Social Media for Agents: How to Use the Key Platforms

Mike Blaney
July 30, 2014

By their nature Real Estate Agents are usually more comfortable with face-to-face and personal interaction with buyers, sellers and prospects but there are a limited number of hours in a day. Social media marketing can be used to leverage your time more effectively and stay in touch with your sphere of influence.

That being said, social media marketing is a long-term process, not a quick fix. Social media marketing is not going away and you need to incorporate one or more platforms into your overall marketing efforts in a comfortable, sustainable manner. As more people of all ages use the various social media outlets, your credibility is at stake if you don't at least appear to be embracing it.

One important aspect of social media is its role as a referrer to your website. Social sharing site Shareaholic revealed an interesting split in the way that social media sites refer traffic back to a website. Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter are the top three referrers of traffic, but YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn rank as the top three sources for referrals in terms of time on site, pages per visit and bounce rate.

The two easiest platforms to get up and running are Facebook and Twitter, and they are the most effective for a Real Estate Agent. If you were to work on only these two for the next couple of months, it would be time well spent. When you have your accounts set up, make sure you have links to them on your website.

Facebook is good for interacting with people on a more personal level, so it is useful for real estate. You can use your personal page, but a separate business page is recommended to keep your personal life separate. Feature new listings, advertise open houses and mix in community and real estate related posts.

Fridays are Facebook's best day for engagement. The Social Intelligence Report from Adobe analyzed more than 225 billion Facebook posts from the past two years and Fridays receive more comments, likes and shares than any other day of the week. This doesn't mean you ignore the other days, but make sure you schedule a post for Friday.

Use photos. According to Social Bakers, 87% of a Facebook page's interactions happen on photo posts. No other content type receives more than 4% of interactions.

Compared with the lifespan of a Facebook post, where 75% of engagement occurs within the first five hours, a tweet has a life span of about 18 minutes. This means you have to post far more often on Twitter than on Facebook. Twitter can be a great way to let everyone know about an open house that day, a reduced listing price or a new listing. Use it to link back to your site to gain traffic and use appropriate hashtags like #OpenHouse and #MountPleasant to be found by searchers.

Posting a video of a listing on YouTube works the best for exposure. If you have ever searched for a house by address the video of the house is almost always on page 1 in the first five results. Google will often rank your video higher than your web page. After uploading your video to YouTube you can also take the embed code and add it to your website. Remember to provide a long description full of keywords and add as many Tags as you can think of.

This is purely visual showcase your listings by adding key photos to Instagram. Create an album of each of your listings. Make sure you tag and hashtag the photos appropriately and try to post often to create an ongoing display of all your listings.

Pinterest is not used to directly sell a home, but it does increase the exposure if you post a few design-related photos and create boards of beautiful homes, interiors and gardens. People will see your pictures, re-post them and provide free traffic to your website.

Building a network of potential buyers and sellers is difficult on LinkedIn, but within the real estate industry, LinkedIn can serve as a means to participate in community discussions with fellow professionals and those interested in real estate. Your discussions on LinkedIn can be shared on your website and other social channels.

Google+is the second largest social media network behind Facebook. The site grew by 33% in 2013 and has roughly 360 million monthly users on average, according to Search Engine Journal . While it seems awkward to use at first and takes a while to find people in your sphere of influence, it cannot be ignored as possibly the best source of improved search engine rankings through social media marketing.

If you are re-evaluating your use of social media marketing or this post has you fired up to get started, keep things in perspective. Most likely 80 90 per cent of your business comes from repeat clients, referrals from clients and people you meet socially and at open houses. Don't divert your regular marketing efforts that are working, but use social media as a way to increase referrals, ensure you are top of mind with your clients and possibly add a few new buyers or sellers as clients in the next 12 to 18 months.

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