Each week I try to write a blog post to focus on your business success. This year I am going to start adding video blogs. My goal is to keep up with a weekly blog. Writing takes time and videos are easier for me.
Social Media is a great platform to increase your bottom line. However, if you are just a poster, sharer or liker it’s time to get back to building relationships and great content. If you build it they will come! Just because you have a Facebook page or an Instagram account doesn’t mean you’ll generate leads. We all must be intentional in our marketing and with relationships. So how do we create engagement? What do our followers or future followers want from us on social media?
- They want relevant content – are you the thought leader in your market place? Tell me something I don’t know. Provide content that encourages a click, engagement or a lead.
- Followers want authenticity – be yourself and tell your story. We all have something to share. I like telling my story of home ownership. I purchased my first home in 1997 with little money down. However, I had to pay $900 per month for five months, to the builder, until I closed.
- Information that makes them engage – What can you tell your audience that creates engagement? Are you running a marathon? If so, tell your audience and encourage them to join you as you run or prepare for the race. Do you volunteer? Show us how you help the community.
- Information that makes us think – Have you ever wondered why someone would buy a house on a busy street? Me too! Now go research why and share it.
- Video that makes your audience watch, listen or read. – Are you renovating your home? Show me the before, during and after. One day I’ll show you my closet! Create short video clips then piece them together in iMovie or VivaVideo. Become a brand ambassador for your business.
- The power of the Hashtag on Facebook and Instagram. Hashtags are a group of words the bring a conversation together. Test Hashtags by following your favorite businesses or television shows on social media by searching for their Hashtag. I follow the #GoodDoctor on Twitter to join the conversation.
Take the necessary steps to build your social media, engage with your followers today!
Selling real estate today is much different from the 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s. I started selling real estate in 2001. Then we walked, cold called and asked our sphere of influence for referrals. Creating postcards, emails and newsletters was simple. We used tools like publisher and adobe illustrator to design marketing. Today any agent can take over a market simply by building a social personality that shares relevant content, important community information with an authentic persona. In the world of real estate, agents are in charge of managing their brands. The current trend for many companies is to allow agents to co-brand.
Building a brand in real estate is essential for online marketing. Who we are in direct marketing and in person must translate to the digital space. If you are a direct marketer in real estate making the transition in brand awareness on social media, email, blogs and your website is not a difficult task. Today, there are tools like Canva that make it easy for any agent to build creative work that can be redesigned in seconds for any social platform. There is no excuse, every agent can compete in the online arena.
- Do you want to be relevant in a few years? If so, it’s important to become an online personality.
- Do you have a personal brand? If not, get started NOW, not tomorrow.
- Does the consumer know who you are before they schedule an appointment with you? Not sure, google yourself and check your following on your social media accounts. If we can’t learn about you, neither can the consumer.
- Are you posting and receiving engagement from your network? Not sure, Go Check!
- No Engagement? Don’t worry, start responding to posts. Not just your posts, your networks posts.
A personal brand is, “the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands. … Personal branding is essentially the ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about an individual, group, or organization.” (Wikipedia)
The next generation agent is good at this. They’ve been using technology for as long as they can remember. I remember when my oldest son was three years old. His childcare center offered computer classes. 24 years later he a computer whiz. My most recent college student has her own online brand. The youngest of the group is building his own YouTube channel. They are just good at tech, not because they took classes, it’s because they always had an opportunity to use the technology. If you’re not good at the technology, start playing with it. Trial and error can be the best way to learn.
Building your own personal brand will put you in front of the consumer before they have an opportunity to meet you. I always find it fascinating when I’m approached and someone says, “Carrie, I feel like I already know you.” Our sphere of influence is an important part of helping our businesses thrive. We count on our friends, family and past clients to be our Brand Ambassadors. We want them to tell people how “fabulous” we are as agents. The same applies to online, we need our social pages, email marketing, YouTube channels and traditional marketing to showcase our personal brands and our expertise. Generating new business and repeat business has never been so easy. The internet doesn’t turn off. The idea that the consumer can find us 24 hours a day should excite all of you.
