What are the best times for real estate agents to share on social media?

Need a quick cheat sheet that shows when you should be sharing your new listings and other content on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest?  We have you covered!

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Feel free to share this with other realtors.  And don’t forget we offer free mini-audits of your social media presence for your real estate business!

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Are you failing to promote your social media accounts effectively?

facebooklikedislikeI was talking with a real estate agent the few days ago, helping her plan her social media strategy.  She had set up a page on Facebook for her business and set up a Twitter account as well.  While she wasn’t super active – posting maybe once or twice per month – she was making an attempt to market off the huge networking opportunities on social media.  But she was discouraged about why she wasn’t getting more likes, followers and engagement on both Twitter and Facebook.  The main reason?  While she had created the accounts (which to her credit is more than many real estate agents do), she did absolutely nothing to promote either of them, and this is a huge mistake many social media novices make.

In order to get followers, likes and conversation on either Twitter or Facebook, you need to ensure you are promoting your social media accounts so people can find them.  The vast majority of your potential clients aren’t going to hunt down your Twitter account, but if they see a link to your account, chances are they might click it and then follow you.

So what are things you can do in order to promote your social media accounts so people realize you have them?

Email signatures
This is one of the most cost effective ways to repeatedly get your social media accounts before your clients.  At the end of your regular email signature, add “Follow me on Twitter at @yourhandle” and “Like us on Facebook!”.  And be sure that signature is linked to both of those accounts – you want people to just click and end up on your Twitter account.  If you make them type in www.twitter.com/yourhandle, chances are good they won’t bother.  Always remember the KISS method.

Website links
Make sure you add your relevant social media links to your website.  Facebook and Twitter are the most common, but also add your YouTube account and Pinterest account if you are utilizing them as part of your social media marketing campaign too.  If you have a webmaster who makes your changes for you, send him or her the links to your social media accounts so he can add them along with the appropriate company logos – this is one of the more common website additions so it should be quick and easy to add to your website.

Print ads
Especially if you are taking out a larger sized ad, it is easy to add “Follow me on Twitter at @yourhandle” and “Like us on Facebook!” on those print advertisements.  Or if space is limited, choose one or the other.  And if you do happen to have a large advertisement coming out, don’t forget to make sure you update your Twitter status or share something on Facebook.  You don’t want people to see you have a Twitter account, only to discover you haven’t engaged on it for the past six months.

Don’t be dormant
While on Pinterest it isn’t as obvious if you haven’t shared anything in the past six months, on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, it is quite noticeable.  People also forget that posting on those accounts is also promoting those accounts.  Anytime a client shares something you posted on Facebook, it has the added bonus that all that client’s friends and family see not only the share, but also that it originated with you, and those people are not only reminded of your name, company and what you do for a living, they might also re-share it to all of their friends too, extending your reach on Facebook even more, and potentially getting not only brand awareness for yourself with a potential new circle of people, but also the possibility that some of them will “Like” your Facebook page as well.

While it would be amazing to just be able to create our social media accounts and then ignore them, while the magical powers of social media do the rest, in order to make social media work, you do need to put some effort into promoting it.

Note: We offer social media audits and strategy blueprints for realtors looking to extend their social media marketing for networking and selling.  Please contact us for more information.

Is your real estate site mobile friendly?

stock mobileMobile is becoming a more and more popular way to access information on the internet.  Whether it someone searching from their iphone while parked in front of one of your listings, or a couple in bed at the end of the night looking for their dream house on a tablet, having a site being mobile friendly and responsive is critical.  And even more important, the number of people visiting your real estate site from a mobile device are just going to continue to climb.

Even more crucial is the fact that Google is looking at ranking sites from Google searches on mobile devises differently depending on how well – or not – your site performs for mobile users.  So if you are getting organic free search traffic from Google – meaning you have visitors (or you want to have visitors) that find your site by typing in a keyword search your site ranks for – then making sure your site is mobile friendly is crucial.

What are “mobile devices”?

While most people consider mobile devices to be only smart phones, they actually also cover things like tablet computers such as the Surface or iPad and all screen sizes in between.  Essentially, anything that isn’t from a desktop computer or a regular sized laptop is lumped into the “mobile devices” category.

