Social media (emphasis on the word social) is most effective when you are honestly engaged in reaching out to build meaningful and lasting relationships. These relationships can benefit both your business and personal life. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. are all great vehicles for connecting with past, present, and future clients and referral sources.

The challenge of social media marketing for real estate agents is: how do you make the most of a channel that has a steep learning curve and demands a fair amount of time and patience to reap the rewards?

Here are 8 social media rules to follow as you scale that learning curve.

  1. Engage. There are many ways to connect on social media — provide informational content, video, photos, and more. While the social media space is more informal, you don’t want to abandon professionalism all together. Be polite and stay positive. If you receive negative comments, respond in a timely fashion and work to salvage the relationship. If you’re not successful, move on but learn from the experience.
  2. Be authentic. Social media allows for a more relaxed presentation. Let potential clients and referral sources into your work and life in a way that is comfortable for you. Don’t boast, be genuine. Share interests beyond just your work and you’re likely to start a conversation.
  3. Tell a story. Tell your story. Share your experience and expertise and others will share with you. Vary your posts with video and other meaningful content to start conversations. Also, don’t be afraid to be entertaining. A fun video and eye-catching photos are a great way to gather “likes” and get “retweeted.”
  4. Listen. Salespeople like to talk, but social media is as much about listening as it is selling. As you build your base of followers, you want to pay close attention to what they’re saying. You can do this effectively by following up on comments in a timely fashion.
  5. Don’t sell all the time. As a supplement to your posts, consider Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram ads to assist in building your base of followers. If you focus on building relationships, rather than selling your services your are much more likely to connect. When you have a new listing, post photos on Pinterest or Instagram and provide a link for customers who may be interested, but let them check it out on their own.
  6. Be consistent. Build a social media calendar so that you post on a regular basis. Do some additional research on the most effective times to post. Respond to inquiries and comments quickly and in an even-handed fashion.
  7. Join related groups. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter all offer group participation. Don’t just join business-related groups. You are just as likely to build relationships with potential clients and professional colleagues by joining a group that shares your hobbies and interests as you are by restricting your participation to just real estate-related groups.
  8. Automate. Save time by automating posts using one of the many posting tools available including, dlvr.it, hootsuite.com, zapier.com, IFTTT.com, sproutsocial.com, etc. These services allow you to set post times and deploy to multiple platforms simultaneously.

The Bottom Line

Successful social media marketing requires a change in attitude and perspective. In the early stages it can be overwhelming as you seek to find your comfort zone. But once you work it into your daily and weekly routine using automation when possible, it becomes more natural — even fun — as it generates both valuable business and personal relationships.