Are you ready for an astounding statistic – one that will make any real estate agent drool?
Twitter has over a half billion users.
Let that sink in for a minute. Surely, out of 500 million users, some of them have to be looking to buy or sell real estate, right?
Not so, according to Eric Proulx, RealEstate.com’s social media manager. “I’m willing to wager that the number of active homebuyers searching Twitter for real estate or an agent is very low.”
That may seem harsh, but Proulx understands that only 27 percent of these Twitter users are located in the United States. That percentage is dwindling too, according to a study conducted by Semiocast.
In fact, Twitter’s most active users don’t even live in the U.S. Even more surprising is that Semiocast’s “Top 20 Cities by Number of Posts Tweeted” includes only six U.S. cities: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta and Houston.
Unless you practice real estate in one of these cities, or you are hoping to attract clients from Jakarta, Tokyo or London, you may want to reconsider just how much time you’ll spend on Twitter.
If, on the other hand, you have decided that Twitter deserves a spot in your social media strategy, it’s important to learn how to use it effectively.
Listings as Spam
The number one rule (and it cuts across all social media for the real estate agent) is: DO NOT TWEET LISTINGS.
“The reason why people shouldn’t be tweeting their listings is the same as why they shouldn’t post them on their Facebook page. It’s annoying and it’s borderline spam,” Proulx warns. “Plus, Twitter may flag them for it,” he continues.
As proof of the listing-as-spam view, real estate trainer and consultant Jerry Kidd shares this tweet from someone in Georgia: “Ended up on a Realtor®’s mailing list. Now I get DAILY emails on how she is dedicated to serving me. Talk about a business killer…”
Here’s another: “New year = new Realtor® spam.”
“Please stop tweeting your listings,” begs Lisa Ludlow Archer with Keller Williams Realty in Charlotte, N.C. “It’s like walking into a coffee shop and shouting out ‘123 Main Street!’ Nobody does that,” she explains. Archer recommends that, if you must tweet about a listing, tweet things about the listing that you find interesting.
Quantity vs. Quality
A quality Twitter post, according to Archer, is a lot like a conversation you have at a cocktail party.
Highlight one feature – maybe it’s a city view or an amazing fireplace. “Can you imagine spending your evenings here?” is an example of what Archer might post with a photo of the feature.
Then, stop. Tweet about other things before tweeting something else about a listing. This gives those following you a break, and you don’t end up with a reputation of being just another constantly self-promoting real estate agent.
“Remember when you do tweet to be brief, be bright and be gone,” recommends Marty Boardman, Realtor®, CFO and real estate instructor for the Arizona Department of Real Estate.
Determine a Twitter Strategy
Twitter advice for real estate agents is all over the Internet, yet even these so-called experts don’t seem to get it. Their advice typically revolves around posting listings and how to “use Twitter to generate more leads, sales and profits.”
The social media sphere is not the place for you to generate anything but relationships. Use your website and blog to generate business. Twitter, and other social media platforms, are for getting to know potential clients and, most importantly, allowing them to get to know you.
Think about why you are using Twitter. Then, toss out the following:
- To get new listings.
- To find buyers.
- To advertise listings.
- To promote open houses.
Keep the following goals:
- Extend my influence.
- To build and maintain relationships that will lead to more business.
Position yourself (subtly) as the neighborhood or area expert with hyper-local tweets. These might include your visit to a new local business, your favorite local park, attendance at a local event, where to find the best deals in town such as the best happy hour, best dog park, best consignment store or best of anything.
Build and maintain relationships by contributing value. Tweet a link to an article that a follower might find interesting and don’t forget to cc their name (Example: cc @myfavepastclient). Most of all, in 140 characters or less, be social, listen and respond to your followers, show interest in others, and be yourself.
Do you tweet listings? If so, how’s that working for you?