Guest Post courtesy of Matthew Bushery. This article originally appeared in the Placester Real Estate Marketing Academy.
Managing your real estate social media marketing strategy means spending a fair amount of time daily handling various tasks: everything from monitoring brand mentions to promoting content from your agent website. The common myth regarding social media marketing is it’s time-consuming and doesn’t generate much ROI. But, if you spread out and automate your marketing activities on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks for which you have an account throughout the week, all you end up having to do is spend 15 minutes here and 30 minutes there adjusting, improving, and tracking your real estate social media accounts.
Check out the mock social media time management plan below, and use it as an example for how you can keep tabs on and enhance your own social presence. After a few weeks, you’ll realize you can take your social media marketing to the next level by simply fiddling around with your accounts during your lunch break.
Monday: Automate posts for each social network through week’s end and produce some new content to share.
Total Task Time: 75 Minutes
Whether you’re working independently, with a few other agents, or as an enterprise agency with dozens of broker teams, social media automation will come in handy. You can hire all the marketing manpower (see: marketing assistant) you want to help manually post content to Facebook, Twitter, and other social accounts you have, but at the end of the day, automation tools like Buffer, Hootsuite, and IFTTT will make your life and the lives of your fellow team members significantly easier.
There’s no one correct portion of real estate social media posts to automate using the aforementioned software and similar resources, nor is there one type of content to share, one best time of day to publish updates, or frequency with which to post. The right “formula,” so to speak, for your automation plan will come in time as you experiment and get used to working with the automation platform(s) of your choosing. But there are some must-follow rules to avoid problems with your automated content and those who consume it.
For instance, Simplilearn notes in its social media automation tips-and-tricks guide brands should only automate their own content in moderation and share others’ materials. The online education provider recommends companies and professionals abide by the 50-30-20 rule — 50% of content should be from external sources, 30% should come from you, and 20% can be relatively personal content (e.g. your general thoughts on just about anything: movies, food, books, music) — to avoid coming off as overly promotional with their social channels.
With regard to sharing your own content, this can mean blog posts, real estate reports, visually appealing infographics, step-by-step and how-to content for top-of-the-funnel home buyer and seller prospects, and detailed guides for middle-of-the-funnel leads. To merit use of automation tools, you need more than just local listings pages to link to in scheduled social shares. Regularly producing new content will help prevent sharing only old content you wrote weeks, months, and even years earlier.
Tuesday: Find others’ content your audience would find interesting and informative to share across your accounts.
Total Task Time: 45 Minutes
Your content is a vital component of your real estate social media marketing strategy, but it’s far from the only one. There’s a wealth of information on the internet your home buyer and seller audience can find extremely useful.
The National Association of REALTORS®, for example, provides insightful content for consumers with its digital homeowner magazine HouseLogic. The site offers advice for current and prospective homeowners on things like how to save space in their residences, what they need to do to prepare for tax season, and cost-efficient upgrades they can make to their properties, among many other interesting topics.
It’s near-impossible to not get real estate content marketing inspiration from a source like this, so read publications like this one regularly, and find ways to incorporate this into your sharing strategy.
Any content you find that’s not necessarily time-sensitive (e.g. blog posts that explain how to prepare personal finances for a mortgage will be relevant today and 10 years down the line) and provides distinct value you think your audience will enjoy are great types of content to share on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and similar social networks.
Since you don’t want to spend hours manually finding these content pieces, though, use content curation tools that aggregate articles RSS feed-style and then schedule the most intriguing posts for publication on your social accounts in your automation tool.
Wednesday: Conduct social media page maintenance by adjusting business information and branding visuals.
Total Task Time: 15 Minutes
The most successful real estate social media accounts run by agents and brokers have two constants in common: They promote the most recent and attractive listings to hit the market (theirs and others’) in the header images on their social profiles, and their “about” sections feature every pertinent and relevant detail about their businesses that prospective clients need to know, including links to their real estate websites. Much of this info doesn’t need to be updated each week, but ignoring these aspects of your social media accounts could lead to the sharing of misinformation, misspellings, and general lack of interest in your pages.
