This spring, Facebook introduced the beta version of their graph search. The graph search is a semantic search that provides answers to natural language questions. The algorithm combines traditional search with social data to have more relevant results. Drawing information from not only the user, but also their friends, results will be more personal and accurate. In effect, Facebook will be finding connections between people, places, and things that users’ have interacted with in order to find the best results. Results may be public posts, pictures, people, pages, events, and applications. It also extends beyond the social media platform with additional results from Microsoft Bing.
The new and improved search feature on Facebook will increase social media marketing importance. This will put real estate companies that have Facebook pages and agents with personal profiles ahead of the marketing game. Agents, like yourself, should make their profiles public and clearly display your profession in order to clients to appear in search results. In a way, the new graph search allows your friends to serve as their references. If a client, for example, searches “Boston real estate agents”, you will have a higher chance of appearing on the top of the search if you have mutual connections.
This new search feature will drive more searches on the social media platform. By creating a company page now and optimizing your personal page for real estate search, you will be fully able to take advantage of graph search when it is introduced to all users.
Contact us to learn more about social media marketing.
Given the rise in social media and the need to manage and monitor multiple accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, real estate companies are moving towards using third party dashboards. These dashboards include Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Threadsy, and Raven Tools.
3rd party dashboards give marketers the ability to schedule posts and see the activity streams of different social media accounts. Many of these dashboards, such as Hootsuite and Raven Tools, provide analysis features that track view counts and engagement rates. They also record and provide a list of content that has already been posted or shared, a feature that is particularly useful if you are working within a team.
While social media dashboards do have their benefits, they do not work optimally for all channels. For example, on Facebook, 3rd party API postings have a lower Edgerank (part of the newsfeed algorithm) than direct postings. This means that if links or content are not posted directly on the site, they do not earn as many views from followers and engagement is decreased. Besides from Facebook, dashboards do not adversely affect user engagement on your other social media sites.
At Boston Logic, we recommend that you use 3rd party dashboards to monitor your real estate social media channels. If posting content on Facebook, however, it is better to post your content directly. Facebook does offer a scheduling system if you would like to queue up posts for future dates. Using these dashboards to post on Twitter and LinkedIn will help you keep track of what has already been posted and allow you to analyze your reach and engagement level.
Learn more about how you can accelerate your social media channels here.
LinkedIn is a useful tool for businesses and professionals to connect with each other and stay updated on industry trends. Real estate brokers and agents can use LinkedIn to connect with a broader audience and generate leads. Since many companies are not fully using all of the tools that LinkedIn offers, streams are not overcrowded and it is easier to get your content noticed. Creating and maintaining a page now will keep you ahead of the social media game.
First, to optimize your LinkedIn page, you should make sure that your company page has an image that represents your brand and is welcoming. Pages with visuals keep users engaged and more likely to browse through the content. You should also include a concise, but informative description of your company in the Overview tab. This information should give users a reason to follow your company page and include a call to action.
Regularly posting status updates and new content to your page will help you create a dialogue with your targeted audience. You can use this space to add featured listings or properties so that potential clients can get an idea of what you offer. Other valuable content would be e-books related to the real estate industry and information related to communities you cover. Be sure to regularly include images and videos with your updates to better engage your clients.
To attract a broader audience and increase followers, you can feature relevant groups on your page. This will draw people doing their research on the real estate market to your page. Other conventional ways of increasing followers is to place follow buttons on your website and blog, cross promote your LinkedIn page on other social media channels, and include the link on your email signature and newsletters. You can also build group membership by investing in LinkedIn ads to target a specific audience. Having a strong base of followers will increase the reach of your content, and ultimately bring more attention to your real estate company.
In order to better engage clients and potential leads, real estate brokers and agents should allocate time to social media campaigns. While it may not take much time to write a tweet or create a Facebook post, it often gets left behind or forgotten on the to-do list. To stay on top of your social media and content campaigns, you should create a social media calendar (on Excel, Google Calendar, or Hootsuite) that highlights goals and sets concrete plans.
Social media calendars hold you accountable to your goals and help you set realistic expectations. They are tailored to your needs and business model. We recommend that your calendar take into account the number of postings and shared content on social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn), blog posts, newsletters, and e-book or whitepaper releases.
Before creating your calendar, you should be clear of what you hope to achieve with your social media campaigns. What message are you trying to convey? Are there people within the community or real estate industry with whom you would like to build connections? What image do you want your company to have? Only once you are clear of your intentions, can you set meaningful goals.
Goals may vary – they may be to encourage shared content, increase site traffic, or simply to create X number of content weekly. Whatever goals you choose to create, they should be specific. This will help you create a plan on how to meet these goals. Your plan should be flexible in order to account for new content that you may want to create or share based on current events. It should also leave room for you to not only share your own content, but also that of those from other industry leaders. This will help you build relationships and gain more followers.
