The media landscape has experienced significant changes over the last ten years or more with more digital opportunities than ever before available to businesses, including independent estate agents. As each agents fights for their slice of the pie in their town, we take a look at how social media for estate agents can help to elevate the profile of a local business.
Traditional Estate Agent Marketing
Oh how things have changed. Gone are the days of the bulky property sections of the weekly newspapers that gave every estate agent the chance to showcase their property listings every week. It must be over ten years since this was the way that homes were advertised for sale.
Once upon a time, before I established Engage Digital Media, I was a newspaper Property Advertising Director. My job entailed managing multiple estate agents accounts and the pages they booked in the weekly property sections in the main. I dealt with hundreds of estate agents from the south of Cornwall to Hull, Grimsby and many cities in between. Bristol and Bath were where I spent most of my time and at one stage, I was responsible for putting out 150+ page property supplements in the city’s largest daily newspaper. I dealt with estate agents that specialised at the entry level end of the market all the way up to the multi million pound property agents and everyone in between.
Spending many years watching the space evolve into a multi media offering, I watched as things changed from in print to print and online and more recently to online predominantly.
Then came the plethora of digital marketing solutions that started to take over from newspapers as newspaper circulations declined and the 12 pages became six then two and then at one point barely any. It was hard to watch a product that you had cut your teeth on show so much decline but also exciting to watch and learn how the digital space evolved and what it could offer to agents.
There has been much change, much learning, many mistakes and lots of success and now, I can confidently discuss social media marketing for estate agents and its place in today’s digital landscape.
The traditional mix of media used to require both this and a feed from the agent’s software system to the major property portals such as Right Move and Zoopla. If you didn’t tick these three boxes, the chances were you weren’t going to secure that particular listing.
Many media players entered the marketplace with the next best thing trying for a slice of the action. Despite their best efforts, they couldn’t quite compete with the likes of the local newspaper and the property portals which were the main stay of marketing properties.
Now, however, the landscape has totally changed. While property portals remain the priority now every property also has to be professionally photographed, 360 videos taken, virtual tours etc. while each agent tries to stand out from the next by offering that something different.
Using Social Media for Estate Agents
Enter social media for estate agents and the chance to stand out a little with some excellent branding, targeted marketing and an increased brand awareness. Now while social media won’t market your business alone, it is an important part of the puzzle that offers many benefits:
- A chance to showcase properties that are newly listed
- The opportunity to market these properties via ads to a targeted audience
- Brand awareness for the business
- A chance to showcase behind the scenes
- A place to communicate with a potential audience
- An extra string to the bow when trying to win an instruction
Some will say that you won’t generate sales from social media but we beg to differ. Personally, we have witnessed houses sold within hours just by being shared on social media. All you have to do is pop up a post with a decent selection of photos and either promote it as an ad or ask people to share it and before long, your post is appearing in people’s timelines across the local area.
While we agree that it certainly won’t help you market your business in isolation, social media for estate agents definitely should not be ignored.
The Best Social Media for Estate Agents
Personally, we feel that you can’t beat a bit of Facebook exposure. After all, this is where your potential audience are spending large amounts of their time and, if they are anything like us, they love nothing better than a nose at a local property. Don’t believe us? Ask those around you if they would just scroll past an attractive local property for sale, or even rent.
Facebook for Estate Agents
Facebook – the place where everyone goes to find out what’s going on in their world whether it be their friends, family or an acquaintance that they haven’t seen for a number of years but that they still love to follow. It’s also the place where you ask for recommendations – a good plumber, a great restaurant or something else. It’s also become a popular platform for sharing your house when it’s for sale. Not a feature that estate agents should be missing out on, even if it is just sharing the link to the property on RightMove.
Now, there are some do’s and don’t’s when it comes to what you share and how much on Facebook and how to use the platform but it is an excellent way for people to get to know your brand. There are so many things you can do
- Introduce the faces behind the brand from the office admin staff to the negotiators on the front line
- Share featured properties, choose a variety to showcase exactly what it is you do
- Share reviews and customer feedback – make branded templates for this using an app like Canva
- Share news, results
- Create branded graphics that state why people should choose you
- Post pics of happy customers picking up their keys, removal vans moving in
There is so much you can share including posts from other companies you work with – conveyancers, mortgage brokers, removal companies etc.
