Top 11 Social Media Mistakes Costing Real Estate Agents Leads & Referrals

November 22nd, 2017

There’s no avoiding social media in your real estate marketing strategy anymore.  All of your past, current, and future clients spend a significant amount of time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn - and are ready to connect with you on a personal and professional level.

Today we’re going to talk about the most impactful mistakes real estate agents and brokers are making that are causing them, and possibly you, to lose out on opportunities to list and sell homes. 

Once you're done reading this, you'll see the importance of using social media in your real estate marketing strategy, and have some great insight into what you could be doing, and how you can be doing it.  

Now let’s talk about why social media is so important to you as a real estate professional.

Why you need to have social media as part of your marketing strategy

It's something you can't ignore anymore with the changing landscape of how consumers buy and sell everything, including a home. Here are two main reasons you can't cut corners on social media as a real estate agent or broker any more.

1.) The Customers and Their Behavior Have Changed

The Real Estate Market is Shifting to Gen Xers, Yers, and Millennials

According to NAR...

Home buyers aged 36 years and younger (Millennials/Gen Y'ers) make up the largest share of home buyers at 34%.  66% of this group are first-time buyers.

Gen Xers make up the next 28% of recent home buyers.  

And these generations are spending a significant amount of their time on social media...especially Facebook!

Facebook accounts for one in every six minutes spent online and one in every five minutes spent on mobile.

This is where your customers are. And while it might not be where you want to spend a majority of your time, we can promise you that it will be time well spent. Implementing a social media marketing strategy into your real estate business will be a game changing approach to help you improve your lead generation, overall customer experience, and repeat and referral business.

Almost 80% of time spent on social media platforms happens on mobile.

Facebook is the most widely used social media platform, with 79% of American internet users. Based on total population, (not just internet users) 68% of U.S. adults use it. 

88% of 18 – 29 year olds are on Facebook.

79% of 30 – 49 year olds are on Facebook.

61% of 50 – 64 year olds are on Facebook.

76% of Facebook users visited the site daily during 2016, which is 1.6 billion daily active users.

51% of Instagram users access the platform daily, and 35% say they look at the platform several times per day.

100 million hours of video content are watched on Facebook daily.1

81% of millennials check Twitter at least once per day.

51% of Instagram users access the platform daily, and 35% say they look at the platform several times per day.

YouTube overall, and even YouTube on mobile alone, reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S. 

Your customers are obviously on social media. Not only that, they are actively using it to build relationships with past, present, and future product and service providers!

Now there is a lot here, but if you step back for a second and look at it, it's unavoidably obvious...

Social Media is where your customers are spending more and more of their time. Again, Facebook accounts for one in every six minutes spent online and one in every five minutes spent online on mobile.

2.) The Way People Search for a Home Has Changed, but the Way They Buy Has Not! 

The trends in how consumers search for homes are shifting with the market and their behavior as well. 

Almost all home buyers below the age of 71 started their search for properties online. And 51% of buyers found their new home on the internet. But 88% of all buyers purchased their home through an agent. Among buyers 36 years and younger, that percentage is even higher - 92%!

used websites in their search.   

So, the home search and research begins online, but the transaction happens through the expertise of a real estate professional like you.

99% of buyers 36 and younger

Referrals are still king when it comes to where people are finding their agent these days. 

Younger buyers (36 and younger) got more referrals from friends, neighbors, or relatives  (52 percent, up from 46 percent last year) and 37 to 51 (39 percent) compared to older generations.

NAR - Methods real estate agent used to market home

Moreover, despite so much of the process taking place on the web, building relationships with buyers through the tools they already use is becoming more important every year.

Sellers 36 years and younger were the most likely to work with agents who market on social media at 23 percent, 19 percent for sellers 37 to 51, and 13 percent for sellers 52 to 61 years.

The Research Phase

Buyers typically searched for a home for 10 weeks and looked at a median of 10 homes in their search process.

