How real estate agents use social media to reach millennials, other clients

Renee Waymire

In today’s day and age, it’s safe to say millennials use and control social media like no other. No wonder brands like TOMS, Netflix, and Coca-Cola have jumped on the bandwagon to meet their underlying consumer needs. Unlike other generational groups, millennials like to participate in a brand’s marketing. They strive to align themselves with what they perceive as authentic causes, popular trends and the best of the best.

According to the National Association of Realtors, or NAR, 34 percent of millennials are buying homes, and 66 percent of those homebuyers in 2017 were first-time buyers who utilized social media platforms to find their homes.

Those platforms included Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Meetup, Twitter and more recently Snapchat.

For real estate agents, social media provides a way to further connect with clients. The social media golden rule is 80/20 — 80 percent of content should be lifestyle, consumer interest and other updates that keep the buyer or seller in the know about the market and its trends. The other 20 percent is about personal content and product, which allows agents to be more than just a headshot on a website.

Most importantly, social media keeps home buying and selling social and engaging for all individuals involved in the transaction.

Michelle Belford

Facebook is where friends and family go to connect online. For real estate agents, Facebook is a great platform that makes connecting with clients fast and easy. It provides trust and word of mouth marketing. Instagram is a great visual tool that allows agents to share visually appealing images of homes and their personal life. And Snapchat is popping up in the market for agents who want to show off open houses or provide a quick tour of their favorite rooms.

Renee Waymire, an agent with Long & Foster Real Estate in Winchester, found opening up to potential clients on social media platforms intimidating at first, but said it was the best decision she ever made.

“I wasn’t sure it was right for me,” she said. “But once I made the decision to share my personal life with clients, I became more than just an agent. I became a friend.”

Waymire uses her Facebook business page to show off listings, discuss market trends and share her recommendations for local businesses, schools and community facilities.  She said it allows her to be continuously engaged with the community while targeting prospective clients.

Shelly Belford, an agent at Weichert in Front Royal, discovered the power of marketing through social media.

“With the rise of millennials, social media hits home,” she said.

Belford uses Facebook as an easier way to communicate, she explained. “I post blogs, do live video streams and share information on open houses.”

Jennifer Rogers, an agent with Weichert in Front Royal, said sellers like to see their homes on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. According to the NAR, 91 percent of real estate agents use social media to some extent.

“Within our company, we’re able to share homes on multiple platforms,” Rogers said. “But using social media allows us to reach a wider audience than say, just posting it to our websites.”

Nate Candrell, an agent with Compass Realty in Winchester, said he’s seen an influx of inquiries for assistance to help sell homes, purchase homes, and locate rentals due to his online and social media presence in the past 18 months.

“Social media is a platform in which Realtors can extend their reach to a significant audience that under normal circumstances they would not have an opportunity to reach,” he said. “Each agent has their own way to grow and sustain business — whether its mailers, radio and TV ads, or word of mouth, but those who know that the industry is always changing embrace these changes so not to become obsolete.”