social media for Realtors
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Posted by: Roberto Mazzoni | on February 10, 2011
In the last couple of weeks I have been conducting a very extensive research on the web presence of Realtors and in particular of their use of Social media. I have looked literally at thousands of profiles. One of the most interesting areas for creating a dialog with potential customers or with other Realtors and investors can be Twitter.
Not everybody understands it and not everybody cares, but what I found out is astonishing. At least half of the Realtors who have an account on Twitter have not been publishing a single message for one year! Could you imagine, registering your account, putting your face out there along with a bio that clearly state you are a Realtor or a real estate investor and then don’t say a word for the following 12 months?
These people evidently don’t understand that a bad presence on the web is going to recoil on them. It would be much better for them to consolidate their presence, removing the profiles they can’t keep active and reducing their actions to what they really care to maintain updated, if anything. If myou can’t be there every day you can at least automate some content publishing so that you don’t seem to be totally devoid of things to say. There are free tools can do it for you.
Evidently the old approach of placing a sign near the property and wait for someone to call stays with them also in the on line world. Investors are a bit more active better, but not much. You can find some very big names, some “guru” or real estate investing let’s say, that with account that have been silent for months.
We all know that Twitter ha still to prove itself as a money making platform, pretty much like most of social media when it comes to pure selling, but it is also proven by now that most of the activity you do on social media and blogging is aimed at procuring leads and contacts.
Once you have the leads, you then develop business through a regular personal contact. What would you think if a customer was coming by your office every day, for one year, and always saw the sign “Ill be right back?”
I guess he would stop passing by pretty soon and would know that you really don’t care for your business.
Nobody is forced to be on social media. As a matter of fact, there are investors and Realtors who are doing perfectly fine with old style referral systems; but at least they have the good sense of not even trying to pretend to be there.
Possibly some people might even figure that they would not be found out, but today your have software and services that can give you the whole history of a person’s presence on social media. A complete picture of his activity and “value”. And it is like having a personal score that anybody can look at in a few minutes and build an idea about us even before they get in touch with us.
So possibly some of these Realtors that have a totally empty and dead account might wonder how comes nobody is calling them and that they are not getting so many leads as it used to be. They could believe that social media is not working for them. Well actually it does, but in reverse, shifting people away from them and into the hands of their competitors who maintain a decent social media presence.
This subject is important for any marketing positioning strategy in the real estate field and other business fields. Today people look much more at who your are and can immediately find out by resorting to the master of all referral systems: Google and see what comes up about you. If nothing comes up at all or if they don’t like what they see, you have gotten bad publicity right thene and you have lost business. Something to think about if you want to survive the crisis.
Posted by: Roberto Mazzoni | on February 3, 2011
According to a research published the the NAR (National Assiciation of Realtors) for 2009, most Realtors have a web site for presenting their own listings (63%). Actually most of them had sites active for more than 5 years (57%) and the percentage of Realtors using Web for promoting their business is growing. Yet only 3% of their business actually is coming from their online presence, how comes?
Lot of effort and in some cases also a substantial investment of time an money and so little results? It turns out that the majority of contacts with prospects and customers still happen through e-mail or text messages and the phone, but the site is recognized by many as an essential part of their business and yet it is not performing well at all.
It turns out that there is a major shift going on in the culture of a typical real estate buyer and of the typical investor, and Realtors, at the same time, need to keep up with it. It isn’t all about the merit of the individual property anymore, but it becomes more and more a relationship issue.
When we look at the figures, we see that the Realtors that fare better, much better, are those which have been in the business longer (at least 16 years) and who get a substantial amount of their business from past customers and from referrals. But even they can improve their performance particularly in terms of time spent to cultivate those referrals.
So how can a new investor or Realtor coming on the scene shorten the “learning curve” and start getting referrals and customers without working almost full time for just about 8,000 dollars a year? That’s how much a regular Realtor grosses during his first two years in business and it is no wonder that half of those who join the profession for the first time plan to leave it soon.
The problem here boils down to how you use the site and what kind of information you put in there. Of course listings are important, but I doubt a customer would need to go to an individual Realtor’s site to view the listings. You have Realtor.com, Zillow.com and a host of other sites where you can get comparisons and and again it very seldom happens that the agent actually sells the property he is listing: it is usually sold by some other Realtor who brings in the buyer.
So why use the site just for the listings, when we already know this isn’t something customers are looking for and it isn’t what is selling anyway. Indeed lot of effort is put by Realtors in social media activities as well, but again there is no set pattern of presence, a little integration strategy and very little work on personal branding.
If I were to be giving a listing to a Realtor I would like to know what he would do for me to facilitate the sale. If I were planning to purchase an investment property, maybe from a distance or even from abroad, I would expect my Relator to be competent and trustworthy.
The lack of personal branding is even more dangerous for new Realtors who don’t have past clients voicing for them and that cannot bring to the table a substantial amount of transactions, of experience and accreditations.
So again there is a huge space of improvement possible in the field of real estate, both for investors and Realtors looking for buyers and sellers. It is a matter of integrating and finding out what’s working and testing it as they move along. The current statistics tell us that it is definitely not working: only 3% of transactions are coming from the web. It is a clear indication that change is needed and the sooner the better.