Social Media -- Where Do I Start?

January 20, 2014

If you're asking where to start on social media, then you're probably also asking, "Do I have to? Do I have to add one more daily task to my hectic schedule?"

Let's tackle that one first. No, you don't have to get involved in social media. However, selling real estate is a matter of networking, and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest offer vast pools of people to network with. On top of that, they give you tools to find exactly the kind of people you're looking for.

Meanwhile, potential customers will be checking you out on social media, so it just makes sense to be there.

We suggest Facebook as your starting point, because everybody else is already there. Facebook has 1.15 billion users. Yes, billion. That's 71 per cent of the world's online adult populationthe most users of any social media platform. And Facebook gets more daily use than any other social media site.

The 4554 age group is the fastest-growing demographic on Facebook. As you well know, these are folks coming into their peak earning yearspeople who are ready to trade up to a better home.

Canada has more active Facebook users than anywhere in the world. Nineteen million Canadiansmore than half the population of our countrylog in at least once a month, and 14 million of us check in every day.

In BC alone, there are 1,680,000 people over age 24 on Facebook, and 76,000 of them have an interest in real estate.

What are all those people doing there?

  • Keeping up with friends, family, acquaintances, co-workers, ex-co-workers, influencers, media stars and people who share their niche interests
  • Sharing information that's fun, useful or current
  • Recommending products, services, entertainment and other Facebook posts (4.5 billion Likes per day), but also...
  • Steering people away from businesses where they've had bad experiences
  • Entertaining each other with video, audio, infographics and pictures (350 million photos uploaded per day)
  • Making social plans
  • Locating other people with common interests
  • Checking in obsessively from their computers, tablets and phones

Think of Facebook as one big party

You don't need an invitation to this party. If you're not already on Facebook, it's easy to sign up. Just go to facebook.com and follow the sign-up directions. You can then start choosing people you'd like to be Friends with. Facebook will show you people in your email contact list who are on the site, or let you type in names.

You can also choose what personal information to reveal on your profile, and you can decide how visible your information will be. You can choose to share it with everybody or only with selected Friends.

Once you have a personal profile, you should start a Facebook Page for your business. That's where you'll concentrate your efforts.

Get to know Facebook a bit before you start thinking about how to use it in your marketing. Sitting down and going through it with one or two real-life friends who already use Facebook is the quickest way. They will teach you far more than any online help page.

Dos and Don'ts

Would you walk into a party and start selling real estate? Of course not. You'd walk in and socialize. You'd listen to conversations and add relevant insights of your own. You'd laugh at people's jokes and ask people questions about their interests.

Same with Facebook. You use it to build relationships by being helpful, amusing and interested in what other people have to say. And someday down the road, somebody you met might come back to you as a client.

The very first rule is: Don't try to sell all the time.Spamming your Facebook page with listings or "look what I can do" posts won't engage anyone. Nobody goes to Facebook to be sold to.

Instead...

  • Listen to what your potential clients are talking about and try to join their conversation. You should reach out, not just focus on posting.
  • Post or share helpful content and tips for your potential clients.
  • If you specialize in specific neighbourhoods, post often about things going on there so you'll become known as an expert.
  • Talk about your non-business interests. Local art, chili cookoffs, Irish wolfhounds, the Canucks... whatever your passions are, don't be afraid to share them. Other fans will find you through them and you can start to build a relationship.
  • Try to get there first; if you find something interesting, try to be the first one to share. That way, your Friends are more likely to share it with their Friends and expand your reach.
  • Post images. Pictures and videos get more Likes and Shares than just text.
  • Keep posts short. If you have something long to say, put it on your blog and link to it from a post.
  • Post or share at least once a daycommitment is important.
  • Mention your listings in passing as you highlight features that inspire you: a great idea for an inexpensive reno, a nice garden fixture, a new way of making more storage space, etc. Here's a great example of a post that mentionsand links toa listing without being sales-y.

"I'm so jealous of the finished basement in the house I just listed. I'd love to be able to send my husband to his own man cave!" (Link)

mancave

Isn't that a whole lot more engaging than this?

"Check out this new listing"

house for sale