Real estate agents know that word-of-mouth is the best form of advertising for their local business. We’ve all heard amazing success stories of unassuming YouTubers who became overnight sensations after going viral online.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could have millions of YouTube viewers and fans emailing you for a home buyer consultation?
OK, so you probably won’t have sellers lining up around the block to list with you after your video goes viral, but you don’t need to.
Viral marketing can dramatically boost brand awareness overnight, providing a healthy stimulus to your lead generation efforts.
So how do you create a viral buzz that gets people talking up a storm about you? There are actually plenty of ways to generate viral word-of-mouth about your real estate business locally.
Before you start filming skits with your cat dressed in a cute RE/MAX jacket, there are some things to consider.
What Is Viral Marketing?
The ultimate goal of any viral marketing campaign is increased brand awareness through aggressive sharing. As you might have guessed, viral marketing has a ‘contagious’ effect.
In other words, viral content generates a high volume of views, shares, and comments quickly, resulting in increased interest for your real estate business.
Typically, viral content tends to be short-lived but high in volume. People are often inspired to share viral content for one of 4 basic reasons:
A successful viral campaign can have the following impact on your brand:
- Increased awareness and interest: high volume traffic, views, shares, and comments
- Valuable social proof of your character: testimonials, quotes, excerpts and video providing evidence of your brand values
- Personalization of your brand: provides prospects with insight into your personality, core values, and motivation
How Does Viral Marketing Work?
Let’s say you train your cat to dance the Macarena wearing merchandise from your real estate brokerage or your own.
You post it on Facebook, share it with a few local people. They find it endearing and pass the video on to friends.
A few million shares later, you’re getting phone calls from the local press requesting an interview for the evening news!
Easy peasy, right?
Well…there’s a lot more to it than that!
There has to be a strong emotional reaction to your content in order to inspire views and comments. A viral campaign should trigger an increase in organic searches using your name in a relatively short span of time.
Increased views should inspire curiosity about who you are, and lead visitors to your blog or website for further information.
Once viewers begin sharing your content, you’ll want to be sure they are able to identify you as the author. This will increase branded searches of your name and raise your visibility in search results.
5 Key Elements of Viral Marketing
- Easy To Share: Make it easy for viewers who discover your content to share it. For example, include a descriptive link that can be copied and pasted.
- Scaleable: Your viral marketing content should be easy to find and easy to reproduce. If you are offering a free item of value, consider your supply of resources. In other words, how will you fulfill demand if your content goes viral?
- Compelling: Controversy can be good for your brand. If your content challenges the viewer, you’ll motivate them to share. Even opposing views will attract comments and feedback, which increases your brand awareness.
- Memorable: Unique content is memorable. Even if your audience doesn’t have a need for an agent, your viral content will further your brand recognition. Memorable catch-phrases, iconic images, and popular trends (Star Wars, Black Panther, etc) can all be fodder for a viral campaign. Think of ways you can parody artists or celebrities with your content.
- Timeliness: Connect your viral content to current trends in politics, entertainment, sports, or local events. The more timely it is, the more relevant it will be to viewers. Your content will spread much faster because of its timeliness.
Because viral messaging can be short-lived, you should plan a follow-up to capitalize on the resulting word-of-mouth. Think carefully about who your target audience is, and how you will use the content to create interest in your expertise.
Viral Marketing Cheat Sheet For Real Estate
Viral marketing is not for the faint of heart. If you’re not comfortable drawing attention to yourself, you should probably think twice about going viral.
When considering viral ideas for your marketing campaign, balance tasteful with shock-value. A marketing stunt will quickly be sniffed out for what it is, and can actually backfire.
Keep in mind that your viral content will remain online forever. Anyone who googles your name ten years later will be able to find your content. So be sure that it reflects you in a way you are comfortable with.
So how does a new agent with no track record or listings generate viral word-of-mouth?
Check out these five amazing ideas for real estate marketing mavericks:
5 Ways For Agents To Create A Viral Buzz
#1) Host A Raffle At Your Next Open House
Open houses are one of the easiest ways for a new agent to network. Offer to host as many open houses as possible when you first start out. With experience, you can begin exploring ideas to make your open house unique.
One great way to generate a buzz for your next open house is to hold a raffle. Partner with a local home furnishings retailer and choose a unique product that would appeal to prospective homeowners.
Create an attractive Facebook post to let the public know. Include attractive pictures of the raffle prize in your Facebook post or Lead Ad. Be sure to indicate clearly on your post the location, date and time for your open house.
Set a specific time for the raffle draw as well. Offer an extra ticket to enter for each person who shares the post. You’ll provide a stronger incentive for sharing over a brief span of time.
With each share, send a personalized thank you along with the raffle ticket.
You can also deliver a personal invitation to local homeowners. Include a raffle ticket with each invitation. You may not get a crowd of guests at your open house, but the neighbors will talk about your open house. And that’s the whole point of generating a buzz.
#2) Start A Flash Mob In An Area With High Foot Traffic (Real Estate Teams)
A flash mob is a sure-fire way to get eyeballs on you! This is a great idea for real estate teams seeking to generate a viral buzz – and lots of fun too!
To be effective, you’ll need a well-rehearsed choreography, matching outfits, and a lot of nerve. Of course, if you’ve got two left feet, you can consider hiring a local dance troupe.