Is your site ”mobile friendly”?

A site being “mobile friendly” means that visitors who visit your site on a mobile device find that you have either a mobile version of your website, or your website uses responsive design, so that the website changes width based on how wide the screen is for each of your site’s visitors.

Many people only bother visiting their own website while they are sitting at their desk because they are working on their site or they are talking with a client about something that appears on their site.  It just never crosses their mind to see how it looks on any other kind of device.  Due to this, not many people visit their website on a regular basis from a mobile device such as an iphone or ipad.  First, you should check and see what your site looks like in mobile.  Is it clear and concise, or are you forced to site scroll to get the information you need?

How much of your traffic is mobile?

If you have an analytics program, such as Google Analytics, you can see the percentage of your traffic that is mobile versus desktop.  You particularly want to look at the mobile bounce rate, meaning how much of your mobile traffic goes to a page on your site and then leaves immediately without clicking another link on your site.  However, if your site takes a long time to load, you might not see all the mobile traffic you really have, since many people hit the back button before your analytics code loads.  If you have a high bounce rate and a high percentage of mobile traffic, you need to fix this immediately before it costs you more potential home buyers or sellers.


While poor navigation can be a detriment to a website from a desktop experience, and can make a site completely unusable in mobile.  Can you easily find the link to your listings?  Your contact information if they want to give you a phone call?  Your biography page?  What about your property search button?  These are the things you want to ensure people can find easily and quickly but which are often pretty difficult to find when viewing a realtor’s website on a phone.

Color Usability

Often, color schemes that look great on a desktop computer look horrible on a mobile device – or even when you view the site on a laptop versus a desktop.  Make sure that the colors of your website also work on an iPhone.  Make sure your color choices, particularly font (text) color choices are still easily readable.

How fast is your site?

If your site takes too long to load on a mobile device, people are simply going to click the back button and go to your competitor’s site instead.  There are lots of sites that load with the seemingly speed of light, while others  are loading at a snail pace.  You want to make sure your site loads quickly, so you aren’t sending that potential home buyer or home seller to your competitors instead.  Often mobile versions of websites are “lighter” and load less items (such as not loading widgets or videos automatically) that it would load for a user on a desktop.

Having a mobile friendly version of your real estate site is crucial, especially in the years to come.  If your site doesn’t perform well on mobile devices and you haven’t looked into redesigning your site to handle that traffic better, you should definitely consider a plan to recrify that within the next year.

Creating neighborhood pages for your real estate site

waterparkIf you are real estate agents whose market area covers a large number of neighborhoods, small towns, and suburbs, it can be difficult to ensure the your website encompasses all these areas, and also so the potential homebuyers and home sellers know the you work in those particular neighborhoods and can help them either find what they’re looking for, or sell with they are looking to sell.

Which neighborhoods do you market in?

First, make a list of all the neighborhoods in areas you market to, and rank them from most important to least important. Now you want to focus on the ones you consider most important first, as these are the ones that you either are most active in or bring the most commission in for.

Discover what is awesome about each neighborhood

Second, you want to find unique things about those neighborhoods. Don’t just consider the public schools, investigate private schools, charter schools and even the sought after preschools. Look at the activities that are popular in each area. Are there museums, great parks, touristy attractions, great shopping districts, great hikes or bike paths?  Water parks for kids? Great local farmer’s markets to buy organic produce?  Are some neighborhoods better suited to growing families, or eco-friendly types?  Which is pet friendly?  Ideally, you want to gather up all the information potential home buyer looking at the various neighborhoods would want to know, and things that you can tempt them with that can sway them to one particular neighborhood over another one that you might not sell as much in.

Show off your knowledge

Any real estate agent can tell you the population per capita, the median house value, the average annual income for family – for the most part that stuff is pretty boring and if someone needs it, they can find it very easily. Instead you want to show off that you know these neighborhoods, the are active in them, that you are very familiar with what each neighborhood has to offer. Spouting off per capita figures is not going to show that,  but talking about the great lakeside walking path or the historical museum does show off the you know what neighborhood intimately.

