I’m sure you’ve heard the term online community thrown around a lot in the past few years. More and more people are spending countless hours glued to their phones, engaging in social media and finding connections online. Your audience (the people who follow and engage with your posts) is your online community and if you’re not fostering relationships that set you up to become part of their home buying or selling journey you are missing a key opportunity to grow your real estate business. If you’re feeling completely overwhelmed right now or not quite sure where to start read on for 5 strategies you can start to implement today to build your community.
1 | SPEAK TO YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
So what is your target market anyway? Your target market or target audience are the people you WANT to work with. If you’re questioning if you should just skip this step completely, let me remind you of that one client you HATED working with, the one that made you question your decision to become a realtor and the one that gave you hard time after hard time after hard time (we’ve all got one). Finding your ideal client is beneficial because you will only attract the people you want to work with, you’re people, you’re tribe.
Are you obsessed with helping first-time buyers navigate the waters of homeownership? Do you thrive on helping investors get the best pre-construction deal? Do you want to help hip, urban professionals sell their homes with style and flair? Whatever your target market is, if you can speak directly to them you will stand miles above your colleagues who are speaking to the masses in an attempt to catch everyone and anyone.
2 | BE HONEST, BE YOU
Over the past few years, consumers have developed an uncanny ability to read between the lines with a BS detector that can challenge the sharpest interrogators at the FBI. We are smart, knowing humans who can sense a sales pitch coming from a mile away and we hate sales pitches.
The key to building your community is to be authentic. Be you. Don’t hide behind the homes you’ve sold or market stats… tell a story, be present, engage, and be real. Instead of trying to sell to your audience with each and every post, engage in a conversation, offer help, present a part of your personal life that allows them to feel connected.
3 | ADD VALUE
Ask yourself how you can best help your target market. If you’re working with first-time homebuyers, for example, ask yourself what they need to be educated on, what fears they might have that you can alleviate with a blog post, article, checklist or factsheet. How can you serve your audience better? If you’re not adding value with your content you are missing an opportunity to display yourself as the expert to your target market. In order to build a thriving community you first have to build the know, like and trust factor which starts with asking yourself what you can bring to the table.
4 | DO IT YOURSELF
Yes, I know, engaging online takes time, and you are already stretched so thin as it is, with all the homes you have to preview, show and sell your days are packed. I urge you to learn how to incorporate your days into your posts and start finding a few minutes to build your online community rather than handing it off to an assistant or third party. Here’s the thing, remember that BS detector that consumers have front and centre when they are engaging online? It is set to scroll right past anything that looks unauthentic. If you aren’t speaking in your own voice, telling your own stories, posting your own pictures, how can you possibly expect to have an audience that feels connected enough to trust the sale of their home to you? In this disjointed digital world, connection is key, and your unique voice is what will create that connection.
5 | ENGAGE
Are you someone who posts and then bolts, or do you stick around and interact with other’s content? When was the last time you went searching for your target audience online? I cannot stress enough how important it is to not only offer relevant, thoughtful and honest content but to also engage with what others are saying as well. This can look like carving out 15 minutes a day to have conversations with your audience or target market. Engaging in this way reminds your audience that you are a real human being so when they are ready to buy or sell they remember the questions you have answered for them and the help you have offered.
The benefits of building an online community are abundant and there is no better time than right now to start engaging with and building your audience. So roll up your sleeves and get down to business…just remember to be your honest, authentic self and have fun!