Using social media to your advantage in real estate

By Samantha Thorne

In 2020, it’s well known that social media can be beneficial for business. Over the past decade, many agencies have harnessed it to drive their bottom line, and hundreds of studies around usage and business performance have highlighted its potential. 

It’s now an inherent part of our lives, and as a result, is extremely powerful. With more than 70 per cent of the nation’s population now using social media, 61 per cent of 40-49 year olds logging in daily, and over 17 million Aussies alone using Facebook, social media simply can’t be ignored. 

77 per cent of agents actively use social media for real estate in some way, shape or form.

For American agents, a study by the National Association of Realtors shows that social media has become an integral part of scoring clients and closing deals across the industry. 

In summary, the study found that:

  • 77 per cent of agents actively use social media for real estate in some way, shape or form

  • 99 per cent of millennials and 90 per cent of baby boomers begin their search online, as opposed to in-person referrals

  • 47 per cent of real estate businesses note that social media results in some of the highest quality leads compared to other sources

And during a pandemic, where more people are spending time online and contemplating a change in scenery, social media for real estate professionals couldn’t be more important. 

The data backs this up. According to figures released by REA Group, between the months of April and September, there was a 35 per cent increase in users researching suburbs on their platform, a behaviour indicating consideration towards a lifestyle change. In addition, Facebook also reported that users were spending 70 per cent more time on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp as a result of Covid-19. 

All of this data begs the question, why wouldn’t you invest more deeply in social media? Well, sometimes all we need is a bit of a push. Wondering how powerful it can be for business? We’ve outlined some of the key reasons to use it, as well as some tactics to get the greatest ROI. 

1. Diversify your marketing mix

It’s common for real estate businesses to focus on a handful of marketing channels when they’re building their businesses, with many leaning more towards the traditional end of the spectrum. From letterbox drops and establishing yourself as a fixture of the community, through to hundreds of prospecting phone calls and good old human interaction - there’s a reason why these methods are bread and butter for agents. It’s because they work.

But what if we said that social media could work to enhance these activities, and in some cases, replace them? 

During the height of the pandemic in Melbourne, Director and Real Estate Agent Leigh Hall from First National Real Estate Dandenong found just that. 

Due to Stage 4 restrictions, community sentiment started to decline, and so it quickly became clear to Leigh that contacting his entire database via phone wasn’t the way to go; instead what was needed was a softer and less-direct approach.

 
Top agent insight | Leigh Hall
"You just can't drop the ball; once you're down the list, it's very hard to come back."
View Leigh's profile

So the team utilised Facebook ads to drive enquiries, which meant they would be speaking to vendors and buyers who had made the first move, were expecting a call back, and already had a high propensity to buy or sell. 

According to Leigh, social media just made sense, because during this period it was impossible, and actually illegal, to see clients face-to-face. 

More people were spending their time online and when sentiment is low “there’s only so many people you can call,” he said, proving that a flexible and diversified marketing strategy has obvious upsides, especially in more recent times. 

There’s no denying there’s a wealth of data in social media platforms like Facebook just waiting to be tapped into.

2. Get laser-focused on the right people

While door knocking, newspaper ads, sponsoring local sports teams and database dialling all have their place, there’s no denying there’s a wealth of data in social media platforms like Facebook just waiting to be tapped into. This means that paid advertising on the platform, when done right, can be incredibly cost-effective. 

Not only can you target your Facebook ads to a specific location, you can also target based on a user’s spending habits, interests, relationship status, household income and more. 

If you place the right tracking on your site, you can remarket to users who have previously visited specific pages, and you can even create custom audiences by importing email lists. 

Have a list of buyers that have recently visited open homes? You can import their emails and serve ads of current listings. 

Have a bunch of potential sellers that you’re looking to impress? You can serve ads that highlight your expertise, like educational content around preparing a home for sale or a direct response ad that showcases your recent results in order to lock-in more appraisals. 

The team at Hall & Partners are doing this well. They are creating targeted audiences composed of users who engage with similar brands, content and topics. The result is that any ads or sponsored posts are shown to a more receptive and engaged audience. 

“We’re sharing reviews, sponsored posts, creating ads for listings, creating visual assets; it’s something we’re spending a lot more time on. 

“We’re targeting users who are engaging with real estate related content, or who are looking for homes in the suburbs where we sell,” he said.

In just a few months, the team has seen engagement, impressions, reach and page views go through the roof. As a result, the number of enquiries and prospective buyers wanting to look at properties is increasing too.

Personal branding for agents is no longer optional. It’s not about whether you have a personal brand, but more so about whether you choose to shape it, or simply allow it to be moulded without your guidance.

3. A tool for both agency and personal branding

A well-cultivated and respectable brand is important for real estate agents and agencies - especially if you want to win the hearts and minds of homeowners in your local community.  

An agent from Leigh's team, Omid Mahramzadeh, regularly uses social media to post listings, updates and sold properties. It not only boosts his brand, but shows local sellers that it's still possible to triumph in the current market. 

Personal branding for agents is no longer optional. It’s not about whether you have a personal brand, but more so about whether you choose to shape it, or simply allow it to be moulded without your guidance.

Clever brand-building is about finding ways to insert yourself into the local real estate conversation without being pushy. The truth is, you don’t need to spend thousands on billboards and fridge magnets, and you don’t need to spend weeks door-knocking to build name-and-face recognition. 

That’s because the internet has irreversibly changed the way that businesses can gain exposure, so you absolutely need to be active on social media, otherwise you’ll be left behind. 

Don’t believe me? Put it this way, the #realestate hashtag currently has over 43.5 million posts on instagram. 

The bottom line

In 2020, the very best agents understand the need to shift gears quickly to respond to changing environments and customer needs. Quite simply, it’s the agents who can adapt the quickest who will thrive. 

For Leigh, even though the Melbourne market virtually came to a stop under Stage 4 restrictions, sitting back and waiting for things to change wasn’t an option. Instead, using social to connect with customers and the local community was important for his business. 

“You just can’t drop the ball; you can easily be forgotten in real estate, and once you’re down the list, it’s very hard to come back,” he says. 

To put it bluntly, the time to be investing your time in social media is now. 

 

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