What Is A Tech-Savvy Realtor?
Let’s start off this blog post with a quick background on what “tech-savvy,” means in regards to real estate agents. Lately I have often seen the term be abused.
To me, a tech-savvy realtor is one who knows the tools of their business inside and out. From the mobile devices they use and carry, to expertise in online marketing, to knowing how to utilize social media channels. They scrutinize the technology they use, stay on top of trends but don’t just jump on every new shiny thing.
What Is The Problem?
What I have been seeing, are realtors preaching themselves as “tech-savvy,” purely because they have an iPhone and a Facebook account. Throughout this post, I will be going into deeper detail about what I mean. Isn’t it interesting that an agent has a laptop, smartphone and a tablet, yet takes forever to respond to your phone calls, texts, emails, voicemails, etc…? These tools are meant to be mechanisms that correct that problem!
An agent may also sell you on being your listing agent by saying “I will post the listing on Facebook, I have [blank] number of followers.” And the accounts associated with their own are mostly realtors and mortgage professionals who will already see the listing on the MLS anyway…
Let’s Dive In!
Real Estate Gadgets & Technology
As real estate agents, new toys and gizmos are marketed to us constantly. And I mean constantly! From smartphones, tablets, computers, to marketing software, to almost anything else you can think of. And many agents will jump from new shiny thing to the next, without ever fully learning the tools that are supposed to help their business.
It takes time and dedication to really understand these gizmos, and then utilize them in a productive way. When you first begin communications with an agent, their ability to respond quickly can be indicative of how well they know their devices (as well as how they run their business). When you think about it, how responsive a real estate agent is might be the most important marketing they implement.
In a listing presentation recently, our clients told us “We called many realtors, and you were the first to respond. And that impressed us.” Guess what, we are listing their home on the market this week!
So in the first few interactions with agents that you are considering working with, take note of how quick they are to respond. Do your homework on their website, and see if they are using engaging marketing tactics there. Are the calls to action effective? Are you impressed? Because that is how they are going to reel in prospects to purchase your listing.
If you need an agent for buying a home, do they utilize apps for contract creation and signatures like Docusign? Is a particular agent able to show you a home, and right there on the spot write up the offer on their iPad or iPhone? Can an agent quickly pull up property and neighborhood information on the spot when touring homes? After all, that’s a lot of information you will need to know! In short, your realtor should be very quick and responsive to your needs.
Online Marketing in Real Estate
First of all, fair warning that this subject gets me a bit fired up. So many realtors could be rocking online marketing and social media, yet so few take the time to truly understand the subjects. And yes I know, you don’t care when an agent posts on Facebook or Twitter “Hey check out my new listing!” and “My buyers got the house, they are so happy!” I know exactly why you don’t care, those updates provide ZERO value to you! Most of the time, they are automated as well. So essentially, many of those realtors are just pumping out spam instead of genuinely interacting with you. And they all seem to have their agenda right? If they do interact, it feels “salesy,” instead of them being truly interested in you.
I really want to point out the importance of the real estate agent having a “mobile-friendly” website. It doesn’t sound like that matters at all, and many agents feel that way about their web presence as well. Go to their website on your phone, do you have to zoom in and drag around to see various areas of the page? Is the site difficult to navigate? If so, the site is not “responsive” to mobile device screen sizes.
Guess what, Google penalizes non-mobile-friendly websites in their search rankings. So if you are listing your home with an agent, you want someone who recognizes this situation and has a mobile friendly website. After all, if they are going to create a dedicated page for your home and drive others to it, it needs to be found in Google! Home buyers will drive by the property and see the sign post, and they will Google the address right there. Your agent needs to have the know-how to rank in Google and get those potential buyers to the right information and impress them!
Facebook & Twitter For Real Estate Issues
Social Media provides great marketing mechanisms for real estate agents. However, so many real estate agents think of these as advertising platforms. Oops! (Yet, they can be, more on that soon). You see enough ads throughout your day already right? “Check this listing out!” and “What’s Your Home Worth?!” and so on…
If an agent is “tech-savvy,” he/she will steer clear of treating social media platforms this way. When you do your homework on potential agents, you will see if they are just blatantly advertising their junk, or if they are actually being “normal” social media users. Instead of spamming out “What’s Your Home Worth? Find Out Here!” posts, maybe they share a blog post they took the time to write about how to get the most value out of your home. Maybe they ask you for your opinion on what can increase a home’s value. That is more interactive right?
