Social media for the busy Real Estate Agent
By Randall Standard
Real estate agents fall into two main categories when it comes to using social media — those that do and those that would like to but are simply too busy. There’s often another challenge for the busy real estate agent who hasn’t found the time to consistently use social media. If they are going to do social media, they want to do it right.
Tracy Wieland, who heads up marketing for Comey & Shepherd Realtors, acknowledges this dilemma. For the last seven years, she has been training hundreds of agents on how to use social media — and highlighting the breadth of features in VoicePad for the Cincinnati-based brokerage. The demand for training is so great that she has doubled her monthly sessions, including creating a training called “Prospecting with Social Media.”
“But the thing with the life of a Realtor is,” Tracy says, “even if they have been trained to use social media, they get busy and they forget. Time just gets away from them and they can’t do it,” she adds. Her solution: try to automate as much agent and property marketing as possible. “We look for systems that automate this kind of stuff for agents, as it is just the way to go. I look for software systems that complement what the agent does and are automated,” she explains, adding, “VoicePad has been fantastic!”
Starting with the basics
Tracy notes the depth of knowledge among agents when it comes to social media varies widely, and that’s why more and more, she is doing one-on-one training sessions as well. “I’ve had to sit down and set up a Twitter account for an agent who at first doesn’t even know what a tweet is,” she says. “But I tell them that’s okay, that’s why we are doing this.”
She adds, “Once you explain it to them — how VoicePad automates everything after you get it set up — nobody has told me no.” Often, it’s just getting over that first hurdle. “When they realize that they can use a system like VoicePad that is going to do work for them, they’re ecstatic — they are absolutely thrilled.”
Tracy says she sees more hesitation among agents in their 50s and 60s, but that’s really a universal challenge, as the NAR notes the average age of a real estate agent is 57 years old. “Some of them are very good at social media, as they want to stay current in the market with their buyers — the Millennium generation which is coming up through the ranks. “I tell all agents that when it comes to social media, you can’t ignore it. You have to stay relevant or you are going to be left behind,” she adds.
Motivation through comparison
Tracy helps busy agents appreciate the value of social media by describing its advantages compared to something they know very well — sending out postcards. “A postcard mailing would run on average, about 73 cents if you did a jumbo postcard. So, if I wanted to get in front of my top 100 people, that’s going to cost $73 for 100 people. For brand new agents coming on board, they are budget-conscious, so spending $100 dollars every time they wanted to enter a new sphere is expensive. When you weigh that with social media, here’s the math — If I want to get in front of 100 people, I can pay $73 or I can post on Facebook through my sphere and use social media, and it’s free.
“When you see your friends on Facebook, that is your network. It’s your friends, it’s your family, it’s people with whom you went to school. And, by using VoicePad they have an easy way to get in front of them and it’s free. So why would we not want to take advantage of that? Because when you do a postcard, you only have someone’s attention from the mailbox to the garbage can.”
Tracy’s big tip
When it comes to social media, like Facebook, Tracy strongly recommends setting up a business page. “The idea is to drive all of the professional content that you create to the business page. This is where you need to focus to build your ‘likes’,” she said.
“Then what you can do from your business page, every now and then, you will share something back to your personal page, so you get back in front of those people who may not be following your business page,” Tracy explains.
“When you meet somebody for the first time, they are a complete stranger, and when they look at your personal page, it’s not professional. It’s the vacation shots, it’s the graduation party, it’s your senior photos. That’s not what somebody needs to see the first time they meet you. You want them to see your professional side because what you do for a living drives them to your business page. Then later, if you want to friend them on a personal level, you can do that. But, you really should make a first impression on a business level the first time and that’s just how I approach it,” Tracy says.
Marrying the message to the right medium
Making the social media landscape even more complex for agents that are just dipping their toes into social media waters is that many Realtors who do use social media have not been properly trained.
For Tracy’s agents, that’s the beauty of an automated system like VoicePad — the system can handle promoting properties while agents can focus on using each social channel to promote themselves. “I see agents posting on social media, notices that are all about, ‘my listing, my listing, my listings’ — posting the same exact message to all these social sites,” she said. “You want to make sure you complement what VoicePad is already doing for you — not duplicate it.”
“So if you are going to do the big social media picture, don’t go out and post your listings 500 times because people are going to hide you. Use a blended approach and balance of content,” she says.
“Instagram is a great example,” Tracy explains. “Agents are always out and about in their community. They run across many situations where they can take a great photo,” she says. “You can get a ton of repost from that.” Another example — She once had a goose attack her car like a wild dog and posted it on her personal Facebook page.
“It makes people engage with you personally,” Tracy said. “Who doesn’t want to hang around somebody who is fun?”
Helping the busy agent
“In the end,” says Tracy, “technology really is the answer for the busy agent,” explaining the most important thing about leveraging an automated, listing centric system like VoicePad is that it provides a way for busy agents to do social media — and do it right.
Learn more about VoicePad social media marketing here.