Showcase your brand on all platforms. Are you and your business recognizable on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Snapchat and Instagram. Are you a brand or are you all over the place? Take inventory of your social media today.
Acting is often the easiest step to take when starting something new. So, why won’t we ACT? There are many reason we don’t act or simply start. When I educate agents on social media and digital marketing, the comments I hear include:
Carrie, “I’m just too old.”
“I don’t want everyone to see my personal information”
“What if I make a mistake?”
“I don’t have time to learn something new.”
“Who has time for this?”
“I’m not sure where to begin”
The list goes on and on. Many have excuses, however, if the truth be told, the way we engage with consumers is changing. If we don’t ACT on Social Media, we might be replaced by the agent that is willing to ACT.
Maybe I can help. If you are challenged with the Top 7 Reasons We Don’t Act on Social Media, I have solutions for you. Don’t let the 7 Reasons keep you from acting.
1. Not sure where to begin? Pick one of your social media accounts and schedule time to learn it. Have conversation with the people on your personal page. If you have a business page, share content about your communities, your listings, upcoming events and things to do in the areas you farm.
2. I don’t have time for social media. No time for social media? Really? You have time to build a brand, generate leads, and build relationships. We do this everyday. If you adjust your week and schedule your social media marketing, you can take time to be social. There are many ways to plan your social media marketing. You may choose to take 15 minute a day to market on social media. Another option might be to take two hours, one day, a week to pre-schedule your marketing. What works for you? How much time do you spend talking in the office? Take this time to plan your social media.
3. I don’t know the rules for advertising on social media – The rules are simple. Read the terms of agreement for social media. Facebook wants you to have a business page if you are selling something. Adhere to real estate license law and the Code of Ethics. If your goal is to generate a lead when you post on social media, make sure the average consumer knows who the sponsoring brokerage is, don’t share other agents listings without permission and don’t share anything that’s a violation of Fair Housing. Think before you post. If it doesn’t seem right, it might not be ok to post.
4. I don’t have any followers! You didn’t have buyers and sellers when you became a real estate agent. THINK! How can you gain followers on social media? Add your social media links to your direct mail marketing, to your email signature, and invite your sphere to like your pages with an email blast.
5. Video – No way, I do not want to be seen on camera. I am with you on this one! I don’t like to be seen on camera. I don’t even like to watch my own videos. If the truth be told, I create video and avoid watching them. When I was a teenager I would break out in a sweat if I had to speak in front of the class. Couldn’t figure out why. Now I know. When you know your subject speaking in front of people or video is easy. So, If I can do it, you can do it.
6. I don’t know what to say on video or Facebook Live, Instagram Live or Periscope. Just like talking to your clients you can talk on video. When you became a new agent, you were scripted. We used notes to speak intelligently to our clients. That’s exactly what you’ll do when creating video. Script yourself. Use bullet points to begin. If you’re extremely uncomfortable have someone interview you. Try the prompter app from your Google Play Store or your Apple App store to get started.
7. Procrastination – most struggle with not starting because of anxiety and stress. We often procrastinate because learning something new might be difficult. Don’t let putting off something new. Start using social media on purpose today.
Social Media has been around for years. Many of the early, non-college students, began using Facebook in 2008 or 2009. If you were lucky enough to start using social media in the early adoption years, understanding the functionality is easier to understand. If not, don’t waste another day. Integrate social media marketing into your business plan. Visit my YouTube channel on Facebook and get started today.
Creating video is easy. Even if you don’t want to be on camera, you can build awesome videos. Using today’s smartphone, anyone can be a videographer.
The starting point:
- Create videos with your smartphone
- Keep the phone horizontal (unless you are on snapchat, messenger or Instagram live!)
- Pick a subject
- Write 5 to 10 bullet points on a sheet of paper (REALLY BIG so you can read it)
- Then create your video – if you don’t want to be seen, make sure what you are sharing is relevant.
