Build your online brand

5 February 2021

By IMOGEN CALLISTER

There’s nothing quite like a pandemic to show us the importance of building a brand online. Let’s face it, for a while during 2020, digital and social media were our main communication lines with our customers. Now, as we leap into 2021 with renewed energy, it’s timely to think about the key strategies we need to leverage to build a brand online and attract more leads.

Digital health check

Did you know that 78 per cent of all sellers will research you online before deciding to engage you as their agent? This figure leaves little doubt that you need to manage your online presence and carry out regular digital health checks.

With so much information at everyone’s fingertips and nearly 80 per cent of Australians having a smartphone in the palm of their hand, you need to know what people are seeing about you when they Google your name. You need to ensure that every digital touchpoint strongly resonates your agent brand.

Take a moment to Google yourself. What do you find? Are you happy with it? And make sure you do the search both on your mobile device and desktop computer. Why? Because the results that serve on your mobile will be different to those on your desktop.

One of the biggest challenges for agents is out-of-date information appearing in their online profiles. That’s why it’s essential to set yourself a reminder to update your website bio, social media profiles and personal information on key industry sites on a regular basis. Consider LinkedIn, for example. More than 11 million Australians have a LinkedIn profile, but, on average, only 5.5 million login every month. This equates to a huge number of profiles that are out of date. So put in a plan to ensure that you regularly update the online sites that you use the most – and be sure to remove your profile from those you don’t use.

Doing this will ensure that you look your absolute best each and every time a potential client researches you online.

“With so much information at everyone’s fingertips and nearly 80 per cent of Australians having a smartphone in the palm of their hand, you need to know what people are seeing about you when they Google your name.”

Leverage leads

Did you know that 55 per cent of Australians won’t make a decision about a product or service unless they’ve read a review online? Online reviews are powerful.

When it comes to real estate, the landscape of online reviews is certainly cluttered. So which review platform should you use to build your agent brand?

Try this. Google yourself and see which platform appears first in the search results. Build reviews on this platform, because it means your reviews will receive more eyeballs

Also remember that many review sites now rank you according to how many reviews you have and then award the “most recommended agent”. To leverage this in your marketing, focus on building reviews on your preferred review site, so you can then highlight your status as the “most recommended agent” in your listing presentation.

And don’t forget to leverage feedback by collecting video testimonials and sharing comments across social media platforms using graphic design tools like Canva.

Pay to play

Social media platforms are changing rapidly and are increasingly competitive.

It’s no longer enough to post content and assume it will be seen by your audience. Social media is now a ‘pay to play’ environment. In fact, 97 per cent of Facebook’s revenue is now made through advertising. In short, if you want to be seen by your audience on social media, you need to pay through advertising.

Put together a personal branding budget for each month in 2021. Then, break that budget up across the social media platforms you are using. There are some key advertisements you should consider running to target your marketplace and leverage leads. These include ‘just listed’, ‘just sold’ and appraisal campaigns.

Win raving fans

Remember, when it comes to an online presence, no one really wants to see a barrage of ‘just listed’ and ‘just sold’ posts and nothing else.

To create a strong online following, you need to build a brand that shows your point of difference and tap into your community for content. People are interested in local events and what’s happening around them.

Try running a competition with a local business to build brand awareness in your community on the digital platforms you are using. Or pick a local cause and support it. Supporting the local sporting team, school, hospital or charity and promoting it online will turn heads in a way that traditional advertising such as billboards and letterbox brochures will not. It’s a way of showing that you’re more than just the local real estate expert; you’re actually part of the community that you care about.

Give it a go

While online and social media platforms are competitive and can sometimes be overwhelming, you can’t afford to ignore them, because they’re not going anywhere. And, if you implement these tips, I assure you, you’ll accelerate your brand in your marketplace and start to leverage leads via your online brand in 2021.

IMOGEN CALLISTER, aka The Media Coach, is a real estate brand and business growth expert.

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