Getting Started with Social Media for Estate Agencies
Let’s cut all the airy-fairy content and get straight down to the facts of digital marketing and specifically, social media and what that means for your estate agency:
- Close to half of the world’s population are on some form of social media.
- The average person spends at least 20 minutes on Facebook per day – Or, another way to put it – one in every six minutes a person will spend online.
- 86% of women will look at social media before deciding to make a purchase.
- People are accessing 69% of their media on their smartphones.
- 57% of all mobile users will not recommend a business if their mobile website is poorly designed or unresponsive.
- 200 million Instagrammers actively visit the profile of a business every day.
- 72% of Pinners use Pinterest to decide what to buy offline.
- Over 5% of all referral traffic to websites comes from Pinterest.
So, what does this mean for you and your business?
Social media is where your estate agency needs to be…
Did you know that 90% of marketers say social media marketing has increased their business exposure? No matter what you sell or who you sell it to, using social media as a marketing tool can help you grow your brand and increase leads.
At this point in the game, not having an active social media presence is like pulling out a flip phone at a business meeting wondering why no one takes you seriously.
Social media is a great tool to connect with your current and prospective clients as well as improve relationships and your customer service. It is also a fantastic way of keeping an eye on your competitors and other industry leaders.
Whether you like it, or not, social media marketing is here to stay, so you need to embrace it with open arms.
Start small and work your way up
Instead of concentrating on every social network you can find, start with just one or two social networks. For estate agencies we recommend you start with either Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram. All of these platforms are built around visuals, news and are great for showcasing products – the nicer the homes you’re selling, the more engagement these will get!
As previously mentioned, people spend 1 out of every 6 minutes of the time they spend online on Facebook. 72% of adult internet users are on Facebook.
Statistics show that there is a large mix of both male and female users who fall into the earning bracket of £70k+ per year. A great bracket for home owners and property rentals. Facebook is great for targeted ads, especially if you are planning on targeting home owners specifically.
Unfortunately, due to the reach algorithm that Facebook continually changes, business pages are just not seeing the organic reach they once did. This means that you need to work harder to improve engagement just to ensure that even 10% of your followers see your posts.
This can be both time-consuming and costly. Especially if you couple that work with Facebook ads which only tend to yield an average 0.9% click through rate in the estate agency sector.
The answer to this is in strategy.
Properly defining your target audience, working out what your competitors are doing and changing it up to bring you more engagement. Approaching Facebook with a good strategy, an analytical mindset and a few well-considered marketing messages can make all the difference
This tends to be the social media network many businesses either forget to use, or sign up to and never use again. Pinterest is a social media website that allows users to organise and share images and videos. Images and links uploaded by users are called Pins and may be organised into pinboards, which may be customised, themed and followed by other users on the platform. This is a sharing platform and users have no issue sharing content and pinning relevant pins to their boards.
Pinterest is great for real estate agents. You spend hundreds, if not thousands of pounds on professional photography and spend just as much time staging the property to look just right. So why not use those great photographs to showcase your portfolio of properties? With 72% of Pinners using Pinterest to decide what to buy offline and over 5% of all referral traffic to websites coming from Pinterest, this could really boost your visitor numbers.
Last but not least, Instagram. Instagram is a photo and video-sharing social network service owned by Facebook. It has over 500 million active monthly users and 59% of those users visit Instagram daily. On average, videos receive 2x more engagement than images on Instagram. This makes it a wonderful place to share property video tours and post about the latest property news.
The drawback of using Instagram is the average user age is a lot lower than Facebook and Pinterest and you can not add links on your posts to divert people back to your website.
Ensure your social media profiles are optimised
Now you have selected your social media network or networks, you’ll need to complete all the relevant information to complete your profile.
Ensure you are clear and use keyword rich descriptions to complete your profile. Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter are quite stripped back and take a little less effort than Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.
Complete as much information as you can and upload your logo into the profile picture area. The logo should be clearly visible and should not be cropped at all. Most social media profiles have a cover image area so create your own cover images to complete your profile.
Think of your social media profile as your business card. The cover image, logo and description are the first thing people see when they land on your social media profile. As such, this will be the first impression they get of your business. Incomplete or messy profiles will not impress your visitors and might actually put them off doing business with you.
Use hashtags correctly
A hashtag is a keyword or a phrase used to describe a topic or a theme. It is in essence, a category tag for a conversation topic or subject. For example, “Property” could be a hashtag, and so could “London Apartment,” or “London Property”. The first example is a broad topic, whist the others are a little more specific.
To create a hashtag, you have to put the hash sign (#) before the word or phrase and avoid using any spaces or punctuation (even if you’re using multiple words in a phrase). So, #Property and #LondonApartment #LondonProperty are the hashtag versions of these words or phrases.
There are many different rules and regulations surrounding the use of hashtags and these are constantly changing. What was once a good thing, can change overnight.