Finally, you should track and measure the impact of your social media plan. Hootsuite, Google Analytics, and Facebook data are great tools for you to use to see how successful your campaigns are. It is common to not see results right away, social media campaigns take time to gain momentum, so stick to the calendar and don’t give up!
Pinterest, launched in 2010, has already registered millions of users. The social media platform is a visual bulletin board that allows users to post and share images. It has created a shift in consumer behavior, moving people away from specific searches to discovering new ideas or goods and services. With regards to real estate, Pinterest pages have helped homebuyers gain perspective on different properties and communities that they may not have previously considered.
Like other forms of social media, namely Facebook and Twitter, creating an account and profile is easy. Engaging users and increasing presence on the platform, however, takes time and effort. Below are tips on how to optimize user engagement on your Pinterest boards.
As a real estate agent, your Pinterest profile should include a photo of yourself, location, and brief 160-character bio that is informative, but also personal. After you have a basic profile, you should begin creating a series of boards to share with other users. Each board should represent different topics relating to real estate or to your community. You should include, for example, a board displaying properties available, one or two showing the community environment, and one that is personal and puts a face to your company or brand. These boards should link back to your real estate website or blog, driving more traffic and leads.
To increase the about of repins and shared content on your Pinterest boards, you should follow other real estate experts or prominent members of your community. By interacting as much as possible with these industry and community leaders, through repinning and sharing content, you will also draw attention to your own boards and increase your presence on the social media site.
Another way to increase your presence is by using Pinterest as a collaboration tool. Encouraging people to comment or share pins on your board about any upcoming community events or noteworthy news is an easy way to increase engagement. If people share or add content to a board, they are more than likely to return to it and spread word about it to their friends.
Given that Pinterest is a relatively new social media site, they are constantly changing the features and design details. This past week, the site was redesigned to support larger images and improve category searches. It is important to note that many features, like #hashtags and the ability to leave links, have been removed. You can also no longer link the account to Twitter or Facebook – actions on these different social media accounts will be separate.
Along with the changes came a new and improve Pinterest Web Analytics. You can now track your Pinterest presence and see what content is being shared or commented on. These web tools will allow you to keep track of your Pinterest account and filter through your most popular pins easily.
A Pinterest account can provide a space for you to engage your local community and drive people to your site. The site gives you the opportunity to use your creativity and display properties in a different light. As Pinterest becomes continues to gain users, having real estate boards on the site will be essential. We recommend that you get ahead of the social media game and create a Pinterest account today.
Last week, Twitter celebrated its 7th birthday. In 7 years, the social media company has transformed the way people worldwide communicate. Information is being passed quickly and concisely, through 140 character limit tweets. Through use of @mentions and #hashtags, people are able to create meaningful dialogues and conversations between each other, businesses, and leaders. This powerful tool has helped real estate companies attract potential leads and communicate with their current clients. Since Twitter has such a presence in social media, it is important for companies to focus on running successful accounts.
As a real estate agent, you should focus on increasing the number of quality followers on your Twitter account. Having more followers is correlated with having more social authority, influence, and leads. However, using techniques such as following numerous people in hopes that they follow you back is not very effective. This leads to low-quality followers and weakens the Twitter system. You want your followers to be engaged and interested in your business or content. To attract higher quality followers, you must establish a credible account.
To create an account that represents your company, you should begin by uploading an aesthetically pleasing logo. This picture needs to represent your company well because it is seen every time you tweet. Twitter also allows you to customize your page background. You should use this opportunity to match the theme of the Twitter page to that of your website in order to show consistency and build your brand. Finally, you should write a Twitter bio that tells your business story in a short sentence. The sentence, like the rest of your Twitter account, should be informative and personal. Also, be sure to include a link to your website in this section.
Now that you have successfully set up your Twitter account, you should use it to share valuable content. It is a great place to link back to your website and share new blog posts, listings, or information regarding your community. Be professional, but also have a sense of humor when on Twitter. If you post frequently and spread them out throughout the day, you will be able to attract more followers. However, if your tweets are too clustered and spam-like, you may lose credibility. By occasionally tweeting pictures, you will be able to better engage your crowd. People are more likely to click on your link or view your page if there is an image associated with it.
While Twitter serves as a great vertical to share content, it is an even better place to hold conversations with industry leaders and clients. To organize the people you are following, you should create lists for real estate leaders, clients, social media gurus, and community members. Twitter allows you to create up to 20 lists with 500 people in each list. This makes it easier to maintain social media relationships and understand what topics of conversation each group is focusing on.
By “listening” on Twitter, you will be able to find out what members of the real estate community are saying. You can draw attention to your Twitter account, and to your company, by contributing to the dialogue. By retweeting and using @mentions and #hashtags, you will be able to engage industry leaders. This will lead to people not only following you, but also sharing and retweeting your content.
