If you’re looking to generate free leads, you need a social media strategy. Posting when you feel like it (or when you remember to post) won’t cut it.
Creating a social media calendar takes time, so it’s efficient to batch this task. Instead of creating your calendar for just the next 7 days each week, set aside some time one day to calendar a full month of posts. You might even find that it’s not much more effort to create your calendar for 6 months or even a full year once you get into the task and ideas start coming to you!
Here’s a 5-step process to creating your own lead-generating real estate agent social media calendar.
Step #1: Choose your social media platforms and decide on a posting schedule
Each social media platform has its own strengths and weaknesses. Some work better for real estate agents than others. And some work just as well as others, but are used differently.
We could easily spend a full day on each platform, but now’s not the time…So let’s just take a quick look at each platform and how well they generally perform for real estate agents.
Facebook is the most widely-used social media network with over 2.38 billion active users. This makes Facebook a high priority for real estate agents. Everyone and their grandmothers are on Facebook, so you can be reasonably sure to find local buyers and sellers there.
Instagram hit 1 billion active users in 2018. And it’s a great fit for real estate because it’s so visual. You already know that photos go a long way toward selling a home. And Insta is the perfect platform for those images. Keep in mind that Instagram generally skews younger. So it’s a great fit if you’re looking to reach the next generation of buyers and sellers, but won’t do much for you in the over-40 demographic.
To be successful on Twitter, you need to post a lot. The Twitterverse moves so fast that many of your posts will never even be seen. If you enjoy Twitter and want to try to keep up, go for it! But it might not be the most effective use of your social marketing time.
Having said that, even if you’re not going to focus on Twitter, most people expect their real estate agents to maintain a Twitter account. A quick post once a week to promote your new post is all you really need. And you can always re-tweet other people’s tweets.
Pinterest is a different beast. It’s really more search engine than social media platform.
Pinterest is less about creating engagement and more about promoting your posts. It’s a great way to get eyeballs on your content, which helps to boost the credibility of your website in Google’s eyes. Which will, in turn, boost your Google rank. It’s a virtuous cycle.
And pins have staying power that posts on other platforms just don’t. You Instagram post might earn engagement for a day or two. But your Pins can continue to bring in traffic for a year or more!
Similarly, YouTube is a search engine, so your YouTube videos have more staying power than general social media posts. And YouTube is owned by Google, so embedding YouTube Videos in your posts on another platform will give you a killer Google rank boost.
LinkedIn is about connecting professional-to-professional. Not so much agent-to-prospects. LinkedIn can be a good source of leads if you work in commercial real estate or if you specialize in working with investors. Otherwise, it’s not likely to do much for you.
Notice which platforms are missing
Snapchat has basically been replaced by the “stories” features on Facebook and Instagram.
And Google+ is officially shut down as of April 2019.
2 fewer platforms to worry about!
Which Platforms Should You Use?
Instead of trying to master all social media platforms, pick one or two for your initial focus. The rest of the platforms can either be completely ignored or used casually.
The best place for most agents to start is with Facebook and Instagram. Those generally get you the biggest bang for your time.
Then, after a few months, when you’ve learned all about those platforms and you’re posting comfortably, add another platform to your focus. My personal recommendation would be to add Pinterest at that point. Then YouTube once you’re comfortable with Pinterest.
Unless you really enjoy Twitter, it doesn’t need to be a priority. Nor does LinkedIn (unless your niche is basically a B2B connection).
Your Posting Schedule
Each platform has its own standard for how often users should post. Take this standard into account, but also be reasonable about the time you have available to invest in social media. You can always start on the slow side and increase your posting frequency as you get more familiar with the platforms.
Here are the general posting standards:
- Facebook: At least 3 posts per week
- Instagram: At least 3 posts per week
- Twitter: If you’re really going for it, you need to Tweet at least 5 times per day. 3 posts per week will show that you’re active on Twitter, but probably won’t generate many leads.
