This month, Real Estate magazine spoke with Rocket Mortgage’s Bridget Hillyer, social campaign manager and content strategist, who discussed how real estate professionals can leverage social media to build their business.
Joey Macari: Tell us how you got started with Rocket Mortgage, how it led to your current role, and what exactly your role is.
Bridget Hillyer: I started at Rocket as a creative strategy intern in 2017, but quickly gravitated toward social content creation. At the time, Rocket Mortgage was really starting to up its focus in the social space, but no one owned the strategy. I made that my focus, and now I lead the development of our brand social campaigns.
A part of my job is reviewing commercial concepts and weighing in on how well I think they’ll fit online. Some ideas that work in a 30-second TV commercial format don’t necessarily work on social, where you need to convey the selling point quickly.
After a commercial is selected, I work with the campaign manager to decide what social content pieces we need, what platforms they will run on and how many ads we can support. I then work with our creative team, helping brainstorm and ultimately approve those concepts.
JM: What trends do you see in social media strategy as it relates to the real estate industry?
BH: Right now, TikTok is the leading platform for trend development and innovation. The demographics of the platform aren’t exclusively young as people think, so the home-buying audience is there even if it isn’t as large a group as other platforms.
The benefit of TikTok is if you know how to use a trend properly, the algorithm can get you in front of a lot of people quickly. However, you really have to understand those trends and be a regular user of the platform to do this right. If TikTok just isn’t for you, there are still learnings you can take away.
TikTok has really shown there is a huge desire for bite-sized, snackable videos, and those videos can be popular across all platforms. Sometimes a 20-second video explaining the pros and cons of waiving an inspection can be far more effective than spending three minutes getting your message across.
JM: What type of content should real estate professionals be sharing on social media?
BH: First off, work to separate your personal and private lives on social. Have accounts to promote your business and private accounts if you want to share photos from your kid’s graduation or your weekend vacation. Not only does that give you the ability to take a break from work when you’re online, but it also ensures that you’re keeping your content consistent. If people are following you for real estate tips and home tours, they won’t be interested in completely unrelated topics.
In terms of what to post, it’s all about giving your audience something of value. When making content, I like to think about the big three: education, entertainment and engagement.
The education aspect is about answering questions, providing tips, etc. This is how you show you’re an expert without actually saying it. Entertainment is where you can let your personality shine and find a way to keep people watching. Finally, engagement: respond to comments as soon as you can, ask your audience to share questions and look to find real moments of connection wherever you can.
You’re creating a community and a sense of familiarity. Because real estate is still a face-to-face business, people need to feel like they have a relationship with you, even on social media.
JM: With so many different platforms to choose from, what is your best advice in terms of an effective posting strategy?
BH: I think there’s this misconception that you have to be everywhere all at once to succeed in Social, which can feel very overwhelming. So, when you’re building your strategy, don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you try to do it all and you can’t keep up, you’re going to be doing your business a disservice.
It’s about understanding your intended audience and what platforms they prioritize, and choosing the number of platforms you can realistically keep up with.
JM: Keeping up with social media can feel like a full-time job. What tips would you offer to help streamline the process?
BH: Pre-planning sessions and calendars are your best friends. I know it can feel like other social creators are just developing content on the fly, but they are likely working very hard to make things seem that way.
You need to treat posting on social like any other job. Dedicate working sessions to it and prepare in advance. Having the week—or better yet, the next month—of posts all planned will give you more freedom to work on scripts, edit your videos and jump on trends when you see them.
JM: What methodology should real estate professionals use to drive potential clients to their firms’ landing pages?
BH: Once you begin creating content people want to watch and building relationships with your followers, you can push your website in a lot of different places. Mention your website in videos when you encourage people to like and subscribe. When you’re responding to comments, include the link or name of the site so they know where to go to utilize your services.
Instagram and TikTok only allow you to share one link, but as a real estate professional, you’re going to want more than one link through which to share your services. Therefore, looking at something like Linktree—which takes you from your profile to a menu of different links—will allow you to switch up links as the content you share changes.
JM: What should real estate professionals know about cultivating brand sponsorships and partnerships through social media?
BH: Having a consistent content strategy and brand is a huge part of securing brand deals. Companies have business goals they need to meet and audiences they want to get in front of, so they will review your profiles to determine if you are the best fit for them. When you post regularly, engage with your audience and develop quality content that stays within a select topic, that helps them know what a partnership with you gets them.
Next, have an inquiry email that is clearly marked for potential brand deals on all of your profiles. That email is a signal you are accepting paid influencer opportunities and makes contacting you easy. Influencers are everywhere, so brands won’t waste time digging to find a way to contact you. They’ll just move on to someone else.
JM: What is your No. 1 piece of advice for real estate professionals figuring out how to best promote their business?
BH: Don’t fake it and don’t force it. Don’t create a different version of yourself because you think it will give you the best chance of social success, and don’t create a TikTok account because everyone says you should. Authenticity is a huge asset in the social space, and people can tell when you aren’t being yourself or having a good time.
When you’re making content you enjoy in a way that is true to you, that’s when you will really see the best results for your business.