Since social media websites began, the conversation among REALTORS® has raged on as to its importance in the business of real estate. Five years ago, engaging on social media was considered by many in our industry to be a colossal waste of time and resources.
The detractors claimed that viewing pictures of what someone had for dinner last night or playing Candy Crush was never going to help an agent grow their business. Well, I think we can all agree that if an agent uses social media for those purposes, the naysayers are absolutely right.
However, research groups are now using metrics to assess the importance of social media because we now have a history of how its significance has evolved over time – and the data supporting its impact is indisputable.
In its latest survey of home buyers and sellers¹, the National Association of REALTORS® asked the question of thousands of consumers who recently bought and sold real estate, “How important is agent communications?” Here is the chart outlining the findings:
(Click image for larger view)
Thirteen percent of consumers now say it is important for their agent to be active on social media. This may not seem like a big number but consider that when the same question was asked of consumers four years ago, the number was 3%. For those that don’t want to crunch the numbers that’s a 433% jump in a relatively short period of time.
So now that we’ve determined that there might be something to this social media ‘stuff’, how does an agent use it to their advantage?
I recently read a white paper where it shared eleven tips² on how agents should use social media to engage with people and to grow their business. I thought the list was thorough and comprehensive so I thought I would share it.
1. IDENTIFY YOURSELF
Let people know you’re with (insert company name) when responding to work-related social media posts.
2. SHOW YOUR PERSONALITY
You’re not a robot. Your personality can be a powerful tool for building relationships – but not if you bury it in business-speak. Be conversational and professional.
3. ENGAGE WITH PURPOSE
Go beyond simply hitting the Facebook “Like” button in response to someone’s post – at LEAST give them a reaction such as “Love” or “Wow.” Take advantage of the opportunity to share your knowledge and establish yourself as a real estate expert. Add a fact, or point out an interesting related article.
4. DISCUSS IDEAS, NOT PEOPLE
Feel free to constructively argue over ideas, but not personalities. And never question anyone’s motives online.
5. THINK BEFORE POSTING
In a heated discussion on social media, it can be helpful to take a few breaths and consider your comment before hitting “Post.” It’s incredibly easy to type something you might regret.
6. KNOW YOUR STUFF — AND SHOW IT
When making claims, always refer to your sources using hyperlinks when you can. Always give proper attribution.
7. DEAL WITH MISTAKES
We all make them. Admit it when you do, and do what you can to correct them.
8. KNOW YOU’RE ALWAYS “ON THE RECORD”
Don’t say anything you wouldn’t say in person in front of other people. Never use profanity or demeaning language. Once your comments are out there, they can always be used against you in the court of public opinion – a comment can easily be screenshotted and reused against you, even if you delete it.
9. LISTEN AS MUCH AS YOU SHARE
Social media is not a soapbox. That wouldn’t be very social. Keep it a two-way conversation.
10. IF YOU RESPOND TO A PROBLEM, OWN IT
If you become the point of contact for the media, a client or colleague, stay with the issue until it is resolved.
11. ASK FOR HELP
A social media encounter have you flustered? Reach out to someone in your office who you respect and get their opinion. Two perspectives addressing an issue are always better than one.
If you want to read the entire white paper on how to use social media and other tips, click the following link: Social Media Best Practices (NOTE: In the spirit of full disclosure, the white paper is from RE/MAX and it talks about RE/MAX.)
All the best!
¹ National Association of REALTORS®. Research Division. 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Published 2017, p. 75, http://www.REALTOR.org.
² RE/MAX, LLC. Public Relations Department. Social Media – Best Practices. Published 2018, p. 5, www.MAXCntr.com.