize. Twitter is a popular platform, but there is the character limitation; a good way to utilize Twitter is to post photos and short videos.

Many agents feel overwhelmed by all the media and finding a balance between being a good business person and being authentic across all these different platforms. It’s important to go back to your business plan and focus on who your business plan needs you to be in front of. After defining your customer (or who you want to be your customer), and looking at the demographics and profiles, pick the media that will best reach these clients. You want to engage with the tools they already have and use.

Marki talks about Community SEO, and how you can utilize social media to start showing up on the platforms you use. If you tag the location when you’re using social media, people will start to know who you are. You can do things in the community offline, but post it online. The focus on getting out in the community is important because people want to do business with people they trust. You will also have a higher conversion rate from the people that you meet, versus the people you haven’t met. You learn to leverage social media to get your community activity onto the web.

A hashtag is a pound sign followed by a word or a group of words. Hashtags can filter or streamline a conversation. People can search by hashtags, so it’s important to be honest and use your hashtags correctly. You might consider creating a branded hashtag custom just for you. Marki warns about being a little cautious when using hashtags because if you use something too generic, you might expose your competition. It’s a balance between using phrases that are commonly searched, but also set you apart from your competition.

Facebook is a treasure trove of information for our clients. Marki talks about some specific ways REALTORS® can use Facebook to enhance their business. Facebook is the largest and probably most accurate listening device because people share all of their business in real time. As people share their life events, you can begin to gauge motivated sellers. You can also use this to help bridge the gap between the online and offline relationship.

REALTORS® share content consistently with consumers that they don’t engage or interact with. You have to think about how to educate the consumer and be first in mind, but don’t give them content that the consumer won’t engage with. Using platforms and mediums that can deliver the content they will interact with (videos, photos) will lead to a higher chance of success. Most people do business with the first person they interact with, so it’s important to make sure your social media presence is strong and respectful.

Facebook has a feature of lists, where you can separate people into groups like you might on an email distribution. Marki uses the Facebook Messenger app to talk to potential clients and other network connections. It serves as an extension of her client relationship management system. Marki describes some specific ways she uses Messenger and Chat Bots to enhance her relations with her customers.

As real estate agents, we often think about the things we like and don’t like, but we have to put ourselves in the shoes of our consumers and how they like to shop. This can help you shape your online presence so you’re reaching your consumers.

When creating your social media profile that is friendly and business-appropriate, it can be helpful to start with a clean slate. You want to tell people what you do, but avoid describing it like you would in the MLS. You want to include where you do business, adhere to license law, and the REALTOR® Code of Ethics (include the company that you work for). You want to talk to people in the manner that they’re searching. Marki also recommends using emojis, and maximize the character count. Write a bio up to 160 characters with what you want to be known for at the very beginning. Then you can use this basic bio and tailor it for different platforms. Your bio serves as the introduction to you, and you want it to be something that will help bring you to the top.

Videos can be a really helpful tool for using social media for real estate. One of the best platforms for videos, photos, and messenger is Snapchat. It is also a little bit more of a casual platform and can allow you to connect with your consumers in a more light-hearted way. You can use Snapchat to post to Instagram and Facebook stories as well, but you want to be strategic about what content you overlap across platforms so it’s not exactly the same across all three.

What are some ways to market a property or yourself as a real estate agent in an authentic manner? A great way is to utilize live videos to do previews to open houses, highlight price changes, or updates to the property. If there is a marketing event for the property, you would want to live stream that as well. Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat all have the options for live content. Video content also lets you post across multiple platforms (including YouTube and podcasts) without creating new content for each video. Some apps Marki recommends are Quik by GoPro and Animoto. In a video, you can also share a landing/lead capture so they can leave their contact information and you can add them to your CRM.

Marki talks about how to be intentional about marketing on your social media platforms. Marki and Monica both recommend time blocking; Marki does an hour every day Monday - Friday. If one solid hour is too much, you can break it up into smaller chunks. You want it to be on the calendar to make sure you still make social media efforts.

Marki’s final advice for listeners is to video every single day. People care about if you can solve their buying and selling problems. She encourages everyone to create video content! If you don’t want to do live content, take your photos and turn them into videos because you want to give consumers what they want, where they are.

About Marki Lemons-Ryhal

Licensed Managing Broker, REALTOR®, avid volunteer, and Major Donor, Marki Lemons-Ryhal is dedicated to all things real estate. With over 25 years of marketing experience, Marki has taught REALTORS® how to earn up to a 2682% return on their marketing dollars.

As a REALTOR® Marki has earned the several sales award, the REALTOR® Achievement Award, and the President’s Award from the Chicago Association of REALTORS®.

She is a five-time REALTORS® Conference and Expo featured attendee, one of 80 speakers selected to speak at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo three times, and an Inman closing Keynote speaker.

By consistently offering sound industry analysis and professional guidance, Marki’s expertise has been featured in Forbes, Washington Post, Homes.com, REALTOR® Magazine and has also been included on CBS News Chicago and CBNC.

Marki holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Management from Chicago State University, a Master’s in Business Administration from Saint Xavier University, and over fifty real estate related licenses, certifications, and designations.