Tell potential homebuyers about why each neighborhood is unique and interesting

Now, you want to create webpages for each of these neighborhoods. Go out on a sunny day and take some pictures.  Write up all the interesting things about each neighborhood, and this means either you or someone you trust in your office writes it up, as you need to have all original content for each of these neighborhoods. If you just “borrow” content from another websites, it will rank in Google, and you could find yourself being sued for stealing the content – something you definitely don’t want have associated with your real estate site.  And make sure that these pages do have a lot of details. A short four line paragraph won’t get the job done, but having four or more paragraphs will.

Link them up!

Don’t forget to include links to some of the interesting places include, like museums or parks or annual events. Remember your website is in a vacuum, you want to give your visitors the tools to find more information easily, so that they know they can then go off later to click through some of these links, rather than feeling they have to stop everything and Google that great museums you mention right away.  Not giving them a way to leave won’t make it less likely that they they will leave your website.

Bringing all your neighborhood pages together

You also want to create a great landing page for all these neighborhoods, where you will then link out to each of your neighborhood pages. So your landing page could include things like a map so a person can see easily where the different neighborhoods are located in, small photo or two of each of the neighborhoods so that homebuyers can get a sense of the type of neighborhood each is, such as some are known for Victorian-style houses, whereas others might be known for their more modern approach to buildings. You want to include a short blurb about each neighborhood, short little snippet that also gives people an idea about each neighborhood, with the link to the in-depth neighborhood page created.

Show off your neighborhood pages on your homepage

Now, you will want to link to this landing page from the home page of your real estate site. You can choose one of your pictures from one of the neighborhoods  and feature that on the homepage along with the blurb about “Can’t decide which Seattle neighborhood is best for you?  We can tell you the best features about each!”

Keep them updated

Don’t forget to go back and ads any new details, or update on things like new parks that have opened, summer fairs – basically anything that’s happening in each of those neighborhoods that is interesting, that is new and that people are excited about.  It is always a good idea to go back to update and refresh these neighborhood pages every few months. You might have mentioned that great local coffeehouse on the corner that is since closed its doors, or have some other information that becomes dated, and that is not the impression you want to give potential clients.  And this could include going back and taking the photos every few months, and don’t forget you can then pin them to Pinterest!

Promote them!

Don’t shy about promoting these pages. If someone says they’re not sure what neighborhood they should be considering, or they’re trying to decide between two, recommend these pages so they can look at things more in depth.  And there’s lots of opportunity on Facebook and Twitter as well if you see discussion about what neighborhood to live in.

Many real estate agents make the mistake of only looking at the larger market area, such as Seattle instead of Kirkland or the Queen Anne neighborhood, not to mention “Seattle real estate” is going have some pretty hefty competition, whereas “Queen Anne real estate” is not nearly as competitive, and you can set yourself apart that way with these great neighborhood pages.


Why you should avoid URL shorteners

urlshortenersmall2Using short URLs can seem like a quick and easy way to send someone to a page on a website that has a superlong URL. It has gained lots of popularity over the last couple of years, but there has started to be a backlash from that users when they see those short URLs.

Why is this? Will you can blame the spammers for that.  People don’t trust short URLs anymore because they can’t see the destination page though be landing on. You might be sending them to realsimple.com or marthastewartliving.com but you could just as easily be sending them to spamcity.com because they just don’t know.

People do like using short URLs because they can track how many people are clicking on it, but a lot of people are finding that they can actually get more clicks and engagement when using the true URL.

It’s not such a big problem on Facebook because when you share a page on Facebook it does show the destination URL and there’s no real point to using a short URL instead. But on Twitter, when you only have 140 characters, it’s more common to see people using the short URLs there. The good news is that Twitter can automatically shorten links for you, using their t.co link shortening service, and when it the tweet is viewed individually, it will show the full URL and the snippet from the page it is linking to.

