By Bill Gassett
It’s no secret that social media is a must in the world of real estate. Today’s buyers and sellers turn the to various platforms and make snap judgments on what you have to offer. You do get points for actually having accounts on all of the main platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest), but if you’re not seeing the results you had hoped for, chances are you’re making one or more of these common social media mistakes. These blunders not only cause you lose business, but you quickly gain a reputation as the person nobody wants to see when they log in.
Social Media as a Whole
Before I get into the social media fails in specific platforms, let’s talk about the main purpose of social media. I’ll give you a hint: It’s in the name. Yes, it’s about being social. Getting to know your audience, providing them with information that is useful, and building trust. If you are more focused on promoting yourself than you are about genuinely helping your followers, then it’s no surprise nobody wants to do business with you.
What many agents fail to understand is that social media is not about direct selling. If this is what you are doing, it’s no wonder you’re not getting anywhere! Just like having a top real estate blog, your attention should be focused on helping others and answering their questions. When you do this, sales will naturally come your way.
It’s a fast-moving, hashtag-loving, 140-character-limiting social media site, and it’s a must-use for all real estate pros. However, you better not be making these mistakes:
- Blast your message directly to people – This is not something you should do. This is akin to receiving a spam email. Nobody wants to receive sales pitch notifications in their stream from someone they don’t know.
- Ignore notifications – Just because there’s not a direct feed under every tweet, doesn’t mean you don’t need to reply. Make sure to review your notifications regularly to see if anyone has re-tweeted something, replied to you, or mentioned you. If they have, say something back, or better yet, re-tweet their content. This is one of the best ways to say thank you. Reciprocation wins big time in real estate social media. Learn how to use Twitter for real estate in this handy guide. Build an engaged audience by following the simple tips.
- Blast nothing but listings – Hello? Can you say annoying? Folks, people do not go to Twitter to buy houses! If all you do is post listings – and they are not owned by the rich and famous – you will command nothing buy yawns from your followers.
- Use random hashtags – Hashtags are a must for Twitter because they put tweets in a relevant context and make your tweets more searchable. However, you better be sure that your hashtag is what you think it is. If you just choose whatever sounds good, you may end up accidentally aligning yourself with something that can hurt your reputation. Use hastags that are connected to the business like #realestate.
This giant social media platform is undoubtedly the most popular, so you would think real estate agents would have the strategy for this site perfected by now. Unfortunately, these errors are seen all too often:
- Post at the wrong times – It’s true that Facebook posts do have longer staying power than Twitter, but posts are usually surfaced in the news feed with the most recent first (unless it makes it into your friends’ news feed “top stories.”) So if you post late at night, by the time your audience wakes up, there is a high chance they won’t even scroll long enough to see what you had to say.
- Skip follow through – If you post something, stick around long enough to see if anyone has anything to say about it. And if you must go, don’t forget to check back in and reply to any comments made.
- Use only a personal page – If you don’t have a designated business page for your real estate business, you better fix it now. Not only is it technically against Facebook’s rules, it puts limits on how many people can find you and follow you, and it’s just not considerate to your friends.
- Skip the foolish event invites – One of the most silly mistakes made by real estate agents is not inviting appropriate people to events. When you have an event you want your contacts to know about don’t check off your entire list of friends. Pick people who are local that will want to attend your event. There is nothing more annoying than getting real estate agent Mary’s invite to her kid’s bar mitzvah. Mary, you live in Texas. I live in Massachusetts. Other than a few Facebook posts, I really don’t know you personally. Sorry, I won’t make it. Maybe next time…NOT!
No, this site is not just for housewives; it’s a huge marketing tool that every real estate agent should be taking advantage of. When you do, just avoid these errors:
- Pin in bulk – The site is addicting, which often results in an abundance of pins in a short amount of time. This is fine, as long as you are organizing them on boards accordingly, but you can’t just disappear for a week or two afterwards. A better option is to pin to a secret board, and then slowly unveil them to the public over several days. When you have a lot of pins to share, a better strategy is to post them every 60 minutes instead of all at once. You won’t annoy your followers, and you’ll spread out your presence over the course of the day. This simple trick can lead to more followers. See how to use Pinterest for real estate exposure. Keep in mind that Pinterest has the longest shelf life of a link shared than any other platform.
- Skip descriptions – Whether it’s a re-pin or an original, you need to take the time to write a description. It should be precise and engaging and let your followers know exactly why you think it will benefit them. Use appropriate keywords so your posting has a better chance of showing up in search.
- Forget about group boards – One of the best ways to get more people following you and far more exposure for your pins is to join group boards in your niche. There are some outstanding real estate group boards you can join that will help skyrocket your visibility.
While LinkedIn is great for job hunting and recruiting, there is a lot more to it. Essentially, it’s a place where you can grow networks and increase profits, as long as you aren’t making these errors:
- Connect only with personal contacts – Anyone on LinkedIn is fair game, you absolutely do not have to know them from the real world. Think of the six degrees of separation!
- Overlook the feed – Yes, LinkedIn has a news feed just like Facebook. Read it, respond to it, and throw in a post or two yourself on occasion.
Post your listings into groups – Most real estate groups on Linkedin are for discussing relevant topics. They are NOT for sharing your latest listing on Nobody Cares Street USA. So many real estate agents make clueless mistakes like this that make them look foolish in front of their peers. See how to use Linkedin for real estate for great tips on how to use this social channel properly.
- Forget about keywords – People use the search feature on LinkedIn more than on any other platform. You need to make sure your profile and company pages are keyword rich so that you get found.
Google+ Goof Ups
Google+ is very much still in the game, and if you aren’t getting any traction from it, perhaps you are a victim of one of these common oversights:
- Forget the public circle – Every post you make should include the green circle, meaning everyone can see it. If you skip it, only those in the designated circles will see your posts.
- Use plain text – Google+ is the only platform that allows you to bold and italicize your posts, so you need to be using these tools to make your posts stand out.
- Write short leads – On Facebook, you are only supposed to write a sentence or two before you share a link or photo; however, Google+ users expect more of the story. It’s not uncommon to include quotes from the article, a short summary, or questions to the reader asking for their input.
- Misuse the email function – One of the more common problems with newbies or marketers on Google+ is using the email function improperly. For those that don’t know you can email those you have put into a circle. The problem is the people you have in a circle are people YOU follow not the other way around. So when you email your latest and greatest post to someone who doesn’t know you and has never had any dialog with you, it can be pretty frustrating. In fact, it is no different than getting email spam. See how not to share a post on Google Plus for a complete explanation.
There you have it; all of the worst mistakes made by real estate agents. If you can tweak your social media strategy accordingly, you will soon see what all the hype is about. Think of social media as a place to build relationships with people and not where you will make your next sale.
Bill Gassett is a nationally-recognized real estate leader and one of the top RE/MAX salespeople in New England. See all his real estate articles at www.maxrealestateexposure.com.