Implementing a focused social media strategy seems to be a perpetual resolution for real estate professionals. With so many platforms and so many ways to approach the task, it’s no wonder social media becomes either a dreaded task or an afterthought for many agents and brokers. If you are trying to jumpstart your online presence, here are some rules of the road to help make you more effective and keep you aligned with best practices.
1. Focus on one platform at a time
If you’re just starting out with a focused social media strategy, it’s probably best to start with one platform and expand from there. Focus on engagement more than numbers, at least in the short term, as even a small audience of highly engaged fans can have a bigger impact—and a higher conversion rate—than a large audience of casual followers.
2. Optimize for each platform’s audience
Each of the major platforms are different, so your approach should differ as well. While Facebook users may like more conversational or even “cutesy” content, LinkedIn users tend to be focused on value-added content with a professional or financial focus. While Twitter content is up-to-the-minute and spontaneous, Instagram posts tend to be more curated and planned. Differentiate your content as appropriate for each platform where you are active.
3. Learn the rules of etiquette for each platform
On Instagram, many users won’t post more than one post per day—two at the most. However, on Twitter it is not uncommon for users to “Tweetstorm” and send several posts in succession or to Tweet several times throughout the day. Before you launch into a new platform, get a feel for the rules of the road so that you can enjoy maximum engagement and goodwill from your audience.
4. Determine the optimum time to engage your audience
While there are many studies out there about what time you should post, these should be used as guidelines rather than hard-and-fast rules. They may vary according to your time zone, the day of the week, or the audience segment to whom you’re appealing.
For example, 2–3 pm CT is often cited as a time of maximum engagement, but if many of your followers have school-age children, this may be a terrible time to post as it interferes with the afternoon pickup schedule and afterschool activities. Check your analytics and adjust your posting accordingly for maximum engagement.
5. Track engagement to refine your strategy
Check analytics for your social media platforms on a regular basis in order to determine what is working and what isn’t. For example, on Instagram, many users are seeing reduced engagement on posts while Story engagement continues to rise. On many platforms, video is essential for maximum engagement. Track the numbers and replicate or expand on the content strategies that appeal to your audience the most.
6. Follow the rules for paid advertising
Paid advertising on social media platforms can be an effective strategy due to the capability it provides for targeting your message to your ideal audience. However, it is essential that you comply with rules and regulations as found in Fair Housing laws and in the NAR’s Code of Ethics regarding your marketing outreach. Among the most important considerations? Non-discriminatory targeting.
Remember that you are not to discriminate against any protected group, either by omitting them from your marketing or by focusing your marketing exclusively on a narrow demographic group. This is true even if your seller client says that you should include exclusions in your listing information. If in doubt, check with your broker or your local association to ensure that your ad content and targeting are in compliance.
7. Be mindful of trademark use
One word that is used in a variety of contexts by real estate professionals is the term REALTORⓇ. Unfortunately, it is often used incorrectly and without complying to the rules and regulations regarding its intended trademarked use. Review NAR’s guidelines and avoid using the word as a generic term for a real estate agent or as part of a username on your social media platform.
8. Abide by your state’s disclosure laws
Different states have different rules regarding what should be disclosed in a real estate agent’s advertising or online platforms. Check with your broker or your local association and find out what you need to include in your platform’s bio. While some states require all of the relevant information to be on the platform itself, others implement a one-click rule to ensure that the information is readily available.
9. Keep client safety at the forefront
Many real estate professionals love to share photos of their clients during home searches, closings, and at other stages of their real estate journey. However, the wrong photo could undermine your client’s negotiation or even present a security risk. It is a good idea to have your clients sign a standard photo and/or media release when they sign on with you as their agent. In addition, make it a practice not to post photos of the client’s children or identifying information about the homes they’re viewing or the one they’re buying.
10. Add social media management to your education goals
While social media can be a great place to see and be seen, there are a number of pitfalls. In addition, platforms are constantly implementing new features and making changes to their privacy policies. It is important for you to stay updated on the latest rules and strategies so that your social media presence is not only optimized and effective, but also compliant. Check out classes at your local association or online so that you can post and engage with confidence.
For more information on social media best practices, check out our success guide: Harness the Power of Social Media.