But even before that, these same buyers researched the areas that they want to live in, and a lot of the secondary information helped them determine where that would be before they even searched for a specific home in that area. 

There's a huge opportunity for you here with social media as well. 

Through an effective social strategy, you can basically be right there where your customers are anytime - as their personal real estate resource.5

And, if you look at the buying power shifting to the Gen Y'ers and Millennials you have to be where they are if you want them to seek you when they need to buy or sell a home.

Now that you have some context as to why social media is so important to you as a real estate professional, let's get into the top social media mistakes agents and brokers are making so you can fix your social game and get on point.

The Top 11 Social Media Mistakes Costing Real Estate Agents Leads and Referrals

1.) Not Implementing Social Media as Part of Your Real Estate Marketing Strategy.

This goes without saying after seeing just how much of your ideal market is active on social media.  

You can't afford not to. The market is moving more and more in this direction. And you need to be where your customers are. 

How to fix it

Start with one social media network and start posting regularly.  We suggest starting with Facebook based on some of the numbers we’ve already shared in this post.  

Instead of using your personal profile, we recommend that you create a Facebook business page, and go through the process of filling out your profile until completion.

Once you have your Facebook page set up, now you can start posting.  

When most agents begin posting consistently on social media, their automatic thought is to strictly post information about their listings. We do not recommend this practice! Think of your social media connections as a new person you’ve just began dating. You wouldn't just ask your new love interest to marry you on the first date before you ever get to know each other, would you?

The same thought process should be used when creating your social media strategy. And we’ve got just the thing to help you get started.  

Here are some content and post ideas to help your feet hit the ground running: 

  • real estate related infographics
  • personal selfie videos answering frequently asked questions or giving quick tips
  • location specific information about: 

    • restaurants
    • schools and school districts
    • local businesses
    • activities
    • events
    • communities
    • neighborhoods
  • home buyer tips
  • home seller tips
  • real estate process explainer videos or posts
  • guess the price of this listing and win a reward/gift card/etc.
  • homeownership tips
  • infographics related to real estate
  • mortgage tips
  • red flags/things to look out for in your home search/real estate agent
  • things you should look for in a real estate agent/company
  • home staging tips

This is just a starter list, but if you can post to Facebook throughout the week with different items from the list above, you'll start building the kind of brand perception that will be the seeds of future real estate glory.

2.) Not Knowing your Audience

As you've seen above, most of your prospects and clients are on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, or a combination of them. However, each social media network is different. 

  • Where does your audience spend most of their time? 
  • What content are they interested in and not interested in?  
  • What problems can you solve, and what is the best way to communicate your solution to your prospects through social media? 
  • How can you build your perceived value in their eyes so they look to you for answers?

Well it all starts with knowing your customers better than they know themselves.  

Once you do, all the answers to the above questions become really clear.  

How to fix it

Sit down and take a deeper look at your current buyers and sellers - and at the “A” clients in your sphere. 

Odds are that about 80% of your listings and sales come from one primary demographic. In order to determine this demographic, we recommend that you answer the questions below to the best of your ability.

  • What does that buyer or seller look like? 
  • How much money do they make per year? 
  • Married or not? 
  • How many kids are in the house, if any? 
  • How old are their kids? 
  • What are they afraid of in this complex process? 
  • What are their top 10 questions about the real estate process?  You probably hear these questions over and over again.  
  • What are the top 10 questions they should be asking?
  • What social media network do they hang out on? Facebook (most likely)? Instagram? Linkedin?
  • What kind of content do they seem to like or comment on the most?

Once you've answered these questions, you'll have a much better idea of where and how to spend your time on social media. This in turn, will allow you to get the best results from your content.  

3.) Not Understanding the Social Media Network You're Using

Many real estate agents are often unfollowed on Facebook as result of saturating their friends’ or fans’ feeds with nothing but listings and open houses. While we understand the need to hustle and sell homes, this practice prevents you from forming a relationship with your leads, and obtaining more clients.

