In Part 1, the idea of various land specific websites was discussed. This time let’s surf around the topic of social media. Not that long ago everything was e-business, e-commerce, e-books and now it is just normal day-to-day regular business to have a website, shop online and read digital books. The same thing is happening with social media. To re-phrase an old saying… what was once new is old again.
Social media began with an online place for your “stuff” (most notably the music crowd that adopted MySpace in droves when it debuted) then along came likes, tweets, posts, and now timelines. But now it’s not really social media as a “New” category anymore – it’s business. Nearly every brand has a Facebook page or Twitter account and although new tools show up like Klout and Google+… it really all is just forms of marketing.
New social networks like Chime.in are popping up like popcorn all the time. How could anyone let alone your land agent keep up with all these social profiles? They should be outside on the land and not face plowed into a computer screen, right? True enough maybe but the cold hard fact is that nearly everyone starts their real estate search online long before they contact an agent. The National Association of Realtors had a stat a couple of years ago that was nearly 87% of buyers start their searches online first before contacting anyone. That number has likely increased even more.
So how do you know if your land agent is marketing your land on the right social media sites? The short answer is you don’t! No magic silver bullet exists that puts your listing on every single place but as with most things there are some hot spots. The major players are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and now Google+ might be added to that list. So should your land be listed in all these places? Probably not. However, agents that network aggressively will have profiles on these sites and keep them current. An agent flooding their news feeds with listing advertisements will be ignored lightning fast as users quickly hit the “Hide” button.
A quick and easy way to look up what profiles a person or brokerage has is to see if they have a Follr profile like this or an About Me profile. These sites or others like them list all the profiles in one place and make it easy to see at quick glance which networks they use. The number of profiles is not necessarily indicative of effective social media presence because sometimes profiles get setup at hundreds of places but they are never maintained so look for activity at least monthly or in some cases weekly depending on the network. So we’ll use the top websites as examples of how land might be marketed.
First, Facebook. WHY? Well, because the whole universe is on there it seems. Facebook individual profiles are not the best place to market anything but likely the agent would have their job description and links to their websites or listings from their profile. The other option is a Facebook Business Page which is probably where most agents post information about new listings or they might even have a special tab setup just for listings. However, an overlooked source on Facebook is group interest pages like hunting pages where someone might be posting that they are looking for hunting land. This is a perfect opportunity for an agent to pop in and comment that they have a listing that might work. A word of caution though… Social media is time consuming and not everyone is going to be active on all sites so just because an agent is not posting and commenting all over the place does not mean they are not marketing your land.
Next up, LinkedIn. This is definitely not a place to advertise listings but it is one of the best places for agents to network and connect. The profile should be current with links to their listings or website but again posting listings in the news feed will not be useful. However, there are several groups where listings can be promoted and discussed. We have used some of the cattle and beef networks where we keep up on hay and alfalfa topics and have posted links to our pasture listings when appropriate. LinkedIn also has several real estate groups where listings are allowed but moderation is key or the listings will just get lost in all the noise.
Finally, we have Twitter. Basically a shortened bullet point version of other sites like Google+ or Facebook. You have to talk concise and fast on twitter and the news feeds move so fast that just like the commercial – it will be so… 47 seconds ago. Twitter users hate automatic tweets from other sites so if a twitter account is linked to Facebook and the comments are being automatically posted – they are cut off after 140 characters and then the person has to go click on the Facebook link which defeats the purpose of being on Twitter. The 3 best advantages of Twitter are lists, hashtags and chats. Lists are one way to group users together so you can read news feeds from specific followers. Hashtags are the number pound (#) sign before words on Twitter and they make it easier to find tweets on topics you are interested in. For example, by searching for #LANDTHINK you can pull up only tweets with those hashtags. Hashtags get very popular during breaking news like #Egypt or #Japan and of course Charlie Sheen’s antics can be followed via hashtags. Hashtags go hand in hand with chats as well. You can follow a topic of discussion by following that particular hashtag. #haytalk is only about hay but they also have specific chat times where in real time they discuss issues like livestock feeding and forage management. There are hundreds of chats going on each week and finding new places to connect on any topic is very easy on Twitter.
So how do you navigate the maze of social media and know which places are best? You don’t. Maintaining a few good profiles and making meaningful and helpful posts about relevant topics is a general rule of thumb. Keep in mind that this is just a discussion about one aspect of marketing and that each property will have unique marketing requirements due to its attributes and location. Each agent is also different and has tools that work for him or her the best. Not one social media platform or one website is the best or the only place a property should be posted. Social media is just another tool in the box and in the end that really is all you need… a good toolbox.
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