When it comes to promoting listings, switching out the header image on your Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ pages once every couple of weeks ought to suffice (unless you happen to have already sold the listing featured in this space, in which case you should change it ASAP). Be sure the image abides by the recommended image dimensions from each network. Fail to do this, and the wrong parts of your header photos could be hidden from sight, including your real estate branding (a.k.a. your logo), and you could end up spending more time you don’t have fixing them. Use an intuitive photo-editing tool like Canva to create the correct-sized images for each social channel.
As for your company information, as long as you explain what your business does, what your company’s value proposition is, where your office is located, your hours of operation, and how people can get in touch with you, your profiles are set to go. Include links that lead back to your site where allowed, but don’t go overboard in linking to several landing pages. Instead, add a link to your site homepage and ones that lead to your other social media profiles. The ultimate goal is to get social media visitors back on your site so they can convert into a bona fide lead.
Thursday: Connect with influencers (e.g. media members, notable personalities, publications) on each social network.
Total Task Time: 45 Minutes
A public relations strategy for real estate agents is similar to that of other industries. Connecting with media outlets and any other entities with ties to the press and lots of influence is the first step of getting a PR plan up and running. The best medium to connect with many of these folks is on social media.
Assuming you’re in tune with the local media in your market — newspaper reporters and editors, online journalists, notable niche bloggers, local celebrities, etc. — you have a bevy of potential resources you can tap into to increase brand awareness and get your name in prominent (and presumably oft-visited) websites. Find and follow the official Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social accounts for each personality, company, and organization you think can help broaden exposure for your business and, over time, gradually engage with these folks by commenting on their content. Then, determine how you can leverage their influence. Arguably the best way to get your name out to the world is to offer insights and quotes they can use for news articles and return the favor by interviewing them for your own blog. You can keep track of your communications with them in your editorial calendar featuring your real estate marketing ideas.
It will undoubtedly take some effort to persuade some influencers to work with you in some capacity, but since it’s a long-term marketing play, you only need to spend a small amount of time each week building up this list. Eventually, the power of persuasion will pay off, and you’ll have even more content to share on social.
Friday: Monitor business mentions on your social accounts (and the internet at large) using brand-listening tools.
Total Task Time: 20 Minutes
As you progressively gain more recognition in your community through your real estate marketing plan, you will need to carefully monitor what the world says about you and your brand. Setting up Google Alerts featuring keywords that include your name and that of your business can certainly help, but a more robust strategy is to use one or more social listening tools to see what individuals say about your company: the praise, the insults, the good reviews, the bad reviews, and everything in between.
More often than not, no one will say a bad word about your brand or talk smack in any way, shape, or form. In fact, many agents solely see compliments and thoughtful comments on their social media posts. However, the occasional curious question or remark aimed at you or your agency will emerge and, in many cases, require a reply on your part.
For example, when queries about your business’s general info are made online (“What kinds of homes have you sold in recent months?”; “Which parts of the market do you primarily operate in?”), simply answer them and add any additional info that can help these could-be leads. Criticism, on the other hand, needs to be thoroughly examined to determine what — if any — action is required from you. For instance, if someone comments on your Facebook ad to state you’re far from the best agent around, leaving it be might be the best play. If someone says something derogatory to you as a person, then deleting the comment is likely the appropriate move.
The good news is this is one real estate social media marketing task that can be handled over lunch, so don’t feel obligated to pour over every minute mention of your brand. Again, social listening tools offer the ability to have daily, weekly, and as-it-happens updates about brand mentions straight to your inbox, so sign up for whichever fits your budget and you can (mostly) set it and forget it six out of seven days a week.
Saturday: Reach out to your audience by following new people, commenting on their posts, and engaging them.
Total Task Time: 30 Minutes
Don’t forget the power of connecting with your audience directly on social media.
Start by following and friending prospects you’ve already engaged with in one form or another and see if you have anything in common with them. The best way to “sell” to these people isn’t to message them links to random listings you think they may like. Instead, just comment on funny pics or memes they share on Twitter, offer your take on a sporting event that they commented on on Facebook, or simply like one of their Instagrams from a vacation. It’s these kinds of seemingly minor touch points that can make you more memorable, relatable, and personable to them.