The one thing I am confident of, and the motivation for many, is the competition between estate agents and how important it is to win that instruction. Often, in the past, it was a fight to see who had the most newspaper pages, who would promise lots of exposure and who would get the highest price. Now, while price still pays an important factor, along with fees, it is about so much more. If a vendor is searching for agents to value their house, usually they will pick 3. They will do this for any number of reasons:
- The number of boards they see in their street or local area
- The amount of time they have seen you pop up in a social media ad or post
- Whether they like the look of your marketing (true story)
- If they have heard of you through word of mouth
- If they have had a leaflet through their door
Getting your foot in the door is the first step and a great social media presence can help you to do this by putting you front of mind when they are thinking of selling. After that, it is up to you to win the instruction. How much added value you can offer (including marketing their property via Facebook and Instagram) is where you will win or lose the sale.
Instagram for Estate Agents
The platform for inspiration and ideas. How many times (if you are an instagram user) has a fabulous image stopped you in your tracks. Instagram, with the facility to publish 10 photos per post or a stunning reel with music, allows the estate agent to showcase a property to a local audience for nothing. OK, there is the time required to upload the images, create the caption and add some local hashtags but this is no more complicated than uploading a property to a portal.
It is a great way to reach an audience that may not be specifically using instagram to find a house but it is certainly a great way to build brand awareness, and potential pick up instructions form vendors who use the platform to find what they are seeking.
Keeping a Consistent Social Media Presence
The mistake that many businesses make is not having a consistent social media presence. They start off with the best of intentions, posting properties and a few bits and pieces and then all of a sudden, it falls by the wayside. In a flourishing property market where the instructions flood in and the sales are secured within days, social media isn’t a priority. It quickly gets dropped only to be bought back up again when things quieten down. The trouble with this? You’ve lost the momentum.
We highly recommend that, if not yourself, you allocate a member of your team to post 3 times a week at least on your social pages. That way you know it is in hand and that you have a steady stream of content being published. Using Instagram and Facebook from the Meta Business Suite App, you can post things at the same time, changing the Instagram version to include hashtags.
What Should Estate Agents Post on Social Media?
The trick is to post a variety of content. Not just another property with 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a garage. Mix it up. We have laid out a few ideas below for you to consider:
- Properties – post a variety of properties that suit different budgets. The exception will be if you specialise in low budget or high end properties
- Local property market news – what’s happening with the market in your local area? Google for local news stories or even better, create your own on a blog with market opinions
- Meet the team – introduce a member of the team each week. People love to see pictures of people. It gives them a greater insight into your company
- For sale boards – this is where you can get quite creative. You can post a for sale board giving away a clue about the location with a description or picture of a recognisable landmark and ask people to comment. This will certainly create engagement
- Reviews – everyone loves to know what others thought about their experience so turn those thankyou cards into social media posts or create a branded graphic of your review
- Just sold, more required – show people your great results. You may be used to popping leaflets through letter boxes in a certain area but with Facebook targeting, you can serve them an in app ad without the need for lots of paper. Cutting your carbon footprint is also something else to shout about
- Office goings on – what’s happening in the office – has a customer excitedly got their keys? Is one of the team celebrating a birthday? All of these moments can be captured and posted on social
To create graphics like this branded in your colours with your logo, simply head on over to Canva.com where you will find a myriad of templates and ideas.
The trick is to create engaging content that people want to interact with. Ask local knowledge questions, ask them what they think of a picture of a property. By asking questions, you are encouraging a response. The more people engage and interact with your content, the more of your future posts thy will see.
Build a Following
As part of your social media strategy, you should also think about how you are going to build your audience. Share your page, get your staff to share it, ask people to like your page on your own pages and add the link to your website and email signatures. All of these steps will create awareness. Why not run a targeted ad in Facebook at those that are in your target audience – select an audience by age, geo-location, interests, behaviours and more. if you know your ideal customer, you can start to focus your efforts on targeting these people through clever Facebook and Instagram ads that find them at the right time.
For more information about how you can kickstart your social media for estate agents, get in touch. We would be happy to discuss your requirements. You will also discover more tips for creating engaging content here.