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Figuring out how to leverage social media in real estate is one of the biggest issues facing many agents in today’s digital world.

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran who’s experienced success cold calling and holding open houses or a rookie agent well-versed in the smartphone world, we can all agree that, especially today, social media is a key part of all our lives.

But what does that mean for your real estate business? How do you take advantage Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and whatever’s next?

The truth is, there’s no easy answer. And, to be frank, some agents can get by just fine without tweeting, snapping or posting daily.

Other agents, however have built large online followings that have no doubt helped position themselves as market experts and grow their business.

So what matters most on social media?

Inman News recently surveyed 105 real estate agents and spoke to six social media experts to create “The essential guide to social media in real estate.”

Here are some of the findings we found interesting:

Facebook Still Rules

Despite a rocky recent history embroiled in proliferating the spread of fake news and its part in the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, Facebook is still a big part of our lives. That’s why 97 percent of those surveyed said they still believe Facebook is the most important social media platform to be on.

In fact, more than 77 percent said if they could only choose one social media platform to promote their business, it’d be Facebook.

That makes sense, Jason Frazier of The Agent Marketer said, because it’s the simplest.

“If you master Facebook, it’ll be easier for you to master Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube,” Frazier told Inman. “Facebook is the easiest to learn and navigate, and it’s a convergence of so many types of content creation.”

Instagram (65.7 percent) and LinkedIn (53) were the next most popular social media platforms for real estate agents.

And while Instagram is a very visual platform that can be great to share images, videos and listing photos, social media coach and strategist Katie Lance is a big proponent of LinkedIn.

“I think LinkedIn is the best-kept secret,” Lance said. “It’s the only professional social media platform where it’s OK to talk about your business all day long. Whereas on Facebook, you have to be careful.”

Don’t Feel Like You Have to Be Everywhere

The biggest reason social media seems exhausting?

Because it can be.

Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Snapchat and … yeah, there’s plenty more we’re probably missing.

But …

“Everybody should not be using everything,” said Chelsea Peitz, a former agent turned social media strategist.

Focus on your brand and which demographics you’ve built a special rapport or prefer to work with.

If you’ve experienced success working with the younger crowd, consider focusing your efforts on YouTube and Snapchat. If you prefer to work with baby boomers, place even more focus on your Facebook page.

Regardless of platform, social media is a place to promote your knowledge, business and brand.

“The brand is you, and the brand is how a consumer feels about doing business with you,” Frazier said. “Your brand is what a consumer tells another consumer about what it is to do business with you.”

Don’t Forget to Be Social

Promoting your brand and business is important, but don’t forget why social media originally began: to connect with others.

Per the Inman survey, marketing (88 percent), advertising (74), publishing news (76) and generating leads (64) are the top ways real estate professionals use social media.

Communicating with clients and partners came in significantly lower at 53.3 percent and 30.48 percent, respectively.

“At the end of the day, if you’re an agent that says and truly believes that this is a relationship business, then you need to act as such when you’re on Facebook, LinkedIn or whatever,” Frazier said. “It’s about connecting and creating relationships.”

Be Careful

Chances are, whatever day you’re reading this, a celebrity, politician or brand has posted something on social media that’s trending for the wrong reasons.

Don’t be that person — and even the real estate profession has seen plenty of them.

If you find yourself in such a situation, however, Frazier recommends doing the following:

  • Own what you said
  • Take responsibility and apologize
  • Don’t get into an internet war with trolls
  • Be genuine and don’t sound like a public relations firm

The Takeaway

Social media can be a powerful tool. In fact, 78 percent of salespeople using social media outsell their peers.

Still, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will work or be beneficial for you.

Decide which platforms (in addition to Facebook) could work best for you. Post often, interact with others and give it a fair shot — perhaps anywhere from 6-10 months.

“A lot of people give up,” Lance said, “and that’s why they’re not being successful [on social media].”

Contact us today to learn how ShowingTime products and services can help you work smarter and grow your business.