Let’s face it: real estate agents aren’t well beloved by the public. Which is a pity, really. As a nation who’ve built their wealth variously on the sheep’s back and on real estate speculation, you’d expect that homeowners would have more reverence for the role of the negotiator.
Real talk is: the responsibility of improving our industry’s reputation lies with us as individual agents. I’ll bet you’re not one of the dodgy few estate agents whose commercial behaviour drives us into the snares of regulation and onto the screens of Today Tonight. But so long as those stories of unethical estate agent continue to be told, it’s up to us to change the narrative associated with our industry.
That starts with not being a d*ck on social media.
The advent of social media and the digital age has changed the way today’s most successful agents prospect. We’ve almost unlimited access to rich data, we’ve CRMs that make prospecting on the go a real possibility, and we can engage en masse directly with our prospects.
This is an amazing age for real estate agents. It’s also an era of change, where agents focus needs to change. Sure, a minimum amount of phone calls need to be made each day. Settlement packs still need to be made up, and pre-listing kits delivered. But real focus – each and every day – must be devoted to cultivating your social media audience. It’s a non-negotiable if you want to have a job in 5 years. You may well say that estate agents are already participating in the social media space, and whine that is has no ROI. Well to be frank, neither does your latest DL drop or paintballing team-building expedition.
Agents need to learn how to stop making noise on social media, and how to start adding value. It’s the relentless noise of listings, self-promotion and one-blog-a-month on the RBA announcement that keep the real estate industry in the d*ck category when it comes to the public’s perception of our role.
Here are 3 ways you can stop making noise and start being respected as the leading agent of influence in your area.
- Make It About Them
Less listing chatter and sales results, and more community content. Your audience already know you’re an estate agent by the time they’re following you. Your opportunity once they’re in your circle of influence is to entertain and inform them. Invest in a social media specialist to do this on your behalf, or take time to research your area and create beautiful content that’s compelling and on brand – yet still about the community you serve.
- Pay Attention to Detail
What’s your client gifting programme like? If you don’t have one, you’ve got a problem. Client kindness needs to go beyond an irrelevant monthly newsletter and a Christmas card signed by the receptionist. Institute a client love day and send thoughtful items to relevant people on your database. Make them Instagrammable and truly surprising (so put the ixnay on those cleanskins that have been kicking around in the back office, alright?) – invest in graphic design that encourages your clients to share their treat with their audience. Goodwill – like social media – has no ROI. But boy does it return!
- Stop Focusing on ROI
And on the note of ROI … stop being so obsessed with it. Good social media is an ongoing conversation with your subjects that never ends. It’s basic brand hygiene, and it’s your responsibility to keep the connection going. As a service-based industry, real estate agents will never win a listing on one social media post, anymore than they will on one advert in the paper or a phone call. You must be your own PR machine that entertains and informs. Just because you can’t whack a listing-to-social ratio on the process, doesn’t mean you can do without.
Learn more about mastering social media with Iolanthe Gabrie and real estate digital strategy experts Ruby Slipper at their Social Media for Estate Agents workshop in Melbourne.