With all the time you spend on social media, shouldn’t you be getting more out of it? Specifically, referral business would be nice. But how do you squeeze referral business from your tribe of Facebook followers?
Social media is quickly becoming a global past-time that consumes adults and youth alike. While prospective buyers and sellers are surfing listing portals in search of a home, however, they quite often turn to family and friends for a real estate agent referral.
By cultivating relationships on social media with local residents and business owners, you can keep your brand top of mind with prospects who may refer you to friends and family.
As your digital footprint grows, your content will dominate local search results as well, making you the obvious choice for buyers and sellers in your farm.
In this article, you’ll learn tips and strategies for sharing social media posts that drive referral business.
Social media agents should be using for referrals:
Managing multiple social media profiles is a daunting job. Each platform has its own rules of engagement, with its own search algorithm and content guidelines. The top 4 social media sites, however, are a good place to start:
- Twitter: popular with millennials and media outlets
- Instagram: high engagement, with a large female audience
- Facebook: the largest social media network in the world
- YouTube: launch your own channel for videos and streaming
If you’re already on Facebook, create a Business Page distinct from your personal page. Publish content from your website to your social media pages, using a sharing button.
Fortunately, a social media account is free. Still, you’ll also find paid advertising options available with each platform.
Keep our tips in mind before you commit to additional expenditure on social media ads:
Section 1: Essential Social Media Marketing Tips For Real Estate Agents
Sporadically tweeting or posting content to Facebook won’t produce results. Cultivating real estate referrals from your growing network will take time.
By maintaining a consistent presence on social media, you’ll remain top-of-mind to your target audience long before they are ready to buy or sell.
Local renters who become familiar with your name on social media will likely turn to you when they are ready to start a family or upgrade from their apartment. Your expertise in the neighborhood will also make you an obvious choice.
Be wary of overexposure.
Too much of anything is no good, and advertising is no exception. Generally, it takes 7 -11 exposures to convert a prospect into a motivated client. In other words, a client typically needs to interact with you several times before you can earn their trust.
Brand recognition is important, but don’t be intrusive. If you’re using retargeting, you’ll need to develop a well-thought out drip campaign that builds share of thought while delivering a timely and relevant message to the right prospect.
Commit to the long-term.
It’s easy to underestimate how consuming social media can be! Stay focused on your long-term goals and designate social media time in your schedule.
Include the time you spend creating social media content, as well as the time you spend posting, sharing it, and engaging with others. Having clearly assessed the time required, you can schedule daily social media tasks appropriately.
Instead of being a chore you reluctantly perform, or getting side-tracked, your time on social media will be focused on results.
Focus on organic traffic.
While paid traffic affords an immediate boost to your traffic, organic traffic produces long-term results. Organic traffic takes longer to build, but is also more likely than an ad to generate referral business for you:
- 93% of online traffic begins with a search (ie Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc)
- users trust organic search results more than ads
So, in addition to producing content that can be consumed on social media, you’ll want to optimize your blog posts, podcast, or video for users searching the topic online. Their search will lead them either to your social media pages or your website/blog.
And, of course, with a presence on multiple channels, you’re more likely to appear visibly on the coveted first page of search results.
Measure your results.
Measure your results based on these two criteria, and don’t bite off more than you can chew! Plan a schedule of social media posts aimed at:
- Increased shares: Facebook rewards content shared by family and friends with higher visibility in their News Feed. Focus on producing original content local residents will be motivated to share.
- Attracting local followers/subscribers: Subscribers are visitors who opt-in to receive content from you. They are your most direct, and most qualified audience. All of your content should be aimed at growing your subscriber base.
- Referrals/Appointments: Of course, subscribers are important, but are you actually booking listing appointments? Once you attract subscribers, you’ll need a robust strategy for nurturing those subscribers and uncovering referrals. It’s worth investing in an email marketing tool such as MailChimp, iContact, Contactly, and many others.
- Conversion Rate: Your conversion rate will give you a better idea of how effective your social media marketing is. The average landing page conversion rate is 2.35%. That’s 1 or 2 for every 100 prospects!
But don’t be discouraged. How many homes do you need to sell to reach your annual sales target? Now calculate how many subscribers you’ll need, based on the standard conversion rate, and you’ll have a realistic idea of how many subscribers you should be aiming for.
Eg: 10 homes @ 2.35% conversion rate…
…means I need
500 – 1000 local subscribers minimum
In time, as you gain experience and deeper insight into the needs of buyers and sellers in your market, your conversion should improve to 10% or higher.
Plan your online advertising carefully
Set your timing and budget carefully.
Don’t rely solely on advertising to drive referrals from your social media posts. Establish firm budgets and target a niche audience for the best results.
