Over the coming weeks, we will be sharing a series of articles focused on how to’s and tips for real estate professionals looking to expand their social reach by utilizing tools such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and blogging to expand their online brand and convert their online connections into offline relationships.
For many real estate professionals, marketing can be a challenge, but with the plethora of tools available digitally today, it is easy to jump in and get started quickly. We would like to offer a piece of advice though – proceed with caution. Don’t jump in too quickly, and don’t take on more than you can handle. Social media is a big commitment. Communicating through Twitter or Facebook, for example, is no different than checking your emails, text messages, or phone calls. It is simply another messaging method with one major difference. Most of what happens in the social space is public. It is not anyone’s property except the social network/platform that is was communicated through, so the chances of getting something negative removed is not very high.
Before you take the plunge, follow along with our social media series, and take some time to learn the ins and outs of each individual social network. Our series will walk you through best practices, provide guidelines on the best times to share content, what kinds of content to share, and how to set up a profile that is consistent with your real estate brand.
We will cover the following topics, debuting a new how to guide each Thursday:
- Real Estate Guide to Marketing with Blogs
- Real Estate Guide to Twitter
- Real Estate Guide to Finding Fans on Facebook
- Real Estate Guide to Building Your Digital Network on LinkedIn
- Real Estate Guide to Harnessing the Power of Video Content on YouTube
- Real Estate Guide to Pins and Favorites on Instagram and Pinterest
Once we have establish the ground rules for navigating the social stream, we will provide the advanced users guide to social media, covering topics related to the following:
- Top 5 Ways to Promote Real Estate Properties/Listings on Your Real Estate Blog
- Leveraging Facebook to Increase Inbound Real Estate Leads
- Using Facebook to Connect with Buyers and Sellers
- Best Tools to Manage Your Real Estate Brand in the Social Space
- Captivating Your Pinterest Audience with Real Estate Property Photos
For our first topic, we will cover the general guidelines and the initial set up of social networking sites and which social platforms make the most sense for real estate professionals. The top social networking sites based purely on users are ranked as follows:
1. Facebook – Over 1 billion.
2. YouTube – Over 1 billion.
3. Twitter – Over 500 million.
4. Google+ – Over 500 million.
5. LinkedIn – Over 200 million.
6. Instagram – Over 130 million.
7. Pinterest – Over 70 million
In the coming social media series, we will outline in detail which social networking sites provide the greatest value and opportunities for real estate professionals.
But for now, here is a brief overview of the value of each of these social networking platforms as it relates to the real estate professional. One key fact for real estate professionals to understand is that the number of people using social networks vary by geography. For example, more people use social networks that live in cities and urban areas, accounting for 70% of the population.
Facebook – Women, ages 18-29, prefer to use Facebook in comparison to Facebook’s other users. The average Facebook user is a young 25 year old woman, living in a big city with a college degree and a household income of more than $75K a year. This sounds like a perfect first time home buyer for real estate professionals.
YouTube – The most popular age demographic of YouTube is 18-29, and is fairly split between male and female users. 100 million users take a social action (likes, shares, comments, etc.) on YouTube every week.
Twitter – A social network for those that like to read content in 140 characters or less skews more towards male users than female users. Users typically have a higher income level than Facebook or YouTube users. Most of Twitter users are 18-29 years old.
Google+ – 67% of Google+’s users are male. Google+ users are often described as techies and are most often aged 28 years old. 235 million Google+ users are actively using its features such as +1ing Google apps, using Google Hangouts, and connecting with friends in search.
LinkedIn – LinkedIn users primarily live in the United States, accounting for more than 35% of LinkedIn’s traffic. 65% of the professional users on LinkedIn are male, and the age range of LinkedIn’s user base is different than most of the other social media platforms falling into the range of 35-44 for 24% of their users, and 45-54 for 22% of their users. Most commonly, the LinkedIn user has no children in the household and the households tend to trend more affluent than some of the competing social networking sites, with 36% of LinkedIn users earning between $50-$100K, and 15% earning more than $150K. 74% of LinkedIn users have a college level education or a graduate degree.
Instagram – Instagram is particularly appealing to adults ages 18-29, who are also African American, Latinos, women and are urban residents. More than half of the top brands are using Instagram as part of their overall social media and marketing strategy.
Pinterest – If you are looking to target women, then Pinterest is where you should focus your efforts. Women are 5 times as likely as men to use Pinterest. Even more important is the geographical location of Pinterest users. If you are a real estate professional in the Midwest, then Pinterest is a great resource for connecting with potential home buyers and sellers as it has the highest concentration of users on Pinterest.
Here is an interesting graph showing the breakout of social media users across the different developed land environments of suburban, urban, and rural:
Subscribe to our blog to receive all of our Field Guide to Social Media for the Real Estate Professional series updates as they debut each Thursday. Next week, we will detail how to incorporate blogging into your real estate marketing strategy including details on how frequently you should be blogging, what kind of content appeals to your audience, guidance on optimizing your blogs for SEO, and the best practices for sharing your blog content after you’ve spent all of that effort crafting that great content.