What Realtors are doing wrong on social media

By Stephan Hovnanian

Nobody knows the phrase “People buy from people” better than top-performing Realtors. Unfortunately, when it comes to social media marketing, most of the real estate industry is stuck in “advertising mode” not “relationship mode.”

On my Google+ Business Spotlight web show, I had the opportunity to interview RE/MAX agent Bill Gassett, one of the top Realtors in Massachusetts, about his strategy for social media and his overall web footprint.

Here are the key takeaways. The discussion was focused on Google+, but most of the techniques and action items apply to any social media channel:

Create semantic, contextual relevance for your keywords by connecting with peers

Conversing with peers builds a semantic relevance around the keywords and topics you want to be known for in your business. In other words, Bill gets involved in many discussions on social media with people whose profiles are also centered in the real estate industry, which makes him more relevant to those keywords. Being in a business that serves a local market, this is fantastic because the peers aren’t competitors. Bill also started a keyword-relevant community on Google+ called…wait for it…Real Estate.

Become a better resource for your audience

There is absolutely nothing wrong with sharing and linking to other people’s content.  In fact, when you do, you force yourself to put your unique spin on the same topic, and that makes you more authoritative. So whether it’s a blog post, a post on Google+, or a share of someone else’s blog, widening your perspective to include others in the content you share builds a better resource for your audience. And while you wouldn’t share a direct competitor’s post (in Bill’s case, another local Realtor), content from a peer across the country is perfect.

Nurture the online relationships before and after the marketing posts

So far, you haven’t heard one thing about marketing, which is the number one type of content that most Realtors create on social media. Not one mention of blasting their listings out to all the social networks, and hopefully you can understand why Bill doesn’t feel there is a need to do so. Yes, he posts his listings, and we should all remember to post our sales-related material at some point on social networks, but the overwhelming majority of content that he creates is supportive, contextual, authoritative content. That strategy builds trust, and makes the one or two listings he posts each month more effective.

Some other tips we hit on during the show

  • Use Google+ and Pinterest together, especially if your website has “rich pins” set up to tell both Google and Pinterest what that web page is about.
  • Think about how video content (Hangouts on Air, prerecorded) can be used to create that added personal touch between your audience and your business.
  • Lift up others in your industry, it all comes back to you.
  • LOCAL TIP: Create web pages about the communities you service that talk about the business landscape, shopping, real estate, etc. They position you as a local authority and search engines love them. Here is a link to Bill’s community page for Hopkinton.

Bottom line, as a Realtor you already have your finger on the pulse of the communities you serve. Translate that onto your social and web presence. Engage online. Talk about what’s going on in the area. Be a resource, and the referrals will come organically as you build your influence online.

Watch the full discussion, because we outline a number of strategies that apply to all businesses getting involved on social media.  And if there is anything I can do to help you create a strategy for your business, let’s connect!

 is the owner of Shovi Websites, a web strategy company located outside Boston. Stephan has spent his career helping companies overcome the challenges of maintaining their online presence effectively by developing and executing strategies unique to them.


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Johnson Omotoye Real Estate

Great Realtor with so much ideas.

Stephan Hovnanian
7 years ago

It was awesome to be able to resurface this interview of Bill, great guy with a lot of insight that can help local Realtors in a very hot market here in Bedford.

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