Real estate professionals need to leverage mobile to reach customers with locally focused information that can tip the balance toward a sale, according to a report by Homes.com and For Rent Media Solutions.
Being seen as part of the community and offering a one-stop shop for local buyers, sellers and renters is the best way to get people paying attention to agents and brokers, according to the research. The conclusions illustrate how mobile has worked its way into a top spot in real estate transactions, a field heavily dependent on face-to-face contact.
“Because of the tech-savvy and mobile-heavy era in which we live, it is now critical for real estate professionals to have a mobile marketing strategy in order to reach prospects,” said Terry Slattery, president of For Rent Media Solutions and Homes.com.
“A whopping 89 percent of home buyers use a mobile device during their home search and 68 percent of them ultimately contacted a real estate professional based on a mobile search they performed,” he said.
Mobile content in real estate should be about teaching rather than selling to show community members a real estate pro’s true value, according to Homes.com and For Rent Media Solutions.
Eighty-seven percent of buyers say that online content has a major or moderate impact on which business they will choose with whom to work. Conversion rates for brands using content marketing are six to seven times higher than for those which do not, showing that demand for great local content is on the rise.
In an era when it has become difficult to grab and retain an audience’s attention, agents and brokers need to figure out what their communities are interested in and find a way to keep them informed on those topics, the report said.
They should start by identifying exactly what the audience is looking for, spend time doing the research and create content that includes the answers to all of their questions.
“Once they realize that you’re a reliable source of information, it will help you become known as the local expert,” the report said.
Creating a video is an effective way to market a listing, but prospective buyers are also more interested in what it’s like to live in a particular community, Mr. Slattery said.
He recommends that agents use their mobile devices or video cameras to record popular community amenities such as parks, shopping centers and restaurants to authenticate the feel of the area. The next step is to promote the video on YouTube and other social channels to ensure it gets the exposure it deserves.
Indexing the video with hashtags or keywords is a must, so that it populates when relevant searches are performed.
When using Facebook to reach and connect with local renters, buyers and sellers, it is important to keep in mind that social media is a two-way street. Agents should provide useful information to prospects about great restaurants, shops, and other neighborhood highlights, Mr. Slattery said. Additionally, they should engage with their network by liking, commenting and sharing content.
If using Twitter, it is vital to use relevant hashtags which will index content with similar posts. This action helps with search, findability and ultimately, search engine optimization for marketers, the president said.
Users of Instagram should take advantage of the platform’s 15-second video option to highlight key features such as a modern kitchen, master bath or backyard. The more vivid the image, the more attention it will receive.
Pinterest is kind to agents, with home-related content one of the most popular categories. It is wise to create inspirational boards around topics such as “Kitchen Essentials,” “DIY Projects” or “Entertainment Ideas” and boards that highlight local restaurants and favorite parks to stay top of mind, according to Mr. Slattery. Pinning vivid images is critical to visibility and virality on Pinterest.
Google+ offers agents the opportunity to establish a name by joining communities in which they can provide valuable content. Be it personal interest communities about running or wine, or communities with first-time buyers, by sharing knowledge, the agent is helping others and engaging with people that may later turn to the agent for real estate services.
Property listings on Homes.com.
“It’s important to have a well-rounded strategy in which pros share a variety of content and employ the 80/20 rule – 80 percent helpful and 20 percent promotional,” Mr. Slattery said.
“Share a nice mix of content like local news, upcoming events, and personal interests that humanize your brand and prompt them to engage with you so that you can cultivate those relationships.”
Michael Barris is staff reporter with Mobile Marketer, New York.