With a strong Twitter handle, you will be able to create more buzz around your real estate company and attract more clients. You should publicize Twitter and any other social media channels on your website, email signature, and newsletter. While this will help increase followers, the best way to strengthen your Twitter account is by sharing content and creating conversations with the real estate community.
Social media is a powerful tool that will help real estate agents connect and engage with clients. By integrating social media, namely Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, to your real estate site, you can improve SEO and draw more leads. It is becoming increasingly important for real estate companies to include social media campaigns in their marketing strategies, particularly as the Millennial Generation begins to search and buy their first homes. The problem is that running social media campaigns and obtaining followers is easier said than done.
Each of these three verticals are important, as they serve and reach different networks. We will eventually tackle and find strategies to increase prominence in each of these areas. This blog post, however, will focus on how real estate agents can create and run successful Facebook pages.
Of all social media channels, Facebook has the most users and reach—last month, the social media site had 1.06 billion active users worldwide. Many of these users check their newsfeed on a daily basis to not only read friends’ statuses, but also to find the latest information on companies they support. As a real estate agent, you can use Facebook as a place to share new properties, news related to your company or community, or any new content you have written. It should help you create a dialogue with your clients that will continue beyond the social media space.
If you just created a Facebook page and have very little reach, a good place to start is to include social media plugins to your blog, newsletters, and agents’ email signatures. This will drive people that you already contact regularly to your Facebook page and lead to more likes and sharing. You should also encourage your primary network—friends and family—to add your page. Roughly 70 percent of people like a company on Facebook after seeing it on their friends’ pages. Only after you have established a Facebook presence with your primary network will you be able to reach second and third connections.
To engage your fans and increase the chance of your content being shared through the social media space, you should create campaigns that involve client opinions. On Facebook, you have the ability to create polls—these can ask clients their opinions on what they look for in properties or what they think about any real estate developments in your community.
You should also make your Facebook page personal by posting photos of company gatherings and events. This makes your page more appealing as it puts a face (or faces) behind the company. According to Facebook statistics, including photos and videos on your page will increase engagement by more than 100 percent, as it will lead to tags and views from friends of friends.
Another good way to drive more people to you social media page is by holding competitions and giveaway contests. Offering tangible gifts or experiences has been proven to successfully drive people to Facebook pages. In fact, 52 percent of people like pages during giveaway contests in hopes of winning prizes. These giveaways can range from company t-shirts to iPads. If you choose to run a competition, however, it is important to define the goals of the contest—is it to increase social engagement, drive more people to your site, or please existing clients?
There are many different strategies that you can use when creating a Facebook campaign to increase likes and drive more people to your page. It is important to note, however, that the main goal is to not to have as many likes as possible, but to increase shared content and build relationships. Your Facebook page should be another space where you can connect and converse with current and potential clients.
Check out our real estate social media accelerator to learn more about how you can build your Facebook presence.
Blogging is an easy way to connect to clients and create a voice for your real estate company. Publishing relevant content regularly gives you the opportunity to keep your site updated and link back to existing content. This will ultimately attract search engine crawlers and improve the ranking of pages on your site. Within the real estate industry, there are many topics you can write about that will be of value to clients and potential leads. For example, you can blog about properties in the area that have been getting a lot of attention, upcoming events in your communities, and the latest news on the local real estate market.
With an increase in use of mobile devices, it is important that blog designs are not only optimized for desktop screens, but also mobile ones. There are a growing number of people using mobile devices on regular basis to check sites and search for information. By 2014, for example, the number of people using mobile phones for searches will surpass that of desktop use.
Unlike desktop screens, mobile blog sites do not need sidebar menus or navigation areas. Since screens on mobile phones are much smaller, sites should be simple and easy to browse through. Effective mobile blog pages tend to have listings of blog posts in reverse chronological order. Users can click on links of articles they would like to read. This will allow easy navigation and improve load speed of the page.
To further mobile optimize your blog post, you should also take advantage of smartphone capabilities, such as click to talk numbers and location finders. These tools can be useful for posts about properties or community events. With the location tool, clients can see where the property or event is in relation to landmarks they are familiar with. The click to talk tool will quickly connect leads with real estate agents if they are interested.
If your site is not optimized for smartphones, Boston Logic Sequoia system offers a mobile real estate website solution. The site integrates with CRM, property search, and SEO so that agents and clients can use the site easily without losing any essential tools.
We recommend that you mobile optimize your site as soon as possible in order to keep pace with changing technology and effectively connect with your clients. However, if you are not ready to completely integrate your site, you can begin by generating a mobile view of your blog page. Google Reader allows you to create a mobile page of your RSS feed by appending the feed address to the URL. You should place the new link on top of the original blog page to give mobile users the option to switch to the optimized page.
