For brokers, an effective social media strategy can help build your brand, support your team and recruit new agents. But many brokers don’t understand how to put this powerful tool to work, says Ryan Garson, associate broker who leads the Garson Team at Compass Inc., in New York City, and is CEO of the social media agency Very Social and author of “The Very Social Broker.”
Prospective buyers and sellers are going to Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and other social media sites before going to a broker’s website, says Garson. “You need to have a strong social media presence or you will lose market share to competitors,” says Garson. “The more you understand about social media, the greater your chances of success.”
Brokers should also consider the differences among social media sites. “I am on six different social media platforms, with an emphasis on Instagram and Facebook,” he says. “YouTube is great for long-form videos, and has tremendous reach, while TikTok appeals to a younger demographic.”
Drawing on his own business success, as well as the experience of other real estate professionals, Garson offers the following social media tips.
1. Content is king. Think about your audience, your goals and your brand before you post. “The key is to create authentic content that is unique to your brokerage,” he says. ”If you want to engage your sphere of influence, you need to create content that will get their attention. Bad content will be ignored.”
2. Be consistent. Lack of consistent posting is one of the most common mistakes by real estate brokers, says Garson. Plan your social media strategy and maintain a regular schedule rather than make occasional posts.
3. Post videos. “Video is the future,” says Garson. “It should be the foundation of your social media content because it gets people’s attention and keeps them on the platform longer.” Today, it is easy to create videos on your smartphone or hire a videographer for a more professional appearance.
4. Be engaging. Success on social media is all about interactions, says Garson. “People who find you engaging and interesting are far more likely to reach out to your brokerage and agents,” he says. For example, you think about posting examples of the lifestyle in your community, rather than “just sold” notices. You could also highlight local coffee shops, spas, gyms or restaurants, and comment on their posts, adding a personal touch.
5. Tell stories. Capture attention by telling an engaging or though-provoking story on Instagram, YouTube or Facebook, Garson says. You could also use your creativity and post a quiz, an unusual fact or an interesting historical event that happened on the same day as your post.
6. Promote your agents. There are many ways you can promote your agents social media. “You could create a video about how your agent overcame the challenges of a transaction or did an exceptional job of marketing to find the right buyer,” says Garson. “And you should always engage with your agents’ posts, even if it’s a ‘like’ or a ‘congratulations’ comment.”
7. Recruit good agents. Both Instagram and LinkedIn are good sites for recruiting agents, says Garson. “Create content that motivates agents to work at your brokerage,” says Garson. “Tell them why your company is special. Post agent success stories. Make your content entertaining, and consider running job-related ads on the same sites.”
8. Maintain your brand standards. You should also follow your brand standards in all your posts, including colors, typefaces and images. If you have an attractive photo grid on Instagram, for instance, don’t add a “just sold” graphic that clashes with that design, Garson says.
9. Reuse your content. A social media-first content strategy allows you to recycle your content for your website and traditional media, such as direct mail postcards or flyers. This can be a timesaving approach, particularly when creating seasonal content such as holiday posts.
10. Think long-term. Finally, Garson says brokers should look at social media as long-term strategy for building the brand rather than trying to generate sales leads for agents. “You need to have mechanisms in place to help your agents respond to leads that come in through social media, but selling isn’t the primary purpose,” he says. “Think about social media as a brand building tool, and it will be quite effective if you follow a consistent and engaging strategy.”