Limit your retargeting to visitors who discover your blog instead of your social media. Implement a messenger bot to engage with prospects in a meaningful way, instead of an ad.
Always include a CTA (call to action).
Your call to action should support your social media goals:
- more subscribers to your monthly newsletter
- registering homeowners for your tutorial
- booking a listing appointment for interested sellers
- promoting your open house to local residents
- learn more about an event, product, or service
Set campaign objectives towards these goals, and then include a CTA button with your post.
Use these tips as a guideline to creating content that local residents will want to share on social media with friends and family.
Section 2: 10 Social Media Strategies That Generate Referrals
Your efforts to generate referrals from your social media posts will take trial and error, but start with our ten strategies below for some great ideas.
#1) Promotional offers
Partner with local businesses to raffle off prizes. Include a free consultation to increase the value of the offer.
Eg: Connect with a local retailer offering a unique but useful household product targeted at local homeowners. Promote a raffle for the product through your social media and include a free home valuation for the winner.
Even if the number of entries is low, you can still follow up with each one to introduce yourself and thank them personally for their interest. Offer them a free membership to your monthly newsletter, and keep in touch with them periodically.
Online surveys are a great way to gauge interest and gain insight into the needs of homebuyers/sellers in your farm. The feedback can also lead to referrals.
A simple Google search for online survey tools will yield a number of cost-effective, web-based options. Most marketing research software (i.e. SurveyMonkey, Google Surveys, Typeform) provide templates that can be easily customized to meet your needs.
Surveys not only generate engagement, they also provide you with a reason to follow up with respondents. Referral business can emerge from your social media interactions so create as many opportunities as you can!
#3) Lead Magnets
Create free content that users can download from your social media page. Make it relevant, informative and useful to potential clients. Once they join your subscriber list, you can email them regularly to cultivate the relationship over time.
With an attractive landing page in place, and a CRM tool to manage your contacts, your lead magnets can attract highly qualified local subscribers who lead you to coveted referrals.
#4) Facebook Groups
Join an existing one for your neighborhood or start one of your own. Use Facebook Insights to find groups who may share common values or have common needs. Connect with an issue of concern such as education, crime, housing, environment and find ways to draw on these broader issues.
#5) Share homeowner case studies
Meet with local homeowners and share their story on social media. Don’t forget to include a call-to-action button.
Publish the article, podcast, or video to your website initially, then share it across your social media to boost exposure.
Family and friends will be encouraged to share the story in their social media feed, further increasing your visibility online.
#6) Promote local business owners
Business owners can be referral generators for you. Why not interview local business owners and share their story on social media?
Strive to make your interview motivational or inspirational to the local audience. You could, for instance, focus the interview on a challenge the business owner may have faced and their solution.
#7) Stream a live local event
Celebrate the diversity and history of your farm by streaming local events of interest to residents. A new art gallery exhibit, a talent showcase, a community fundraiser; these are just some of the events you could be streaming on social media using Facebook Live.
#8) Launch a meet the expert YouTube series
Do you love being in front of the camera, or behind? Use your YouTube channel to market and promote a series of short videos featuring advice from local experts. Title the videos using keywords that will be of interest to homeowners you are targeting:
“5 healthy snacks for kids from local health and wellness expert…”
“Save on your Heating Bill: Advice from local expert…”
“5 DIY Landscaping tips from Local Renovation expert…”
“Gardening Ideas from Local Landscaping expert…”
The business owner will be motivated to share your videos. Local residents will discover you on social media and may share your content with family and friends.
#9) Host a 360 open-house event
Invite local renters in your farm and prospective homebuyers to your next open house using the power of 360-degree video.
360 virtual technology makes it possible for remote viewers to enjoy wide-angle, panoramic views of a property from the comfort of their living room. Why not exploit this emerging technology to engage more local viewers?
#10) Celebrate the big and small milestones
Stay in touch with past clients and existing contacts you don’t regularly connect with by celebrating their achievements. Schedule reminders in your calendar for anniversaries, birthdays, and other key moments.
LinkedIn is a great tool for nurturing professional contacts. You’ll receive notifications and reminders when individuals start a new job or celebrate a job anniversary. Reminders allow you to stay top-of-mind with contacts, and they can lead to referral business.
Referral business is the leading source of clients in real estate. To that end, social media can be a powerful branding tool for real estate agents seeking to build a referral-based business.
Focus your time, resources, and energy on a comprehensive social media strategy aimed at increasing brand awareness among local residents. Leverage your blog posts, podcasts, videos and other content to expand your sphere of influence online and attract followers.
Each post should support your goal of winning referrals and offer value to local residents you are targeting. If it doesn’t support your objectives, it’s probably not the best use of your time or resources.
What social media brand is getting you referrals? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!