Bill Gassett was winning with the Internet and social media before they became must-use tools. Find out how he’s turned it into a lead-generating machine for the long haul
By Deborah Kearns // Photography by Ryan Struck
Bill Gassett went all-in on social media marketing long before it became the next big thing in real estate. He saw the power social media marketing would have in the industry, and he wasn’t afraid of diving in – although it wasn’t yet in the mainstream.
That was about eight years ago. Today, Gassett, a Sales Associate with RE/MAX Executive Realty in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, is dominating his market – and beyond – thanks to an ingenious digital marketing approach. From more than 32,000 followers on Google+ to being named among the “Top 99 Most Influential Realtors on Twitter” by WebsiteBox, Gassett has mastered real estate social media.
“Seventy-five percent of my leads come from my online presence: my website and social media pages,” says Gassett, who’s been in the business for nearly 30 years and with RE/MAX since 1996. “I’ve developed a long-term strategy of providing original content and giving credit to other industry professionals, which drives traffic to my website and ultimately results in leads.”
And those leads result in big business. In 2014, Gassett closed more than 90 transaction sides and more than $30 million in sales volume. He’s also a RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Award winner. His impressive success comes as no surprise to his Broker/Owner, Chuck Joseph. Gassett and Joseph have worked together for nearly 20 years, and they go even further back to when Joseph taught Gassett in the eighth grade, Joseph says.Use social media as a vehicle of two-way communication rather than self-promotion.Click To Tweet
“Bill developed his passion for real estate early on; it’s been his only career,” Joseph says. “He was instantly attracted to the Internet and social media to grow his business, and he’s never been afraid of trying new things.”
Whether it’s his top-notch website with traffic-driving SEO or his insightful blog posts and finesse on social media, Gassett proves you don’t need an enormous team to be successful, Joseph says.
“He’s an anomaly; it takes a number of years to create a style of business that works. From day one, Bill has always had a strong strategy for growing his business and he’s kept expanding it ever since. That’s remarkable.”
Gassett, who spends two-and-a-half hours each day on his online and social media marketing, attributes his results to a simple philosophy: Use social media as a vehicle of two-way communication rather than self-promotion.
“If you use all these tools to share information instead of saying, ‘Hey, look at me and all my listings,’ you’ll build a strong community of followers and, ultimately, you’ll grow your business,” Gassett says.
If you use all these tools to share information instead of saying, ‘Hey, look at me and all my listings,’ you’ll build a strong community of followers and grow your business. Bill Gassett
And what are Gassett’s best tips for using those tools to achieve online marketing success? Glad you asked:
Gassett’s top-ranked website, www.maxrealestateexposure.com, is chockfull of resourceful content. The main draw? His blog. His original posts cover all kinds of real estate topics, and the blog is rich in outbound links and social-sharing options. Here’s a recent post about buying and selling at the same time. “I link out to other sites and resources from my posts. Some agents link only to their own stuff, but that limits your reach. You have to reciprocate and realize you’re not the only authority on content out there. Be a giver instead of a taker.” Also, don’t forget to respond to the comments on your blog posts.
Create custom graphics.
Graphics matter in social media, Gassett says. He uses Canva.com to create graphics and overlay them with custom text to complement his content. Creating sharp graphics with catchy headlines will make people click on – and share – your content, he adds. This is especially important on Pinterest.
Automate your tweets.
Set aside 10 minutes each morning to curate your content/posts, and then put them on autopilot, Gassett suggests. He uses Buffer.com, an automated social media posting app, to create 20 hours worth of tweets that he sets and forgets. The biggest mistake you can make, however, is blasting out messages about your listings all day, Gassett cautions. His advice: “Most people who go on Twitter are not there to look for houses. Post relevant information that people will find interesting or helpful, or you’ll lose followers.”
Get on Google+
Gassett loves Google+ these days. He is administrator and creator of the Real Estate page on Google+, which has more than 20,000 followers. Why? “Google+ has a more tuned-in, business-minded audience. It’s a place where you can have serious conversations about real estate that would otherwise get lost in the noise on Facebook.” On his own Google+ page, Gassett has more than 32,000 followers and over 6 million profile views – a following he’s built over time by sharing his blog posts, interacting with other agents and industry leaders on Google+, and maintaining a consistent presence.
Create community pages.
Building online community pages for each neighborhood or town he serves has been a cornerstone of Gassett’s online marketing strategy. He says such destinations serve two purposes: 1) The pages are a tremendous resource for buyers and sellers to turn to for things like market statistics, crime rates and information about schools, local amenities and attractions; and 2) they also position you as the local market expert. Check out his community page for Ashland to see an example.