Are you a social media power user? Here’s why you should be.

The numbers speak for themselves. Every month, a staggering 700 billion minutes are spent on Facebook and each week, Twitter users post one billion tweets, according to Resident.com.

Today, more than 80 percent of Internet users are active on Facebook and a large majority of those are a rising real estate demographic –– U.S. adults aged 30-49. So why have REALTORS® been slow to bear the fruits offered by sites like Facebook and LinkedIn?

A recent study by Realtors Property Resource® (RPR), How REALTORS® use social and digital media to build their businesses, reports that 94 percent of 265 REALTORS® surveyed use Facebook as a critical component of their marketing strategy, yet less than half report measurable responses.

Of that 94 percent, nearly 75 percent say “generating awareness” is their main social media motivation, yet “listings” ranked as their most common form of Facebook posts. Why is it then that REALTORS® continue to post social media content that does not yield a greater return?

The tides are turning

According to RPR’s report, more than 60 percent of survey respondents said they will significantly increase the amount of time and money spent on social media in the next fiscal year. Currently, 76 percent commit four or fewer hours to the effort; 85 percent spend up to $500 a month on social media.

This shift among REALTORS® toward committing more assets to sites like Facebook is not just about time and money. Content is still king, as far as social media is concerned. And Facebook, the world’s most popular sharing medium, reaches all ages, genders, lifestyles and geographic regions, making it more inclusive than any one purchased client list, according to The Real Estate Agent’s Guide to Social by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC. The report also highlights other benefits of posting to Facebook such as:

  • Offering the most accessible platform for a customized marketing approach, and
  • Allowing users to communicate with target audience(s) as often as they want without content being considered spam.

RPR Vice President of Marketing Reggie Nicolay says the most effective social media marketing plan, one that achieves “awareness building,” can be reached through use of a strategic mix of content.

“Adhering to a content strategy where listings dominate your posts presents a dilemma for REALTORS® who want to use social media as a marketing tool,” said Nicolay. “Sharing individual listings on an as-needed basis is not a sustainable strategy when it comes to building awareness. Listings do not inform or engage consumers beyond those immediately interested in purchasing a home.”

Nicolay said a balanced mix of posts yields the greatest reward in terms of relationship building. “Market activity reports, neighborhood data, buying-and-selling tips, and home improvement ideas offer agents a chance to communicate both market knowledge and valuable information to potential buyers and sellers, building a lasting relationship over time.”

And through Facebook’s Ad Manager feature, your social media campaigns can be targeted by neighborhood, school district, or ZIP code. This allows agents to interact with consumers through the sharing of data such as home value appreciation or other market dynamics––reinforcing their long term value as the neighborhood expert, he added.

One respondent to the RPR survey commented, “If a REALTOR® really wants to engage followers, they need to post less about listings and become a true local area resource. If clients see them as an expert, their sphere of influence will grow.”

In the end, real estate professionals who build a strategic, well-rounded, consistent system of social media posts and engagement will prevail over those who are underutilizing the world’s most efficient, low barrier to entry, and timely conversion tool. Social media is transforming the real estate industry and now could be the best time to get on board.

Where can REALTORS® access the data they need for a sustainable social media strategy?

Nicolay points to RPR, the nation’s largest real estate data platform offered exclusively to REALTORS® as a member benefit. “RPR’s platform provides the scope and scale of data every REALTOR® needs to build and nurture the professional side of a social media presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other sites. From walkability scores to consumer spending habits, RPR’s quantitative representations of market trends, demographics, psychographics, neighborhood and school information, offer high value components to an ongoing awareness-and-business building social campaign,” he said.

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