This is a clear example of not knowing your audience.  And if you don't know your audience, there's a good chance that you don't know how they use social media - or how they use it in their home search process. 

And if you don't know that, you won't be able to effectively use social media to engage with them in a meaningful way.

Each network is different. Writing a post for Facebook and then posting it to Twitter and LinkedIn without tailoring the content for each network is a great example of this - it doesn’t quite fit the other networks.

Posting on Twitter 10 times a day can be effective.  Posting 10 times a day as a brand on Facebook or Linkedin will most likely have the opposite effect.

How to fix it

Remember: social media is about building a relationship with people through consistent interactions over time. Beating them over the head with what you're offering 10 times a day guarantees people won't follow you, and that the people that do will be unfollowing you soon. 

Post the right type of content for the network you're on. 

If you don't have the resources to participate in three or four social media networks, focus on one (again, we recommend starting with Facebook).  

And fixate on the idea of helping your prospective buyers and sellers instead of talking about yourself or anything you sell.

4.) Not Understanding Why People use Social Media

Another component of understanding your audience is understanding why people use social media to begin with.   

Why are they spending so much time on Facebook and checking it every day?  

What are they checking?

What are they looking for, and more importantly, what are they tuned into when they’re there?

According to Anita Whiting of the College of Business at Clayton State University and David Williams of the Department of Marketing at Berry College, there are 10 primary reasons people use social media. 

They conducted in-depth interviews of 25 individuals with ages ranging from 18 to 56 years old.

Here are the 10 reasons people use social media

  1. Social interaction - 88% of people interviewed mentioned using social media for social interaction, keeping up with friends and family, chatting with old acquaintances and meeting new friends. Some of the respondents mentioned having more contact with people via social media than face-to-face (relational)
  2. Information seeking - 80% of people interviewed mentioned using social media for info seeking like sales, deals and products; events, birthdays, and parties; looking at information about businesses; and education and how-to instruction (relational in looking at info about businesses)
  3. Pass time - 76% of people interviewed mentioned using social media to pass time
  4. Entertainment - 64% of people interviewed mentioned using social media as a source of entertainment like playing games, listening to music, watching videos, reading comments, listening to jokes, and "watching the crazies".
  5. Relaxation - 60% of people interviewed mentioned using social media to relax and take their minds off of things 
  6. Expression of opinions - 56% of people interviewed mentioned using social media to express thoughts and opinions, comment on and like posts and photos, comment on updates and sharing comments on other postings (relational)
  7. Communicatory utility - 56% of people interviewed mentioned using social media to give themselves something to talk about with other people. (relational)
  8. Convenience utility - 52% of people interviewed mentioned using social media because "it's convenient and accessible anytime and anywhere."
  9. Information sharing - 40% of people interviewed mentioned using social media for sharing information about themselves or other people in the form of posting updates and images. (relational)
  10. Surveillance/knowledge about others - 32% of people interviewed mentioned using social media for "watching people or things and watching what others are doing". (relational)

from: Why people use social media: a uses and gratifications approach

The trend: six of the ten items on this list have a relational component to them.  

Most of the time, social media users are interacting socially, seeking information (at times about businesses), watching, commenting on, and sharing videos, or finding things to talk about with their friends.  

They're also searching for information about people and businesses.  They want to connect, not be sold to. 

But they are buying from those who gain their trust. 

You can be the person they begin to trust and give their hard-earned money to, if you can understand how they want to interact with you and meet them there with value.

How to fix it

Here’s a surefire way to get the attention of your prospective buyers and sellers.  

And it’s very simple. You don’t even need to evaluate their social media behavior, or sift through any data (although there is much to be gained by doing so).

Start with the problems.  

Look at social media as a way to help your prospects solve their problems.

It’s easy to see Facebook or Linkedin or Twitter as a way to get your listings in front of people, but that isn’t what people are looking for.  