- Post the video
Sample video – Cory Little- Basketball
Next steps – Creating a 60 spot! Think of 30 to 60 seconds as a commercial. When you watch TV most commercial are 60 seconds or less.
- Create a few video clips with your phone
- If you have an iPhone add those videos to iMovie.
- If you have a droid phone consider ViviVideo to build your commercial (60 second spot)
- With these apps, you can shorten your clips and add the best parts of the video.
- You can also turn off sound, add music and add still pictures. I use wordswag, Over, grid apps, legend and quik to enhance my 60 second videos. Want to learn how? Click now and invest in your business.
Sample video – Parks in West Chicago
- It’s not required to plan your live video – but you can plan your live video using the “The Starting point”
- When you go live start talking even if no one joins you. Why? When you end your followers can watch the video later.
- Shorter live videos on Facebook allow the user to add captions after the video ends.
- Short videos are great for repurposing on YouTube and other social media sites.
- Let your live video or video rest for 24 to 48 hours before paying for advertising
- Share your live video to your personal page to gain traction on your business page
- Add a photo to your video using canva or picmonkey. Any tool that allows you to build graphics.
- Boost your video and target a specific audience. You can also target your email database using the Facebook Ads Manager.
Snapchat, Messenger or Instagram Stories
- Build a story around your business
- Share tips on what you provide and how the consumer can benefit
- How to connect with you
- Behind the scenes information.
- Tell your audience when you will go live.
- Send an eblast to your database
- Welcome people into your live event
- Tell people when you will start the actual learning.
- How will you answer live questions? As they appear or at the end of the event.
- Horizontal video is important if you intend on reusing the video.
Use your video with a lead pages product to sell your information, products or videos. I use Leadpages to build my landing pages. A lead page allows me to capture information from the consumer and provide information, count down pages and so much more. This is the one tool I feel is a must have for any business.
- Share relevant content about your product or service
- Don’t give everything away in the video. Provide a link where the consumer or follower can purchase the full version or the item. Yes, your landing page built with tools like leadpages.
- Provide the steps for something! 5 steps to selling your home fast.
- 10 ways to leverage your LinkedIn account
- If you’re a real estate agent showcase the cities you work in or the best restaurants
- How to videos
- The steps to home ownership
These are only a few ideas for video. Take a few minutes and write down 12 topics, then break down each topic into 4 segments. Now you’ll have 52 videos you can create for an entire year. Yes, it’s that simple.
Want to learn how to create short videos on your iPhone? Join me on my Facebook Group. Smart Girl Media Live to get access.
No, DM is not a dirty word! It’s how we message each other on social media. My generation is more likely to message via Facebook Messenger. The next generation is more likely to use Snapchat and Instagram messaging. I am more likely to
receive a message via Facebook than on my mobile device. Therefore, who needs text messages on a mobile device when you have Facebook messenger, Snapchat direct message, LinkedIn messaging, Twitter messaging, and Instagram Direct Messages. I will receive a faster response from my kids on Snapchat then any other tools.
I’ve negotiated a contract via Direct Message, followed up with clients, generated leads from a Facebook Live video and created group chats to follow up with my grade school friends. My friends are more likely to respond to a Facebook Direct Message than from a text message. Snapchat has changed the way I communicate with my techy friends, my real estate friends and my national connections.
Direct messaging isn’t new and today it appears that Direct messaging is the new “Cold Call”. We are spammed with automated DM’s to follow a business page or to check out a new thingy that someone is selling. If you’re a real estate agent only going for the hard sale in a DM you’re missing an opportunity to connect and generate a lead. A great way to master the DM on your platform of choice are:
- Know your audience, friends, family and sphere of influence. Are you connecting better on Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or Snapchat? I’m more likely to a response from Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Why? These are my preferred platforms.
- Are you using the DM like an “Old School Cold Call”? Guess What? If you are, we are blocking you. If you call me to sell something without being a part of my network or a personal relationship you’re as good as blocked. I am more likely to connect with you when we’ve connected in person, I already know you personally or you’re offering to help me. Give before the ask.
