5 Effective Ways to Market Yourself Online
Recent shifts in search and social media algorithms are altering the way we do business online. The world of online marketing can change at the drop of a hat, but staying up-to-date on the latest strategies doesn’t have to be complicated. Right now, it’s all about a return to the essentials. Here’s what you need to know right now to maintain your competitive edge.
1. Social Media: Get Back to Basics
When it comes to social media, it really is about quality over quantity. You don’t need to be on every single channel. In fact, you shouldn’t be. You don’t even need to post every single day. (Our only exception to that last statement is if you've just joined a particular social media channel, then posting daily will help get your engagement, reach and activity metrics jump started.) These days, most of the social media algorithms are rewarding profiles with active and engaged communities over those with just high follower numbers. What really matters in this space is authenticity, community and consistency.
Pick one or two channels where you can really connect with your audience and focus on creating content that is personable and helpful. Make sure to comment and like posts regularly from people you follow. Be thoughtful and purposeful about your comments rather than just using emojis. Instagram is great for stunning visuals with thoughtful captions while Facebook is the channel-of-choice for longer-form content. LinkedIn should be a part of your strategy if you’re looking to increase business from industry peers or related professional networks and if you're just getting started, make sure you set up a Google My Business page. Why? Because any marketing tool that Google gives you — especially when it’s free — is another tool in your SEO arsenal -- and it gives prospects in your area an easy way to connect with you, especially if they do a mobile search.
No matter which channel you choose, be a true resource for your community. That can include past and current clients, future homebuyers and even other social influencers and real estate experts.
2. Google: It’s Time for a Tune-Up
If online marketing is a regular part of your promotional strategy, then you already understand the importance of Google search ranking - where your website falls in the list of results relative to targeted search terms like “North Central Phoenix Realtor” or “Scottsdale Luxury Realtor,” for example.
Many Realtors are investing significant time and resources into pay-per-click advertising or content creation. This can have significant positive impact on your website’s reach, search ranking and lead generation. However, upcoming changes to the Google algorithm could impede these efforts if you’re not paying attention to one very important factor: site speed.
Earlier this month, Google announced they will give less ranking priority to websites with slow load times and boosting those that are properly optimized in an ongoing effort to provide users with the best online experience. One thing you can do to improve your online marketing efforts today is to check your site speed, both on desktop and mobile. You can do this quickly by visiting testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com and inputting your URL.
After testing your website speed and benchmarking it against industry competitor sites, Google will serve up a list of recommended to-do’s in order to improve its performance. Run this test and make any suggested changes by July 1, which is when the complete algorithm update is expected to go into effect.
3. Online Review Sites
If you're not already actively gathering online reviews for your real estate business, then you're missing out on a golden opportunity to attract new customers. Nine out of ten consumers read online reviews. That's a staggering number and one that shouldn't be ignored. Reviews are the "first impression" many consumers use in the beginning phases of their online search and 72 percent of consumers admit that positive reviews inspire trust in an individual or company and are an important factor in determining who they will use OR not use. Our top recommendations for review sites you should be focusing on are Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook and Zillow.
We'll be diving into "the why" with each one of these platforms in more detail in an upcoming blog post dedicated soley to Third Party Review Sites and addressing the growing tendency for users to rely on vocal commands and personal digital assistants (Google, Siri, Alexa) to handle their search queries and how this may impact your online marketing strategy moving forward.
4. Content: Everyone Is a Storyteller
The most effective online marketing effortlessly combines sales with storytelling. Google, Facebook and Instagram even favor websites and accounts that are creating unique and quality content. Your social media, blog posts and even online advertising should connect potential clients to the heart of what you do and who you are.
Allow your audience to get to know you before you serve up a sales pitch. Mix in some raw and relatable content - your recent professional wins and struggles or some behind-the-scenes glimpses into #realtorlife - along with free resources that will make their home-buying or -selling process easier.
Give them plenty of reasons to come back to your social media profile or website before, during and even after working with you. This way, you’re nurturing a long-term relationship, increasing the chances that they’ll reach out the next time they need a Realtor or, better yet, recommend you to their friends and family.
5. Video: Think Strategically & Invest Wisely
Did you know? Homebuyers are 600 times more likely to click on a video in an MLS listing than they are to click on a photo. Think what a smart video marketing strategy can do for your sales goals! Now, we recognize that professional listing videos can be an expensive investment so that’s why we recommend a two-pronged strategy for many of our Realtor clients.
For example, we advise them to use Facebook and/or Instagram Live video to give a quick and interactive glimpse into a new listing. Give followers a heads-up that you’ll be going live on a certain day and time by publishing the information alongside a gorgeous professional photo or virtual tour of the home. Encourage them to tune into the live Facebook tour with questions or requests of which features to highlight in your video. Once the live recording is finished, pay to boost the post in order to expand your reach to your desired audience.
If you’re going to invest in professionally-produced video, we also recommend doing a biopic - essentially, a story-like promotional video of your brand. Post this video in a prominent location of your website, do a blog post around it in order to boost SEO and publish it on your social media channels. (Facebook now offers the ability to post video in your cover photo area - be sure to take advantage of that premium space if you can). If you’re publishing something to Facebook, this is another case where you’ll want to relegate a bit of advertising dollars to promote to a wider, targeted audience because as we all know ... organic reach is dead.
Studies show that 92 percent of consumers looking to buy or rent a home start their search online. With a strategic approach, consistent message and thoughtful consideration of the buyer and seller needs, online marketing is an essential tool to growing your brand and expanding your client base.
Like this post? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and stay tuned for our next topic covering the importance of investing in professional photography when listing your properties.