The way people are searching for and finding properties is much different now than it was ten years ago.“Whether you want to find a place to eat, buy a new pair of shoes, or stream a movie, you’re going to be doing it online,” says millennial real estate developer Brosnan C. Hoban. “And when you’re finally ready to buy a property, you’re likely going to use social media to find it.” A 2018 report by the National Association of Realtors showed that 44% of property buyers looked online first. Just one year later, the number jumped to about 77%. “Even Baby Boomers use mobile devices 68% of the time,” laughs Brosnan, “so it makes sense to devote a lot of your energy towards using social media.”
“Although most millennials are using Instagram over Facebook, most of the clients we deal with are more comfortable on Facebook,” says Brosnan. A big reason for this is that Facebook’s user demographics match the right age and income of a realtor’s target audience. On one platform businesses can publish content, listing-related updates, message and schedule appointments with clients, and “if we do job right, they’ll leave us a 5 star review or a recommendation.” Also Facebook ads are the best types of ads you can do because it lets you specifically target only those clients interested in buying property in your area. Also 360 photos show well on Facebook as well.
“Your clients aren’t going to look for you on LinkedIn,” says Brosnan. “But what LinkedIn does for you is two things: it allows you to network with other realtors out there, and increases your search engine optimization.” Every time that your client types in your name, you want to come up on the first page. Adding a LinkedIn profile helps you increase your online presence that much more.
“Realtors need to understand that when it comes to social media, you aren’t just selling properties, but you are selling a brand. And that brand is you,” Hoban explains. Instagram is the best of all of the platforms when it comes to brand reinforcement. “What helps is that Instagram lends itself to bright photos and videos.” Also, Instagram Stories are designed for realtors to provide a quick and easy way to personalize property updates each day.
Agent is Still King
“With all that being said,” says Brosnan, “even if clients are savvy enough to do their own research, eventually they will come to me to close the deal.” He is correct. Industry data shows that most clients look at 10 properties before even contacting a realtor, but when they are ready to purchase a property, they turn to a realtor.
So why should they choose you over your competition? It’s familiarity–either direct, or through a recommendation from someone that the client knows and trusts. To help build your “brand recognition” you need to make your presence known “online” by creating content in your area. Whenever possible, attend events that attract buzz on social media. If people see you as someone who has a vested interest and some level of authority in your community, then clients will gravitate towards you and thereby become a lead funnel. In addition to being “present” in the community, it’s also important that whatever you post, whether a photograph or an article online, contains content that people will care about. According to Brosnan, “What’s important is understanding that very few people understand the intricacies of buying and selling property. This means that if your social media presence sets you up as the expert that they’re looking for, your job is almost done.”
“What I’ve found,” concludes Brosnan, “is that the more you make your online presence known, the more content you have, the more leads you have, and then the more sales you have. Then when you add the power that social media created along the way, this just compounds into more content, and leads, and sales, etc.”
$10+ million in business in less than five years shows that Brosnan C. Hoban has positioned himself as the expert that clients in his native Pittsburgh area, as well as aspiring commercial developers and realtors all over the world, need.