While this is an excellent way to engage and nurture your audience, just be careful not to overstep any personal boundaries. Commenting on every, single status update one of your seller leads shares on Facebook, for example, could end up becoming a major turnoff (and, well, creep them out). So, be wise with your outreach, both in terms of what you say and share, and how often you try to interact with connections.
As Temple University Associate Professor of Business Dr. Jay Sinha noted in an MIT Sloan Management Review on using social media for marketing, “Firms can improve their brand perceptions and engage customers on social media by making a personal connection with them through upbeat, light-hearted posts, direct replies and witty remarks.”
In short: Don’t be cold. Show some personality. Just don’t go overboard.
Sunday: Examine metrics for each social network in Google Analytics and each network’s own analytics dashboards.
Total Task Time: 45 Minutes
High engagement levels, lots of new fans and followers, and increases in clicks back to your real estate website are the core metrics to keep an eye on when it comes to using social media for real estate. Thankfully, the premier place to discover these metrics is the same place you use to ensure your site is a well-oiled machine: Google Analytics.
By clicking on the “Acquisition” tab on the left side of your Google Analytics dashboard, you can get a high-level understanding of the success your social accounts have generated. For instance, if you use Facebook for real estate marketing, you can see the number of website sessions that came from your account. Discovering which social networks lead to the most traction for your site can be very telling and indicate which channels you ought to spend more time and attention on.
Each of the big social networks also offer their own proprietary analytics you can access via your own accounts, profiles, and pages. Twitter’s analytics, for instance, tells you your follower growth, which specific tweets garnered the most engagement, and even personal and professional traits of your followers (e.g. interests, relative income level, occupation). Meanwhile, Facebook’s Insights dashboard provides similar data, including what types of engagement occurred with each post (e.g. link clicks, photo clicks, video views) and which days and times tend to earn you the most attention each week.
All of these analytics options make it quick and easy to check on just how well you’re doing with your marketing efforts on each social platform. The trick is to not overreact when the figures show either astounding success or fast-falling engagement levels. Inevitably, there are up periods and down periods for every brand’s social media accounts, so keep tabs on these numbers each week, and when you spot marked changes (for better or worse), adjust your promotional efforts on the network(s) accordingly.
Daily: Respond to comments, share listing and business updates, and plan out future social media activities.
Total Task Time: 30 Minutes
There are certain real estate social media marketing activities that shouldn’t have a designated day of the week to be handled. Rather, they need daily attention, as failing to perform these tasks can lead to a worsened brand reputation and diminish website traffic and lead gen. You must quickly reply to any mentions that require timely response (e.g. a negative comment about a blog post mentioned in a tweet; a request for information on a listing you shared on Facebook).
Speaking of sharing listings, if you’re a buyers’ agent, you need to constantly share the latest homes for sale in your market (including and especially the newest and most notable ones). Even if you’re a sellers’ agent, new photos of the listing you represent and details about how to contact you for further info is how you’ll generate plenty of interest in the properties, so share new images, videos, and other updates daily.
Also, don’t forget that experimentation is a big part of how to thrive with your social media strategy — so think up new ways to engage your fans and followers, like generating new kinds of content and promotional messaging you can share. Get ideas from the best real estate Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and social accounts to inspire new content you can share. Also, try new social networks you haven’t used before. For instance, if you’ve yet to set up accounts on Vine (allows you to record 6-second videos that can easily be edited) or Periscope (allows you to live-stream events straight from your smartphone), give those channels a try.
Once you’ve set up a comprehensive time management plan for all of your social activities, check out this Placester Academy post on the 30 must-follow rules for using social media for real estate.
About the Author
As the Content Creator at Placester, Matthew is devoted to producing content that helps transform real estate professionals’ marketing efforts and bottom lines. When he’s not developing Academy posts, he’s writing film reviews and screenplays (the latter of which will never see the light of day).