Today it’s more crucial than ever to nurture your brokerage's online presence. In a way, your consistent digital footprint is a beacon to the world that gives potential clients an idea of who you are, what you do and how you’re different from the rest.
“Real estate is all about building relationships and increasing your influence within your community,” says Debbie Pontikas, EPRO, SRS, an associate broker with Retsy in Scottsdale, Ariz. “That means as business owners, we need to utilize all forms of communication and marketing channels where our clients may be exposed—including the digital space.”
Not long ago, a Facebook page with text posts was the digital medium du jour. While it’s still an important channel to reach certain demographics, today you can leverage digital in so many exciting ways. For example, videos are arguably preferable to text; quick, bite-sized content on TikTok and Instagram are the gold standard; and personal newsletters are gaining momentum at a rapid clip.
Ultimately, successful real estate professionals use digital marketing to stay relevant by creating consistent touchpoints in front of their database and community. To dive into the nitty gritty of what works, we tapped a handful of agents and brokers who’ve creatively used digital channels to promote themselves, build loyalty and foster community.
The Social Landscape
Social media is an invaluable tool when it comes to tapping into your community and creating a sense of trust and recognition.
“Back in the day, real estate pros relied on their sphere of influence and maybe cold calls and door knocking,” says Ashley Fultz, an agent with DMF Realty in Sherman Oaks, Calif. “But today, with social media, you can reach so many more people and they can really get to know you and trust you if you are sharing appropriately.”
Because video performs so well on all social channels, Fultz urges real estate agents to get comfortable on camera and present themselves as the experts they are in the market.
Fultz channels the majority of her energy to Instagram, where she’s accumulated more than 64,000 followers. She says it’s a vital vessel in terms of attracting new clients, networking, and remaining top-of-mind for current and past clients.
“I have built a really solid following and create content that is interesting and consistent,” she says. “Through Instagram Stories, I am able to share about my day-to-day personal life and my work life and take followers behind the scenes of what it is like to be a mom, wife and busy real estate agent in Los Angeles.”
That raw, human element really resonates with people today, arguably much more so than a fully buttoned-up presence might. Fultz explains that this approach helps people get to know her on a more personal level, which fosters trust and comfort—two of the most important components to gaining new clients.
She also uses Instagram to promote new listings, share home staging tips and offer nuggets of wisdom regarding the home buying and selling process. She creates posts on useful information that buyers need, like her “three home inspections you should never skip” post, and she also creates video tours of current listings.
Pontikas agrees about Instagram, saying, “We are seeing more positive reactions to Instagram Reels and Stories, as they can be more entertaining and engaging. Using Reels to create quick value by adding videos such as ‘How is Inflation Affecting Your Purchase Power?’ or ‘Top 3 Reasons to Buy Now vs. Later’ can help build your reputation as an industry expert and community go-to for real estate advice.”
TikTok is another social media platform to consider, especially since it’s preferred over Facebook by younger generations. And though TikTok’s audience skews younger, millennials, Gen X, and boomers all use the platform as well. Using that platform is a great way to get ahead by capturing a Gen Z audience, which is trickling into the marketplace.
“TikTok, in my opinion, is just like any other platform,” says Barb Betts, CRS, C2EX, broker-owner of The REcollective in southern Calif. “You have to show up, and show up consistently, for it to work.” She says that short-form, engaging content and consistent creation is king on TikTok.
Real estate professionals agree that Facebook is still a viable social platform when it comes to connecting with your client audience. However, agents and brokers say they’ve seen waning here, and that the audience tends to skew older.
Still, “I see no reason not to use both [Instagram and Facebook],” Pontikas says. “There are great apps and social media tools that allow you to post across platforms in one post, which makes it a no-brainer.”
An interesting point she makes is that if you’re aiming for a more affluent audience, then Facebook’s older crowd might be where the money is at. In other words, don’t completely sidestep Facebook, and always make sure you’re focusing efforts where your audience is watching.
A networking platform for professionals, LinkedIn is an excellent vessel for tapping into a community of real estate agents. Sam Sawyer, founder and CEO of Pinnacle Realty Advisors in Dallas, says it can also instill trust when potential clients notice you have a shared connection, or when they see a list of positive testimonials.
While social media allows you to speak to wide swaths of current and potential clients, forms of subscriber communications—such as newsletters, podcasts and texts—are also useful options. You can leverage social media to drive people to these more intimate channels. You can also tap your database full of potential and previous clients to generate a mailing list. This yields a highly attuned, loyal audience that’s right at your fingertips.
“I personally leverage newsletters monthly,” says Dawn Houlf, a broker with Exit Realty Number One, based in Las Vegas. “I have three different types of newsletters—one that provides content to reach buyers and sellers, one that provides content to reach renters to get them to buy, and another for other real estate professionals to bring them to my brand.”
Emily Clancy LoPorto, an agent with Serhant on Long Island, N.Y,, says that the smaller, curated audience that a newsletter provides give you a chance to get more personal and speak directly to your network. She adds that in emails, “We are also not competing with the stream of other users’ content … so you may find there is more engagement with an emailed newsletter.”
To save time, Pontikas says, you can start with a long-form piece of content via a newsletter, then parcel it out in snackable bites for social media channels. Fultz agrees, adding that she also sends newsletters and texts—which sometimes include video content created for social—and embeds them in the newsletters or into text with a new client.
“We spend a lot of time and money creating videos, so why not repurpose them anywhere and everywhere? We also really tailor our newsletters to include info on local events, new restaurants and more in our community,” Fultz says.
So how can you, as a broker, help your agents find success by using these platforms? Betts, who owns and operates a hybrid brokerage that functions as a team, says that she actually does the bulk of her agents’ marketing for them.
“We create all their monthly marketing postcards that go to their database, all of their marketing for their listings and all of their social media posts and content that they can use at whatever level they want to,” she explains.
This provides them with a solid starting point and good sense of direction in terms of their own self-created content. You can also equip them with tools and resources by providing marketing lessons, promoting agents on the brokerage’s social platforms to help them build their audience, and offering helpful feedback on their current strategies.