3 ways agents can become the ‘digital mayor’ for their neighborhood

inman

Real estate pros Kary Perry, Kyle Whissel and Ray Ellen share what worked for them

Did you know there is actually no selling involved in content marketing? No asking people if they are ready to buy or sell, no asking for referrals and definitely no explicit promotion of your brand.

Content marketing for real estate simply involves creating and sharing quality blogs, video, social media posts and other online material for the sake of eliciting genuine interest in your services and brand.

People want to know everything — they want to know about the newest neighborhoods, how many homes you’ve sold this quarter, home inspection tips, what their area has to offer and more — so your best bet is to share this information through informative, entertaining, “non-salesy” online marketing.

Below are three agents who are killin’ it in everything from local content marketing to social media influencing and everything in between — and they’ve shared their playbook. Read on to learn how they leverage video, Instagram, landing pages and more to rake in the business without old-school brand promotion.

No help — no problem

Playbook no. 1: Ray Ellen, Owner | Pixel Properties Realty

What was the “aha” moment that helped you decide to become the “digital mayor(s)” of your area?

I had no money, no clients and nothing under contract. I had scheduled to hold two homes open that weekend for other agents — one on Saturday and one on Sunday — but both homes had just gone under contract, and the agents canceled their open houses.

I was sitting in my old pickup truck thinking about what to do. I had heard video was going to be big on social, but I didn’t have any ideas. Then it came to me — just talk about what is going on. Document what just happened.

“Don’t wait for the open houses!” was my first real video. From there, I had more and more content ideas that blossomed into several “shows” that we have now.

What tools and equipment did you use to get started?

I was broke at the time. I just used my iPhone to shoot it, and iMovie on my iPhone to edit it. It was simple, and it only took an hour or so to shoot and edit. Now we have upgraded and have lots of toys and gadgets and people who help, but that is all extra. We can always go back to the basics and remain very successful with the simplest gear.

For the agents who say they do not have the time, money, help, etc. — what would you like to tell them?

Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms have made it easier and faster than ever to get started in video — just pick up your phone and go live. For that reason, I would ask those agents this: “Why don’t you want to? What is really stopping you?”

I never watch my own videos — I don’t like watching myself on camerabecause I don’t like how I look or sound. But none of that matters. I just had to get over it because I was leaving money on the table that I could use to grow my company or, more importantly, vacation with my family.

When my “why” became bigger, the “how” got easier.

Knowing what you know now, would you do it again?

Yes, absolutely. I would do it sooner and more often!

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Focus on the community. Don’t try to be the “real estate expert.” Master your craft. The consumers find that far more interesting anyway. Use what you learn about the craft of real estate to make the process smoother for your clients.

Focus and pay attention to the details while promoting your listings and communities with video, blogs, photos, etc.

For the fun of it, here are Ray’s first and latest videos:

Instagram and landing pages

Playbook no. 2: Kary Perry, Owner | Possible Realty, eXp Realty

What was the “aha” moment that helped you decide to become the “digital mayor(s)” of your area?

Before becoming a real estate agent, I was a digital marketer. I knew the power of an online presence — I had seen it with my own eyes. But I will be honest: when I first started, I read all the old real estate books and trekked all the same real estate marketing paths. In doing so, I quickly realized that agents in my market were blanketing their target area with postcards, hosting homeowner seminars and sending out coming soon flyers.

I knew I couldn’t compete with a small advertising budget, so I had to get creative. And given my background in digital branding and marketing, I knew just how to do it.

What tools and equipment did you use to get started?

I started by crafting a unique and memorable brand. Something that would be eye-catching and stand apart from the competition. I am a graphic designer, so I worked my magic.

Afterwards, I developed a modern WordPress website (apart from the website my brokerage provided me). I knew I needed a website that represented my unique brand and target market. On my website, I focused heavily on search engine optimization (SEO) and created a dozen hyper-targeted neighborhood pages to drive my search engine results. I used a tool called Showcase IDX for my home search feature (because of its advanced functionality) and before home alert emails.

I designed landing pages for both buyers and sellers on Leadpages and utilized MailChimp for my customer relationship email management. Once my branding, website and operations were in place, I setup a business page on Facebook and continued to use my personal page on Instagram.

I ran ads using advanced targeting features on Facebook and Instagram to direct traffic to my landing pages. We also tried Homesnap and Zillow Pro, but did not get as many leads. A tool called Animoto was used to create quick and easy social videos of myself giving helpful information.

I initially included a blog on my website, but it became very difficult to maintain consistent content, but I did find that the blog improved my search engine results.

For the agents who say they do not have the time, money, help, etc. — what would you like to tell them?

It’s the old riddle of the chicken and the egg and which one came first. The digital revolution has forever changed the way in which real estate businesses will acquire, convert and close new clients. Designing, building and growing your business online is absolutely imperative for you to stay ahead of the curve, impress your clients and outshine your competition.

If you invest in your digital brand, you will find the return on your investment to be 10 times that of traditional offline marketing tactics. You can’t afford to stay away from the digital revolution.

Knowing what you know now, would you do it again?

I wouldn’t waste an ounce of time, energy or financial resources on traditional marketing practices. I would immediately invest in my digital brand and focus on expanding my reach, growing my influence and creating meaningful connections with potential clients.

                                    Screenshot of Kary Perry’s Insta feed

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Avoid becoming a me-too in your industry. Stop doing what everyone else is doing. The most successful real estate agents have found a niche and held on to it for dear life. They made a name for themselves by finding the real estate specialty that combined their interest with their local market opportunities. Basically, they stopped being #basic and started being #unicorn.

So how can you start standing out from the crowd and having your ideal clients come to you? By developing a niche that sets you apart and marketing directly to that niche.

For the most attractive Insta feed ever, follow Kary here.

Video, Video, Video

Playbook no. 3: Kyle Whissel & Whissel Realty Group | eXp Realty

What was the “aha” moment that helped you decide to become the “digital mayor(s)” of your area?

Gary Vaynerchuk talked about being the “digital mayor of your town” and that really struck a chord with us. Also, being able to help other small businesses and the community by giving exposure to our community was a great motivator as well.

What tools and equipment did you use to get started?

We started way back with just a webcam, but when I (Bryan Koci) came on board, I brought with me the gear I’ve acquired over six years of practicing professional photography. That being said, we still had to buy quite a bit of gear to get where we wanted it to be.

Although we have great equipment, we’ve learned that it’s not the quality of the production (as long as it’s decent), it’s the quality of the content. Focus on telling good stories or sharing your content in an engaging way to get the best results.

Whissel

For the agents who say they do not have the time, money, help, etc. — what would you like to tell them?

It is certainly something you have to devote time to. Money — not necessarily. But consistency is key when it comes to producing video. You’re creating a digital farm and staying top of mind, but one video every once in a while will not work. It’s simple, but it’s not easy.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Be prepared — you will not see a direct result of videos for a minute. Or two. Or a month. Keep pushing them out and, most importantly, build relationships. Build relationships with your viewers and with the people you have in your video. Keep in contact with them, and show that you are a trusted source for real estate.

For the fun of it, here are their first and latest videos:

You have their why, their how and their examples. Now, get out there and create some local content!

Stephanie Arnett is the broker associate at Arnett|Rackley Mississippi Magnolia w/RE/MAX Partners in Mississippi. Follow her on Instagram or Snapchat.

Article image credited to Samuel Clara on Unsplash

REPOSTED FROM INMAN NEWS: Stephanie Arnett is the Broker Associate at Arnett|Rackley Mississippi Magnolia w/RE/MAX Partners in Mississippi. Follow her on Instagram or Snapchat.

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