Realtors and real estate agents can greatly benefit from social media as well as ranking in search. When a home buyer is looking to start the process there is a good chance they are going to use online resources. They will likely search on Google, ask friends and family through Facebook and email and contact professionals that have a strong web presence. Unfortunately, there are still many realtors that have very little exposure online.
Much of this does not have to do with the fact that they don’t feel it is important. They simply do not have the time. When selling homes, realtors can spend 70, 80 or 90 hours a week doing the preparation work. This leaves very little, if any, time to spend pinning on Pinterest, tweeting on Twitter or plussing on Google Plus. When getting started the learning curve can be very steep because there are so many options. Should a realtor use LinkedIn, Google Plus, Active Rain or Pinterest? What is the best bang for the buck? No one wants to social media sites that are not imperative, right? This will be a starter’s guide to refer back to as you start to grow your real estate business online.
Social Media Websites That are Imperative to Realtors
There are three very effective social networks for realtors. I will list them in order of importance:
1. Google Plus
3. Active Rain
Allot your time wisely on this list. If you only have time for one social media website I would make it Google Plus simply for the SEO and search value. Pinterest not only has a quite a bit of SEO and search value but there are tremendous opportunities for the real estate industry. Realtors are snapping and posting photos all day so it makes sense to have a Pinterest board for your listings or awesome features of a particular home. Active Rain comes in third simply because it is a limited social network. It is limited to mostly those in the real estate and finance industry. There is some SEO value but every realtor in the country is trying to gain exposure on Active Rain.
If you are just getting started it is worth it to create an Active Rain profile and share a post every once in awhile but I would not devote a lot of time. The most important thing is to link your website from any social profile you create. Even if it is Twitter or Instagram it is important to link your website. If you are going to be active on a social network that link can end up being very valuable.
Social Media Websites That are Helpful But Not Imperative
These are the social networks that I would consider useful to realtors but not imperative. In no particular order:
It is very important to note that all Facebook and Twitter posts do not affect SEO. If your goal is to rank in Google search for keyword phrases do not assume that more retweets and Facebook likes will assist with this. It stands to reason that the more retweets and likes you receive it will mean more people are naturally linking back to your resources. That said, the SEO juice is from the links and not the Facebook likes or the retweets.
All of these social networks likely have some of your friends, family members and business partners. As a realtor you should know not to shove listings down their throat. It might be worth it to share a photo of an awesome backyard or a unique fireplace but I would probably leave it at that. For professional reasons, it would be smart to have a LinkedIn just for the business connections. You probably won’t sell a ton of homes on LinkedIn but you may bump into some potential business partners down the road.
Do I Need My Website Live Before Starting on Social Media?
Yes and no. As mentioned earlier, it is wise to link to your website from your social profiles. Fortunately, this can be done at any time. As soon as it goes live I would strongly suggest using the profile link as your business website. Prior to that, I think it is a good idea to start building a presence on Google Plus, Pinterest and Active Rain. Some in the marketing industry would consider this a “soft push” before going live.
It doesn’t hurt to “announce” that a new website will be launching soon. If you are super creative you may come up with a countdown or something unique to engage the audience. If you have any amazing content I would wait to share that until the website is live. All the links from social media websites, especially Google Plus and Pinterest, are going to have value when it comes to search rankings. If you share all your valuable stuff with no links pointing to your website you will miss out on that SEO “juice”.
How Much Time Does it Take to Keep Profile Active?
By submitting content once a week or once every two weeks you will be able to keep a social media profile active. Do not feel as if you need to submit content every day. In fact, I would discourage that for those new to social media. You need to be out there making money and not sitting in front of a computer. With Google Plus being the most valuable to search I would shoot for two posts a week related to business. Find a way to make it creative and engaging. If this is difficult for you I offer consulting as well as Google+ Local Business packages for those wanting to build their brand.
If you can post to Google Plus and Pinterest twice a week and Active Rain once every two weeks you will be off to a good start. Remember that content is important. Get the content rolling and the social profiles will naturally remain active. It may be well worth it to hire a content writer or copywriter if that is not a strong skill that you possess. They will be worth the investment in the long run.
Make It Natural
When it all boils down to it, as a realtor you will want to help your clients and customers. Do this naturally. If you were at a business networking event you would not stand there and hand out listing after listing hoping that someone would buy a home. You would build connections through conversation and valuable resources. Do the same thing on social media. When the time is right, there is no reason to not mention a listing but do not spam any social media network with listings. You will nailed your coffin shut before you even got started if you do this.
If you can create content and get your social profiles rolling you will find that your website starts to rank for a plethora of different keywords in a short amount of time. Within two weeks the new website should be indexed in Google search. Within 60 to 90 days you will start to see the website ranking for some of the more important keywords in your industry. The more value you bring to visitors of your website and your social media following the higher you will rank in search.
A bonus tip is to get an amazing camera that can capture HDR photography. This will help your business tremendously as social media has become a photo sharing community.