With social media sites like Twitter and Instagram and business networking sites such as LinkedIn and Alignable, it’s no wonder Americans now spend 12 hours a day consuming digital media, according to eMarketer’s latest report. But with all that online frenzy going on, why does it seem increasingly difficult as a real estate professional to connect with actual people and humanize your brand?
Tami Bonnell, CEO of EXIT Realty Corp. International in the Boston area, and John Lim, CEO of Life in Mobile, a New York–based technology firm, partnered with Chime Technologies to help agents cut through the noise and succeed in a crowded digital space with a new e-book, Go Behind the Device: Humanizing Digital Marketing for Real Estate. This free guide is meant to help real estate professionals get closer to their clients so they can give them what they want, where they want it.
Setting up systems can actually help, says Matt Murphy, chief marketing officer at Chime Technologies. Automation doesn’t mean sacrificing authenticity, he says, but instead, it can free you up to focus on personal interactions instead of mundane tasks.
“We all remember how clunky some of the old automated systems were. It was always obvious when we were dealing with a robot,” he says. Now, smart systems can more easily mimic human interactions. For instance, you can integrate esignature platforms with Chime’s customer relationship management system for more seamless document management. Also, the BombBomb app can be incorporated into the CRM, allowing agents to send personal videos in their emails to clients and prospects.
Here are 10 additional suggestions from Bonnell and Lim’s e-book on how to humanize your business interactions online.
Pretend it’s 100 years ago. Lim builds new marketing campaigns or sales systems as if the year is 1923, when modern technology didn’t exist. It forces him and his team to think about the consumer experience, then use the technology to scale and enhance the experience.
Consider better timing. Think about when clients are likely on their smartphones—early in the morning before work or on the weekends—and sync your communications accordingly. Make their house hunting easy by pushing out listings in an email or mobile app. Short videos with closed captions or easy-to-read infographics can also be sent in the evenings when your buyers are home watching television, the e-book suggests.
Customize your message. “People want to work with an agent they know, like, and trust—that [relationship] is built by staying engaged,” Bonnell says. Her company avidly uses video marketing so that agents can personalize their messages to clients.
Create videos with emotional tugs. For a marketing campaign to be successful, you need to hit an emotional chord, Lim says. Tailor your videos to reflect a combination of your audience, your market, and your personal message.
Realize that people have evolved over the past decade. Lim says people have changed since the birth of the iPhone in 2007. “When we communicate, we need to keep in mind that consumers live in an ‘I need it now’ society,” he says.
Show authenticity in photos. Make sure the images you share on social media or use in your brand marketing are real rather than stock photos you’ve paid for. Even if they’re not perfect or polished, real photos show your authenticity, build trust, and tell your story.
Give them a little love. When you post your next social media update from your business page or a send a promotional email, make it clear that it’s coming from you. Use your own name instead of your brand or company. When people begin to put a face to the business, it initiates the trust process.
Be consistent. Make sure your messages to clients are congruent across platforms and communicated regularly.
Don’t creep them out. Retargeted ads of specific listings that follow, or seem to follow, home shoppers on various websites can turn off some buyers. Instead, the e-book suggests creating simple branded ads that reappear throughout the Google Display Network to keep your brand top-of-mind.
Imagine real estate in the future. Virtual reality is changing the game, Lim says. He predicts that within two years, nearly every photo online will be 360 degrees. “With companies like insidemaps.com making [virtual reality] not only affordable but also easy to manage with your own device, there is no reason why our buyers should still have a two-dimensional experience,” Lim says.