You know all too well that being a real estate agent is about more than just open houses and closing tables. Most real estate agents have to fill many different roles in order to have a successful business.
Heather Elias, founder of the Loco Real Estate Team at Century 21 Redwood Realty, says the importance of marketing is one piece of the puzzle that’s often overlooked by agents, especially when it comes to the day-to-day work of making new connections with consumers.
“I don’t think enough agents run their business like a business,” she says. “They don’t think about how much outreach they need to do on a week-to-week basis or stick to it. It’s a lot of work.”
Of course, these days one of the key ways agents can make new connections with buyers and sellers is with social media. But many real estate professionals aren’t using these tools to their highest potential.
Why Agents Should Use Social Media
The Pew Research Center estimates that around seven in ten Americans use social media to connect with others, and many see it as part of their daily routine. As more and more people become active on social media with greater frequency, the number of opportunities for real estate agents to make new connections grows exponentially.
“Second only to personal referrals, social media brings my highest number of connections with new buyers and sellers,” says Melanie Voss, CRS, with Farm & Ranch Realty in Colby, Kan.
Elias combined her background in public relations and marketing with her real estate business when she started using social media. She says social media offers new ways for agents to connect with consumers.
“Instead of having to go to a cocktail party or PTA meeting, or volunteering in your community to be able to meet people, there are ways to connect with like-minded individuals using social media, and that will grow your business,” she says.
Besides the obvious advantage of bringing in more buyers and sellers, real estate agents can use social media in other ways, too. Voss uses social networks as a way to demonstrate her expertise in real estate by sharing tips, data, and trends impacting property sales in her area.
“I enjoy the opportunity it gives me to engage with people of all ages and areas,” Voss says. “It also helps empower my buyers and sellers with market information.”
Which Social Media Networks Should Agents Use?
Although social media has been around for many years (Facebook was founded in 2004!), the way it’s used and how it impacts people’s lives are always changing.
“It’s grown and changed as more of our consumer base is using it, and the way people use it has changed,” Elias says. For example, Elias used to depend much more on Twitter to connect with people, but now she sees more opportunities on Facebook and Instagram. The popularity of these platforms is reflected in the data, too. Pew estimates that today, some 68 percent of U.S. adults use Facebook, with 74 percent of those users logging in at least once per day. Though the overall audience for Instagram is smaller, they use the image-driven site at nearly the same frequency.
Voss is reacting to similar trends in her market. “The popular social media trends are fluid and changing. I use what seems to fit the people in my area of Kansas and what I’m comfortable with,” she says.
Elias stresses that it’s important to know where your audience is spending time online. Examine both what’s popular in your geographic area and which platforms are most successful with the niches you want to serve, since they may be different depending on where you’re situated.
“Every agent needs to look at where their consumers are located. Find your audience and then go to them,” Elias says. “It’s not up to the agent to decide. You have to go where they are.”
The fact is, you can’t be everywhere online, and quality over quantity is an important factor to consider. “An updated, active profile on one or two sites is better than poor engagement everywhere,” Voss says.
The Bottom Line
Being active on social media is key for any business to connect with new people and strengthen bonds with existing contacts. It’s a free way to market your business, build personal connections, and share resources that will help buyers and sellers get to know you before picking up the phone.
“With social media, contacting me is easy,” Voss says. “If you don’t have my cellphone number at your fingertips, you just search a social media site and my number is on every post and picture. That’s why I use social media.”