Over the last couple of years, blogging, Google AdWords, Craigslist, Facebook, Twitter and all manner of social media marketing have been the hot topics of real estate marketing.
The numbers and speed at which agents have jumped onto these emerging marketing tools has been truly amazing. Driven by the economic realities of a dramatically smaller number of homes selling each year, the low- or no-cost of social media, social media marketing and blogging have proven to be irresistible lures to agents.
The problem is the success of those who first jumped on the trend is not being replicated by the mass number of agents as they try to play follow-the-leader. Today, agents need to take a deep breath and understand the new rules of real estate marketing.
In the year ahead, the trend of agents adopting social media marketing will continue, but as a whole the business they generate via this marketing channel will continue to drop significantly. Why? Because simply being involved in social media is no longer a differentiating factor. You now have to stand out within this new medium.
This new rule in social media has propelled leading-edge agents to develop and target micro niches. A micro niche is a small, highly differentiated group of people to whom an agent can provide a unique level of communication, personality, personal service and knowledge. In the Chris Anderson book, The Long Tail, he explains how the Internet and social media have turned the mass market into millions of small micro niches.
Marguerite Giguere, an agent who began her career in real estate at the end of 2007, specializes in the urban core in downtown Tacoma, WA. She targets two micro niches within the downtown core: childless couples 25-45 years old and the gay community. Because she knows exactly whom she is going after, her marketing communication has more power because it speaks to the exact needs of her micro niches.
Her following of friends on Facebook and her followers on Twitter all have common interests and issues. Because of this focus, her social media activities go viral within her targeted niche and have tremendous power in building her personal brand. In addition, she can place ads on Facebook that reach this exact target market.
Her Web site, theskydivingagent.com, and her print real estate marketing materials communicate directly to her micro niches, allowing her to generate dramatically higher conversion rates as a niche player than the average agent who is a generalist. Staying extremely focused is what has made Marguerite thrive while more experienced and more knowledgeable agents have left the industry.
Video marketing is the hottest trend and is growing exponentially. YouTube, Facebook and now Twitter have made it so easy to distribute video that video home tours are quickly becoming a standard request, if not a requirement, of marketing homes. There is a new rule in production of video. Gone are the days of boring video that walks you through a home with elevator music playing in the background.
Agents like Sue Adler in New Jersey and Whitney Pannell in Lexington, KY, are bringing video to life by being the live tour guide in listing videos. As a tour guide, they are able to point out the features of homes more effectively and use their personality to build a relationship with the viewer, building rapport even before meeting the prospect.
Once you have videos on YouTube and Facebook, it is easy to direct prospective buyers to view home tours and tours of the geographic target markets served. You and others can comment about your videos on Facebook and feature video on your Web site.
There are new rules when it comes to marketing via social media and video. It’s up to you to learn the new rules and execute… quickly.