Myth: You have your real estate website as a newer agent and that is all you need to survive and thrive among other SEO savvy real estate agents and iPad-toting home sellers and buyers.
True: It's 2014 and if you cannot be found easily online, you may lose some potential sales for eager home buyers and sellers that "live" online.
That's because according to a joint study by Google and the National Association of REALTORS(r), over 90% of home buyers search online for real estate. When you couple this with 78% of consumers saying that the posts made by companies on social media influence their purchases and 91% of buyers are reported to have gone into a store because of an online experience, it is easy to see that your online presence can help you generate more viable real estate leads.
The first step is making sure real estate buyers and sellers can find you easily online is to know where you are and were you are not. Do this for free by visiting Moz.com (formally GetListed.org), scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your real estate business' name (which may be your name, your team name or a business name) and zip code. What comes up after you click, "Check My Listing Score"? If nothing is found, then the site will list different sites that you can click and set up your profile. If your information is found, click on it and it will show where you are.
Screenshot of Moz.com When Your Business is Not Found
You may have some work to do to make sure you are found in cyberspace. If you do, of course you can manually enter your information on the various sites or you can work with a company such as KnowEm or Moz.com that can do all of this for you for a fee. Either way, make it your mission to become more visible by completing these profiles before 2014 ends.
Where You Should Be Found: The Bare Essentials
YouTube (not a brokerage website) is noted as the number one destination for your potential clients to virtually review and tour neighborhoods and homes (according to the same study by Google and NAR that I mentioned earlier). If you have one of the latest smartphones, there is no longer any reason for you to not create at least a virtual tour video of your listings or the neighborhoods where you are targeting buyers. What's even greater is that YouTube is partnering/acquiring Directr, which is a super-simple way to record and edit great videos on the fly.
I encourage agents all the time that having a YouTube Channel is not about perfection - this is not network television - its about leveraging a popular platform to showcase why YOU should be home sellers' and buyers' agent of choice.
I love how Sue Adler has done her community videos. The camera may shake at times, the lighting may not be perfect but you can see by her number of views, the videos are serving their purpose of bringing her eyeballs.
Google Places for Businesses is another site you should make a priority to have your profile on sooner rather than later. Creating this profile can help you never again fear someone "googling" you! You can manage what is in your Google business profile, solicit reviews, link to your other sites and feature a glowing bio about yourself.
If you are a listing agent, let's pub those high-quality photos you have had professionally taken to Instagram and Pinterest just make sure you are working with a photographer that has given you license to do so. And since selfies are SOOO popular particularly on these sites, start posting glam-selfies ( glamorous self-taken pictures of you) in front of your upcoming listings.
With Facebook (FB) turning 10 years old earlier this year ( my, time flies when you are "liking" statuses), I would be remiss to not mention this behemoth as one of the basic places to be found. I used FB for free during its inception to plug my real estate listings and boy did I clean up with generating clients. But times have changed and FB now wants you to pay to promote, which is okay and can actually get you in front of a very targeted audience beyond your network of friends and their friends.
At the least, you should use FB to boost your listings and you can do this for as little as $1. If your MLS allows even 24 hours of pre-listing marketing, you can boost your listings on FB for that period so that once your listing goes live, your sellers will be amazed that you already have traffic.
If you want to go one step further, if you are hosting a home buying or selling seminar, you can advertise and target this event to a very specific consumer in a particular zip code or area using FB ads. Andrew Fogliato ( I heart RE/MAX's tech summer camp) was able to solely market his seminar on FB (no ads in the paper, no billboards, etc.) for well under $100 and capture attendees that actually showed up at his event. This means he may have spent 5-10 minutes creating the ad to have a successful seminar - that is extremely efficient and effective.
These are just the bare basics ( I know I probably left off your favorite social site but I didn't want this post to overwhelm those new to this feat) but as I mentioned earlier visit Moz.com for a free check-up on all of the sites that you have yet to engage with in order to be found easily online.
Follow me on Google+ for more helpful tips. Here's to your success!
Lee Davenport of AgentsAroundAtlanta.com offers 1-on-1 business strategy sessions to real estate agents around the country that desire to grow their real estate businesses and overcome the sales hurdles that plague particularly rookies.