- Pinterest: Multiple posts per day, but most of those should be quick re-pins of other people’s work. If you can just create 1 original pin each week to accompany your blog post, then post it to a new group board every day (while also pinning existing pins to your own boards every day), you should be in good shape.
- YouTube: 1 post per week
- LinkedIn: 1 post per week for casual use, 3-4 posts per week if you’re choosing LinkedIn as a focus
Keep in mind that you’ll also need to check your feeds daily (if not multiple times per day) so you can like and favorite other people’s posts, answer questions, and reply to comments.
Yes, it’s a serious time investment. But it sure beats cold calling!
Step #2: Come up with a few general purposes for your posts
Start by deciding on some general purposes for your posts, focusing on your clients. What do they need and what do they want?
And what action do you want them to take?
For example, most prospective clients need a little real estate education. And they want to learn and to be entertained.
You want to motivate them to make the leap from thinking about buying or selling in broad terms to becoming active buyers and sellers. You also want to build trust with your audience and help people fall in love with your community.
What general purposes do you have for your posts? If you don’t know where to start, use the below
- Build Trust
- Promote the Community
Step #3: Brainstorm topics for each purpose
Now you can get into the fun part: brainstorming post topics, using your purposes as a guide.
Here are a few examples:
Notice that these topics aren’t super specific. You could easily come up with dozens of buyer tips or inspirational quotes or upcoming local events.
You’re going to need lots of different posts, and this general framework will help you maintain focus while you come up with specific post ideas.
Step #4: Plug specific ideas into your calendar
Armed with your purposes and topics, it’s time to plug specific ideas into your real estate agent social media calendar.
You can use your Outlook calendar, your day planner, a spreadsheet, or even just a notebook. You can even buy a social media planner template for just a few bucks on Etsy. Do whatever works for you.
Start by creating slots for each post by date and platform so you can visualize where you’re going to plug in ideas. How do you decide when to post on which platform?
This will be a little trial and error since each demographic is a little different. But a lot of research has been done on the best days and times to post to each platform for maximum exposure, so this chart from Social Pilot is a good place to start:
Most agents find it easiest to fill in holidays and fun “national” days (Happy National Ice Cream Day! Are you Team Whitey’s or Team Cold Stone?) next.
Then you can round out your real estate agent social media calendar with the specific ideas you came up with in Step #3.
A few important notes:
- Keep in mind that some people will follow you on multiple platforms, so you don’t just want to post the same thing across all platforms every time you publish. Mix up your message by platform.
- But also, some people will only follow you on 1 platform, so you should use the same idea across all platforms, just not at the same time.
- You can (and should!) repeat yourself. There’s a whole lot going on in the social media world, and your followers might miss something cool. So don’t be afraid to re-post a few of your posts from time-to-time.
Step #5: Commit to your real estate agent social media calendar
The final step is to commit to your new social media calendar. That calendar doesn’t do you any good if you don’t follow through and take action!
So carve out some time every day to check your social media accounts and publish your scheduled posts.
By the way, there are automation options if you struggle to find time to post every day. If you have more money than time, consider investing in a tool that will allow you to schedule all your social media posts and publish your posts automatically to each platform on the predetermined dates. SocialPilot, Hootsuite, and CoSchedule are all solid options.
A quick warning about social media automation: you can’t just set-it-and-forget-it. To gain traction on social media you have to actively engage your followers and share the love by following others and Liking others’ posts. Which is why you need to commit to spending some time every day on each platform.
Here’s what to do as soon as you log in:
- Read and reply to messages directed to you
- Reply to comments that mention you
- Check your feed for a handful of posts to Like
- Check profiles for 1-2 new accounts to follow
- Publish your scheduled posts (if those aren’t automated)
Keep posting even when it feels like you’re yelling into a black hole. Like blogging, it takes time for your social media strategy to pay off. You just have to keep at it and start generating leads today!