Social Media Influence and Real Estate

Image of the screen of a smart phone with social media icons showing. Captioned: Social Media Influence and Real Estate

About three quarters of the U.S. population — some 225 million adults — make regular use of social media. Real estate companies and agents, as well as sellers and buyers, are contributing to this energy, and exploring the opportunities it brings. Here, we take a look at some major ways in which the real estate world is interacting through Facebook, Instagram, and other popular social channels.

Agents, Sellers and Buyers Get Social

Millennials comprise the fastest growing generation of home shoppers. No wonder the use of social media channels is a vital form of connection and publicity for real estate professionals. And in 2020, the pandemic was a further push for real estate agents to raise their social media game.

Today, expect buyers and sellers alike to follow local agents’ social media posts. Online interactions offer insights into agents’ rapport with clients as well as news about the local listings. Agents are finding the right mix of spontaneous outreach, social media management, and paid advertising that best builds their brands.

Real estate companies and professional associations have pages on LinkedIn and Facebook, where they advertise, create knowledge bases, and contribute to conversations. Those who are up for quick responses might enjoy the fast pace of Twitter, while Facebook allows a somewhat more leisurely approach. LinkedIn is a good place for agents and businesses to build a reputation, especially by connecting with clients and other professionals willing to write good endorsements.

Creating a Facebook business page is an especially important way to connect with millennials as well as older audiences. Tantalizing visuals can be sent simultaneously through Facebook and Instagram. YouTube has the latest forms of showing off homes for sale, like the real estate drone video trend.

For buyers and sellers, plenty of home-related resources can be found through social media. In Ohio and looking to connect with construction ideas? Just type #OhioConstruction into Instagram’s search box, right on the top of the page. Looking for #HVACOrlando? You get the picture.

Social Media Lends Itself to Mortgage Experts  

The concept of lenders as stodgy and deskbound, with little concern for user-friendly and informative content? That’s becoming a thing of the past. Social media, in addition to website makeovers, can quickly improve the public’s view of a company and give it a leading edge. 

According to American Pacific Mortgage, a lender can best raise the profile of a business by leveraging the satisfaction of current customers. Nurturing existing connections and welcoming positive reviews on social media are keys to relationship building.

As for where lenders receive the best bang for the buck, Facebook and Instagram are major marketing channels. Did you know you can follow your mortgage lenders on Instagram? You might be surprised at what they’re up to. And the power of a YouTube video is hard to overstate. One- or two-minute videos can effectively share information and to project their company’s core values and ideas.

Many members of the mortgage banking sector have social media pages on LinkedIn and Facebook, where they lead conversations about where the industry is going and who is taking it there.

Title Companies Can Do It Too

Title companies can forge social media connections with lenders and real estate agents, advertising their know-how and their experience in specific kinds of transactions and claims, or announcing the presentations they’re attending and hosting. This profile page for Stewart Title offers a good example. The American Land Title Association is active on social media as well, talking about the major industry trends like the rapid adoption of remote online notarization (RON).

Title professionals are also connecting with homeowners. It makes good sense, as title insurance affects every homeowner or potential homeowner. But most buyers don’t give that much thought. Homebuyers are accustomed to accepting a real estate agent’s or lender’s title company of choice.

Although the federal Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) gives homeowners the right to select their own title insurance purveyors, many buyers don’t know. Social media will help change that, by increasing public knowledge about title insurance companies’ comparative prices and policies. In short, social media offers title companies a viable channel to explain title insurance and boost brand recognition — largely free of charge.

Note:Insurers need to know their state insurance department’s marketing rules before embarking on their social media management plans. Depending on state law, title companies might be barred from certain practices, such as certain types of giveaways and co-advertising with real estate agencies.

While we’re talking titles, it bears mentioning that the folks who record our deeds are on social media, too. They’re sharing items of historical significance as well as news and community updates.

Condos and Co-Ops: The Reputation Management Challenge

Image of a kitchen counter with a laptop computer, a cell phone, and a vase full of flowers. Captioned: Condos and Co-Ops: The Reputation Management Challenge

Housing co-op and condominium leaders might worry that a Facebook group could attract complaints. But that sort of thing could happen anyway, given that any resident could set up a page whenever they wish. Plus, there are plenty of online local event and review sites that serve as magnets for gossip and gripes. Jumping into social media can help an organization or business influence the narrative. Social media reputation management firms now exist, geared to help apartment and condo properties rank higher in searches and project the desired corporate image.

For marketing co-op and condo units, social media is a cost-efficient tool. Housing leaders with active social media accounts can show their available units and listen to what their communities are saying. As new generations buy into these communities, their social media engagement will come with them. Leaders who adapt, and personally get involved, can create engagement, transparency, and cohesion.  

Pro tip: Social media posts, like emails and other electronic forms of communication, could be used in legal actions involving an association or management company. In general, it’s helpful to stay alert to visitor posts and to answer comments both positive and negative, show a caring response and a genuine effort to work for the best interests of all concerned.  

Ready to Get Social? Here Are a Few Key Tips.

An active social media presence is a powerful tool to maintain important connections with people, and project expertise and community spirit. The best way to go ahead is to choose the platforms most popular with your ideal clients and collaborators. To appeal to a range of age groups, it’s best to pick more than one.

Facebook and Instagram, combined, reach most age groups. LinkedIn is an important channel for today’s professionals, and well-designed YouTube videos are widely shared.

For community association management, focus on helpful things: polls, event announcements and photos, perhaps even furniture swaps. Someone should be designated to manage the page, and, if needed, edit contributed posts from the community.

Using Facebook? Read up on the platform’s functions and updates. Use care in deciding what permissions to grant contributors to the page. If you are posting on behalf of the company, ask people for permission before posting photos with identifiable faces, and avoid posting photos of kids or personal travel and health updates. Avoid posting location information about unoccupied homes as well. In short, think before every post. And when in doubt, ask the company’s or association’s lawyer for guidance.

For results you can depend on, the key is commitment. Be prepared to post at least three times a week on any social media platform. Reciprocate when comments come your way. Small gestures on social media build trust in the long run.  

Supporting References

Victoria Keichinger: The Power of Social Media in Real Estate (Coldwell Banker blog).

Kristen R. Price, Social Media and Marketing for the Title Industry.

A. J. Sidransky, Co-op/Condo Communities and Social Media: A Useful Tool for Some. The Cooperator (New York; Oct. 2019).

Photo credits: dole777 and Jessica Lewis, via Unsplash.