Many real estate agents and developers use social media to attract new business. But is there a right way and a wrong way to build customer relationships online?
To find out, I spoke with two Toronto real estate agents Chris Borkowski (@CondoChris) and Mark Savel (@SavelSells).
I was curious on their insights into what works and what doesn’t when it comes to growing your business and staying true to yourself in social media. Here are their thoughts.
Build relationships by sharing your passions
Both Borkowski and Savel believe that it’s important to build one-on-one customer relationships by sharing your passions and interests.
Borkowski, a former night-club promoter, likes to share his love of tattoos and hip hop music with his network. “I talk about what I’m into with people and comment on their posts if they mention something we have in common.
That’s when I might start the conversation about where they’re living, etc. But I don’t think you should be too direct about what you’re selling.”
Savel says that “people do business with people they like.” He also shares his love of music with his social media connections. “I once got a deal on Twitter because I jumped in on a conversation about a Black Keys concert that I had just attended.”
Sharing your passions attracts more customers than talking about your business and what you do.
Turn haters into customers by having a conversation
When it comes to receiving negative comments online, Borkowski and Savel have both turned haters into fans by continuing the dialogue.
“It’s just like dealing with an argument in real life,” says Savel. “If you approach it with an open-mind and have a conversation, rather than barking back at them, it’s amazing what opportunities you can uncover.”
Likewise, Borkowski once addressed a naysayer’s comments on his video blog (or vlog) CondoChris.ca by sending a personal letter to discuss their remarks further.
By taking the time to write a letter, build a bridge with that person and turn an enemy into a fan.
“It’s better to kill them with kindness, rather than calling them out.”
Keep it real by being true to yourself
Everyone uses different tools and approaches to social media marketing. But both Borkowski and Savel agree that you should be true to yourself when sharing your views and personality with followers.
Borkowski prefers to speak directly to the real estate industry and potential customers on his vlog. “I don’t like to sit and write and I like to show a lighter side of myself – that’s why I prefer video as a platform,” he says. “I keep my videos informative and (mostly) unscripted. I do have some points and stats on-hand to call-out but I like to be real and share my views on what’s going on in the industry. That’s how I build trust with other realtors and customers.”
Here’s a video of Borkowski sharing his insights on an up-and-coming neighbourhood in Toronto – The Junction:
Savel, on the other hand, likes to write commentary about current real estate news articles and conversations happening on Twitter on his blog SavelandtheCity.com. “I track keywords on Twitter to see what people are talking about. I then use the platform to attract readers to my blog and have conversations around the news stories that I write,” says Savel.
Catch people’s attention with off-beat titles and stories. It’s wrong to only talk about your accomplishments and your business.
Experiment and don’t be boring
Both real estate agents insist that you must experiment and see what works for you. Savel says that whatever you do, “Don’t be boring. Successful online marketers are usually successful offline ones too. Just because your profession is real estate doesn’t mean you need to talk about it 24/7.”
Likewise, Borkowski believes “it’s important to keep your blog posts and Tweets positive – especially when you’re starting out and trying to build relationships with new followers.”
If you’re a real estate agent or developer, we want to hear about your successful social media marketing strategies. Please share your tips and tricks in the comments section below.
A version of this post was originally published on the Jugnoo blog in September 2012 and has been republished with permission.