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As many know, social media is not just a platform to keep up with distant relatives and high school friends, but a way to strategically promote your business and garner more referrals. Recently, social media expert, author and speaker Katie Lance of Katie Lance Consulting, and our VP of Marketing, Lisa Fettner shared how agents can maximize social media channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram to build a powerful referral network.

During the webinar, Katie and Lisa shared tips and strategies agents and brokers can do with social media to establish a nationwide presence while still being the local expert. They also shared best practices on how to use social media to promote your nationwide expertise and let friends/family members know you can help them with any real estate need.

Here are some key takeaways:

Choose your channels and strategy. It’s important to choose your social channels based on what your clients – and future clients are using. Don’t be afraid to simply ask your clients what channel they like the best and use the most. In the famous words of Benjamin Franklin, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” If you’re not able to manage everything yourself, it’s okay to hire someone to help – whether it’s a copy writer, video editor, etc. When it comes to social media, remember: quality over quantity. It’s better to use one or two social channels really well than all of them somewhat scarcely.

LinkedIn is the first place to connect with new and potential clients. LinkedIn may not be as fun as Facebook or Snapchat, however it is a great place to start if you’re looking to generate more referrals from your professional network. First and foremost, make sure your bio is current. Sounds like a no-brainer, but many people leave their profiles untouched, collecting dust for years. This includes updating your photo, skills/expertise, relevant photos/videos and most importantly, your contact information. Publishing new content (e.g., top mistakes homebuyers are making, biggest piece of advice I give my clients) and blogs on LinkedIn is a valuable way to share your knowledge and expertise.

Another great way to utilize LinkedIn is to give and ask for 5-10 recommendations. Remember, you have to give to get. One agent who Katie works with makes a point to give one or two recommendations on the first of every month whether it’s for a stager, lender or past client.

Lisa also added that, if you have a common name, putting it in ALL CAPS will push you to the top of the search results.

Facebook is still the #1 social network. With close to two billion users, Facebook is a mix of personal and business content, so it’s important to find a balance. We live in a mobile first world (1 in 5 mobile minutes are spent on Facebook), which means you have to consider how people are engaging with your Facebook content on a mobile device. It can be challenging to cut through the noise on Facebook, so when you’re creating your content, ask yourself:

  • Is my content thumb-stopping?
  • How do I win when there is so much content from their friends and family?

The best way people will connect with you is when you share who you are beyond business. Creating private lists (check out facebook.com/bookmarks/lists) for clients (current and past) and potential clients is an effective way to connect with your sphere on Facebook. This will allow you to filter out your other Facebook friends so you can engage with their posts and see what they’re up to. Perhaps they’ve just had a Birthday or one of their kids just graduated high school – these are all opportunities for you to reach out and connect.

Using Facebook ads to reach more people is another great way to generate referrals by boosting posts that have to do with your business (e.g., new listings, a picture with your client after closing). Pro tip: start small and make sure you have a link to a landing page.

Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms. Katie emphasized that it’s important to think beyond the listing photo and the front of the house. Every home has a unique story, and Instagram lets you share it in a creative and fun way. Highlight the best amenities of the home (e.g., cozy fireplace, pool with a diving board, spa-like bathroom) versus the boring old shot of the home from curb. Check out Orlando ReferralExchange agent Nicole Mickle’s Instagram page for inspiration at @iorlandorealesate.

Instagram is always updating their app to incorporate new features. Most recently they’ve made updates to allow users to upload several photos in one post that you can swipe through to see. Additionally, Instagram makes it really easy for other users to find your posts through hashtags (up to 30 for each post). Find popular and trending hashtags by selecting ‘Tags’ in the search bar and check out hashtagify.me to search for relevant hashtags for your area. Instagram stories (similar to Snapchat stories) is another way to share “behind-the-scenes” videos and pictures that showcase your everyday meetings, appointments and activities you do to help your clients with their real estate needs.

Regardless of which channels you choose to use for your business, don’t underestimate the behind-the-scenes content (people love it!), cross pollinate your content, be consistent, be relevant and don’t be afraid to have fun!

Watch the full webinar here and grab a copy of Katie’s new book #GetSocialSmart