Use social media to market and sell real estate

A growing number of real-estate agents and homeowners are turning to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to market and sell their properties. While these methods can help expose a listing to a new audience, they do require a strategy. You can not just start tweeting and friending indiscriminately, since that is a sure-fire way to become a social-media pariah. In this brave new world, it is important to first understand the lay of the land before choosing your path. Here are some strategic steps you need to take as you fine-tune your social media presence:

  • Launch a website, if you do not have one already.
  • Launch a blog, if you do not have one already.
  • Establish Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube accounts.
  • Produce videos of the properties you are selling and upload them to your website and YouTube or Vimeo.
  • Add to your website and to all your social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) a link to your blog and links to your various YouTube or Vimeo videos.
  • Post interesting and relevant content to your blog frequently and regularly and allow readers to Subscribe to it so that they can get notified automatically each time you post a new blog entry.
  • Update your Facebook page(s) to let friends know the listings you have for sale.• Keep track when someone types in relevant terms on Twitter (e.g., “move to Miami,” “buy a condo in Miami,” etc.) and then get in touch with them.

Real-estate agents should use a Facebook page to market their company’s listings. Whenever a new listing comes in, post the photos, videos and information on Facebook. While many of your friends or fans may not be in the market for a home, they will often forward the information to friends who are. The listing gets passed from one Facebook page to another, generating a lot of exposure. This is the essence of what is known as “viral marketing.”

A New York resident had her Upper East Side apartment on the market for almost a year with no inquiries. She then developed a Twitter campaign to drum up interest by focusing on the fact that many celebrities lived in the neighborhood. Each tweet included a link to her real-estate agent’s listing. Her strategy increased the number of people at showings and she received two offers shortly after her Twitter campaign begun.

A Texas resident decided to market his San Antonio home by using LinkedIn and Twitter, but he knew he needed a lure. In early January, when temperatures around the country were brutally cold, he posted that it was 70 and sunny in San Antonio, and provided a link to the listing. The results pleasantly surprised him. Even though he has not received an offer, more people have requested details than before he started posting.

However, social media alone cannot do miracles. If your listing has not sold after a reasonable length of time because it is priced too high, needs major repairs or is in a undesirable location, all the tweets and Facebook friends in the world will not be able to help.

Also, posting too often on Facebook and Twitter can quickly turn into spam. Do not post unless there is something truly unique about the property you are listing or something really newsworthy. Each posting only stays in the stream for a few seconds for many people. If you repeat the same posts over and over, people will start to unfriend you, which is counterproductive to establishing relationships through the various social media options. Social media are a valuable tool in the arsenal of house-selling and marketing techniques that must be used wisely to be most effective.