Take a more relational approach in everything you post.  

If you want to post a listing, post it with a challenge to have your audience guess the value of the property (and even win a gift card or prize for the person whose guess is closest).

If you post about yourself, post something personal that helps people really get a feel for who you are.

If you eat at a great restaurant, make a quick video of why you loved it and what to order if someone visits there.  Then ask for other menu suggestions from your audience to get people to engage and converse with you.

Whatever you post, make it relational and turn it into a conversation starter.  

Over time, more and more people will start to tune in to you and what you’re saying.

5.) Branding Instead of Connecting

People don't buy homes from RE/MAX or Keller Williams or any other brokerage or brand. They buy homes from people. They buy from you. And with you.

Think about this...

These people, your customers, are struggling.

They are trying to make their way through a process that has extremely high highs and very low lows.  

Do you remember what it was like buying a new home?

Exciting...scary...unpredictable at times. Losing a home at the last minute. 

Having your other home on the market at the same time and hoping for an offer in time before you close on the new home.

You probably didn't have all the answers early on.  Neither do they. 

Now … with that picture in mind ...

Imagine this person is looking at their phone, scrolling through their Facebook feed.  

What is going to benefit her in the midst of skimming through content? 

Is it going to be a professionally branded and slick new listing post?

Or...

Would it be better for them to see your smiling face, offering up an answer to one of the questions that they’ve been stressing out about throughout this entire process? 

Are they going to connect with a logo and brand throwing up digital classified ads? 

Or…

Are they in need of a friendly arm around the shoulder and someone to walk them through the process so they can make the best decision? 

You know the answer.  Again, treat it like a relationship (something you’re already good at in real life!).

Social media gives you an opportunity to provide value to your prospective clients before they ever start searching for a home.  It allows you to be more human and relatable to your prospective clients, so that you can truly connect and build trust. 

They want to connect with you, because they really need someone they can trust in this very emotional process of buying and/or selling a home.

How to fix it

Before you post anything on social media…

  1. Ask yourself if what you’re posting is about you, or about them?  If it’s about you, then try and figure out a way to make that information somehow benefit them. If you can’t, don’t post it.  

  2. When you post information that is valuable to your prospective buyers and sellers, close the post with a question and ask them to respond in the comments, or tell them to share this post with someone that would find it valuable.

  3. Post information that’s share worthy.  People love looking good in front of their friends. If you give them content they can share and look like a rockstar for doing it, they’ll begin to follow you and tune into more of what you have to say.

6.) Not Posting Anything of Value or Not Showcasing Expertise

Buying and selling a home is such an emotional process.

There are so many unknowns and unanswered questions. Your prospects are trying to find so many different pieces of information and then trying to stitch that information together in a way that helps them make the best decision possible.

Despite this, many agents using social media marketing in their real estate businesses focus more on information about themselves, their results, their listings. 

And they’re losing a lot of traction because of it.

How to fix it

1) Write down a list of the top 10 questions you get consistently from your current buyers.

2) Write down a list of the 10 questions your prospective buyers should be asking.

3) Answer one question per day on a quick two or three minute video you record on your phone or webcam. This video doesn't need to be high quality. It should just showcase you, giving a helpful answer in an authentic way.

You'll find that as you post this type of content, you'll get comments and questions that can help you create more and more great content, and truly provide value to your prospects. 

Rinse and repeat, and you'll have a great start to building some great relationships with prospective buyers that will start to see you as a resource and authority.

7.) Not Using Video in Your Social Media Posts

On mobile alone YouTube reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S. YouTube overall dwarfs them.

YouTube overall, and even YouTube on mobile alone, reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S. 

And...100 million hours of video content are watched on Facebook daily.1

Hubspot did a survey of 1,091 global internet users and found that 45% of the respondents watch an hour or more of video content on YouTube and Facebook per week. Facebook revealed that its users watch 8 billion videos per day.  