Still insistent that you need a URL shortener to track clicks?  Some companies are using their own personal URL shortener.  They register a very short version of the URL, and install one of the many scripts out there that will shorten links and provide stats for doing so. However, even this is become less popular in the last year or so because of the whole trust issue. If you are a large company, you can do it, but if you are a very small company that many people don’t know, it’s not as easy to earn that trust – or just the people you recognize that that shorten URL service actually belongs to you.

urlshortenerAnd if you still want to use a third-party URL shortener service, the two most popular shorteners are Google’s goo.gl service and bit.ly.  Both provide analytical data including how many people clicked the link you shared.  Do be aware that if the page is popular and has been shortened by others, it will show data for everyone who has shortened and shared, not just you.

So when in doubt, don’t shorten your links.  In the end, especially for sharing tidbits and tips, there is no real reason you need to track how many people are clicking, it is better to encourage the clicks and engagements through transparency of your links, especially for people that have been burned by clicking on a seemingly innocent shortened URL, and landing on a

How to encourage engagement on your real estate Facebook posts

One of the struggles many marketers, including real estate agents, have on Facebook is how to encourage engagement with what they post. Once you have thousands of followers, it’s not as big of a problem because you will find at least one or two people that will have something to say. But if you have a dozen or even a couple hundred followers, it’s a lot more difficult to encourage people to comment and engage with what you post. Here are some ideas on how you can encourage people to engage in what you post.

Include a photo or video
Facebook posts that contain a photo or video are many times more likely to be shared and noticed than those without. When people are quickly scanning their news timeline, is quite easy to skip over text-only updates and just notice the ones with interesting images included. So try to include a related photo or video with everything you post.  Here is an example of a very visual post that is interesting, and a unique closet storage idea for shoes most people haven’t seen before.

Ask a question
You might be commenting on an interesting home decor idea, or on tips to increase the home’s value. But turn it into something that makes people more likely to comments, such as asking a question at the end. It can be something as simple as “what do you think?”, “is anyone adding this to their to do list?” or even just “yea or nay?”  This encourages people to give their two cents on your question, which also shows up on many people’s timelines which expand your market reach.

Be seasonal
People love seasonal posts, whether its for the Fourth of July, Holloween or New Year’s Eve. So post some of your favorite decor ideas, put a picture of a really uniquely decorated house in your market area that has been dressed up for Halloween or Christmas and ask if people have done anything like it.  If your town has a community hollowing fireworks event, post about that.  Here is an example about fall cleaning (and feel free to share it on your own page to encourage engagement as well!)

Ask for likes
Surprisingly, post that ask for likes actually do get more likes.  So if you post something, add for people to “like if you like this!”  Do use it sparingly though, you don’t want to alienate people because every single thing you post you ask people to like. But once or week or so, especially if it is something you really want to have a broad reach to people outside of your followers, definitely ask for a like.

As build more followers, you will definitely find it much easier to create engagement on your posts. But until you get to that tipping point of number of likes, definitely use these tracks to encourage engagements on your real estate Facebook page.

Be careful what you “like” on Facebook

If you have spent any time on Facebook, you’ll know that your friends are constantly recommending you to “like” stuff on Facebook and often you click like without thinking about it. Or maybe you are on a website and you want to enter one of their contests, and to enter, you simply need to like them on Facebook. And there are also nefarious websites that will use underhanded tricks to cause you to like their page, disguised underneath something else you click, so even though it may not seem like you’ve actually clicked to like them, and actually registers of the like on Facebook, and it will show up on your timeline for anyone to see.

When you’re looking at someone’s Facebook page, Facebook makes it pretty obvious what things they have liked. And I’m sure there been times where you have questioned when you have seen that someone likes something that either think is completely strange or worse, is an organization or company do not agree with.

Now look at it from the perspective of someone you want to impress, such as a potential home buyer or seller.  They are going to scrutinize your likes as well, to get a sense of the kind of person you are, especially if you have been recommended that by someone or the as seen an advertisement.  What is on a Facebook page truly says a lot about the type of person someone is.

But the downside is your Facebook page might be saying something about you that you are intending to. When you got to Facebook comment you see your new stream, that is all the activity to other people are doing. But you often aren’t looking at your own personal page to see what is coming across on that page, such as things you have liked or articles you have shared. And this is where a lot of people get caught, because something show up they never intended to. And the biggest culprit tends to be pages that people have “liked”.

