It is truly hard to believe that social media has been “mainstream” for only a decade. Consider for a moment how prevalent Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, etc., have become in our society, and how much they have impacted the manner in which we communicate. While we can certainly debate the merits, faults, and global effects of this phenomenon, we should all agree that social media has become entrenched in our culture, and shows no signs of fading away any time soon.
While some industries and corporations have struggled with the new realities of a socially networked world, real estate professionals have adapted quite naturally, using this technology to effectively market properties, engage new customers, and demonstrate knowledge. (In fact, the National Association of Realtors’ 2013-14 Technology Survey revealed that 91 percent of all Realtors use social media in some way, and 91 percent use it for their real estate business.) I can confirm that my company has secured multiple exclusive listings from followers of our social media platform, and we have also sold numerous properties via the same audience.
Not every real estate agent or company has the time, energy or resources to “blanket” social media with posts every single day. However, if you are a South Florida homeowner searching for a professional real estate agent to sell your home, I would strongly encourage you to consider ones who maintain a presence on the major platforms, and then actively engage social media to market themselves and their properties.
Here are some baseline characteristics you should look for in a social media-savvy Realtor:
Never miss a local story.
“Account-ability”: Check to see if your prospective agent has accounts on the major platforms, i.e., Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. While I would not say it is necessary to be on ALL of them, it is probably a good sign if your candidate has a presence on at least three.
Be active: Here’s the important question — just how active is your prospective real estate agent on their social media channels? Are they posting new updates? Are they interacting with visitors and commenters on their page? Do they ever change their profile pictures or backgrounds? Do they regularly (or even intermittently) post new listings, price changes, or “sold!” announcements for their properties? The major social media networks are littered with business pages or accounts created by companies four or five years ago (when it was the trendy thing to do), but that have not been touched since. While it may have been launched with the best of intentions, an abandoned “placeholder” page on Facebook, Twitter, etc., is not a great look for any professional. On the other hand, a regularly used account demonstrates that a company or agent is dynamic, and ready to respond to customers and leads quickly.
Mix it up: While we certainly love social media, it is by no means the only avenue of marketing a home. The successful modern real estate agent utilizes a diverse mix of promotional tools, including (but not limited to) print and online advertising, email marketing, websites, listing videos, open houses and brokers opens, listing syndication services such as Zillow, search engine optimization, distinctive house signs, etc. (In fact, you should probably avoid any agent who ONLY relies on social media, which is ultimately a zero-cost outlet.)
A final thought on the importance of social media to market South Florida homes: We are incredibly fortunate to live in a region that lends itself to beautiful imagery and visual stimulation. Photos and graphics are the jet fuel that powers social media, and I am always impressed by Realtors who use this to their advantage. As you consider prospective agents, I would look for professionals who keep their pages fresh with high-quality listing photos, striking aerial shots of Miami neighborhoods and beaches, unique architecture and neighborhood landmarks, vintage and historic pictures of our community through the years, and other eye-catching images.
Jeff Morr is chair of the Master Brokers Forum, an elite network of the top real estate professionals in Miami, and a broker/associate with Douglas Elliman. You can find him on social media by searching for “JeffMorrTeam” on Facebook, Instagram, and Google+.
Social media and networking
Most Realtors who do use social media for their real estate business tend to use it mainly to build realtions/network (70 percent) and for visibility/exposure/marketing (64 percent), according to a 2013-14 REALTOR Technology Survey report.
The survey asked: What are the reasons you use social media for your real estate business? Choose all that apply.
Prospecting for clients
I learn from it
Clients expect it
Good return on investment
Source: 2013-14 REALTOR Technology Survey Report