How Agents are the Key to a Facebook Real Estate Page
While many companies have a Facebook real estate page, most are not fully capitalizing on its marketing powers. To broadcast services and improve business, it’s all about the agents. Real estate agents have a special connection to their customer base and Facebook can propel those relationships forward while teaching agents a thing or two about the brokerage.
Why Facebook Matters
Facebook is certainly not the be-all and end-all of marketing, however it’s the best in terms of customer interaction. The environment of Facebook is personal, fun and easy-going, which makes it the perfect way for businesses to interact with customers. Mashable reports one real estate agent’s views on the social media monster: “It’s a softer way to connect — instead of sending them an email from my business address, I can connect on a personal level on Facebook and then invite them to my business page.” Facebook messages are less threatening than emails and business pages are more likely to garner a quick glance than full websites.
Keeping it Active
Once potential customers get to a brokerage’s Facebook page, the true test is keeping them there. Facebook pages without activity go unnoticed while those with conversations, postings and daily musings keep attention. Getting agents involved means they can see a brokerage’s upcoming events, special offerings and newsletters. However, Facebook also gives real estate agents a chance to showcase their personalities and encourage clients to make contact. A contact listing on a website reveals nothing about a person, but an agent who writes a few messages on the business page seems far more approachable. ShopTalk recommends that employees either post with their individual accounts on a company’s page or, if using admin accounts, that they sign their names to make it more personal.
The Importance of Sharing
Facebook pages grow exponentially. When an agent ‘likes’ their brokerage’s Facebook real estate page, they give it a fair boost. But when they share posts from the business page back to their personal page or elsewhere, then they open up the opportunity for hundreds of more people to view it. In turn, one of these viewers can share it again and soon thousands can have access. A single agent can only give one like but through a share they can open the door to tons of new customers.
While some businesses struggle to get their employees involved on Facebook, real estate companies have it easy. Agents are always eager to gain access to more clients. By learning how effective Facebook can be, agents will be excited to spend a few minutes connecting with clients.
Engagement is an important part of digital marketing, but it’s the pinnacle of activity you can undertake as a real estate professional. The reason why is that you cannot really outsource engagement. Just as you build relationships with real estate customers for the long term, building a community of people online with whom you are engaged is equally important.
Here’s why engagement is important:
- Keeping relevant – By monitoring what’s going on in your community, you’ll keep yourself relevant to the changing needs of your customers.
- SEO isn’t all about content – SEO is also about getting links back to your website on terms that you want to rank for. Asking for links gets you halfway there, but conversing with community members and customers about things that are top of mind for them (as they relate to real estate) will make it all the more likely that you’ll receive some of those organic links.
- Engagement can even beat relevancy - People will share your content if it’s relevant, but they are much more likely to share your content if they are really engaged with you; to get to that point, you’ll have to spend some time engaging people initially.
Here’s how to build an engagement process:
Build a list - Seek out members of your customer community who are active in social media, sort your list of people, and focus on the most active or influential. Then:
- Build an engagement calendar - Just as you use a customer relationship management system (CRM) to manage leads and prospects, build a process for developing long-term relationships with your targeted list of social influencers.
- Start small - Make your social influencer list small; you don’t have to make a big list - start with 10-15 people, schedule two contacts per week, and do simple things. Read their content and make comments. Ask them questions, get inspired, and write a post that references their content.
- Is there really a connection? - If a relationship doesn’t grow online, you can change your list over time.
Two Words in "Social Media"
I think most real estate professionals understand the value of creating content that people share; that’s the “media” in social media. However, the other aspect of social media is “social” - to participate in social media, you have to be engaging. More than simply trying to get people to engage with your content, you have to reach out to people, striking up conversations and being interested in what they have to say. You can pick topics that are also relevant to the real estate business. For example, what transportation hubs are influencing the value of property in a region? You’ll be engaging people online, but you’ll also buffer your own content calendar by listening closely to your community and their needs.
Choose Your Social Medium
Pick Twitter, Facebook, or blogs, and conduct your engagement solely within that social medium over a six month period. You’ll get more results by focusing your efforts; once you are successful, you can always expand your efforts to include another social medium.
Long Term Engagement
You should be measuring results from your efforts - are you generating more links and traffic, and ultimately, can you measure more leads and conversions from your social media efforts? That said, don’t expect things to happen overnight; once you’ve started to engage, realize that you’ll have to keep up the effort. This sort of digital marketing takes time and isn’t for the faint-hearted, but if you are serious about building a really successful digital marketing business, you own the prospect of building an active, supportive community that will provide links, referrals, and social sharing of your content.
Connect with the Boston Logic real estate social media marketing team to learn more about how you can accelerate your social media efforts for SEO and digital marketing.