To say that we live in a society driven by information is an understatement. Content and its dissemination have truly morphed into the lifeblood of our culture. Users on social media scroll their news feeds daily, hourly even, scraping the bottom of the barrel for news of the latest to-the-minute happenings of the world. Artists venture to the Internet from behind their creative microcosms seeking inspiration and information from peers and colleagues. Business executives distribute news and statistics internally and externally to maintain corporate competency in their designated industries. No matter who you are, from business-level higher-ups to child-caring parents at home, everyone is starved for content that may affect their professions, personal lives, routines, health, happiness, and far more. Thanks to technology and the speed at which we can scour the Web, we have become newfound hunter-gatherers of content—socially, personally, corporately. For real estate professionals charged with differentiating themselves from the competition and forging new relationships, this newfangled modus operandi, heavily led by social media and the blogosphere, has become a make-or-break ingredient for brokers and agents hoping to connect with the needs, wants, demands and eccentricities of the consumers they serve.
And you can’t afford to be left behind.
Content: The Foundation of Rock-Solid Relationships
In real estate, a majority of relationships are formed via past experiences and success stories. Once a REALTOR® has worked successfully with a client, trust is paved, and the agent’s expertise emerges as the sturdy, stone foundation that bonds the real estate professional to the client going forward. But how do we develop from an initial meeting or listing presentation to a rock-solid connection that can lead to referrals? The answer, in its simplest form, is content. Lots of it. The question at hand for most real estate companies is how to provide a steady stream of content both effectively and efficiently.
With its inescapable reach, social media is one of, if not the best, vehicles by which companies can make their presence known. Though Facebook and Twitter (and blogging, too) have dominated the social Web, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and countless others have also sprung into action, ready to support brokers and agents in their quest to cultivate goodwill among their spheres of influence, providing a podium for real estate professionals to display their uniqueness, character and savvy. With such a wide-open arena available at our fingertips, most of it free or nearly so, agents and brokers would be remiss to not leverage content on their social media pages and blogs to help boost their authority and stake a claim in their respective markets. As Neil St. Clair wrote in an April 22 story entitled “Playbook: How Content Marketing Solves A Real Problem for Real Estate” for Forbes.com, “There is a vast amount of digital real estate (pun intended) laying unclaimed that can translate into meaningful leads and revenue…REALTORS® large and small need to make a meaningful investment to generate a meaningful response. Content is that investment.”
With an abundance of space to strut your proverbial “stuff” all over the Web, brokerages have a multitude of options available and very different strategies on how to broach such an open-ended challenge. Between print, email, social media, mobile, video and more, the possibilities for marketing are seemingly endless, providing brokers and agents with countless ways to spread brand messaging far and wide. No matter what roads are chosen to be the conduits of says messaging, don’t be mistaken: dynamic content is boss in real estate.
The Right Content at the Right Time in the Right Place
Though delivering real estate property info is always top-of-mind for any brokerage, GARDNER, REALTORS® understands the necessity for community-based lighter fare, which gets a lot of play on the company’s website and Facebook page.
“It’s important for us to also be a lifestyle expert. We post all kinds of content about the communities we serve, not selling a house necessarily, but the lifestyle that comes with it,” says Crystal Gardner-Phillips, marketing and public relations director for GARDNER, REALTORS®.
How her company distributes information varies depending on the specific type of messaging. In terms of sharing with consumers, GARDNER, REALTORS® skews toward newsletters, email or Twitter, if the info in question is timely in nature.
“Our newsletter is very effective because typically, when we send it, it goes to someone who has requested to stay updated and might be in the market for a home now or in the future. It’s real estate information to the right people at the right time,” says Gardner-Phillips.
The company remains focused on evaluating not only the type of content that works best, but also, how to best present it.
“Our strategy involves having balanced content. We want to have the meaty real estate market information, but we also want to have the feel-good lifestyle content. We can’t just post our listings and expect people to react to that. We have to put a spin on it to make it more interesting,” says Gardner-Phillips.
Terri Pontzious, a REALTOR® for CENTURY 21 Award has also found success on her personal Facebook page by focusing on balanced content. She carefully hand selects what is appropriate for her business page versus her personal one, and pays close attention not to overwhelm her audience.
“I do a lot of gardening, so I’ve branded myself around everything to do with the home—gardening, food, and healthy eating for kids,” says Pontzious. “It gets people to respond and remember what you do. My goal is that anytime someone thinks about anything they need for their home, they’re going to contact me.”
With a unique blend of lighter fare and business materials posted across both pages, Pontzious uses content to help further promote her brand on both a personal and professional level.
“If people don’t answer your emails or respond to mailings, it’s because they don’t need you right then, but it doesn’t mean they’re not thinking about you.”
Credible Content, Consistently Delivered
When it comes to social media posts, and writing and delivering original content, GARDNER, REALTORS® dares to be different and holds itself to high standards. Presentation is always in mind, especially on Facebook with the company’s Fresh Listing Friday and Mansion Monday series, both accentuating particular features of home interiors, alongside exterior shots in an attempt to pique people’s interests in different ways.