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All Aboard!

by Monika Strand

What are you waiting for? Get your ticket to jump on the Social Media Train before it leaves the station without YOU!

January, February, here we are in March. YIKES! Where did most of Quarter 1 go?

Did you take time to embrace something new in your marketing strategy to keep the momentum of acquiring new eyes on your business? Do you feel like your marketing efforts are full steam ahead? Or were you listening to the beckoning cry of the train whistle far in the distance, while you were making cold calls with no response? You sit there with a pit in your stomach feeling as if you’ve just been tossed off the tracks somewhere in the wild blackberries lining the railways in the forest.

It’s not too late. Get up. Get on track. Shake off your tired old ways that are not driving fresh new faces to notice you. Pick a few blackberries on the way up to sweeten your journey and get on board.

Whether you are a seasoned REALTOR®, with thousands of miles traveled behind you, or a newbie agent struggling to stay on the caboose, 2019 is the year you should consider adding some new destinations to your regular marketing route. It’s time to embrace the incredible land that you can only get to by cyber land rails. Face it, the world and its human inhabitants are glued to their cell phones and their social media accounts. Your business is missing out if you don’t dive into a platform this year. Choo Choo!! Can’t you just hear the conductor welcoming YOU? ALL ABOARD!!

Make your First Stop - INSTAGRAM. Why Instagram? Instagram is a very visual community. It is the perfect platform to show lifestyles, décor, architecture and showcase YOU and your brand. Instagram had 1 Billion monthly active users as of 2018. People that have an IG (Instagram) account take the time to post, like, and comment on images. One in seven people are engaged on Instagram. 500 million people log into their accounts daily. 64% of the users are between the ages of 18 and 34. Hello REALTORS®? Don’t you want to sell some houses to those millennials that just got married, just had a baby, or just landed a tech job paying them the big bucks? Get them out of their parent’s basements and their rental apartments and into a home sweet home!

You are probably thinking, I already have a Facebook - I’m good.

Pro Tip: Think twice. Instagram users tend to follow individuals and businesses, where Facebook users tend to follow friends and family only.

Get ON BOARD fellow REALTORS®. Open an Instagram business account today. You will find it refreshing that IG users steer clear of politics, religion, and pictures of their dinner for the most part, unlike your Facebook Feed. I like to think of it similar to an open train car where you can feel the breeze tossing your hair while sipping a glass of Moscato. It’s refreshing and relaxing. Offer up an experience, a feeling of who you are and why someone would want to work with you.

Facebook purchased Instagram back in 2012 for $1 billion. Obviously, they took notice of this 13 person startup 18-months into its creation. Time for me to take notice too! I started taking Instagram seriously in January. I had less than 200 followers, and all my posts were random things that happened in my life. I was a once-in-awhile user. Now that I am posting daily and learning how to utilize hashtags, my IG community is over 250 followers. 20% more eyes on my profile in a months time!

Pro Tip: Don’t only brag about your current listing. Be real - Bring value to your platform. 80% real world and 20% real estate is a good way to be social. Find your voice and you will be off and running to destinations you never dreamed of.

I have been researching some key agents that have their Instagram train running at full speed ahead. Some have over 15 thousand followers! Wouldn’t you like to make friends with other agents that will refer you business just because they feel they already know you and your personality from the posts you share with the world? Pretty powerful marketing!

Even if Instagram users are looking around your profile and don’t give you a Follow right away, they are still seeing you and your business. Be patient. It may take them a few visits to give you a follow, refer you business, or reach out to you for your services.

Pro Tip: Just like your other marketing avenues, your audience may need to see your posts at least seven times before they start following you. Keep at it, and your train cars will fill up with interested folks wanting to see what adventure your next post will bring.

25% of Instagram Ads are Videos—So have the “I think I can” mentality and get over yourself. Shoot a quick video clip and share something of value to your target audience. Keep it under a minute. Maybe there is a new development being built in your town. Perhaps you want to give information about interest rates or insurance, or the importance of staging. Let your “train of thought” explore new ways to get your caboose up that hill!

Pro Tip: You can boost your posts by paying to reach a target audience.

It’s a powerful tool, but you don’t need to utilize that piece to get started and see your following grow.

To be the Conductor of your Social Media Train, you need to be social! It sounds so obvious. I’m serious here, because this is where many agents will fail. If you intend to gain a following you must actually go on other peoples pages and like and comment too. Don’t be that agent that puts up a post about their open house and vanishes like a poof of smoke. Being social is just that. Don’t have a one-way conversation and then take your pretty drink and leave the room. You need to be present and drum up mini-conversations on this platform or your audience will see right through your selfish ways. Treat your platform as if you are hosting a party. Be kind, courteous, and gracious. Be a good listener. You may be wondering how to do that since your guests are virtual. Listen to their voices on your IG account and theirs. If you find something interesting, like and comment.

Pro Tip: If you have nothing nice to say, stay silent. When your following begins to grow, stay humble and appreciate the train ride they have stepped up to take with you.

If you are old school maybe you still prefer door knocking, cold calling, and begging your sphere to toss you a bone. Those ways may still work for you, but you need to understand where the younger crowd, who are the next generation of homeowners, are spending their time. Instagram is a good place to find them! Oh, and if you are thinking, “I’m good. I really am looking for listings, and that age bracket isn’t my audience because they don’t own houses to sell.” I’m a borderline Baby Boomer/Gen X. I’m on Instagram. I own a house. More and more people are finding Instagram daily. It may feel like a young platform, but the audience is definitely growing in all age ranges.

If you want to learn a bit more about Instagram, you can find me on IG @monikastrand to take a quick tour. Just type my name in the search field. You can also type: “PowerHouse Realtor” in the search field and I will pop up. I’d be happy to cheer you on as you lay down the tracks to your next destinations. You can even email me if you have a specific question I can help you with. My email link is on my IG. Whether you want to be a light rail, freight train, trolley, monorail, or luxury train, IG is worth adding to your marketing platform. You pick your speed, type of train and how you intend to conduct from your platform and within your train cars. Be unique and don’t blend in. Be YOU!! After all, this is your business. Happy trails on the rails my friends!

About the Contributor

Monika Strand is known as the PowerHouse REALTOR® in the SF Bay Area. As a Yoga and Workout practitioner, she brings a powerful calming focus to her client’s Real Estate Journey. Staying community-minded, she recently rolled out fun gatherings with You & the Community in mind called: “PowerHouse Parties”.