Fortunately, it is quite easy to look at your legs, and to clean up and to lease any lakes that don’t represent the the impression you want to give people. Here’s how you can go to your likes to remove any you don’t want, and I think about the impression you are giving off to people with them.

First, what you should do is go and evaluate everything you have liked up to this date.  Simply look on your Facebook page, and click on your likes to see everything you have liked so far. If there’s anything that could come across as being slightly controversial or that some people might not share your passion for, just click on like rather than it coming back and haunting you later.

Now, you might have liked Hooters because you love their food.  But think of it from the perspective a potential female home buyer or seller, it is going to give them a very likely negative impression of you, before you even meet them.  And first impressions are everything.

Likewise, things that proclaim you pro-choice or pro-life should probably stay off your page, as should any political affiliations, unless perhaps you live in an area that is primarily supporting one political party, but then you still need to take into account that you could lose potential clients who don’t support that candidate or party.

The bottom line is you want to make sure that your Facebook page represents not only you personally, but the person you want people to see when they are looking at you objectively as a potential realtor.  This doesn’t mean you have to hide the person you are, but just consider whether you really need to let people know that you’re a fan of Hooters or a trashy reality show.

Real estate agents on Pinterest: Going beyond pinned listings

pinterestlogoSo often I see real estate agent to have gone to the effort of setting up a Pinterest page, but all they are doing is simply pinning their listing images, the very same images they have from their MLS listings. But in order to really market on Pinterst, you may think about what is of interest to people in your community, not just using it as a platform to post pictures of houses you’re selling.

Here is one really useful way you can use Pinterest to leverage more traffic, more followers, and more re-pins.

First create multiple community related boards on your Pinterest page. Now, this doesn’t just mean pinning local schools and local libraries. It means really going beyond what many real estate agents have on their websites regarding the community, and creating boards that are of interest and use to potential homebuyers.

These kind of community boards articles useful and interesting to people who may not necessarily be looking to buy a house now, but perhaps their friends are, and they has seen one of your followers re-pin something you originally posted. Pinterest is very social, so you never know  who might share your pins and boards with you. And every time you get your name out there, you are continuing to build your personal brand in your community.

Here are some ideas for the different types of community boards you can create and pin images to in order to promote your community to both homebuyers and future homebuyers their friends with.

Pin images of the maps that show where the different neighborhoods, and communities are in your particular real estate market.  Then also include pictures of iconic landmarks or features in each of those neighborhoods. Make sure you include comments on the photos that details exactly what neighborhood each of the photos is taken from.


Here is the “Favorite Places in Upper Haight” board by the Climb Real Estate Group in San Francisco.

Community Events
Pin posters of upcoming events, and photos of events that happened local to your area. This could include things like festivals, parades, charity walks and runs, any kind of event that bring a real sense of community to your marketing area. If you aren’t aware of events that are happening, check out your local Chamber of Commerce or city/town website, or ask for recommendations from friends and family on Facebook and Twitter.

Fun Things To Do
Do you have some great museums, water parks, sporting arenas, concert halls, gardens, hiking trails, regular farmers market and the like?  Post pictures of each of these kinds of things so that particularly if potential buyers are moving to the area they can get an idea of some of the things they can do. Don’t forget to include things for kids as well.

Local Art Scene
Create a board that has some of the local art galleries, art museums, local artists and photos from any art shows you may have attended. The art scene can be a real draw to some homebuyers, so showcasing this can be a great way to introduce people who are new to the area to your local art scene.

Link to local schools in your area, including both public and private schools, co-ops, specialty education schools and more.  Be sure to include any special programs a school is known for (ie. “Best football team in the state” or “The award winning Honor Band program is great for musically inclined students”.


The Lisa Barton Team at Pridential Realty created this “Schools – Public & Private” board featuring the schools in her Florida market area.

Does your area have some great outlet malls? Or a street that has all the designer stores? Or even some other great shopping destinations, such as traditional malls or a particular area that caters to local businesses.  What about antique stores? Or an area with local galleries? These are all things that can get people interested and excited about your community.