Or perhaps if they share content on Facebook and Twitter, it’s helpful articles like DIY projects for the home, or summer activities to do with your kids and more. It isn’t difficult for an agent to make their social media presence pleasant and valuable.
Blitz Potential Agents With Questions!
Do it! Go ahead and interrogate potential agents on how they handle online marketing and social media with listing your home. Do your research before hand, and see if their answers align with what they actually do.
These conversations will provide major indicators on just how “savvy” a realtor is. Here are some things to really hone in on and look for in those conversations:
- Ask about their online marketing strategy. How do they maximize exposure for the home? How do they drive prospective home buyers to your home? And how do they target the right buyers for your home? Their answers and explanations to these questions will really show you their level of expertise. If an agent can explain in detail how they drive the right buyers to your home, and why they implement their particular strategy…that’s a great sign!
- Dig deep into their social media strategy. “I will post it on Facebook to all of my followers,” is not going to cut it. As we already established, people aren’t really going to care about those posts. Second, Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm essentially keeps posts from business pages out of the newsfeeds of their followers. “Boosting,” is also not very effective in that it is just forcing it down the throats of others who likely won’t have any interest. Remember, a real estate professional’s facebook page is typically “Liked” by other real estate agents and industry professionals who will just see the listing on MLS.
- So how can an agent put the listing on Facebook in an effective manner? Facebook “Dark Posts,” are a form of Facebook advertising that appear like normal updates in the feeds of others. The agent can create an effective, and inviting post that they can target to specific audiences in Facebook. This “ad” can show up in the feeds of people in certain geographic locations, and even dig into online behaviors, or what their hobbies/interests are.
- For example… let’s say you are going to list your home that is great for first time home buyers. A savvy agent is not going to target existing home owners. In Facebook, you can target those who are currently renting, and may be ripe for buying their first home. The exposure of your home can be truly maximized! This is why you need to do your diligence and figure out if an agent you are interviewing is truly tech-savvy with their online marketing.
- Initiate more discussion around the nature of their online and social media marketing activities. See how they discuss if they bring in a professional photographer for high quality photos. After all, over 92% of home buyers begin their home search online! So an agent will need high quality photos for their marketing initiatives. Do they create a high definition video of the home? This is a must, and the virtual tour photo slideshows are just simply outdated in today’s world.
- Ask for examples! Have your candidates show you examples of their online and print marketing materials. Have them show you how they get the job done to maximize the sale of your home! This will show you whether or not their claim to be “tech-savvy,” is true or fluff.
My Biggest Pet Peeve in Social Media Marketing
This is often referred to as a “lazy push,” as that is probably the best way to describe it. My huge pet peeve is when a realtor connects their Facebook and Twitter accounts together. So that what they post on one, is replicated on the other. I personally call this a huge red flag in the claim to be “tech-savvy,” because it is completely mis-treating the purpose of SOCIAL media (see what I did there?).
Every social network; Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google +, YouTube, Instagram, etc… are used by the public in different ways. The audience for each differs from the others. So why treat the audiences as if they were all the same? Twitter is great for agents to search terms relating to the community of your listing, and they can engage in a natural conversation with someone. That is not the same environment as Facebook, or other networks.
If a realtor does not understand what audiences are where, how can they effectively market your listing?
Let’s Wrap This Up
Thank you so much if you’ve made it this far! I know this can be a lot to digest, but it is for your benefit (and for the sale of your home!). When home sellers interview potential real estate agents to represent the listing, they aren’t always digging deep into how the agent will get the job done. Sure, we will do our song and dance explaining values and comps…and some explaining to marketing… However it is up to you to really dig into the conversation. It is a huge undertaking to sell your home, and you need the best possible result! You have every right to know, and feel confident that the agent can get it done.
Do you have any questions for us? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Or even feel free to just contact us directly.
Those of you considering the sale of your home, look at the photo below. When you click on it and fill out the form, it tells us you need a customized analysis on the value of your home. We hand-pick comparable properties, and provide you detailed notes of our first hand knowledge of the market within the immediate area of your home.
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