When it comes to social media platforms for real estate agents, Tony Giordano believes Facebook is not just a social network. It’s THE social network.
“Nobody is close. It’s not going anywhere. It’s worldwide,” says the real estate consultant, speaker and author of the best-selling book, “The Social Agent.”
So how do agents get the most out of this social media giant? Giordano has advice for maximizing Facebook as well as some of the other social media platforms. Here are some of the tips he shared with attendees of the RE/MAX Commercial Symposium in September:
“In addition to a business page, a Realtor or salesperson should have a minimum of 2,000 friends on their personal Facebook page,” Giordano says. “Real estate is a contact sport. Don’t let anyone tell you different. Real estate is a numbers game. Some agents say, ‘Oh, but I’m going after quality, not quantity.’ Shut up! You’re never going to find quality unless you have quantity.”
Cultivate relationships on Facebook without heavy-handed promotion. A good measure of content curation is to stick to the 80-20 rule. 80% personal. 20% business. Giordano gives this example: “I’m a dog lover, a good dad, funny … and occasionally I share that I’m also a real estate agent,” he says. “This doesn’t feel like spam. They (friends and others on Facebook) actually feel like they know me.”
Develop a rapport with others on Facebook who might turn into prospects or referral sources. To do this, actively comment on friends’ Facebook posts and interact with your followers who regularly like and comment on yours. Don’t merely create a post and wait passively for others to comment. “For every 10 people who are also commenting on your friend’s post, you’re not friends with eight of them,” Giordano says, suggesting this as a way to engage strangers.
Dedicate your personal Facebook page to your business. If that means some posts or pics have to be sacrificed to maintain the desired professional image, Giordano says, “Sorry, real estate people don’t get the luxury of posting like their friends and family do.”
Giordano says one industry problem is that “we’re being taught by techies, not salespeople,” adding that the human side of sales is very much alive.
“All we’ve done is go from door knocking to door clicking,” he says, decrying the so-called “death of cold-calling” as not only greatly exaggerated but downright false. “It’s not the death of cold-calling,” he argues. “Just the death of ‘cold.’”
Giordano says that Realtors need to realize that before they can perform as salespeople, they need to realize they’re in the marketing and advertising business. “That’s where business comes from,” he says.
Don’t view Zillow as a threat. Giordano lauds the platform for relieving him of old burdens. “Thank you, Zillow, for being my property specialist, so I don’t have to show clients dozens of properties; I only have to show them four,” he says. “Zillow, LoopNet and CoStar are not the end of the agent. If anything, they’re the end of the MLS, and I can see it from a mile away.”
There is debate over how much business a Realtor’s website attracts, but don’t neglect that website. “Why? Because it’s the modern-day first impression,” Giordano says. “And it needs to stand above competitors, not beside it. They (prospects) will probably never visit it again, just that one time. And just as important, this modern-day first impression needs to look just as good on a mobile device as on a (desktop) computer.” Giordano then asks rhetorically, “So why do I put my listings on my website? For other sellers!”
Don’t drop the ball as you near the goal line: “Be just as accessible as the information, and you’ll get the call every time,” Giordano says. But just because Giordano lauds the powers of Facebook doesn’t mean he eschews other platforms. Among those to consider embracing is WhatsApp, an Android app that allows businesses to interact with customers, with tools to sort, automate and quickly respond to messages. “You need all of these in your arsenal, he says. “You should have anything that has tens of millions of people in it.”
Maintain a Facebook business page. To learn how to fortify that, Giordano advises agents to study YouTube videos. He says agents should know what small and large businesses are moving to their city, and make sure their website key words include their city. “Think like a consumer,” he says, “not like a salesperson.”
Create livestreaming video. “Everything is going to video,” Giordano says. “Video will take over 90 percent of news feeds. If you’re camera-shy, turn it around and narrate. Start playing with it. It can be personal; it can be business. If you stutter on-camera and laugh, (audiences) are OK with it. It doesn’t have to be a big production.”
“LinkedIn is the professional network,” Giordano says. “LinkedIn is the modern-day resume. Raise your hand if you’ve ever used a resume to get a job. Were you proud of it? You better have been, because that’s the only way you could stand out against your competition.” Finally, Giordano says of LinkedIn, “It’s connecting you with people OUTSIDE your profession. That is key.”
If you don’t have time to manage two platforms, repurpose your Facebook business content, with a slightly different message, for LinkedIn. “Whatever you have on your Facebook business page, copy and paste it on your LinkedIn site,” Giordano advises. “LinkedIn will take care of it. Endless professional contacts are on LinkedIn today. Of every 20 professionals I know, 19 are on LinkedIn.”