Since the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, industries have been forced to make sweeping changes, and FAST. With companies scrambling to adapt to new regulations and guidelines almost daily, it can be overwhelming, to say the least.
Like any industry, real estate agents have had to deal with the looming question of how to continue their business while also protecting their own health and the health of their communities.
In the midst of all the uncertainty, it’s important to focus on the things that you can control. We’ve spent the past few weeks speaking with marketing experts and leading real estate agents in our community about what they’ve been doing to adapt. Here’s what they said:
If there’s a silver lining to the situation that we’ve been presented with, it would be the sense of community that has emerged. The way that people have come together to support one another is incredible.
This is a time to focus on building that community and growing your relationships with your clients. Take the time to call or message and ask them how they’re doing. Ask how the situation is affecting them, and what you can do to help. Show that you are there for them, no matter what.
Reach out to them on social media, and also strive to be a positive source of information with your social media posts. Show how you are adapting (using the strategies mentioned later in this post!), and that you staying on top of the constantly-changing situation.
Minnesota real estate agent, Thea Velic, noted that it’s important to be understanding with clients during this time. “Whether it’s clients who are going to continue on with their real estate needs because they simply have to move, or clients who decide to suspend their real estate search until further notice, continue to help them navigate this time in their lives. Stay positive, stay helpful and continue to add value where you can.”
Whatever the situation, showing that you are there to support them no matter what is essential when it comes to maintaining positive long-term relationships.
During this time, social media has proven to be the number one way that people connect, find relief, and stay informed. In recent weeks alone, social media usage has shot up by over 40%.
If you haven’t already, friend request or follow ALL of your clients, past clients, and your general sphere, as well as inviting them to like your Facebook business page. Now more than ever, social media is the way that the world is staying in touch with each other, so it’s important that you are connected with as many people as possible in order to stay top of mind.
Once you have connected with your sphere on your social media channels, make sure that you are posting consistently and sharing updates on how you are responding to the situation. There are a few things to consider when you're sharing this information:
We saw so many awesome posts from real estate agents on social media, and especially loved this one from Thea Velic:
View this post on Instagram
Hi friends 👋🏼 Just checking in... hoping everyone is staying healthy & safe. My job like so many others is dependent on leaving the home.... thankful for technology that has allowed me to adapt. Having my first virtual meeting tonight. 😆 While it’s hard to find the silver lining in this situation... We’re very fortunate to live in the world we do where we can continue to adapt as needed. If you can do so... stay home! Social gatherings can wait. I’m doing my part to only leave my house for work and food. Thinking of my fellow self employed friends & small businesses who are having to make tough decisions on how to continue to run their businesses. Be smart.. be safe! We’ll all get through this. ❤️❤️ Meanwhile... If you’re stuck at home and need a good laugh turn on The Circle on Netflix 😂
What makes this post great: she recognizes the difficult situation and also expresses that she cares about her audience. She then shares how she is doing her part by working from home. We also love how she shows a bit of her personality with a recommendation to check out the Circle on Netflix (we'd advise checking it out as well 😄)
In her second post, she goes into more detail about how she will be conducting her business during this time, and what steps clients can take to get in touch with her:
View this post on Instagram
While things are most certainly not business as usual right now. Our team is doing our best to continue to serve our clients real estate needs at this time. As of right now, this is how we will be handling client meetings, showings, inspections, offers & closings. Just know, we are here for you! ❤️🏡 Any questions or concerns during this time please don’t hesitate to reach out!
Scottsdale real estate agent, Jeff Fisher, has also been frequently updating his social media channels with information about how people can still get in touch with him. This post on his Facebook page clearly shows that he's still open for business, and provides visual information about how to get in touch.
It's essential to be clear about what your clients and network can expect from you during this time, as well as making it easy for them to get in touch with you on all of your channels.
As a leader in your community, you're placed in the unique position to provide important information to your network. Share any updates that you have from local businesses and neighborhood organizations that you're connected with on your social media. Are there local grocers and restaurants that will be doing online orders and delivery? Make a list of these and post them on your Instagram Stories! Do you know of fitness or yoga studios that are doing online classes? Provide a list of these resources as well 💪
You can also build trust by hosting a Q&A session on your Instagram Stories. Prompt your audience to ask their questions with the Q&A sticker, and then respond to the questions either in video or written format (we recommend highly recommend using video 😊).
While sharing more serious updates is important, don’t be afraid to use your accounts to share more lighthearted content as well. Use Instagram stories to share your home office, how you’re spending more time with your pets, or show how you’re using Zoom to host virtual meetings.
This is the perfect time to give your followers insight into your personality and things that are important to you. It's your chance to connect with your audience and build trust with your network.
Remember that 40% increase in social media use that we mentioned earlier? Well, that increase has a positive impact on your social media advertising as well. With less competition and an increased audience, you’ll get more bang for your buck when it comes to your Facebook ads.
Because results from your marketing efforts are seen in both the short term and the long term, maintaining or even increasing your advertising budget now (if you can) will result in higher returns in the long run.
When you aren't able to view homes or conduct business in person, video is the best substitute.
All of the agents that we talked to said that they've been using video calls to communicate with clients. Thea explained that she is doing almost all communications via video calls. For inspections, instead of clients attending in person, they can attend a video conference. "Same goes with closings," she said, "although this is one of our favorite days with our clients, we will instead be Facetiming our clients."
Los Angeles real estate agent, Ed Hutchinson said that as they aren't able to meet with clients in person, he's been focusing on adding more video content to his social media channels.
"In Los Angeles, we are under a stay at home order. This means that we have been staying out of our offices and working from home. We've been more active on social media, reposting listing content and walkthrough videos, as well as going back through the #LAMansionTours episodes over the last couple of years."
In order to make the content relevant, Ed asks the community how they would rate each mansion on a scale of 1-10 on how great these locations would be during the quarantine.
While open houses are pretty much out of the question for many agents, you can still engage with homebuyers via virtual open houses.
A great way to do this is by going live on your Instagram or Facebook. Select a day and time, create a digital registration form and Facebook lead ad, and then promote your virtual open house to get as many registrants as possible. Once you've built your attendee list, send out reminder emails: ideally you'll have one email two days before the event, one an hour before, and a last-minute reminder with a link to your chosen social media account when you're ready to go live.
In order to attract more people to your event and make it more interactive, consider including a raffle. For example, every person who stays until the end of the live video could be entered into a contest to win a gift card to a local restaurant or small business that is still doing home deliveries.
Zoom: Call your clients, host webinars, and check-in and review offers virtually in Zoom, where documents can be shared and gone over together in real-time.
Canva: create awesome graphics to post on social media for free! It's super easy to use and has some great templates for those who aren't as design-savvy.
PropertySimple: our social media marketing & lead generation platform for real estate agents will help you maintain your social media presence and build trust with your audience.