“Two out of three buyers researched prospective agents extensively online prior to working with them.” – Google.
This is the second time I have published this quote and it definitely won’t be the last. Rather than Zillow convincing you to buy leads or some social media guru persuading you to spend $500 per month, this is the horse’s mouth speaking directly to the real estate industry.
This week, an MLO made their 4th sales call to a buyer on the second day of receiving a referral. The buyer answered and told him that they had been looking for the right lender and after checking out Yelp! and Facebook they were comfortable they found the right lender. Consider this: The buyer made a decision without actually talking to the MLO, they came to the office and brought every single last piece of information needed to process their transaction.
Why is it that I can’t find most of you online? If I can, it is your personal Facebook page or your corporate information page that says, “Johnny graduated from Chico with honors in 1989 and has been in the business for 20 years”, (which is great, but in the who cares bucket). Why do some people think that having a reasonably good social media footprint is somehow selling out their referral business? Why do more of us not earn “Honors” where it counts in 2016, on the digital footprint test?
The learning curve for digitization can be steep, so the time to figure it out is now. A great digital footprint gives you a lead volume knob and converts clients and referral partners before you talk to them. There are four key components to a good digital footprint in the mortgage and real estate business: 1) Set up the right accounts 2) Represent your brand 3) Have a basic content strategy 4) Obsess over reviews.
Set Up The Right Accounts
There are a couple of non-negotiable platforms that you must be present on. Consider where your customers go to find information: Facebook has 1 billion active users, Zillow spends 100 million per year on advertising and LinkedIn is, well, LinkedIn. Start there, but don’t stop there. You should have a meaningful footprint on all of the major portals. Even if you aren’t active, you can still be impactful. I love when I see someone with a Facebook page that says something like: “I love Facebook, but I love Instagram more. Check me out there.”
Represent Your Brand
Your digital handshake isn’t relevant when your LinkedIn profile has your previous employer and your Twitter picture is from 2007. These things need to line up. If you don’t update headers, descriptions and employment, it is at best, sloppy. At its worst, this is a reflection of how a transaction might go for a potential client. Make sure your descriptions line up and your photos are easily recognizable as you. Your digital footprint tells clients and partners why they should trust you. Your Elevator Pitch should be clearly reflected across all of your accounts.
Execute a Basic Content Strategy
This requires some discipline, but can be simplified. The key is to have the right tools and use them consistently. I use Buffer to manage day to day postings. I sit down on Monday and Wednesday, scan the news and load content on all of my sites for the rest of the week based on what is happening in the market. Then, when something fun or personal comes up, I post directly. It isn’t perfect, but it doesn’t require a social media manager.
Obsess Over Review
In case there are still questions, 85% of consumers utilize reviews to evaluate local businesses. Do you still have a binder of reviews in your office? All we are doing is moving that binder into the cloud. There are a lot of companies offering review services. These are fun and make you feel good.They will even post them on social media for you. Do you know what they don’t do? Syndicate these reviews to Yelp! or Zillow, the companies that actually pay to be ranked. So, what adds more value to your business: Five e-mail reviews you post on your site that you don’t promote or one good Zillow review that you had to ask for over the phone? Hint… Zillow review is the answer today.
You have heard this before and it isn’t complicated. Take step toward becoming a #digitizedmlo and improve your #dititalhandshake today.