Elite AgentTECH + SOCIAL

Real Estate Industry Social Media Report Card

SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENTS AGENTS WITH great opportunities to build relationships and generate leads. Ultimately, being successful with social media in terms of engagement is about providing consistent, high-quality content that your audience responds to. How do you rate, and what can you do to improve?

BrandData is a digital media ranking system for over 5,000 brands in Australia, studying followers and engagement measures such as likes, retweets, comments and shares across most social channels.

What insights do these rankings for the property industry show? Overall, the average engagement percentage for the real estate agents category sits at 3.7 per cent. This, they say, is a relatively good achievement for a service business and on a par with computers and computer related products, wealth management, theatres and eyewear.

For property professionals the channel that gets the highest average engagement percentage is Instagram, and the channel that has the largest engaged audience within this category is Facebook. One could deduce that if you are an agent, it makes sense to be on both of those platforms, and that it pays to focus your efforts on where your following is strongest. Alternately, using this type of data you could look at where you have the least competition, and exploit that channel.

In terms of how well individual brands are faring on social media, it appears that bigger may not always be better; this BrandData weekly snapshot shows Marshall White at number one, with a number of other smaller brands/groups appearing in the top 20.

Digging a bit deeper into these insights, we find some interesting stats about engagement. While LJ Hooker at number two have a larger calculated audience of 21,059 across all channels than Marshall White at number one with a total audience of 13,380, BrandData’s engagement algorithm has ranked Marshall White higher for social engagement, with more people commenting, sharing or liking. The takeaway here is fairly consistent with what the experts have been telling us for a while: It’s not the biggest audience that will provide you with the most benefit, it’s the most engaged audience. (Note: these figures were current at September 2015. For recent statistics see below)

Digital marketing specialists Stepps have also recently completed their own survey, the Industry Social Media Marketing Report 2015. Founder and Director Josh Cobb explained the aim for the survey was “to shine a light on where the industry is sitting with respect to social media and its use.” Out of 127 real estate professionals who were surveyed came some interesting insights, including:

  • For agents, the conversation around social media is no longer ‘should we do social media?’. The question is now ‘how do we do it well?’
  • Only 37 per cent of agents are paying to advertise on social media. On average, only four to six per cent of your fans will see your posts (it can be as low as 0.5 per cent for pages with 10,000 fans or more) without paid advertising so there is a huge opportunity for agents willing to use the power of custom audience ads inside Facebook, Instagram and Twitter,
  • Although 78 per cent of agents believe social media is important to their business, 76 per cent don’t know how (or are unable) to measure ROI from social media marketing. Agents need to consider the fundamental differences between social media and every other channel they use to market their business.

Explaining these insights, Josh says, “Using social media like a ‘billboard for your brand’ is probably not the right approach, as total followers does not necessarily equal engagement. The goal is not to be good at social media; the goal is to be social – and that’s a very different mindset from what most agents do by way of shouting how good they are or pushing their listings.

“Devoting social media entirely to building client advocacy is in direct opposition to how marketing is ingrained in real estate agencies at every level. The common misconception is the louder you shout, the better you’ll be heard. This couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to social media for business.

“What is successful is a long-term focus on advocacy versus trying to close leads that are just not ready to be closed. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

“If you focus your social media strategy on adding value to the lives of your current clients, I promise that you will generate ROI from social media. Keep trying to generate leads as a primary focus and I can’t promise that you will get the same results.”

To download your free copy of the Industry Social Media Marketing Report 2015 at stepps.com.au/socialreport2015.

Josh Cobb5 Tips From Josh For Better Online Engagement

TIP 1: What is your community talking about? What are the things they care about? What questions are your clients and prospects asking you when it comes to real estate? By creating inherently helpful, entertaining, visual and educational content on social media, you will build trust capital with your fans and followers that will be redeemed down the road. If you try to sell something or continue to push your listings, you might get lucky and get one client today. But if you entertain, delight and educate your audience, you will build an army of fans who become clients for life.

EXTRA TIP: Go to your email inbox and look for every question you’ve been asked by a seller, landlord, tenant or buyer. Things like “What happens in a multiple offer situation? What happens at an auction? When do I get my bond back?” Film yourself answering each question in a 90-second video, host it on your website and post it to social media. In no time you’ll have a library of helpful videos on your website that clients will love and competitors will hate. For bonus points, go around to every staff member and have them do the same; film them too and have them share your content on their social platforms. You’ll be amazed at what impact (and reach) this simple idea will have on your business.

TIP 2: Consider what you want to achieve on social media. Is it to build brand awareness? Increase leads? Improve client loyalty? Pick one and focus on that one objective. We’ve all heard the saying ‘It’s much cheaper to keep a customer than it is to get one’ and, in our experience, a social media strategy dedicated entirely towards client loyalty always wins. Don’t be afraid to pull back on the sales pitch and show people how much you care about your staff and the community. As a result, prospects (and potential future staff) can’t help but want to be a part of it. Social media gives you the ability to showcase the culture inside your office to the outside world. But this comes with a warning – if your culture isn’t right inside your office, it will never be right outside.

TIP 3: Consider which channels your clients and potential clients are using and be there. If they’re not on Facebook, don’t be on Facebook. If they don’t use social media at all, don’t be on social media. Just because everyone else is doing it, it doesn’t mean you need to.

TIP 4: Build an email newsletter of helpful content that people will want to subscribe to. Local news, commentary, ebook offers or even your videos we spoke about earlier. Strive to turn your social media followers into email subscribers, because at the end of the day you don’t own your social media audience – you are simply renting access to it. By building email subscribers, you have complete control over what, when, how and where you communicate with your fans and followers.

TIP 5: Leverage the power of Facebook and Twitter’s ad platforms to promote ebook offers and the like to generate warm leads from people you know for a fact are interested in selling or finding a property manager. You have the ability to target people on your email database, people who have visited certain pages of your website and specific local demographic groups who are following real estate-related lifestyle pages. This is far different (and far more powerful) than simply ‘boosting’ posts.

Recently updated BrandData stats: 13 November, 2015


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Samantha McLean

Samantha McLean is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of Elite Agent and Host of the Elevate Podcast.