- If you’re going to automate your Direct Message Marketing with tools like IFTTT, then consider the “thank you” response. How can you help the person you’ve just connected with? Are you an affiliate for the real estate industry? Provide a coupon for an agent’s client. Come to a networking event and meet an agent in person. Make the relationship personal and intentional. Get to know your network. YPN or Women’s Council is a great way to engage face to face. We want to see you as well as engage on social media.
4. Lead Generation – Direct messaging is a great way to generate leads. However, you’re more likely to generate those leads from people you already know or those that reach out to you. In the last 30 days, I receive two direct messages that have resulted into leads. One of those leads was a direct message from Snapchat. The other message was from Facebook Messenger. That lead should generate a new listing in the next 30 days.
5. How to generate leads with direct messaging! Make sure people know you’re in business. Use LIVE social media to tell people your story. Who is your audience? Tell your audience what they get from contacting you. If you’re a real estate agent remind your social network. Don’t let them forget that you’re in the business of buying, selling and creating lifestyle home ownership opportunities.
So, what is this new feature? The new Snapchat feature allows your friends and others to see your exact location, literally. My daughter, Lauren, figured out that the new feature let’s everyone know when she is at home in the house. That might be concerning for many. The great part is you can turn it off and switch to Ghost mode. Setup Ghost mode or leave your location mode on. The choice is yours. Steps to allowing the world to see you or not!
- Pinch your screen while in snapchat. The first time you pinch you’ll see these steps:
2. Find your friends and select who can see your location. Do you want to become a ghost or allow your family and friends to see you? Real Estate and networking Tips below.
3. Ghost mode prevents the world from finding you. When in ghost mode you’ll have the ability to find those that turned off Ghost mode. Turn it back on when you want people to see you. Just don’t forget to turn it off. Otherwise, anyone has the potential to find you.
4. If you add specific friends they have the ability to view your story. A story built around a specific group of people. Maybe your family, high school friends, real estate friends, your company, college friends, etc.
5.When Ghost mode is turned off others will see your bitmoji. That’s me below. My husband, kids and immediate family can always see me on the map.
6. When in Ghost mode only you can view your location. This image doesn’t appear on anyone else’s map. You’ll have the ability to view others on the map but they can’t see you.
This new feature might have you worried. I would definitely turn it off when at home or when I’m out and about. With social media we should be concerned that it’s so easy for someone to find us. However, if you are take advantage of the location feature, in our out of Ghost mode, it might help with your real estate business. Think, when would you want people to know where you are?
- Open Houses – tell your network to find your next open house via Snapchat.
- Networking events – let others know where you are so they can connect
- Turn on the feature when showing houses so your family can find you. This is a great safety tip.
- Are you member of an organization that has events? As a Women’s Council Member, I can turn on my location so you can find me at the next events.
- Tell others when you’re in the office.
What other ways can you use the location finder? Think out of the box and start building a business based on location. If you aren’t 100% ready to turn on your location, create a new Snapchat account just for business and log out when your done with your event. Or just don’t forget to switch to Ghost mode! Let’s get snapping! Follow me on snapchat with user ID: CarrieJoLittle
A few years ago, my kids started using an app called Snapchat. Of course, I had no idea about the app until over hearing on the news that Facebook wanted to buy it. And yes, if Facebook wants to buy an app, I needed to download it and try it. My daughter, Lauren, said, “mom, there is an age limit”. She almost had me. I’ve been using Snapchat for a few years. The only reason I used the tool was to keep up with technology and to keep up with what my kids use for social media. And yes, my teenagers are using Snapchat more than any other social media. Snapchat launched in September 2011 and any millennial or i-generation user has a 6-year jumpstart on many of us.
Snapchat, Instagram or Messenger? Each of these apps give the user the ability to build a story board. But with three options, where should we build our stories? If you’re not familiar with either of these apps, anyone using these apps can build a story where the message self-destructs in 24 hours. Each of these apps have history. Instagram is known for images and 60 second videos. Messenger is Facebook’s private message tool. And Snapchat is the first app that create the self-destruction message, then in 2013 they added the 24-hour story board.
