As 2018 wraps up, there’s time to reflect on real estate’s marketing landscape. How were agents using their social media platforms as marketing channels in 2018, and what powerful opportunities lie ahead in the new year?
According to the National Association of REALTORS®’ September 2018 Technology Survey, 77 percent of members use social media networks in some capacity. Of the respondents, 26 percent used social networks with the main purpose of marketing, and 25 percent used their networks for cultivating and maintaining client relationships.
With 2019 quickly approaching, it’s time to look at the most useful strategies real estate professionals can employ to reach their target market through social media channels. For those ready to plan their efforts, here are three strategies to focus on in the new year.
1. Instagram Presence and Profile Building
NAR reports that only 39 percent of agents use Instagram, which presents a competitive advantage for those ready to invest in the channel. The visual-centric app reached 1 billion monthly users as of June 2018, indicating the potential for content exposure alone makes having an Instagram account increasingly important for business.
When utilizing Instagram, real estate pros can build a professional and approachable image to perpetuate meaningful, personal interactions with leads and clients. Features such as long-form, vertical video viewing platform IGTV, live videos, stories, and ads are great options agents can use to their advantage.
Promoting Story Highlights
A noteworthy feature is Instagram’s story highlights. After posting a photo or video to your Instagram story, you can go back later and pin that media to appear on your main profile. Real estate pros can use their profiles to feature introductory videos, property-related posts, neighborhood profiles, and other content they find relevant to their persona. This is an excellent way to telegraph who you are and how you might be a good fit for potential clients. It’s also an effective way to recycle quality content that was shared previously.
2. Maximizing Facebook Reach: Chatbots and Ads
With the majority of real estate professionals already using Facebook as a platform, what strategies are the most effective in boosting reach? In 2019, agents should focus on automated messages or chatbots and ads to get the most out of Facebook.
Automated Messages and Chatbots
Swift messenger response times have an impact on client relationships and conversions. Client expectations are changing, and most consumers expect a Facebook response within six hours.
Automated messages, commonly known as “chatbots,” can be used to begin the communication exchange and provide speedier response times. Chatbots increase convenience and efficiency for both the professional and the client, answering basic questions or giving general information while agents are away from their computers.
When creating a chatbot, consider giving the bot a personal touch to align with your business’s brand image and humanize the interaction. To let clients know they are talking to a bot, the bot can also be given a “bot name.” This generates transparency while fostering a friendly tone. Manychat and MobileMonkey are excellent options for creating powerful Facebook chatbots without requiring much technical expertise.
Organic reach on Facebook has declined over the past few years, even for larger account pages. There are two factors: an increased amount of competition and changes in Facebook’s algorithm to show less business content in users’ news feeds. Creating ads with the right content doesn’t have to be tedious; in fact, it can be scheduled and seamless. Ads are a way to get in front of potential customers without having to navigate Facebook’s News Feed algorithm.
3. Cross-Channel Video Marketing
As someone working in real estate, you’ll find it’s worth investing time and resources into video marketing to share content across all channels in 2019. Only 38 percent of NAR members currently use video marketing, yet more than three-fourths (78 percent) of the world’s mobile data traffic is predicted to be video by 2021. It’s better to get ahead of the curve now.
All social media platforms offer multiple ways to record and share video content. Agents should incorporate videos weekly, and the content should vary; consider making agent-centered videos, client-centered videos, and property or location previews. It’s also important to format videos for use across all platforms. Keep videos short, simple, and focused on one purpose. In a previous article, I outlined four main types of real estate videos: introductions, testimonials, neighborhood tours, and open house videos. Here are some ideas for how to bolster your testimonial and listing videos:
Make Past Clients Comfortable
Powerful and authentic, video testimonials offer agents and brokers a world of possibilities to showcase clients’ satisfaction to connect with new leads. Some clients are very open to participating in video testimonials, so start with close contacts who may be viable sources. Once confirmed, give your clients clear expectations before filming and a list of questions so that they feel confident and prepared in advance. Agents should select clients who have unique, engaging, and positive feedback. Shoot in a convenient location and ensure the lighting, sound, and ambiance are top-quality.
Consider using aerial drone videos to expand on the depth and space of a property, offering a more comprehensive snapshot. Highlight distinct property or neighborhood characteristics that clients may not otherwise notice. Using drone video for virtual tours creates a more natural and fluid experience in comparison with station-based methods, as drones can fly freely inside the listing and travel seamlessly to each room. Create an immersive drone video experience by adding background music or professional voice-overs with historical or listing feature information.
Learning From the Past
To begin planning for the new year, it’s vital that real estate professionals evaluate 2018 metrics and key performance indicators. Some good signs of marketing success include funnel conversion rates, client engagement, return on investment, and retention. Evaluate your business results against these indicators to identify successes and opportunities from 2018, and then set clear expectations for 2019. Follow current marketing channels and use the data they provide to refocus and implement new social media strategies for the year to come.