When it comes to mastering social media in real estate, there are dozens of sites and apps that offer advice, content creation, and even outsourcing for agents. Brokers, on the other hand, are often left wondering how they should handle their channels. Should they focus on agent-facing recruitment messages? Buyer and seller content? Listing highlights, agent successes, and company appreciation events?
While many brokers are left unsure about how to harness social media, CarMarc Realty Group’s designated managing broker Carrie J. Little has a clear outlook. In a session at the 2021 REALTOR® Broker Summit on June 30, Little offered seven proven social media strategies that brokerages can employ as they build or rebuild their social media presences.
1. Create content for the agents in your office.
A smart way for brokers to reframe their social media, said Little, is to consider what their agents may want to share with their clients. One example that Little gave was to create visual market snapshots, using local data that may interest and excite agents and the customers they serve. Here’s an example of a May 2021 market update that she created for her agents to share on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, and more.
Beyond just data, brokerages can also highlight their agents with exclusive, personal content. “Agents like to be acknowledged,” Little said. They also need content to share, and content that will help them bolster their reputations. That’s why CarMarc Realty Group creates monthly infographics “for the producing agents—not just the top-producing agents. It gives them content, it lets the consumer know that they’re working, it lets their sphere of influence know they’re working, and it shows that they’re actually working a transaction from beginning to end.”
2. Create professional and organic content.
A broker’s online image is dependent on the actual images they’re posting, Little said. That’s why she always recommends posting high-quality photos of everything—from listings to agents and brokers to images used in posts about staging, gardening, and more. Whether or not each agent is in a suit coat or a jean jacket matters less than the quality of the photographs, said Little. “[Brokers] need to think about hiring that professional photographer.”
Professional imagery doesn’t mean stuffy content, though. Little encourages brokers to create and share organic, less-filtered content about how their business life operates. Whether it’s a series on what it was like to build the business from scratch, a behind-the-scenes peek at what it means to comply with the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, or tips on how agents and brokers help buyers navigate the market, Little believes that it’s important to tell honest stories about the real estate profession.
3. Collaborate with industry partners.
Next, Little recommends that brokerages work with loan officers, inspectors, attorneys, and other partners to get different perspectives and unique content that consumers can’t find anywhere else. “Why not interview a loan officer about how, instead of being prequalified, maybe you should be preapproved or ... fully underwritten.”
Other options are to interview inspectors about what they are seeing in today’s homes, or real estate attorneys about what happens behind the scenes during escrow. For these interviews, Little recommends that brokers try Clubhouse, Facebook, or Instagram.
4. Use hashtags and locations.
“When we talk about hashtag- and location-based marketing, [that’s] when the end user can find you based on a hashtag or location,” Little explains. She offered this example: If someone is looking for an agent in a broker’s city, and the broker has properly used hashtags or location tagging in their posts, the consumer would be able to find them more easily.
Beyond this use case, consumers who are looking for local content are more likely to come across a brokerage’s posts if they are properly tagged. Whether posting images of a city concert series, a new café, or other local attractions, a brokerage’s posts will gain traction if they are hashtagged or tagged by location—it allows users to find a brokerage’s content on their own terms.
But brokers should be careful not to go overboard with hashtags, Little cautions. “If it’s Instagram, you can add up to 25 hashtags. If it’s Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, I highly recommend three or less because it messes up the algorithm.”
5. Engage on social media.
Engagement, said Little, “is having a conversation with your followers. It’s just as important as seeing people in person.” She recommends that when a broker or brokerage employee responds to a post, they always use five words or more. Not only will this come off as more authentic and conversational, but many social media platforms move longer responses to the top of the page and make them more visible.
6. Include video content.
Video content doesn’t have to be high-production or take a long time, said Little. “You can build a 60-second story on Instagram. You can build a 60-second story on TikTok.” The key is to just get started.
Making the videos accessible is also important. Little recalls a time when her high school age son told her to add captions to her videos so that he could “watch your videos while we are in class.” While she didn’t encourage that behavior, it did help Little to understand how important captions and accessibility are to gaining more views from users who aren’t able to watch in a traditional way.
7. Social recruiting.
Instead of the typical broker outreach where you message an agent about their production and ask if they’d consider moving companies, Little recommends that brokers offer something of value to agents. This allows agents to begin the recruiting process on their own.
Acknowledging that agents are overwhelmed by continuing education classes, but still want to learn about new tactics or business tips, Little shares that she has been creating chunks of educational content that she shares on her Instagram TV channel, “Coffee with Carrie.” The goal is to show potential recruits that she is a hands-on, digitally minded broker who is there to help agents succeed. When they reach out, she is ready to help them join her brokerage or to connect them with brokers in their own markets.
Start New Content Strategies Today
Whether you’re the broker-owner, designated managing broker, or a digital marketing person, Little said, these seven strategies will put you on the path to a stronger social media presence. She also reminded digital newcomers to pick one new strategy, rather than trying to implement every strategy all at once. “Don’t make this hard,” she reminded the brokers in the audience. “Start today.”