When you think of the word trend, especially in the social media world, you might think of a viral video skyrocketing the creator to notoriety or a fleeting craze, saying or popular dance that has taken over your feed. Trends in social media also are defined as the general direction of change and development that leads the user to steady growing success. The hardest part? Social media trends rarely stay the same from year to year. Real estate agents today are tasked with finding a balance between running a business while also finding new ways to engage with and create new customers. We asked four top agents and teams who speak the highly desired language of social media to explain what has worked for them on their platforms and for any advice they can give to colleagues.
- Be authentic.
Erik Sousa and Dan Burgio of the Burgio Sousa Group with William Raveis in West Hartford, Connecticut believe being true to your values allows customers to get to know you, and ultimately, trust you to execute their home sale or purchase. Erik writes, “I believe you have to be authentic and true to yourself and your audience. Know who they are. If you’re lighthearted, bring some humor into some of your posts. If you’re serious in nature or more analytical, maybe statistics, graphs, charts and market watch material is more your thing.”
He says that as a new agent, awareness is top priority. Social media is an awesome platform for that. Erik continues, “If you’re an experienced agent, people already know you’re in the business. Small reminders that you’re busy and successful, like listings, sales, closings and relevant content are important, but people want more. Personal interests, hobbies, and things you’re passionate about go a long way. Be different, unique, and fresh.”
Authenticity was a common thread for all of the agents we asked, including Marianne Cashman, an exceptional realtor with William Raveis in Andover, Massachusetts. “I think that what folks are looking for now, more than ever, is to work with with someone who they can relate to, someone who is authentic, someone who is knowledgeable, someone who they can count on and someone who truly cares,” Marianne explained. “It has been tricky over these last five months to find the right mix in regards to my marketing efforts. I would summarize those efforts by saying that I have focused most of my energy in doing good things for others, for our community while keeping folks informed in regards to what is happening in the world of real estate.”
In early May, Marianne started a “Shop Local” series on social media, in which she highlighted a local shop, restaurant, farm stand, or a local attraction. Everyone who comments about that local establishment is then entered to win a gift card. “These are tough times for all of us and in doing my Shop Local series, I hope to drive as many people to that local business to make sure we are all supporting one another and get through these difficult times together,” says Marianne.
2. Try video marketing
George Jamieson, an experienced agent with William Raveis in Norwell, Massachusetts also uses video to connect with people in his community. “Now more than ever, think about focusing on your local business owners who might need help and do an impromptu 30-to-60 second interview highlighting their business and their passion. Make it all about them and not you,” he says. “Posting blogs and videos builds community awareness, recognition and loyalty, plus it typically gets shared by that business owner creating a snowball effect of likes and views. Last year, I did a compilation of business spotlights and the post had thousands of views as each local business shared it to their followers. The response was amazing.”
George also suggests making a social media schedule that you can stick to and be creative. “Find your niche,” he says. “Be different and focus on community and people. Show real estate and homes with a twist. As we all know, video is king so keep posting 30-to-60 second spots about anything you feel is relevant or fun to your followers, but maybe focus on hidden gems in town, the local farm, the new restaurant in the city, highlight a local teacher or first-responder, or show off your fishing skills reeling in that 300-pound tuna. Show people that you’re a real human being and empathetic to their causes and the needs of the community.”
Debbie Huscher, who is team leader for the Huscher Group at William Raveis Middletown, Connecticut, uses video in a fun way to engage with customers. She writes, “I do a combination of different videos, tours of new listing homes and properties and fun videos on TikTok to celebrate closing days. On the first Monday of the month, I do a Monday Market Update where I highlight market information for my customers.”
Dan Burgio of the Burgio-Sousa Group in West Hartford, Connecticut uses video for his team to not only market their listings but to also to give followers an opportunity to get to know the team on multiple platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. He writes, “We find that being authentic and putting simple 2-3 minute videos out as often as we can seems to attract more attention to our team than anything else. We’re not giving up on the old way of doing business which includes open houses, print advertising, web marketing. We’re simply trying to bring a bit of flair to the industry, while at the same time promoting the team’s business and the individuals on a personal level.
His business partner, Erik Sousa adds, “We use the very popular ‘Erik and Omar: In the Car’ episodes and the ‘Making Homes Happen’ show on social media to not only entertain, but also to provide relevant and useful real estate content. Lastly, William Raveis has an excellent lead trainer in Christa Ross! She provides agents excellent daily social media content, ideas and materials. New and and experienced agents should listen to her, she’s a pro!”
3. Be the expert.
George Jamieson writes, “Keep in mind a very small percentage of your followers are buying and selling homes at this very moment, (although they are all future customers). Staying engaged with them on your social media posts is important because it’s all about top of mind, and having them remember you at that all important moment when they decide on a realtor. I love being a part of several events around our community like free paper-shredding, matching donations to the food pantry and I am featured on a local community television show that highlights people doing good deeds in our town. Have them remember you from the sponsorship you hosted at their son’s baseball game or their daughter’s scholastic art program. These methods are tried and true, but they still count in the world of social media… You just have a wider audience now!”
- Marianne Cashman suggests a tripod with a remote to shoot your videos. It was the best $25 investment she’s ever made!
- Debbie Huscher capitalizes on the Coming Soon capabilities on MLS. She runs a “Guess the List Price” of a property she is bringing to market with a few hints and gives a gift card to the winner. Debbie says, “I have received 30 – 100 guesses on the list price. It’s a great way to promote the listing beforehand and engage our followers. On Sunday, we do a Sunday Stats with quick snapshot of the market. We also capitalize on National Days.”
- George Jamieson suggests starting a niche Facebook group for your community. He says, ” If your town or neighborhood is in need of a hyper-local page, start one and add good content that will help build up the community and highlight people helping people. I started one in my community in 2011 and it now has over 6,300 members. I can attest that this is a great way to meet more consumers in your marketplace and gain new business.”
- During Covid, Debbie Huscher’s team conducted Zoom webinars for her customers. She writes, “We had a contest on mortgage questions and I had Chris Blum from William Raveis Mortgage do the video to announce the winner.”
Bring your business to the next level by jump starting your social media with these insightful tips. For any questions, reach out to our agents below!
Erik Sousa & Dan Burgio, The Burgio Sousa Group, West Hartford, Connecticut
Marianne Cashman, Andover, Massachusetts
George Jamieson, Norwell, Massachusetts
Debbie Huscher, team leader for The Huscher Group, Middletown, Connecticut