Snapchat has dominated stories in their App since October of 2013. Instagram launched their version of stories in October of 2016. And on March 9th, 2017, Facebook released their version of Stories. Anyone using Facebook Messenger can build stories similarly to what Snapchat and Instagram are already doing.
- Build a story
- Create private messages for people you select in your Instagram contacts
- Features a live streaming option
- Upload recent photos to your stories
- Add current photos
- 15 second videos
- Add a filter
- Build a story with the hands-free option
- The boomerang app integration
- Add text, emoji’s, write with a highlighter or color
- Re-purpose your videos and images on other social sites
- Build stories
- Create private messages for people you select in Facebook
- Upload photos from your mobile device
- Filter categories
- Add text, emoji’s, draw and write with color
- Integrated their “Write Something” feature
- Take photos for your story
- Add 15 second videos
- Make phone calls with messenger
- During the call use filters
- Re-purpose your videos and images on other social sites
- Chat in groups
- Build stories
- Create private messages for your Snapchat followers
- Use filters
- Snapchat also has fun filters – a few change your voice
- Discover – learn, read or listen to news and shop.
- Build your own geo-filters
- Add emoji’s, write, draw and add text with color
- Add your bitmoji character
- Call feature
- Build snapchat groups
- Build reusable stories
- Re-purpose your videos and images on other social sites
And the winner is………
The winner is where your network is! If you weren’t an early adopter of Snapchat, start building stories for your network. If your network is on Facebook, start there. If you’re a real estate agent here are a few ways to begin building your story:
- Talk about the communities you serve
- Home ownership tips
- Steps to purchasing a home
- The fastest way to get your home sold!
- How to reinvest your tax refund.
- Do you work in the luxury market? Share hidden secrets
- Remember when sharing not show another agent’s listing without permission. If the home was yours you wouldn’t want an agent walking through showing your valued possessions. Think before you add content to a story.
- We want to know interesting tips but we don’t need to know the details of your last inspection.
- Show us your park district or your favorite restaurants.
When you look at the 3 apps, Snapchat is the clear winner for building stories. Their filters are higher quality, the functionality of the tool is much easier to use, and Snapchat is for the next generation. This is where they are and it’s clear they want to watch short videos.
All 3 apps can serve you well. When messenger launched their version of stories I used it immediately. I have a much larger following on Facebook. Therefore, I could see immediate results. People are engaging on Facebook messenger because I use Facebook.
Not sure where to begin? Follow me on Snapchat, Messenger and request me as a friend on Facebook messenger. Pick one and get started!
In today’s online world the consumer has easy access to hundreds of real estate websites, agent websites and companies that are in the business of making money from the real estate exchange of data. Why would I pick your website or company over the next person’s? Do you have relevant content that separates you from the competition. With so many options available to consumers, it’s imperative that agents redefine their content and dominate by becoming Real Estate Thought Leaders.
What exactly is a Thought Leader? A Thought Leader is a person that is deemed to be an expert and go to person in their field. A trusted authority in the industry. “It’s a truism that Thought Leaders tend to be the most successful individuals or firms in their respective fields. Furthermore, in the research literature, there’s a general consensus that being a thought leader… can make a very significant and positive difference.” (Forbes)
Many real estate agents have proven themselves to be experts in the industry. However, with the shift in online marketing the traditional platforms are being overlooked by those that are creating relevant content that an average consumer can read or watch. Being a Thought Leader is more than being an expert, it’s being on the cutting edge of your industry as a thinker. Don’t discount Baby Boomers. Boomers consume over 20 hours of content online per week during the early morning hours. Millennials and Gen Xers access online content after 8pm at 5 – 10 hours per week. (BuzzStream)
Real Estate Thought Leaders have the ability to dominate their market places. Can we find you online? If we can find you online, what are you saying to the online community? Are you only sharing listings and telling us you’re awesome. As far as I am concerned, I am the best agent in the industry. But does everyone else believe it? It doesn’t matter what I believe. What matters is what the consumer believes. Make yourself relevant by building an online platform that provides industry information.
