By Marly Broudie

The real estate industry at one time depended solely on old school, traditional means of marketing, including lots of cold calling, expensive flyer distribution, bus stop ads and billboards. It is safe to say that the real estate market is now online and relies profoundly on the power of social media marketing.

A study from The National Association of Realtors says 44 per cent of homebuyers use the internet to look for properties first. Social media was cited as the top source for generating high quality homebuyer leads, followed by MLS.

Here are some further stats from this report:

So, how can you use the power of social media? Here are five top tips:

1. If you are not on social media, you will want to get your profiles up and at ’em!

For starters, get your Facebook Business account going – this is how you will be able to build your brand and use ad dollars to target market (you will see more on ad strategy in tip 5). You may have a personal Facebook page, but you will want a business page. This will allow you to target market and differentiate between business content and personal content. You can ensure that your personal posts and photos of your children are for your close friends, while your listings, sales and tips are for your business page.

5 ways to optimize the power of social media marketing
5 ways to optimize the power of social media marketing

Growing your business page is paramount. You can’t advertise with a personal page only. Your business page provides many opportunities for your business, so set it up.

Make sure your Instagram account is also up! Once it is, make it a business profile. This will give you insights and access to analytics and many other opportunities for leveraging your business. You can find out more about that and how to do it here.

Facebook and Instagram are primary platforms for Realtors, but it doesn’t hurt if you are active on LinkedIn or Twitter as well. Set up your profiles and start getting comfortable with the fact that you are going to be using social media.

2. Your brand:

Establishing your brand is an important next step. Your brand is not just your logo and your colours. Your brand directly effects your reputation. It is what others say about you when you are not in the room. Your brand includes your messaging, vision, goals and tone of your specialty.

Do you focus in on a niche area? Do you work with first-time buyers or retirees? Your brand should be ironed out and will dictate your social strategy. What do you want others to know about you? What sets you apart from all other Realtors? Your brand will resonate with others.

3. Quality content:

5 ways to optimize the power of social media marketing
5 ways to optimize the power of social media marketing

Once you have your social media profiles, quality content is key. It is not just about posting for the sake of posting. You want to ensure that your posts are valuable, interesting and insightful. Of course, you will want to post your listings and sales (and that is a value add for your clients) but think a bit outside the box. Is there something going on in the industry that your network should know? Changes to mortgage rules? Neighbourhood information? A new restaurant in the area that you sell in? Share your knowledge and insights. Share your tips. Why would a prospect want to work with you? What do you bring to the table? Now share that!

Do you have an eye for detail when it comes to staging a home for resale? Do you have insights on the foundation/construction of a well-built home versus a poorly built home? What differentiates you? Market that!

4. Quality images:

They say an image speaks 1,000 words – and on social media there is nothing truer than that. If you have a new listing and your photography is poor resolution and quality, that will have an impact on the listing and your credibility. If you are posting an image or statistic, and the image is blurry or cut off, this will impact perception.

On social media, perception is everything. As a comparison, imagine going into a car dealership to search for a new car, and the car in the showroom is dirty, scuffed up and the interior is filthy. Your listing photos and quality of your creative is paramount and directly impacts how others perceive you and your services.

Nice bright photos, high quality and correct image sizing makes all the difference.

5. The power of social media ads:

5 ways to optimize the power of social media marketing
5 ways to optimize the power of social media marketing

Due to the influx of content being shared online, organic reach and engagement has decreased exponentially. Social media advertising allows your content to be seen to a network beyond your followers. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram provide tools to sponsor posts and target market your ideal consumer.

For example, do you want to ensure that your posts are seen in front of a specific demographic? Perhaps you work with first-time homebuyers – you can use social ads to target men and women between the ages of 23 to 30, who live in a certain geographic area.

Read more on getting started with Facebook ads.

While social media alone will not be responsible for your business success, investing in it and doing it correctly will aid in reach and exposure for your business. The more ways that you market yourself and your business, the more likely it is that you will be top of mind among your network.

5 ways to optimize the power of social media marketing
5 ways to optimize the power of social media marketing
5 ways to optimize the power of social media marketing
5 ways to optimize the power of social media marketing
5 ways to optimize the power of social media marketing
5 ways to optimize the power of social media marketing
5 ways to optimize the power of social media marketing
5 ways to optimize the power of social media marketing