One example of this is Facebook – in 2013 Facebook announced they would start using hashtags. Not three months later a study conducted by EdgeRank found that hashtags had no positive effect on engagement. In fact, posts without hashtags received more engagement than those which did. This was further supported by BuzzSumo in 2016 which found posts without hashtags achieved greater reach than those that did.
As things stand, in order to capitalise on your reach, we recommend using 30 hashtags per post on Instagram, 20 per post on Pinterest and 0 on Facebook.
To find out more about hashtags, download our free content guide – ” How to set your social media on FIRE” click here.
Do your research before you start posting
Set up a plan and be consistent
One of the biggest failures of any business on social media is a lack of planning. They rush into posting and often wonder why they are receiving little or no engagement.
Social media is designed to be just that… social. You need to first sit down and decide what you would like to achieve from your social media. Is it higher engagement levels, more click throughs to your website, a larger readership on your blog or more downloads of your free content offer?
Sometimes it can be a mixture of all of these. But you always need to start with the end in mind. For the majority of business owners starting on social media the aim is to gain more visitors to your website or more people directly getting into contact with you.
For more established businesses and big brands, you may use social media a marketing tool to raise brand awareness and a community on your social pages. Likewise, if you are a start up or trying to gain funding, you may use social media to prove how popular your idea or product is. So, this would mean, you want more followers, more likes, more shares and more comments.
From our experience in estate agency we would suggest that click throughs to your website and direct contact are the key metrics to focus on first. Once you’re reaching your targets here, you can then look at improving likes, follows and comments on your pages. After all, you ultimately want new instructions and to help find genuine and serious buyers for your vendors.
A good target to start with would be to increase click through rates to your website from social media by 200% within two months. With a further target to then gain 2 new leads via social media within the next six weeks. Remember to review the results and then set new targets.
Once you have your target numbers – you need to outline your target demographic. Who is your ideal client? What do they look like, sound like, what are their hobbies, are they married, divorced, do they have children, what age are they, where do they live, where do they work, what common phrases do they use, what are their main problems?
When you have a very clear picture of your ideal customer you can start to think about the type of content they’ll enjoy, what they’re likely to engage with and therefore what you need to produce in order to capture their attention. You may even want to look at some of your existing clients for inspiration.
Share a mixture of content
This is the part most people struggle with.
You have a great business and brand, you have years of experience, but other than raving about what you do, the services you provide and how fabulous you are… what more do you have to share on social media?
The answer is a lot!
You have years of experience, which means, banks of knowledge and industry related information stored in your brain.
Think about the questions every vendor asks you when they first meet you, think about that nightmare property, the throw back to the stone age with the owners who were in denial about the state of the property and still asking you to list at full market price. Think about that young couple who transformed that tired old basement flat into a place fit for a king. Think about that wonderful charity concert event your business attends every year. That amazing coffee shop down the road from your office. Or that high profile architect you love working with. Your experiences and day to day activities are the things you look at when creating content.
You will also know the conversations you have with every client, the things you tell every person who you sit down with, regardless of whether they become a paying customer or not. You’re already giving out that information for free anyway – so why not make it into a blog?
With these examples in mind, if the market is showing signs of an upturn and both prospective buyers and sellers could benefit, write a blog about it. Have client who don’t know how to stage their property to make the most out of viewings? Write a blog about your top tips for quick improvements before viewings. The idea is to create content that is of interest, of value or entertainment to your audience.
It is important to remember that people are not interested in you and your company, they are interested in themselves and their own problems.
When posting content, you should apply the 30-70 rule. 30% promotion of your products and 70% of content should be used to add value through brand building and sharing of useful content. Useful content for the readers, not you. When deciding which category your content falls into, you can ask; “is what I am about to say more interesting to me or to my audience? If the answer is you… that is your 30% and if it is more interesting to them, it fits into the 70%. 30% who you are, your amazing properties, services and testimonials and 70% useful, interesting, valuable and entertaining content.
Engage with your followers
So, you’ve set up your profiles, created a plan, set some targets, created your idea of an ideal customer, researched what they like and what their problems are, brainstormed some ideas for your content, created that content and have started to share that on social media.
Now it is time to be social. If you have the time, we would always recommend answering all comments and reviews. A comment, or some form of engagement is usually a sign that people love your social media content (or hate it, but hey they’re still engaging).
It’s important to reciprocate and respond to these interactions. Several studies have found that showing customers you are listening to them by responding to their reviews and comments — particularly negative reviews — has a favourable effect on the likelihood of other people commenting and reviewing your business. In fact, has shown to have a positive impact on revenue.
Here is just a very brief overview on how to get your estate agency started on social media. For more information on social media and how to create a content download our free guide: “How to set your social media on FIRE!”
Written by Stefanie. G
B2B and B2C Social Media Marketing Consultant and SEO Specialist @ Dragonfire Marketing