Have you ever wanted to be interviewed? Start writing, build a YouTube channel and or a podcast. Editors will reach out to you as an industry expert. If asked to be a guest blogger, don’t hesitate. As a guest blogger for the National Association of REALTORS it’s forced me to write and build relevant content for their Mid-Year convention and the National Conference. I’ve been called upon to answer industry questions on Big Data, Lead Generation and Real Estate Technology. Let your expertise be known online. Tell us on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and any social tool you are able to effectively manage.
My 2017 goal is to blog weekly. I created a 52-week blog schedule in December and so far, so good. This is blog number 6. Where do you begin? Begin today, make a plan and get started. If you are great at video start recording short videos on your expertise. If you’re a great writer, start writing. If you’re a great talker, consider recording your blog or using tools like Dragon or Google Docs and transcribe your blog post.
Get started today!
- How often will you create content? Daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly. Start someone where.
- What information can you share? Top 10 restaurants in your city, a review of the market, Steps to home ownership, Tips on how to become an investor, should I buy an REO, Short Sale or Traditional Home?
- What’s your expertise? Are you an expert on Horse Property, Commercial Real Estate….. Tell the online community.
- Tell us about your your city or the cities you work in. I love the city I live in, Why? Because our swimming pool is a Water Park.
- Know when to share your content online. Know your audience!
Building a presence and original content isn’t easy and It won’t happen over night. Remember to build original content. Persistence is the key to your future real estate success. Those that shift their businesses to content creating can break through the online noise and earn the title, “Thought Leader”.
Recently, I was in a two-day managing broker course. During the session one agent mentioned that other real estate agents were marketing to her friends and family. She asked, “Why does Facebook allow other agents to market to her network?” Well, why wouldn’t they allow it? Facebook might be free, however, if you want to reach more than your network you have to Pay to Play. Facebook’s goal is to help companies leverage their business pages with paid advertisement in our news feeds. The social media site gathers real time information on everything we say, click on and share. If I talk about an awesome pair of shoes, you can best believe I’ll see ads on the right-hand side of my feed. Paid advertising on Facebook is a must if you want your content to be viewed, reach a new audience and market your listings. Facebook’s algorithm is constantly changing. When you post on your personal page or a business page it’s no longer guaranteed that your post will sit at the top of your networks News Feeds.
Here’s the scoop, Facebook provides options for advertising. The ADS Manager provides more options for advertising on Facebook. The Boost option allows the agent to push their post or posts to a specific audience. Agents should consider both options when advertising. This is a great way to build your brand share market research, reach potential buyers, sellers and provide specific information about the areas we serve. However, most agents have no idea what happens when we LIKE real estate agent’s business pages.
If an agent decides to boost one of their posts, that agent has choices when building a target audience.
- Edit your current audience
- Target People who like your page
- People who like your page and their friends
- Create your own audience
- Run the AD on Instagram – if you connect Facebook page to your Instagram account to a business account.
Yes, you guessed it. You gave me access to your Facebook friends. If you like my real estate business page I can target you and your friends. I’m not saying you shouldn’t like my page, other real estate agent’s pages or your company pages. But if you do, your conversation must change. As a part of your initial client meeting have the “Social Media Talk” with your clients. When I started in real estate my managing broker told me to explain for sale by owner properties to your buyers. If you see a FSBO, call me first, I will exclusively represent you and your interests. That conversation must change to the online arena. If your clients see an AD on social media, tell your clients to call you first. Explain designated agency. If you aren’t explaining it then expect your buyer to call the listing agent. It’s up to you to protect your client and your business . Not the agent that is marketing their listings to your buyers.
Do I really have access to your friends? No, but if you like my real estate page I have the option to market to your network. Not sure what to say? Let me help you have “The Social Media Talk” with your network. I’ve created two sample scripts to help when speaking with your clients at the initial meeting. Click here for a sample script on the “The Social Media Talk”. And don’t worry, If you liked my real estate page, I never choose the Friends of Friends option when advertising on Facebook.