And we're not talking just Millennials either.  Hubspot says a third of older generations are watching an hour or more of content on Youtube a week. 

How much time do you spend watching content on Youtube?

And you can bet that Facebook is not far behind with its 1.6 billion active daily users.6

How to fix it

Video is simpler and easier to create than ever before

All you need is a webcam or a smartphone to get started.  

You don't need an expensive camera that you don't know how to operate and don’t really want to pay for.  

You don't need drones. 

You don't need expensive lighting. 

You don't need expensive sound equipment. 

All you need is you and your webcam or smartphone.

Short, personal video is the way to get started with video on social media.

Answer a question a prospect or buyer asked you in a video you record with your phone and share it.

Talk about a great restaurant that you visited in a quick 45 second video and share it.

Introduce someone from your office and or do a walkthrough of it with video on your phone and share it.

You get the picture.

Video works and it's what people want to see. There is no better way to give your prospects a unique opportunity to connect with your true, authentic self, while building trust with that video.And you don’t have to be a “big” personality - because, again, it’s not about you. It’s about the value you’re bringing as a friendly face and local expert. It’s the same conversation you’d have if you sat down over coffee or lunch and answered the same question - but for everyone, through video!
Types of content you want to see more of

If you're hesitant, or have a fear of being on camera...you're not alone.

In fact, we've created a guide to help you overcome that fear and gain confidence on video, and you can download it free here.

8.) Not Understanding What People Need to Make Better Home Purchasing Decisions

Most real estate agents and brokers post a bit here and there on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and it's usually listings they're posting or something about them or their company. 

While listings are important, they are only viewed as relevant content when the people that see them are ready to purchase a home.

That tends to be closer to the end of a three to six month search process. The problem with posting only market and listing specific posts to social media is that the vast majority of your contacts and prospects aren't considered “qualified leads” yet.

On top of that, this last phase of the process is also the phase where the competition is the highest and where you'll have the hardest time securing the trust you need to drive the conversation forward. Especially if you don't have any trust built up to this point with your prospective buyer or seller.

Combine that with the fact that there is exponentially more competition fighting for the same lead at this later phase, and you have a recipe for really expensive distracted prospects. 

But, what if you could build trust and relationship with your prospect before he or she ever begins searching for a new home to purchase...so when they do start that search, they automatically think to reach out to you.

People need answers, and they are desperate to find them and to find someone they can trust to walk with them through the process.

And that trust is built way before these people are looking for a real estate agent. 

How to fix it

Trust is built when these buyers and sellers are looking for and find information about the area and its local businesses...

...or restaurants they can take the whole family to

...or outdoor activities and clubs they can participate in

...or the nightlife and bar scene in the area

...or the quality of the schools and education in the area

This is a huge opportunity for any agent that is willing to post this type of informational content. Of course it takes work, but what doesn't? 

And it doesn't take nearly as much work as you think. It’s pretty easy with current technology to post engaging videos and content consistently without breaking the bank, or even the wallet.  

At the end of the day, your job is to help them make the best decision for them and their family in buying or selling a new home, and that takes a relationship.

Start with their problems, and be that arm around the shoulder they need.

9.) Only Promoting Yourself and Your Business

If all you see is post after post of nothing but listings and open houses (a recipe for disaster), you’re seeing a strategy that leads to losing a large portion of followers.

Listing posts are important; however, when you are only publishing listings on Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter, you’re not really building credibility as a neighborhood expert.

You want to provide 80% value and entertainment, and 20% listings and offers. 

That means that 80% of your content should involve answering questions, building trust, and equipping your prospects with what they need to make the best decision. 

By shifting to providing value most of the time, you can really tip the scale in your favor and become unforgettable in your prospective client's mind … in a good way.

And, when you do post a listing, they'll pay attention to it. 

Win-Win!

Creative post ideas:

1) Post 2 images of a property and let your audience pick which one they like best

2) Post images of unique and awesome home products and inventions, give your input, and provide links to the product/s

3) Post tips of everyday household items being used in unconventional ways.

