If you follow digital marketing trends, you’re probably familiar with a popular mantra that is used time and time again by the worlds most effective digital marketers:
“Don’t build your house on rented land.”
How’s that for a real estate analogy?
The meaning of this is probably best understood by breaking down the literal meaning.
When you purchase a home, perhaps the most valuable asset you come to own, is the land itself. Whether you’re measuring in square metres or acres, the land becomes the playground upon which you can either keep construction as is—or rebuild from the ground up.
With this in mind, it would never be to your advantage to own a home upon land that isn’t yours. At the end of any established contract, your landlords could, very quickly, send you packing. Tear the house up from its foundation and hope for the best.
These same rules apply to the channels through which you choose to market your real estate brand online.
As it relates to real estate digital marketing strategy, your “rented properties” are the aforementioned channels being used to advertise your company online. From Facebook to Twitter, LinkedIn to Instagram, these networks allow you to build your presence without limit within their platforms.
The keyword here though is, their platforms.
Their audience, their rules
At the end of the day, users across any of the social channels you may choose to be active on are subject to the terms and conditions of those platforms.
The ways in which they interact with you (i.e. Like, comment, retweet, etc.) are determined by the networks. The frequency in which your updates are displayed in the feeds of your followers is driven by their algorithms and your ad dollars. The type of content you’re able to share and how it’s displayed is a result of what their technology was designed for and can support.
What’s more to consider is the fact that when it comes to information about your social network audiences, the networks themselves hold the keys. Your ability to remain in contact with these followers is directly tied to the ability of these companies to stay afloat or remain popular with consumers.
This is the issue with putting all of your eggs into the social media basket. The fragility of social networks that have remained on top over the years is underestimated by the longevity of their existence and incorporation into everyday use. Consider, however, the plethora of social networks that at one point in time seemed on top of their game only to eventually become a thing of the past.
It seemed like mere seconds is all it took for Vine to vanish as quickly as it arrived on the scene in 2016. From 2004 to 2009, Myspace was the largest social networking site in the world, and even surpassed Google as the most visited website in the U.S. in 2006. And let’s not forget the here today, gone tomorrow nature of Pokémon Go.
Whether they had staying power or trending power, these were all forms of social media that seemed irreplaceable at one point in time. When you’re not behind the steering wheel, however, you can never be too sure where something will end up.
There are predictions from some of the most influential social media strategists that Instagram will overtake Facebook in the not-too-distant future – including these points made by our good friend Jay Baer.
All of the above is not to say there’s no value in allotting time to a real estate digital marketing strategy that incorporates a social media component. There is a time and place for utilising these channels as one arm of a multifaceted plan.
In determining where to place your focus, though, when building a presence online, consider doing so through the avenues you’ll have the most control over:
Consider your website as your home base of marketing operations. No matter where a potential client finds you through, no matter where their journey began, it should always end here.
On every other channel, you may be marketing through, you’re competing against hundreds, if not thousands, of others that are trying to shout louder than you can. When a visitor lands on your website, that competition is gone and it becomes a means through which you can control their experience down to the very last link.
No matter what your real estate angle might be, you can speak directly to the needs and wants of your customers through your blog. You control the frequency, you control the tone, you control the format. And all of the visitors that land on your blog entries will be a direct effect of the effort put in to promote them.
There are few channels more effective than email when it comes to your digital marketing strategy. At any time of day, you can appear within the personal inbox of leads and potential clients to further drive their attention and lead them further down the funnel.
In order to make the best use of an email campaign, your list of contacts will be crucial. If a list is outdated, if contacts are irrelevant to your business, if certain segments are proving to be disinterested in certain types of emails you continue to send, then it’s time to reevaluate. [Related Article: Email Marketing In Real Estate: A Simple Trick To Avoid Spam Filters]
You better not be using a profile for business purposes
While you can use a personal profile to promote your business in creative ways, Facebook expressly states that personal profiles are not to be used solely for business purposes.
Before you begin promoting your business on your personal profile, make sure to read Facebook’s Terms of Service to make sure you don’t violate them. If you do, you run the risk of having your profile shut down. This has happened to a number of agents who have contacted us for help after losing access to their thousands of “followers” for trying to use a Facebook Profile instead of a Facebook Business Page.
It can take just one report (maybe even from a competitor of yours who has some time on their hands) to report you to Facebook for using a Profile for business purposes for Facebook to look into your behaviour. You’ve been warned!
Building your entire digital marketing house on Facebook is a very risky strategy. Facebook can and will change the rules on how you can use their platform (for business) at any time they like and when they do, you better have a plan in place in case your reach and conversion doesn’t all come crashing down as it has for so many in the past.