The simple answer is YES! When you think of your competition, it not only includes other real estate agents or loan officers, now you are also going up against Goliaths like Zillow and Rocket Mortgage.
It has now become imperative for loan officers and real estate agents to focus on their personal brand as they will be competing with companies who have higher brand recognition and more money to spend on marketing.
What will never be replaced though is the personal touch that customers will want during their home buying journey. This is a process that is complicated and a layperson does not have the map to navigate the home buying landscape. For many people, a home is going to be the single most expensive thing they buy and they will need some hand-holding to demystify the process.
This is the advantage that you as a local agent or LO have over these large companies. By having the loudest voice in your local market, you can dominate the landscape and people will be more inclined to trust you than a large corporation with nameless and faceless employees.
For all these reasons, it is important to have a voice online because that is where everyone else is. To develop your online brand, you need to have a brand voice. The type of content you post should be aligned with the kind of image you want to project. If you are going for a more casual, relatable image, your posts or videos should not come across are overly produced or rehearsed.
You can also have a more polished professional image if that is what you choose. There is no right or wrong and it depends on what you are comfortable with and what suits your personality best.
Either way, the most important thing is authenticity. The advantage that you have over the big players is that you will have a more personal touch, so make the most of that and stay real.
One of the key takeaways regarding branding is the importance of having separate social media accounts for personal and business use. Have a separate business page to which you only post content that aligns with your brand or is related to the work you do. Steer clear of politics and religion, keep that for your personal page if you are so inclined.
The buying cycle for real estate is longer than other products because of the heavy investment that is required. Getting exposure online ensures that people who are at every stage of the funnel, from testing the waters to closing on a sale, will know who you are. This awareness may lead to future business.
The foundation of your online brand is pretty straight forward, make sure you have a completed profile. Add a picture, complete the ‘About Me’ section, etc. A potential customer may look through your profile information to get a sense of who you are, so it is important for this not be left blank. You can also add your interest or hobbies in this section. Only share information to the extent that you are comfortable.
You can build your brand and audience by posting relevant and interesting content that aligns with your brand image. Remember to invite people to like your business page when they like your posts.
Your brand is like a garden. If you stop maintaining it, the grass will die and that, in online speak, translates to losing followers or page likes. You need to be consistent with your posting and take a long term view of it. Post interesting information regularly and you will not only gain new page likes or followers, but you will also retain the ones you have.
It is also important to engage your followers in conversation online, reply to their questions about what you have posted and be overall responsive. This will not only keep you top of mind with them but also show that you are a reliable and responsive source of information.
Remember- It is never too late to cultivate an online brand/presence.
At WikiRealty, we help our subscribers create a strong online presence by posting relevant hyper-local information to their social media platforms. We also make it easy for them to connect and respond to those who have interacted with their posts. We take on the job of making you look like the local expert so that you can focus on what you do best- close the sale!