The term branding has long been related to companies.
But today, almost every individual agent has a personal brand. Not every agent has consciously cultivated their personal brand, but it exists nonetheless – in the hearts and minds of homeowners in their local market.
The question is no longer IF you have a personal brand, but if you choose to guide and cultivate the brand or to let it be defined on your behalf.
Being a real estate agent is about your social skills, your schmoozing skills, those skills that not only help people remember you—but help people know who you are, so they can trust you. It’s all about your personal brand – what people say and think about you when you’re not around.
The trust built between you and your clients is the foundation of one of the more important relationships in their lives, as you are guiding them through the process of not only selling their home but finding them a new one.
While nothing is better than personal recommendations, there are a lot of other avenues for you to consider as you establish your real estate branding in your community and become both known and trusted.
The Online Window to You: Create a Personal Website
Think of your website as the hub of all of your real estate branding efforts. It represents a home base that connects prospects with you and your brand, as well as a place to share industry content and other pertinent information. When a client or prospect is on your website, all the attention is on you. You will not get this on any other digital platform, especially social media, where you’re competing for attention against funny cat videos, people’s friends and family – just about anything.
Your website is very much a strategy centrepiece, connecting all of your social media pages, blogs posts, and other online content. More importantly, it gives you space to build and establish your brand; a place to set yourself apart from the competition.
However, your website must go beyond simply being the flagship of your personal branding efforts.
People don’t want to be inundated with advertising and sales pitches. They most often end up on the internet looking for information of one kind or another. Your website gives you a platform to be a resource—and demonstrate your expertise, which should be a core element of your brand—for your community as new people come in and others leave.
The most valuable commodity out there is attention. And a well-designed, informative website is one of the tools you need to help you stand above the noise on the internet.
Additionally, your website can be used to help you target specific geographic areas by integrating keywords associated with your region into various on-page elements of your website.
Building a Blog for Business
Yes, your blog is technically part of your personal website but it deserves discussion as a separate, distinct entity.
Your blog is vital to your real estate branding efforts, as it gives you the opportunity to establish expertise on your own terms. The key is to create useful content that speaks directly to your target customers—not self-promotional nonsense that only adds to the many terabytes of content that are created each and every day.
A post that says “list your home with me because I’m the best” is far less effective than a post asking people “if you found this helpful, please subscribe, or share it with someone else who might enjoy it”.
People buying and selling houses—especially if they’re doing it for the first time—are plunging into the deep end of the pool. Useful content on your blog can help them navigate all the tricky, and often confusing situations they will inevitably find themselves in. And because they will learn to trust your unbiased, expert advice, they will learn to trust you and trust in your real estate branding efforts.
If you don’t have enough time to keep a steady flow of content pumping through your blog, consider teaming up with others to act as your guest bloggers—and/or guest blogging on other relevant blogs. Guest blogging is a great way to use this concept of establishing expertise and reaching new audiences.
Create Video, With You as the Star
There’s no arguing that the medium of video is where content is headed.
According to Business Insider, video will represent 82% of all internet traffic by 2021. This shouldn’t be a surprise; YouTube has over a billion users (almost one-third of total internet users) and 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every 60 seconds.
With this in mind, you might as well start thinking about how to incorporate video marketing into your real estate branding strategy—and getting with the trend. Already, 87% of online marketers use video content.
The specific way you use video to help with your real estate branding should be a function of your personality and distributed where you have the greatest audience.
The most important thing? Show yourself. People like working with those they know, like, and trust.
Seeing your face and hearing your voice will do a lot to help build that relationship. It’s scary to get on video for the first time but once you get started, you’ll realise that your fears and nervousness were for nothing (And, if it’s a bad take, you can always re-shoot!).
Of course, if you’re taking advantage of Facebook Live—which you should be—that retake, might not be an option.
Facebook’s algorithm has pushed page reach to close to 0% of fans—but the algorithm (and notification system) still makes it possible to get in front of people when it comes to video. Live video is great because people don’t expect high-production value and you can share ideas as inspiration hits; aim to create some level of consistency, regardless.
Get the most miles out of your video content. Once you’ve created a video on one channel, you might as well reuse that content on other channels where you have a good audience. A tool like Lumen5 can also help you repurpose blog content as a video.
If you have the budget, also consider hiring a drone pilot for a couple of days. Drones are another way to take your videos to the next level. They are able to create engaging videos of properties—providing unusual perspectives and giving a sense of the whole neighbourhood in a single shot.
Targeted Facebook Ads
It’s worth the time to learn the ropes when it comes to Facebook Ads.
They’re some of the most cost-effective paid solutions when compared to other paid advertising solutions. While direct mail costs $57 per exposure to 1,000 people, radio costs $10, and billboards cost $5, social media only costs $2.5. There’s a reason that by last year, digital ad spending ($209 billion worldwide) overtook TV ad spending ($178 billion).
Facebook Ads are especially useful for a real estate agent looking to connect with home buyers in a specific geographic location.
The trick is to create ads for specific goals (like driving targeted traffic to your website) instead of just boosting posts. The problem with boosting posts is that they still have to pass Facebook’s ad review process, and often posts don’t serve a clear purpose other than garnering you a few more likes—and how much are those actually worth?
Unless a post you are considering boosting has…
- A clear purpose
- A clear call-to-action
- A link to a landing page
- Design with a purpose to generate sales
…you should spend your marketing dollars on Facebook ads instead.
Courting Local Journalists
Steal a trick from the blogging community and rub elbows with the local press.
Hometown newspapers are often looking for high-quality, cheap—or even free—content. Don’t be hesitant about reaching out to them and offering to take on a column or stepping in to offer an expert opinion on real estate issues in the area.
If you see anything strange, any sort of trends, anything at all that seems new and of interest, let the media know—they might pick up the story and run with it.
The more often you end up providing expert opinions for the press, the stronger your brand will become and the more outside opportunities will become more available to you.
Basically, be your own PR person.
Final Thoughts: Real Estate Branding: 5 Ways to Build Your Personal Brand
When you’re building your personal brand, or your or your real estate business brand, remember that it’s your relationship with individuals and the community as a whole that is most important. Your brand needs to represents you, your personality and values. If you don’t define it, others will. You need to be more than an expert, you need to be known as an expert.
By planning ahead, you can craft your brand through the personal website you curate, through the blog posts you create, the video content you post, and the Facebook ads you present to your target market.
Have any more questions about how to build real estate branding as a real estate agent? Let us know in the comments!