Your outfits should display your branding clearly. If your video goes viral, your branding will be visible. The magic of a flash mob is inspiring complete strangers to participate. Your routine should be fun, easy to learn, and inviting.
When you post the initial video to YouTube and Facebook, target your local geographic farm area for the best exposure and reach. Your video will have the most relevance for local residents, who will recognize the location and may even recognize others in the video.
For an extra kick to your marketing, send out a press release to relevant media sources and include a link to the video.
#3) Parkbench – Interview Prospecting
Interview-prospecting is one of the fastest ways to generate local word-of-mouth. Parkbench.com, for example, shows agents how to prospect by promoting local business owners.
Even if you don’t have a Parkbench website, you can still interview local business owners and feature the interviews on your website and social media.
Getting started with your prospect-interviews is simple. Research the businesses operating in your neighborhood. Create a shortlist of businesses that would appeal to your target market – ie sellers, first-time buyers, millennials renters, etc.
Contact the businesses in person or by phone and advise the owner that you have selected them for promotion on your website. Explain your motivation for doing so and book an interview with the owner to get their insights.
In the interview, try to capture details that personalize your subject. In other words, find the ‘human interest’ behind the story. Why should readers care about the business?
You can schedule a series of interviews each month with local business owners and feature 1 each week. Record them as video on your smartphone, or transcribe the interview as a blog article.
Offer readers a peak behind-the-scenes of the business. Seek out interesting or important members of your community, such as your local representative or a distinguished member of the police.
Issue a press release as well to local media outlets and bloggers. Your interviews could become a viral sensation locally if shared strategically.
#4) Random Acts of Kindness
Acts of kindness caught on video can generate viral interest in you, but they can be difficult to orchestrate. Your motive for helping others may not be entirely altruistic, but the effect should still be impactful for those you help.
If your random act of kindness is genuine, it’s very possible that those you help will be motivated to spread the word about you. The best way to inspire others to spread the word is to ask them to pay it forward.
You’ll need to consider an act you can duplicate multiple times in order for the viral message to circulate.
Target a specific location to conduct your act of kindness. Choose a place with high volume traffic, where the possibility of being filmed by others is high.
You could also videotape yourself helping others, and ask them to pay it forward. Again, you’ll need to convince others that your motives are genuine.
Partnering with local retailers to provide a much-needed service is a great way to promote your act of kindness.
Consider helping someone in your community who may need a wheelchair ramp. Align yourself with a cause that you have experience with. If you’re helping others you can relate to, your kindness will be much more compelling.
#4) Sponsor A Community Revitalization Project
A great way to go viral is to launch a revitalization project on your farm area. You could:
- lead the clean-up of a local green space, community lot, or park.
- turn a neglected space into a vibrant attraction
- sponsor a temporary or seasonal art installation that promotes the community
Join the local HOA and find out from the community about spaces they would like to see restored or beautified.
You can also contact your local municipal board to find out about vacant lots or premises in need of regeneration. Offer to revitalize a common space or neglected property.
Your revitalization project can either be a temporary fixture or permanent installation in the neighborhood. It can be as ambitious or as modest as your budget and time allow.
You’ll likely need help to plan and execute the revitalization. Partner with local retailers, landscapers, artists, and other community advocates to increase your exposure and spread the word even faster.
Be sure to set up a website or blog dedicated solely to the community project. Start a Facebook page and use Twitter to promote regular updates.
Set a date and promote the clean-up online. Create a short compelling video, or a series, that you can share on social media. On the day of the event, host a Facebook Live and invite all the local press.
Remember, you don’t have to advertise your real estate expertise. Brand yourself on the website as the neighborhood expert who specializes in real estate. Promote your partners and the community and you’ll earn reciprocal gratitude.
Word is sure to spread about your community initiative, and interest in you will grow. You’ll meet local families and homeowners who appreciate your civic pride, generosity, and commitment.
#5) Launch A Community Garden Initiative
A community garden takes time to plan and execute, but it gives you a reason to network and adds value to your local farm area. By sponsoring a community garden, you’ll position yourself as a leader in your community and drive word-of-mouth that could go viral!
You’ll need to host meetings, gather resources and promote the initiative. Approach other community members who would be equally committed. Recruit local artists seeking exposure for their work. Offer them a place to display their work in the garden.
The benefits of a community garden to the public are extensive. It can even generate revenue for the community if managed effectively.
Be sure to define the goals of your community garden before you start. The planning committee will be crucial to the execution, but seek out only the most committed.
Whether online or offline, viral marketing can literally drive explosive interest in your real estate brand overnight. Planned and executed the right way, your viral content can turn you into a local sensation.
Strategic partners will be crucial in spreading the word about you quickly. Be bold with your message, but aim to be helpful in a way that adds value to your community.
You don’t need to overtly market your real estate expertise. Instead, use your viral content to promote what you do for others, and they will reciprocate by becoming staunch advocates of your brand.
Remember to include a strategy for capitalizing on the increased traffic. Capture emails or contact information by rewarding viewers with a free item of value.
With strong partners, some imagination, and a firm commitment, you’ll quickly establish yourself as much more than a real estate agent. You’ll become a community leader!