Pin some of your favorite restaurants you like to go to in town. Be sure not to just pin the upscale places, focus on some of the unique local restaurants of all price ranges, including things from family restaurants to swanky wine bars. Once again, be sure to include a sentence or two about each restaurants, such as “this place has the best pizza” or “best happy hour in town”.  Don’t always go for the traditional photos of restaurants, taking the photos of the restaurants in the evening, or the sidewalk board they use.

Local Gardening
Are there some great public landscapes or gardens?  Unique local nurseries that cater to organic gardeners?  Great local landscapers?  Highlight some of them.


Here is the “Seattle Gardening & Landscape Design” board by RealFX Group at Coldwell Banker Danforth

Pin 5+ images
Do be sure to always pin at LEAST 5 images to a board, that way when people search for a board, it isn’t obvious that it is mostly empty, as Pinterest shows 5 pins on each board preview page.


This nameless realtor got off to a good start, planning her boards, but never continued after the initial “let’s pin some stuff” day.  When those are the only two boards on that realtor’s Pinterest page, and both of her boards are mostly empty, it doesn’t look professional.  She also missed potential marketing as some of her pins were re-pinned as well.

Choosing your twitter handle for real estate agents

twitterYou would be surprised at the number of real estate agents to choose their twitter handle poorly. You need to remember that when people see your Twitter name, they will associate that name with you. While I haven’t seen any real estate agents with a twitter name that really belongs in a frat house, I’ve definitely seen some that are a bit questionable.

If you have not registered a twitter handle yet, here is some thoughts and ideas on the types of names you should choose.

If you are fortunate enough to have an unusual combination for your first and last name, this should likely be her first choice of twitter handle, or at the very least you want to save it for future use.

Avoid numbers
If your first name last name combination is available, really resist the temptation to just stick a 1 on the end of it, as twitter will often suggest. When it comes to marketing, depending on the font used, that one can look like an L and lead your potential followers astray.  The same goes for the number 0 and the letter O.  You want it to be as easy as possible for someone to type it into Twitter and find you, you don’t want to lose them because they have to play the “what letter or number is this?” game.

Consider location name
If you can’t get your name, you can be a bit creative but remember that the purpose is real estate. Maybe you can grab @cityrealestate or @townrealestate or @airportcoderealestate.

Skip the real estate company tie-ins
The last thing you want to do is build your brand on Twitter that is very closely tied to the specific real estate company you work for, by having it anywhere in the twitter handle. You may think you’ll always work for Coldwell Banker or RE/MAX or whichever company currently work for, but you never know when you might end up jumping ship, and that @RemaxLinda username will definitely be a hindrance. Not only will you have to rename your Twitter account, but you will have to rebuild that brand again, and some of your followers might not immediately recognize that @RmaxLinda is now @LindaSmith and unfollow you.

Add realtor or realty to the end
You can always choose to go with @LindaSmithRealty or @LindaSmithRealtor if @LindaSmith is taken, to make it easy for people to remember and find.  Before you go the route of adding a word on the end, you want to make sure that the person who owns your name isn’t posting questionable content you don’t want to be associated with.  It is easy for someone to mean to type @LindaSmithRealty only to end up on @LindaSmith – when first impressions are everything, you want to make sure that the other person with your name can’t hurt your image by posting racist rantings or is a college aged girl posting about her bar hopping weekends.

Don’t pledge your allegiance
Just because you love dogs, or cats, or the San Francisco 49ers, that doesn’t mean that your potential clients will.  Not only that, you could confuse your potential real estate followers by thinking your tweets are only can it be about the 49ers or cats, when in reality you are posting a lot of helpful local real estate listings, tips and community events.

Do you already have a twitter handle and you’re concerned that it might be hindering you because of the name you chose? Our positive side, you can make a change and rename your Twitter account. But again because you want to build up the brand – and use it on written literature such as business cards, printed listings and advertising – think carefully before you make the change, and plan to make the change permanent. This is one area where being whimsical and changing your name every month will not pay off.

Never forget that what you’re twitter handle is represents you and your personal real estate agent brand. So think about the name carefully, but don’t delay too long in registering as there are thousands of new accounts created every single day.