How to Grow Your Online Presence & Your Real Estate Business
When you get on social media, does it feel like you’re just shouting into the void? Are you worried that you’re not posting in the right places, at the right times? Or do you just get overwhelmed keeping up with the latest and greatest social media platforms?
So often in the real estate industry, we get caught up in creating content for new trends or the newest Facebook or Instagram algorithms… and forget that there are actual people out there, seeing our posts. Instead of focusing on how many times you can post or what the numbers say about your “boosted reach,” social media should be a way for you to connect with real people in authentic ways.
We’ve already discussed why it’s important to create valuable content for your social media audience, but we haven’t really discussed practical ways to grow your online following without selling your soul to social media.
If you’re wondering how to grow your social media followers, engagement and reach in ways that actually help grow your real estate business, keep reading.
Get smart about social media
To get seen online, it feels like you need to be everywhere, all the time. And to some extent, that’s true. But people are getting smarter about the content they consume and social media platforms are valuing “in-app content” more than ever. Now, you have to be smarter about the content you produce and where you share it.
This means knowing:
- Which platforms are actually reaching your audience (i.e. Do your ideal clients even use that platform?)
- How to optimize your posts (i.e. How many words perform best on that platform? Does that app favor in-app content or external links?)
- How to find people on that platform (i.e. Facebook groups, Instagram hashtags, etc.)
Of course, all of this comes from knowing who your ideal audience is — something that should be consistent throughout your personal branding, marketing, and communications. If you don’t know who your ideal client is or where you can interact with them online, Social Media Examiner offers a great resource on just this topic.
Once you’ve hammered down your ideal online audience, it’s important, of course, to create real estate content and brainstorm ideas just for them. However, it’s also important to watch what they’re sharing, engaging with and creating.
Be a social media butterfly
If you want to grow your social media reach in ways that actually benefit you, you’ll need to know:
- What your target audience is sharing
- What other pages, content, groups, interests, etc. they share
- Which content they create themselves
Then, you’ll need to actually engage with them in different ways that may not always relate back to real estate (yet).
Think of social media as an exhibition floor. You spend a lot of time creating the pamphlets and resources (content) to hand out to the passerby (followers), but you also need to get up and walk around to network with (like, share, retweet, comment) other exhibitors (users). If you’ve ever been on an exhibition floor, or really any networking event, you’ll know that you get more connections and potential leads from approaching other people than you do by waiting for people to come to you. It’s the same in social media.
While every communication you attempt may not result in an immediate home sale, the more consistent you are with engagement and outreach, the more your name will become top-of-mind for your followers.
Diversify but don’t pander
You probably don’t enjoy consuming real estate content 24/7, so why would you expect that from your audience? This is where your “audience research” comes in. While you should be consistently sharing your own content – whether externally linked or in each app – you should try:
- Checking what’s trending on Twitter (and sharing a relevant post)
- Following your favorite hashtags on Instagram (and engaging with new posts)
- Sharing news from the sidebar on LinkedIn
- Sharing a client’s new business page on Facebook
- Trying out Stories on Facebook/Instagram
- Creating content based on Google Trends topics (and using correlating hashtags)
You do not have to do all of these, and you don’t have to stick with them forever. These are just ideas that you can do to diversify the sort of content you engage with and share. As we mentioned above, you should keep creating and sharing your own content while sprinkling in a bit of outside content from the various platforms you use.
Not only does this make it easier to be consistent about posting online, but it also:
- Builds authority
- Boosts SEO
- Increases your impact on social media algorithms
- Keeps you in your target audience’s feed
Abide by the 80/20 rule
One of our favorite social media practices to keep in mind is the “Social Media 80/20 Rule”: 80% of your content should be designed to educate, entertain and engage, while the other 20% should be self-promotion. This means not posting 4 times a day about the houses you’ve got listed and, instead, sharing information about home buying, fun things to do in your favorite areas, etc.
This is how you grow your real estate business: by quietly demonstrating your consistency and authority without selling yourself to people who have no idea who you are. If you reach a new audience with a post like, “Why Should You Choose Me to Be Your Realtor?” odds are, they’re going to keep scrolling because they don’t have any history or social proof that shows why they should trust you.
Social media builds trust when you engage, rather than just use it as a platform for your own promotion.
Metrics are great, but engagement is better
Social media metrics can be a sensitive topic for many real estate agents. You may even compare the size of your following to another agent’s or consider boosting posts to gain extra reach. While boosting posts and using in-app advertising is a great way to invest in your business, it’s important to focus on engagement just as much – if not more – than the numbers.
A few ways to engage with people online include:
- Sending a direct message when someone follows you
- Making it a habit to comment on at least 2 people’s posts per day
- Sharing something that made you laugh
- Writing a recommendation for a client in an entirely different industry than you
- Watching someone’s live video/story and leaving a comment
- Following hashtags on Instagram and commenting once a week on the new posts
- Commenting on old clients’ posts once a month
These are fairly easy to incorporate into your busy schedule and don’t have any strict guidelines. Just stick with the platforms that you enjoy using yourself and it makes engagement that much easier. Offer value, encouragement and kind words on social media and you’ll see that more and more people begin to follow and trust you.
Not everything you share on social media will be relevant to your real estate business, but as long as you stay true to your personal branding while you’re engaging online, you’ll be planting seeds that will lead potential (and past) clients back to you in the future.