4) Post information about yourself that shows you are a real person, like gifts you received, events you’re attending, etc.

5) Thank a trusted vendor that you have a good relationship with.

6) Talk about your lunch experience and shout out to your server in the post.  

7) Post pictures and video of your furry friends.  People love dogs and cats, and especially when they’re cleverly associated with your business.  It’s entertaining.

8) Talk about a big problem a buyer or seller was experiencing and how you helped them solve it.

9) Highlight a happy buyer or seller & thank them on Facebook.

10) Feature a teacher by highlighting a teacher from a local school in your market and thank them.  You can do this with any local heroes.

11) Spotlight a local business by asking the owner a few questions on your smartphone camera and then post the video and tag the owner.

And there are many more ideas out there that can position you as the authority in your market as a real estate agent.  

See the next mistake for more ideas for content and posting on social media.

10) Posting Too Frequently (or Infrequently!)

Most agents don't post enough on social media to generate any real consistent value with their prospective clients, and that means they won't get consistent interest either.  

When you only post a couple times a week, you really don't have a way to systematically build enough value to get someone to look to you as a resource and authority in real estate.  

Moreover, while some agents aren’t posting enough, there are other agents who are posting too much. There has to be balance in both the frequency you post and the types of content you post, so that those who see your posts aren't getting hammered over the head with the same thing over and over again.

How to fix it

Basically map out the content you want to post in advance so you are always armed with valuable information. And keep an eye on engagement - if it’s especially low, you’re likely too frequent (or infrequent!) and if it’s high, maintain your pace.

Planning out the types of content and what you'll post in advance gives you a holistic view of your page, your content, and helps you make sure that you’re creating variety in topics, posting at good times, and getting social in a controlled manner.

This is a win-win for you and your prospects. 

You win because you'll have a way to remain consistent and avoid social media overwhelm.

They win because you'll actually be helping them make a better decision through your posts and building trust that will carry forward through the relationship to the transaction.

For specific ideas, refer back to the solution to Mistake 1 near the top of this post!

11.) Not Creating a Process to Generate Leads from Social Media Posts

One of the biggest mistakes that real estate agents make in using social media is not creating a process to help capture leads, and nurture them properly.

It's so easy to get so consumed by the work you're doing in your social media efforts that you lose sight of a core purpose of the activity: moving online conversations offline and in person.

How to fix it

It's important in all your posting to give opportunities to your prospects to take the next step with you.  

Here are a few ways that can happen:

  • Make sure you have a button or link to take people to a place where they can contact you in the way they prefer (while this might seem obvious, many agents are missing easy opportunities).

  • Make sure you have a way to collect an email address on your website pages, blog posts, or contact forms so when someone clicks your link from social media, they have an option to subscribe to your email list.

  • Ask for comments on your posts.  This works especially well if you post a video of you answering a specific question.

  • On Facebook, when posting from your business page, you have the option to "get people to message your business". Select that option when you post an update to give people a button that allows them to message you through Facebook Messenger directly[image]

  • Through Facebook and Linkedin ads, you can add in a lead generation form right into your post that makes it really easy for your prospects to sign-up right there without ever leaving the network they're on

Conclusion

Social media is where you are prospective buyers and sellers are. If you're not present on social media, you're missing opportunities to connect with and build relationships with qualified, interested prospects - and to stay in touch with past clients.

Here, you’ve got 11 social media mistakes that we see real estate agents and brokers making every single day in their social media marketing strategy.  

And about half of these mistakes aren’t tactical, they’re strategic. That means that if you fix these problems, all of your social media will be more effective.  

What do you feel is the most impactful mistake on this list? Did I miss one? Let me know in the comments.  

Shayne | About The Author

Shayne is the Marketing Programs Director at BombBomb and people around the office call him Shanye (Shon-yay)...like Kanye.

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